Told it would get his grandpa into heaven, boy, aged seven, submitted to sex with a predatory priest

THE latest twist in the sickening saga of paedophile Catholic priest James Martin Donaghy – currently serving a ten-year jail sentence for 17 sex offences in Northern Ireland – took place last week when Donaghy was sentenced to another two years after pleading guilty  to four more charges relating to a boy of seven.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the boy was distraught over the possibility of his dead grandfather being trapped in purgatory, but that 55-year-old Donaghy told him that, in exchange for sex, he could get his granddad’s soul into heaven.

Donaghy had pleaded guilty to four counts of indecently assaulting the boy and one of common assault between January and May 1989.

James Martin Donaghy

James Martin Donaghy

With regard to the latest series of offences, prosecuting QC Ken McMahon said the boy was being groomed by Donaghy for his upcoming first confession and communion when the abuse began.

After one offence the court heard that:

The defendant said that this was to get his grandfather into heaven and that if he told anyone it would not work.

McMahon said that a few days later, the boy went to confession as he did not feel right about what had happened but that when he went into the confessional box, he discovered Donaghy on the other side of the partition.

The abuse came to light in 2010 when Donaghy’s victim, his fourth, first told his wife and then the Church who in turn contacted the police.

Arrested and interviewed Donaghy denied the allegations, claiming he did not even remember the boy.

McMahon said it was correct that this latest case could have been dealt with at the same time as Donaghy’s previous offences but that the legal process just took a little longer.

He added, however, that given the fact Donaghy knew he was under suspicion for them, he could have confessed his crimes earlier but that his guilty pleas had come as a huge relief to his now 31-year-old victim.

Defence QC Eugene Grant told the court that despite the latest series of sex offences, there were testimonials before the court which evidenced how Donaghy had, as priest, given much appreciated pastoral care to many parishioners and families.

He submitted that his guilty pleas, unlike the previous case when he fought it to the end, had been a “seismic event” in Donaghy’s attitude, describing it as a “road to Damascus” moment which would have a positive impact his future rehabilitation.

Donaghy, who was a priest in the west Belfast parish of Corpus Christi, Ballymurphy, at the time of the abuse, was handed a two year jail sentence, but will not have to serve extra time as it will run concurrently with the sentence he is serving.

Commenting on this case, The Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta, said:

… This particular story is notable because of the particular way the priest manipulated his young victim. Sadly, it fits neatly into the framework of Roman Catholicism as it’s too often lived and taught, particularly in strict Catholic communities (like, for instance, late-twentieth-century Belfast).

After all, if acts of penance, prayer, fasting, and charitable giving can get Grandpa out of purgatory more quickly (as the Church has always taught), why not sex acts the priest deems pleasing?


18 responses to “Told it would get his grandpa into heaven, boy, aged seven, submitted to sex with a predatory priest”

  1. Daz says:

    Defence QC Eugene Grant told the court that there were testimonials before the court which evidenced how Donaghy had, as priest, given much appreciated pastoral care to many parishioners and families.

    “When your mother has grown older,
    When her dear, faithful eyes
    no longer see life as they once did,
    When her feet, grown tired,
    No longer want to carry her as she walks –

    Then lend her your arm in support,
    Escort her with happy pleasure.
    The hour will come when, weeping, you
    Must accompany her on her final walk.

    And if she asks you something,
    Then give her an answer.
    And if she asks again, then speak!
    And if she asks yet again, respond to her,
    Not impatiently, but with gentle calm.

    And if she cannot understand you properly
    Explain all to her happily.
    The hour will come, the bitter hour,
    When her mouth asks for nothing more.”

    Defence: M’Lud, I would like to offer the above poem as evidence that my client is not a complete monster, devoid of all human compassion.

    Judge: I’m sorry, I’ve had to deal with several cases today; who was your client, again, please?

    Defence: A Mr. A, Hitler, M’Lud.

