A JURY failed to reach a verdict today in the case against an 86-year-old priest who denied indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy 50 years ago.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to six charges of indecent assault which allegedly occurred on unspecified dates between September 1969 and June 1971.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan asked the nine men and three women of the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court if any further time would be of benefit after three-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
The jury indicated that more time would not be of any benefit to break the deadlock. In those circumstances, a disagreement was recorded as the outcome of the trial.
It will now be a matter for the DPP to decide on the possibility of a re-trial in front of a new jury.
The accused is not named for legal reasons.
The complainant said in respect of the six alleged incidents of indecent assault that it actually happened 12 times.
The 86-year-old defendent said: “I state categorically and without any qualification that what [complainant’s name] alleged, is totally untrue with regard to me.
“I never touched him or any person male or female in a wrong sexual manner.
“If after 50 years he thinks — he honestly thinks so — then he is gravely mistaken.”
The complainant testified that the disputed incidents occurred when he was aged around 12 and in first year in school.
“I was a very naive young lad growing up. [Defendant’s name] came to me [in the sick bay in school] and he asked me how I was feeling,” he said.
“He took my temperature. He put his hand on my forehead. He said, ‘Conas atá tú [name in Irish]?
“Hand on my chest. He put his hand down inside my [pants] and fondled me there for a few minutes. He put his hand on my genitalia and my penis and he went off.
“It would have taken two or three minutes, maybe four.”
“I was shocked that this happened to me. That is what happened to me as a 12-year-old.
“This happened to me over 12 times in a period of two years.”