24/05/2007

Priest cleared of child abuse charges

A priest has been acquitted of charges of sexually abusing a teenager almost 30 years ago.

Father Patrick Patrick Crilly, 63, from Desertmartin in County Londonderry was cleared of two charges, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on two further charges of indecent assault.

Trial Judge Corinne Philpott ordered the jury to be discharged while the Public Prosecution Service decides whether Father Crilly should face a retrial on the two charges.

The jury announced the two majority verdicts of not guilty after deliberating for more than two and a half hours.

After a further 30 minutes’ debate, the jury foreman told the judge that they were “inextricably hung”.

Father Crilly was released on continuing bail.

The incidents were alleged to have taken place in the 1970s when he was a vocations director.

(JM/SP)

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