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April 12, 2005

Shame of priest who groped schoolboys

From: Leeds Today, UK - Apr 12, 2005

Sex offender told: "You abused your authority"

By Charles Heslett
A PRIEST who indecently assaulted two teenage boys at a Leeds deaf school was placed on the sex offenders' register for seven years.
Father Neil Gallanagh was handed a six- month prison sentence, suspended for two years, when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.
The Recorder of Leeds, Norman Jones, QC, banned the now retired 75-year-old from contact with any person under the age of 16 without supervision.
He also banned Gallanagh from seeking employment where he would come into contact with anyone under the age of 16.
Gallanagh pleaded guilty to two counts of indecently assaulting a male. He was ordered to pay £1,500 costs.
The judge let 11 other counts involving allegations of indecent assault on five other victims, which date back to the 1970s, lie on the file.
He told Gallanagh: "You were a priest in the Roman Catholic church, and, more particularly you were a priest at a school where the pupils were deaf and dumb.
"You were in a position of considerable authority, where they were concerned.
"On two occasions you permitted yourself to touch them inappropriately and, as is reflected in your admissions to the court, with a sexual motivation."
As reported in later editions of the YEP, the court heard Gallanagh was resident priest at the St John's Roman Catholic School for the Deaf in Boston Spa, near Wetherby, during the 1970s.
Prosecutor Patrick Palmer said the two victims, who were barely in their teens at the time, were boarding pupils and under Gallanagh's direct care.
Mr Palmer said one victim, now in his his 40s but who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was groped by Gallanagh in a changing room during a school visit to local swimming baths in Wetherby.
The victim was pulling up his trunks ready for a swimming lesson when Gallanagh touched the boy's naked bottom and said "hurry up" as other pupils made their way to the pool.
The second victim, also now in his forties, was an altar boy who helped at mass.
After one service the victim went back to the priest's room, where Gallanagh stroked the boy's bottom over his clothes.
The complaints came to light decades later after one alleged victim spoke to his GP and another victim attended a reunion party and spoke with other pupils.
Outside the court Detective Inspector Chris Stones said the Weetwood Child and Public protection Unit was delighted with the result: "I hope this brings some sort of closure for the victims in what was a very complicated and traumatic case.
"I would like to express thanks for the openess and assistance given to us by the Catholic church and St John's School for the Deaf ."
12 April 2005

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