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Abuse Case Priest 'Urged Confession'
Irish Independent, Friday December 17 2004 By Anne O'Loughlin

A PRIEST accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl later told her mother to bring her to his house so he could hear her confession, a court heard yesterday.

Father Chris Conroy, the mother-of-five told Wicklow Circuit Court, her daughter would then be the happiest girl in the world.

It was the second day of the trial of retired missionary Fr Chris Conroy (72) of Rocky Road, Wicklow. He has denied two charges of sexually assaulting the underage girl.

The jury yesterday heard how the schoolgirl - who is now 18 years of age - went through a difficult time after the alleged assault, and at one stage took pills to kill herself.

The mother then recounted an incident in which she met the accused. He told her a priest accused of sexual assault would immediately be suspended from his priestly duties.

"He said I should bring my daughter in to him to hear her confession, and she would be the happiest girl in the world," she told the jury.

Detective Sergeant Fergus O'Brien told the jury that, during a seven-hour interview on arrest, Fr Conroy said the teenager told him her every thought over a period of two years.

The priest said she was not a normal child and "had sex on the brain".

The trial continues today, when the jury will retire to consider its verdict.

- Anne O'Loughlin