Former priest abused nine year-old boy

Former priest abused nine year-old boy

12 September 2018

A PAEDOPHILE priest from Newcastle is to be sentenced at Downpatrick Crown Court tomorrow on a historic charge of indecent assault.

Daniel Curran (68), of Bryansford Avenue, admitted abusing a nine-year-old boy back in the early 1990s.

Curran was once jailed for 12-and-a-half years for abusing more than a dozen boys at his family’s holiday cottage near Tyrella.

In 2015 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for three years after admitting gross indecency and indecent assault of another boy in the cottage in the early 1990s.

At Downpatrick Crown Court last Thursday, Judge Piers Grant heard details of the latest complaint which was made to police in September 2015.

A prosecutor said that at the time Curran was parish priest at St Paul’s Church in west Belfast. The victim was one of a number of boys invited down to the cottage by Curran.

The prosecutor said the boy’s father was against the idea of the overnight stay, but his mother had given permission.

He said that on arrival at the cottage the victim remembered being given something to drink that resembled whiskey and that he shared a bed with Curran along with the other boys.

The prosecutor said the victim later told police that after getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night he was met by a semi-naked Curran who then indecently assaulted him.

The victim then wandered the country roads around the cottage for some time that night before returning.

The prosecutor added that when Curran was interviewed by police in 2015 he said he did not recognise his accuser, but recognised two other boys that were there.

However, he also told police he was a “hopeless alcoholic” at that time and was sorry for his sexual offending.

“I have the deepest regret for it all,” he said.

The prosecutor also outlined the severe impact of the abuse on the victim, who, he said, started taking drugs following the assault.

Defence barrister Noel Dillon asked Judge Grant not to send Curran to prison and pointed out that this offence predated others that his client had already been sentenced on.

He said Curran was keen to bring this particular case to court as quickly as possible for the relief of the injured party.

“He is deeply remorseful for his actions at that time,” said Mr Dillon.

The barrister pointed out that there had been a positive pre-sentence report carried out by probation, which found Curran to be at a low risk of reoffending.

“He is very much socially isolated,” said Mr Dillon, who added that Curran had contact with his family but otherwise “kept himself to himself”.

Judge Grant noted that Curran’s victims had been “seriously, seriously, damaged”.

“I will take time to sentence,” he said.