Former Ferns Curate on 35 Indecent Assault Charges

By Patrick O'Connell
One in Four [Ireland]
August 17, 2006

A former curate of the Diocese of Ferns has been charged with 35 counts of indecent assault. James Doyle, who held the post of curate at Clonard Church in Co Wexford from 1979 to 1990 met with members of the local gardaí at Wexford Garda station earlier this week.

He was later arrested and charged with 35 counts of indecent assault under section 62 of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act.

The assaults are alleged to have been perpetrated upon two young boys in Wexford between 1981 and 1986.

Some 34 of the counts relate to assaults alleged to have been carried out on one of the boys while he was aged between eight and 13 years.

The 35th count relates to a second boy who is understood to have been 11 when the assault is alleged to have occurred. Chief investigating officer Det Garda John Sheehy refused to comment on the case. It is understood that the allegations against Mr Doyle first became known to gardaí in 2003.

An extensive investigation led by Det Gda Sheehy was carried out over the past number of years culminating in a direction from the DPP that Mr Doyle be charged. Mr Doyle was released on station bail after being charged and is due to appear before Wexford District Court on September 4th.

The Diocese of Ferns has been made aware that Mr Doyle has been charged, as have his alleged victims.

The allegations were first made known to Apostolic Administrator, Éamonn Walsh in April of 2002 and are referred to in the Ferns Report.

Bishop Walsh later invited Mr Doyle to apply for laicisation but he declined. The Pope, on the application of Bishop Walsh, dismissed Mr Doyle from the clerical state in December 2004. The latest charges come less than a year after the publication of the Ferns Report in October 2005.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.