Donegal Priest's Rape Appeal Fails

The Court of Criminal Appeal yesterday dismissed an appeal brought by a Donegal priest, Fr Daniel Doherty against his conviction on two charges each of rape and indecent assault.

The 49-year-old priest, who comes from Carrigart, was attempting to get his conviction for raping a schoolgirl in a church sacristy over 20 years ago overturned.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison and the trial judge, Mr Justice Philip O'Sullivan, certified Doherty to be registered as a sex offender.

Fr Doherty denied all the charges and appealed against his conviction in May 2006.

A jury had found him guilty of raping the then 13-year-old girl in the sacristy on dates in 1985, of indecently assaulting her in the parochial house in 1985, and in his car on a date in December 1984.

In his appeal, Doherty claimed certain evidence put before the jury should not have been included as it was highly prejudicial to him. He also claimed the trial judge's charge to the jury was flawed.

However, the Court of Criminal Appeal said it was satisfied that no grounds that would render Doherty's conviction unsafe, had been made out.

His victim said that he stopped his car at a pier while driving her home one night in December 1984 and then climbed over on top of her kissing her and touching her body.

During the trail, she said he told her not to tell anyone, and that anybody would believe a priest before believing her. She said he raped her for the first time in the toilet at the sacristy in 1985, while the second rape happened in the sacristy after she and another had attended confession.

A complaint made to her teachers during the 1980s did not result in a proper investigation.

She later made her allegations formally in a letter to the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Seamus Hegarty, in 2003, which led to the gardaí investigation.


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 July 2016
Almost 12,000 Contacted Dublin Rape Crises Centre In 2015
Almost 12,000 people contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre in 2015, the organisation has reported. The official figures shows that half of those contacting the national helpline were doing so for the first time about rape or sexual abuse.
04 September 2014
Calls To Dublin Rape Crisis Centre Increase
12,192 contacts were answered by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre’s National 24-Hour Helplinein 2013, its highest figure since 2009, according to the latest annual report. 9,614 of the calls were genuine counselling contacts, an increase of 5% compared with 2012 figures. 43% of calls related to adult rape, an increase of 3% compared with 2012 figures.
01 February 2013
Men Jailed For 10 Years For 'Predatory' Gang Rape
Two men have been sentenced to 10-years in jail for their part in the gang rape of a young woman. The judge compared the predatory nature of the attack as like something from a wildlife documentary.
10 August 2012
Galway Rape Crisis Centre 'Struggling' With Demand
Galway Rape Crisis Centre has said they are "struggling" to deal with a makred increase in sexual assaults.
11 December 2018
Garda Appeal For Information On Alleged Rape In Dublin City Centre
Gardaí have issued an appeal for information following the alleged rape of a woman in Dublin in the early hours of this morning, Tuesday, 11 December. According to garda a woman went to a south Dublin garda station to report begin attacked sometime between midnight and 2am this morning.