  2. David Anderson says:

    Now this should be interesting. A United Nations panel is demanding that the Vatican hand over detailed information on child abuse cases involving Catholic glergy. They have until November to supply written answers and have to appear before the panel in January.

    Details@ and

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    The reason Father Donaghy raped children is between him and his maker. The reason he got away with it for so long is this: it was and remains the policy of the Roman Catholic Church to shelter clergy who rape children and to silence the victims. Read the evidence here.

  4. Broga says:

    The RC Church attracts paedophile priests the way jam attracts wasps. And why wouldn’t it? It has long provided a ready source of victims, an unquestioning flock and solid protection for the priest if he is ever accused. So supposed celibacy, including masturbation being forbidden, is revealed as a myth.

    Any attempts to achieve the celibate state only repressing what cannot be repressed and the sexual drive surfacing in perverted and cruel behaviour at the expense of children. This particularly case is truly vile with a young boy cooperating submitting to the priest in order to save his grandfather.

  5. TrickyDicky says:

    Broga “The RC Church attracts paedophile priests the way jam attracts wasps”.

    I think shit and flies would be a better analogy.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    I hope he spends his entire time ‘inside’ at the mercy of predatory sex criminals. Oh, hang on – he is a predatory sex criminal. Maybe the other inmates should be worried.

  7. Robster says:

    So, Vaticanland has been told to produce reams of files for the UN! Jesus f’n christ! What next? The best business in good old Rome right now would have to be shredder franchise, or a silly hat shop. Would it be surprise if all the incriminating evidence had magically disappeared? I mean if they can tell people that the baby jesus loves them and that there’s life after death, they can tell anybody anything untrue and probably be believed. I hope the UN has a good investigator or two and somebody good at pasting shredded sheets of evidence back together.

  8. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Robster, don’t forget that the vatican’t is also recognised as a sovereign country so unless the UN is willing to invade they can be given any old rubbish and be told that that’s it. Without going in and searching, who knows what they’ve got hidden away in there.

    Ott? Maybe but don’t forget all those people that have secreted people in basements of ordinary homes for years without anyone being any the wiser. They could have anything hidden in the vatican’t.

  9. barriejohn says:

    From the NSS site today:

    As it happens, the Vatican has already taken at least a small step towards addressing the UN’s concerns, only a couple of days after the list of questions was published. Pope Francis announced a change to Vatican law under which child prostitution, sexual violence and sexual acts involving children will be specifically named as crimes, as opposed to falling under the broader heading of crimes against minors. In another change in a sensitive area, the criminal liability of the Vatican’s administration will be extended to make it possible to indict its officials for crimes outside the Vatican city state./i>

  10. AgentCormac says:

    OT, but a small step in the right direction for Ireland.

  11. AgentCormac says:

    Another good article from the NSS regarding the vatican’s role in child abuse.

  12. […] environment. And stop acting so terribly against each other. Which reminds me i just read this article and it really saddened me honestly how could someone manipulate an innocent child like that how can […]

  13. Pete says:

    The clergy consider themselves as God’s RH Department (GRHD) and pretend to screen candidates for heaven and hell.

  14. teri eddy says:

    The darker the crime, the brighter the exposing light…a human being said something like that. All walks of life have sexual predators in their midst. Many organizations hide these atrocious predators thinking they can control them and save the organization’s money making abilities. A sexual predator injured this child. A money making organization protected the predator, for a time. A strong testimonial; yes. But not a faith changing testimonial. Religions have their own life spans. Perhaps the atheist of today will be the catalyst of change. Ironically, they will probably cause the evolution of a new type of Faith. A religion.

  15. Bubba says:

    The blessed Mother always says that this world was for suffering. That’s why one should never look up to a black and white collar. Root for good old Notre Dame, say your rosary’s and kick the shit out of any priest that gets a hard on when around kids. Priests don’t’ mean shit to me anymore.

  16. […] serving a ten year sentence for child abuse when additional counts were brought against him. A seven year old boy came forward with his story: he submitted to sex with Father Donaghy who told him “that this was to get his grandfather […]