Fall from Grace Former Army chaplain jailed for sex assault on young teen that left victim suicidal
Tom Brady (66) with an address in Oranmore, Co. Galway, pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexual assault
A former Army chaplain and parish priest who sexually assaulted a young boy in a parochial house has been jailed for 18 months.
Tom Brady (66) with an address in Oranmore, Co. Galway, pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexual assault out of several charges that were originally brought against him.
Now in his 30s, the victim said in his impact statement how "the abuse turned my life upside down" and left him at times "in bed, depressed and suicidal".
"The flashbacks and memories left me suicidal and I often walked to the garden shed with a rope to end it all," the court heard.
The victim told how only thoughts of his family stopped him from going through with it.
He feared people would find out about his abuse, but when he saw the Jimmy Savile case on TV he heard someone comment that it is never the child's fault.
"I could hardly believe it. Up to then I thought it was my fault the abuse happened - as the priest told me it was my fault, and I thought priests were always right.
"That fear prevented me from telling anyone and I never thought I would be believed against a priest," he said.
Judge Brian O'Callaghan described as "insidious" the threat Brady made to take his own life when confronted by the victim five or six years after the attack.
Referring to the assault in the mid-90s, he said "the level of depravity is frightening, the venue where it took place, brazen".
He added there is "nothing historical" about the trauma the victim experienced and the offence was "exceptionally grave and obnoxious."
Galway Circuit Court heard this week that the abuse came to light after gardaí were contacted by a child protection officer from the Galway Diocese.
The victim, in an interview with gardaí, told how he was from a family that regularly went to Mass and believed priests were like "God almighty."
On the day of the attack, when aged 12 or 13, he had called to the priest's house alone and was brought into a small room where Brady pulled him down on top of him.
He thought the priest was playing with him when he led him to a sitting room where he dropped his pants and exposed his penis
The priest sucked his ears and pushed his penis between the victim's legs and when the abuse ended he told the boy: "It's your own fault, it's your own fault."
About five years later, the victim approached Brady at his home where the clergy man made the threat of suicide, telling the man his "life would be in his hands" if he went further with it.
The victim, whose name was not used in open court, told gardaí he was "fearful" of making the statement and that it would add to his misery if his identity was publicly known.
In the victim impact statement, he added the abuse affected him in his schoolwork, with memories of the attack leaving him unable to concentrate.
"I wish I had broken my bones, not my mind, because there is no cure for that. I was a very happy-go-lucky kid playing with other kids. Once the abuse happened that was the end of my childhood."
He added that his teenage years were also impacted as he didn't want to go to parties or meet girls and would drink too much becoming angry and aggressive.
The court heard that Tom Brady, a Mayo native, had been 38 at the time of the offence and served in a number of parishes in the west of Ireland and abroad.
As result of the allegations of abuse, he suffered "a fall from grace" and restrictions placed on his ministry, according to his defence counsel.
His lawyer asked that while the original indictment had a large number of allegations that his guilty plea should be accepted as being early.
Brady has no previous convictions nor came to Garda attention since the offence took place and is unlikely to offend again.
Judge O'Callaghan in sentencing Brady said the impact statement was laudable and "the court very much empathises" with the victim.
While there had been "a fall from grace" it was no different to any other person and that priests "cannot and should not be treated any differently".
Taking into account the mitigating factors and a letter of apology dated in February this year, he set a sentence of two years with the final six months suspended.
He also ordered Brady to co-operate with Probation Service while in prison and for two years after his release.
Bishop of Galway Eamon Kelly issued a statement condemning Brady's criminal behaviour and praising the victim's bravery for coming forward.
"I apologise for the trauma caused by Fr Brady's criminal and immoral behaviour. Nobody should have to experience inappropriate behaviour from a Church representative, and least of all from a priest."
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