Priest ‘Unaware’ Of Child Abuse

A Catholic priest accused of helping his friend sexually abuse a girl did not realise she was being molested, Liverpool Crown Court has heard. Father Jeremiah McGrath allegedly gave money to William Adams, 38, a sex offender originally of Belfast, to buy gifts for a 12-year-old from Liverpool.

Mr McGrath, 63, of County Fermanagh, denies three counts of facilitating the commission of a child sex offence. He also denies one charge of sexual assault. Mr McGrath, of Rosslea, knew Adams had a conviction for raping a different girl in Ireland, and was taking the Liverpool girl on frequent trips to Blackpool.

Adams has since admitted raping her numerous times between April and November 2005 and will be sentenced at a later date. It is alleged Mr McGrath knew what Adams was doing and helped him by providing the cash to buy the girl’s trust and silence. It is also claimed the priest himself sexually assaulted the girl in November 2005.

Mr McGrath says the reason so much money passed between himself and Adams was because the men enjoyed gambling together. The priest also said a brief physical relationship took place with Adams, but ended as he knew the younger man was not interested.

Mr McGrath said he was not aware of Adams’ friendship with the Liverpool girl until July 2005, when he joined them and the rest of the girl’s family on a holiday in Blackpool. He said he only wanted to spend time with Adams.

When asked what he would have done had he known the girl was being abused, he said: “I couldn’t have tolerated behaviour like that. The alarm bells would start ringing and I would definitely phone the police. We must remember this was just a child and it is very difficult to take it when I know now that he was actually abusing that child over a long period of time.”