Priest Cleared Over Child Abuse

A County Londonderry priest has been acquitted on two charges of sexually abusing a teenager almost 30 years ago. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on another two charges of indecent assault against Father Patrick Crilly, 63, from Desertmartin.

The judge has discharged the jury and the Public Prosecution Service will consider whether Father Crilly should face a retrial on those two charges. The alleged incidents occured in the 1970s when he was a vocations director.

The jury at Londonderry Crown Court announced the two majority verdicts of not guilty after more than two and a half hours discussion. After a further 30 minutes’ debate, the jury foreman told the trial judge Corinne Philpott that they were “inextricably hung”.

The judge dismissed the jury, and a barrister for the prosecution said he would inform the court as quickly as possible whether they would be asking for a retrial on the two remaining charges.

Father Crilly was released on continuing bail.