Northern Ireland

Father Patrick McCafferty 'had no-one to turn to' over abuse claim

Laganside Courts Complex
Image caption The case was heard at Belfast Crown Court

A Catholic priest who claims he was sexually abused by another cleric has said there was no-one he "could turn to" about the alleged abuse.

Under cross examination at Belfast Crown Court, Father Patrick McCafferty claimed he was twice abused while a student at a seminary in Wexford.

He called it a "dysfunctional place".

Former priest James Martin Donaghy, 53, of Lady Wallace Drive, Lisburn, denies a total of 26 charges.

These include the alleged sexual abuse and indecent assault of three males between June 1983 and December 2000, including Fr McCafferty, another trainee priest and a former altar boy.

Fr McCafferty said on Thursday the superiors at the seminary "should not have been in charge of pigs never mind students".

He said: "I couldn't talk to them, I couldn't.

"It was a dysfunctional place that produced terrible predators who are known in the public domain...there was nobody that I could talk to."

Fr McCafferty has described to the jury how he became friends with Mr Donaghy while at seminary in Wexford but that the friendship became "more sexualised", with the first alleged abuse taking place in one of the libraries after he had been chased by Mr Donaghy.

Under cross examination from defence QC Eugene Grant, Fr McCafferty denied that he had consented to any of the alleged bouts of abuse.

After agreeing that following the first alleged incident he felt "degraded, sick, horrified and revolted," the lawyer asked him why, within weeks, he had made his "way back to the defendant's room for tea".

However, Fr McCafferty maintained "it wasn't like that".

"This person, he was very domineering and you couldn't escape from Jim Donaghy, you couldn't escape from him - he actually almost took over my mind," Fr McCafferty claimed.

He added that he he wished he had been stronger mentally and physically at the time.

Mr Grant suggested that Fr McCafferty had been "engaging in an attraction you had", but that was emphatically denied by the priest.

Fr McCafferty, who has spoken out about the way clerical abuse has been handled, told the court he could not have gone to his own dioceses because "I knew I would be blamed, that I would be the one who would be kicked out".

The trial continues.

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