St Patrick’s Day Parade Leader Admits Child Indecency

The man who led one of Northern Ireland’s biggest St Patrick’s Day parades for 10 years has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a young girl. John Linton Corry received a two-year suspended jail sentence for two counts of indecent assault on a child.

Corry, from St Patrick’s Road, Downpatrick – where Ireland’s patron saint is believed to have been buried – has been banned from working with children for five years and must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. The 49-year-old pleaded guilty yesterday just before he was due to stand trial at Downpatrick Crown Court.

A jury had been sworn in to hear the case yesterday morning, but following discussions with his legal team Corry pleaded guilty before the trial got underway. The court heard that the abuse took place between May 1989 and May 1991 when his victim was aged seven and nine. Judge Kevin Finnegan commended Corry’s victim, who is now aged 25, for coming forward to report the abuse.

Just days before his first court appearance last year, Corry (right) helped launch a major Down District Council advertising campaign aimed at promoting the area’s St Patrick’s Day festival. Dressed in full Saint Patrick costume, Corry was due to lead the famous cross-community Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 2006, followed by local politicians and dignitaries, through the town.

However, as soon as he was charged with the offences he was replaced as Saint Patrick by Down District Council and a new ‘Saint’ was drafted in for the 2006 and 2007 festivals. Down District Council said it was unaware of the charges when Corry headed the advertising campaign.

Corry initially faced a dozen counts of indecent assault, which he denied when he was arraigned last March. Ten of the charges were dropped and he has now admitted two.