April 18, 2005

Jail sex-abuse priest, victims' group urges

BRITAIN
Yorkshire Post Today

Jane Charnley
National support group Phoenix Survivors has asked the Attorney General to review the sentence handed to Neil Gallanagh, 75, who was spared jail after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting two pupils of St John's Catholic School for the Deaf, in Boston Spa, between 1975 and 1980, when he was resident chaplain. He was given a six-month sentence suspended at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.
Recorder of Leeds Norman Jones QC said that although the regime at the time would have put the sex offender behind bars, his guilty plea, age, recent ill health and good character for the last 30 years meant jail was inappropriate. He was put on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years, banned from having unsupervised contact with any under-16s and ordered to pay 1,500 costs.
It was agreed that a further 12 charges against Gallanagh of indecent assault dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, involving five other under-16 boys including an 11-year-old would be "left on the file".
Phoenix Survivors said it wanted the sentence to be increased on the grounds that it was "unduly lenient". It said the Yorkshire Post's coverage of the case had prompted 40 people to contact the group to voice their outrage. Founder Shy Keenan said: "They go on about age as if that's some kind of excuse. Seventy-five is not necessarily old in today's terms. It's another 10 years of molesting children.

Posted by kshaw at April 18, 2005 06:19 AM