Child sex abuser released from prison
Child abuser Michael Ferry walked free from prison this week without any clear answers on how he was able to get a job as a school caretaker despite being a registered sex offender.
The 66-year-old got 14 years behind bars in 2011 after pleading guilty to dozens of sex attacks on young boys at an Irish language college in Gweedore, west Donegal.
He pleaded guilty to 38 sample charges, including 17 oral and anal rapes, 18 sex assaults, one indecent assault and two charges of production of child porn between 1990 and 2005.
Ferry had used his position at the Irish language school to groom boys for his twisted pleasure despite previously being convicted in 2002 and placed on the sex offenders’ register.
This week, as he emerged from Midlands Prison, in Co. Laois, Ferry gave little away when asked how he got the job at Ard Scoil Mhuire, in Bunbeg, saying it was by “word of mouth”.
He also denied claims he was part of a wider paedophile ring in operation in Donegal at the time.
His plans now are to “get on with my life the best that I can” and when asked if he was travelling back to Donegal, he added: “I’ll go where the authorities say.”
He referred to his decade behind bars as “not easy”.
At Ferry’s 2011 trial it was heard how he stopped studying for the priesthood in 1979 and worked as a PE and religious teacher and was caretaker in schools in Gweedore.
One of his duties was to enforce a curfew in the Gweedore Gaeltacht for students from all over Ireland who were sent to learn Irish.
He groomed boys by giving them alcohol, cigarettes and money.
He would also make them watch pornography with him, with one boy reporting to gardaí that the man had shown him child sexual abuse images
The trial judge at the time said the authorities must have been aware Ferry had a conviction for a similar offence, yet he continued working in the school
“A disturbing feature of this case is that the outrages perpetrated in the school predate and postdate the sexual assault of a pupil in the same school, for which he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years,” Mr Justice Paul Carney commented.
“Despite the fact he pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 2002, he remained working in the school to continue to engage in the stalking and grooming with which we are concerned with today. This must have been known to the local gardaí and presumably the school authorities.”
Ferry told one victim to imagine it was “a girl doing it to you” while he masturbated him, after having plied him with whiskey, it was heard in court.
Two of the boys later told gardaí Ferry abused them in the school after he got them so drunk they were afraid to go home to their parents.
Another said he woke up from a vodka- induced sleep to find himself lying naked and with his back passage sore and bleeding.
Ferry was arrested in June 2010 after one of the victims reported the abuse to his doctor.
He admitted the offences and said he had shown the teenagers pornography “to get them in the mood”. He told gardaí he was sorry he ever set foot in the place because there were temptations.
He asked gardaí why the boys had not come forward earlier or told him to stop at the time.
He was sentenced to 18 years with four years suspended.
At Ferry’s 2013 trial sample indecent assault charges from 1984 referred to crimes against a boy over a period of years from the age 13.
The assaults were committed by a person he had looked up to as a teacher and school caretaker and “must have been devastating” for him, according to the trial judge.
The victim was paid £2 after the first offence and he received more money and cigarettes during later offences. His trust “was blown out of the water” and he failed his Leaving Certificate and did not know what to do.
Judge John O’Hagan said not alone were children put at risk but students who attended the Gaeltacht schools were at risk as Ferry used a college for which he had keys as a caretaker to take people “nice and quietly” where nobody would see.
Ferry was given a seven-year sentence to run concurrently with the one he was already serving at the time.
Donegal abuse victim asks how child abuser kept caretaker job
A Donegal caretaker who returned to work in a school where he had previously sexually abused a child, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for molesting and raping four more boys in the same school.
The final four years of the sentence were suspended.
Michael Ferry, 55, from Carrick Boyle, Gweedore, Co Donegal, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 38 sample charges of rape, 18 sex assaults and two charges of production of child abuse images between July 1990 and September 2005.
The abuse happened at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, which is a former school building that is used for Irish language courses in summer. The boys were not pupils at the Irish language school.
The court heard they would regularly go to the school to play football and hang around.
The boys, aged between ten and 17 years old, were sexually abused on an almost weekly basis, some for as long as four years.
Ferry groomed them by supplying them with alcohol, cigarettes and money.
He would also make them watch pornography with him.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was a disturbing feature of this case that the outrages perpetrated in the school pre-dated and post-dated the man’s conviction for indecent assault at the same school.
He was convicted in 2002 for two incidents of indecent assault in 1985 and 1986, received a six-month suspended sentence and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.
Mr Justice Carney said this must have been known to local gardaí and presumably the school authorities.
He said despite the fact that he had pleaded guilty to the previous charge, he remained working at the school and had the opportunity to engage in the stalking and grooming of the boys in this case.
He said the aggravating factors in this case were the systemic grooming of boys, the premeditation, the breach of his position of trust and the multiplicity of victims and offences.
In mitigation, he said Ferry had pleaded guilty and showed genuine remorse.
Ferry was a caretaker in the building all year round.
At the time of the offences, the school was operating as a summer school.
Two of the boys told gardaí they were abused by him when he got them so drunk they were afraid to go home to their parents.
Another woke up from a vodka induced sleep and found himself naked and bleeding.
In victim impact statements read to the court, the four boys, who are now young adults, described being through a nightmare.
Some said they had turned to drink and drugs. One said the abuse had taken over his life.
Another said the abuse was like being pounced on by a wild animal. Another said he had crashed his car and motorbike into a wall on two different occasions.