Former priest abused 13-year-old Kildare boy 35 years ago

A former priest told gardai that he abused a 13-year-old boy in Kildare 35 years ago because the child met the “requirements” of his “fetish”.

A former priest told gardai that he abused a 13-year-old boy in Kildare 35 years ago because the child met the “requirements” of his “fetish”.

Patrick McCabe (77) of Alameda, California was extradited here in 2011 to face charges of abusing schoolboys thirty years ago.

Today, Friday, March 1, he pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to indecent assault at a Co Kildare school between January and April 1977.

He will be sentenced later this month after he is arraigned on a further three counts. He has been in custody since his extradition here.

In a moving statement to the court his victim, now aged 50, said that the priest changed the path of life forever.

In 2005 he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Inspector Jim Doyle told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that McCabe knew the victim’s parents and went to the victim’s school to meet with the boy.

He invited the victim into his car and he lay on top of him for “sexual gratification” and kissed him. The victim reported the incident to the school headmaster who abused him in his office that same night.

The victim reported the incident to gardai in 1987 after they arrested him for demanding payment for psychiatric treatment from the school. His 1987 statement was followed up by gardai in 2003.

McCabe was laicised in 1988. He left Ireland at that time and moved to the US. In 2006 gardai travelled to California to question him about these offences.

The then laicised priest told them he had sought the victim out, saying: “He met all the requirements to match my fetish. He was handsome and had a nice shirt and tie. I embraced him and fondled him.”

He was arrested in the US in August 2010 and extradited to Ireland in June 2011. Last October he was jailed for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of five schoolboys.

The victim said his life has being blighted by the abuse and the events around it. He said he went from being a happy child to contemplating suicide at 17.

“I failed my Leaving Cert, failed all attempts at relationships but most importantly, felt I had failed my family. I have experienced every emotion associated with self-loathing,” he told the court.

He said his parents had sent him to the school because they wanted the best education for him and had found it hard to cope after the abuse.

He said: “They were devastated. They had tried to give me a good foundation for my future and instead they felt responsible for sending me into a lion’s den”. He said he carries guilt for their early deaths in their mid 50s.

He said the headmaster told them not to talk about what happened and it would go away.

“I am angry, disillusioned and bitter towards the Church and authorities. I regularly think about what I could have been,” he said.

Judge Margaret Heneghan told the victim she wanted time to reflect on her sentence after what she described as his “very moving victim impact statement”.

- Declan Brennan