Police warnings were ignored as convicted Donegal caretaker continued to abuse boys
Damning report points finger at Health Board officials
A damning report will outline how a pedophile in Donegal was able to abuse more victims after health officials failed to properly monitor him.
An investigation by the Health Service Executive into the case involving school caretaker Michael Ferry makes the damning allegations.
The Irish Independent reports that officials failed to properly monitor Derry after he was convicted of a ‘sickening’ sex attack.
The paper says that the internal HSE investigation has unearthed major shortcomings in its handling of Ferry who used a school premises to groom and assault more boys after he was put on the sex offenders’ register.
The HSE report also alleges that officials ignored two warnings from police in relation to Ferry.
The Independent article outlines ‘serious failings’ by health officials when Ferry was employed as a caretaker at the school premises used by an Irish language summer college.
The report states that police first voiced concerns to the HSE in 2002 when Ferry was working at Ardscoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, the location for the Colaiste Cholmcille Irish language college.
Health Board officials were obliged to make sure Ferry did not have access to children and to follow up on the police warnings but they failed to take any action.
Ferry was allowed to frequent the premises even after he had received a suspended six-month sentence and was placed on the sex offenders’ register in October 2002 for sexually assaulting a boy.
After he continued to offend, Ferry was jailed for 18 years with four suspended in July 2011 after pleading guilty to charges of rape, sexual assault and production of child pornography between July 1990 and September 2005.
The internal HSE investigations were launched last year.
The Irish Independent reports that the HSE report has found:
- Police who brought Ferry to justice in the first case wrote to HSE officials in June 2002, warning that Ferry, who they had just arrested, was working at Ardscoil Mhuire, frequented by students and local teenagers.
- Detectives wrote to the same health board officials (then the North Western Health Board) on October 16, 2002 after Ferry’s guilty plea, warning of his work at the school.
- Neither the health board nor the HSE, which replaced it, ever properly monitored Ferry.
- Police accused the health officials of ‘total inaction.’
- Between December 2002 and December 2007, the period during which Ferry was a registered sex offender, he continued to groom and rape teenage boys on the school premises.
“It was only when Ferry was arrested again that he stopped working for the college. The health board did not do enough to ensure the safety of children,” said a source familiar with the investigation.
The Irish Independent also says that a summer school director took no action against Ferry despite three warnings from police.
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