Former priest found guilty of historic sex offences against children

|News, Sexual offences

A former priest has been convicted of eighteen sex offences against six children in the 1970s.

Francis McDermott, 75, was a priest in a number of different parishes between 1971 and 1979 where he befriended local families, and then sexually abused the children.

McDermott abused his first victim while he was training to become a priest in London. After he was ordained he worked in Norwich and High Wycombe, where he committed further offences against the children of families he had got to know.

Some years later, McDermott contacted his first victim again, after being accused of sexually assaulting a young girl who he believed the victim knew. The victim recorded the conversation he had with the priest at this time. In 2017, after receiving therapy, he reported the abuse he had experienced and shared the recording with the police. As a result, the police contacted the other victims who gave evidence against McDermott.

Yasmeen Malik, for the CPS, said: “Francis McDermott exploited his position as a priest to strike up friendships with families in his local parishes, and then used his charm and charisma to gain the trust of the children so he could sexually abuse them.

“The victims have shown great courage in admitting what happened to them and giving evidence against McDermott; it’s their brave actions that have seen him convicted of these serious offences.”

McDermott will be sentenced on 14 March 2019.

Notes to editors

  • Yasmeen Malik is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Thames and Chiltern Rape and Sexual Offences (RASSO) unit
  • Francis McDermott (DOB: 4 April 1943) was convicted of 15 indecent assaults, two indecent assaults on a male, and one charge of indecency with a child.

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