A FORMER Roman Catholic priest who claimed he had given an 11-year-old boy “anatomy lessons” has been jailed by an Australian judge for indecent assault.
Desmond Laurence Gannon’s prosecution was his fifth for abusing youngsters. He was previously convicted in 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2003 for other indecent assaults committed between 1958 and 1976, but had only served one term of imprisonment.
The 79-year-old ex-priest from Melbourne refused to apologise for the assault on the boy for fear of a compensation claim being made against the church, the court heard.
He told police last year that he was merely giving the boy an anatomy lesson when he took him from school and assaulted him in 1968.
I thought it was less formal rather than inviting him into the presbytery, and that’s all â€¦ I won’t say sexual abuse because at the time I didn’t know what it was.
In jailing Gannon for 25 months, Judge Frank Gucciardo damned the serial abuser for his lack of true remorse.
He told Gannon that his absence of contrition:
Displays a turpitude of character that borders on the scandalous and is offensive to morality and the law.
He added that Gannon’s explanations for his conduct to the police betrayed self-delusion and a “lack of understanding of the impact of your behaviour” on the victim.
From August to September 1968, when Gannon was a priest in Kilmore, he assaulted the boy in a car, on a bush track, in a church and at a pool. Now 51, the victim said in an impact statement that after the abuses he had felt:
Broken, old, clumsy, dirty, ugly, guilty, confused, rejected, worthless and scared.
A psychiatrist reported that Gannon had a perverse psychosexual structure and had made “some progress” by expressing concern for the victim and the gravity of the offences.
But Judge Gucciardo found that, whileÂ Gannon now posed little risk to the community, a jail sentence had to be imposed “in recognition of the significance of the wrong inflicted”. Gannon was jailed for 25 months with a minimum term of 14 months.