LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A retired Catholic priest has been jailed for nearly 10 years, after being found guilty by an English court of 18 counts of historic sex abuse.
Father Francis McDermott, 75, was convicted in February of abusing 6 children in London, Norwich, and High Wycombe between 1971 and 1978.
At his March 14 sentencing hearing, one victim told the court she had lost “all faith.”
“I have no religion,” she said.
Another victim said the priest had a “very high sex drive – he was sex mad.”
Other victims – both male and female – told their stories to the court, and how the abuse had a “devastating impact” on their lives, affecting their relationships to this day.
Judge Catherine Tulk told the priest he “abused the trust of those six children and their parents in a continued and callous fashion.”
He was sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison, and will have to register as a sex offender.
In a statement, police officer Catriona Cameron, of the Thames Valley Police Child Abuse Investigation Department, said McDermott “used his position to befriend children for his own sexual gratification.”
“The six victims in this case bravely came forward to report the abuse they suffered more than 40 years ago. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their courage and support of this investigation. They have been put through the trauma of a trial adding extra distress to them, and McDermott showed no remorse,” she said.
Shortly after McDermott’s conviction, Northampton Bishop Peter Doyle said his “heart goes out to all those affected by these terrible crimes.”
“How courageous the women and men have been after having carried the wounds of abuse for more than forty years. My hope is that the sentence today will aid in the long journey of healing for the victims and survivors of this abuse,” he said.
“I wish to reassure you all that abuse of any kind is not tolerated in the Church and that we will together, lay people and clergy, continue the building of safe environments for all,” the bishop said.