Irish police are investigating claims that an organized child sex ring operated in Donegal after four suspected pedophiles were linked to jailed school caretaker Michael Ferry.
The news comes as the full and horrific details emerge of Ferry’s history as a pedophile and his 1979 expulsion from the priesthood, during his time training in a seminary.
The new investigation centers on allegations that dozens of young boys were abused for over a decade by Ferry and his fellow perverts.
The Irish Independent has reported that police officers in Donegal are now probing claims againstat least four other suspected pedophiles with links to Ferry.
The 56-year-old Ferry has begun an 18 year jail sentence for the rape of four young boys – after an Irish language school in Gweedore allowed him to stay in employment following a conviction for the sexual assault on another boy.
An inquiry is already underway into how the school’s board of management permitted Ferry to work with children in the wake of his original charge – when they were represented at his court hearing.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has also confirmed that police informed the owners of the school andthe North Western Health Board of their concerns about Ferry before he carried out the four rapes.
Donal O Loinsigh, a director of the Irish language school, has confirmed to the Independent that management were aware of Ferry’s previous conviction when they gave him his job back.
He claimed that Ferry, whilst not an official member of staff, was allowed do ‘odd jobs’ at the school under supervision. “Everybody was informed. This was no secret. If he had to do something he was well-monitored,” stated O Loinsigh.
The paper also revealed that Ferry was expelled from a seminary when he trained to be a priest in 1979 due to a ‘lewd sex act’.
Ferry was first convicted in 2002 at Letterkenny District Court of sexually abusing a young boy at the school. He was placed on the sex offenders register and fined €500 but escaped a custodial sentence.
The school where he later raped the four young boys was represented at his 2002 hearing.
This week, Ferry pleaded guilty to 38 sample charges of rape and molestation between 1990 and 2005 involving four victims but police fear Ferry may have abused as many as a dozen boys.
A source close to the inquiry told the Independent: “We believe there were many more victims who have not yet come forward. We are also investigating allegations relating to four other suspected abusers who are linked to Ferry.
“It appears, from the allegations made so far, a pedophile ring was being operated in this area.
“Ferry took pictures of his victims when they were being abused. In cases like this, it is often to share with other pedophiles.”
Ireland’s Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has already received a preliminary report from the health authorities which she says raises serious questions.
Victim, Derek Mulligan, who waived his right to anonymity, said: “I just can’t understand how Ferry got his job back and then continued to abuse me and others.
“I am certain other pedophiles abused children with Ferry. It wasn’t just him. There were other people too.”
Justice Minister Shatter is determined to find out why the school in question continued to employ Ferry after his original conviction.
“It was the clear recollection of gardai (police) that the owner of the school was in court for the criminal proceedings,” said the Minister who confirmed that police spoke to the owner of the school about the conviction and expressed concerns about Ferry continuing to work there.
“This makes it all the more necessary for those who chose to continue the employment of this person to explain themselves,” said the Minister.