December 2009

Priest gets three years for sexual assault

Paedophile priest Fr Thomas Naughton has been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment following his conviction on charges of sexual assault on four young altar boys

In June this year, Naughton pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault in relation to a complainant from the Wicklow parish of Valleymount.

The 78-year-old priest was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with the final year suspended on each of five counts of sexual assault committed between 1982 and 1984.

During sentencing, Judge Michael O’Shea said the offences were at “the higher end of the scale” and described the offences as “shocking and horrific abuse”. He said Naughton abused his position of trust and said the abuse was “premeditated”.

The maximum term allowed for each count is 10 years.

Naughton’s barrister, Orla Crowe, asked the court to take into account the fact he co-operated with gardaí, pleaded guilty, his age, and the fact he suffers from a medical condition.

She indicated Naughton was going to appeal the sentence.

The barrister for Naughton’s victim read out a victim-impact statement in court. In the statement, the victim said he was abused about 70 times by the priest and had attempted suicide twice. He said he was extremely paranoid, was afraid to get close to people and was being treated for a sex addiction that he blamed on the abuse.

In July 1998, the priest was sentenced to three years for abusing four young altar boys.

The Murphy commission report into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse in the Dublin archdiocese found the archdiocese did everything in its power to protect him and ignored his victims, until the problem became so great it could not be hidden.

As a result, he was left to continue to abuse for several years.

Prior to sentencing, Naughton has lived under the supervision of the Kiltegan Fathers in the Dublin archdiocese. More than 20 named people have made complaints against him and number of civil claims have been settled with complainants.