Retired Irish priest found guilty of sex assaults against girls in Australia

A retired Irish priest has been found guilty of a string of horrific sex assaults against young girls in Australia over the course of three decades.

Finian Egan was yesterday convicted of raping one girl and indecently assaulting seven others while working as a priest and youth worker in multiple dioceses around Sydney between 1961 and 1987. His victims were aged between 10-17 years.

According to Australia’s ABC News, a complaint from one of the 78-year-old’s victims was upheld by the Church in 2009, yet it not only subsequently celebrated his career in a Mass just weeks later, but also approved his travel to Ireland to do the same, failing to tell Church authorities here about the alleged abuse.

During the court case, Egan’s rape victim told how she tried to kill herself after the attack which happened in a nun’s residence when she was 16 years old. After the attack she tried to throw herself from a car as she was being driven by the priest.

“I actually tried to kill myself — I wanted to die,” the now 59 year-old woman said. “I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to make it end. I felt in my heart that the only thing I could do was to kill myself. I was too scared that they wouldn’t believe me. A Catholic priest and a young girl? Back then you never heard about that stuff. I opened the door as the car was going... He tried to grab hold of me... He took me in his arms and said he was sorry.”

Another woman told how she was punished by nuns after she told them what Egan had done to her as a 10-year-old girl at an institution for disadvantaged girls. The priest had told her to come to the sacristy and made her to sit on his lap.

He then pulled off her underwear and sexually assaulted her.

She said that when she told the nuns about the abuse, they called her a “filthy little liar” and punished her by making her swallow caster oil.

Egan claimed the allegations were false. However, a jury found guilty on all but one of the counts against him. He is expected to be sentenced on Dec 16.


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