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Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore, Co Donegal Photo by: Irish Independent

Caretaker convicted of sexual assault kept school job before he raped four boys

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Ard Scoil Mhuire in Gweedore, Co Donegal Photo by: Irish Independent

A victim and an Irish judge have demanded to know how a Donegal school caretaker was allowed to keep his job after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a pupil – before he went on to rape four boys.

Michael Ferry, a 55-year-old from Bunbeg, was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he raped and sexually assaulted four more boys at the school premises.

Outside the court victim Derek Mulligan, who waived his right to anonymity, said: “Ferry is a demon. He has no remorse whatsoever for what he has done. His only remorse is being caught.

“I have to ask why Ferry continued to be employed when he was brought to court in 2002.”

Sentencing Ferry, Justice Paul Carney demanded to know how the school authorities and police had allowed the man remain in his job when he already had a conviction for a similar offence.

“It must have been known to the local gardaí (police) and presumably the school authorities that he had a conviction for a similar offence, yet he continued working at the school,” said the Justice.

“A disturbing feature of this case is that the outrages perpetrated in the school predate and postdate the sexual assault of a pupil in the same school for which he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

“Despite the fact that he pleaded guilty to sexual assault in 2002 he remained working in the school to continue to engage in the stalking and grooming with which we are concerned with today.”

Ferry was found guilty of the abuse at Ard Scoil Mhuire in Derrybeg, a former school building that is used for Irish language courses in summer. The court heard that the boys assaulted were not pupils at the school but went there to play football and hang out around.

Ferry pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to 38 sample charges, which included 17 oral and anal rapes, 18 sex assaults, one indecent assault and two charges of production of child pornography on dates between July 1st, 1990 and September 31st, 2005.

The court heard that he groomed the boys by supplying them with alcohol, cigarettes and money and he would also make them watch pornography with him.

Justice Carney took into account Ferry’s guilty plea and ‘genuine remorse’ but noted he had abused a position of trust and engaged in the ‘systematic grooming of the boys’. He also ordered that Ferry be registered as a sex offender and that he never have contact with his victims again.

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