MICHAEL Ferry, who is serving 14 years for sex offences against schoolboys, won’t go to jail for any longer after admitting a further 15 sex crimes today, December 11.
The 58-year-old was sentenced to a further seven years to run concurrent. That means he won’t spend a day beyond late 2021 which is what his defence counsel Desmond Murphy,SC, said would be his due date for release for the original convictions.
The extra charges were committed against one boy when he was between 13 and 17 and who now admits to being gay.
His victim impact statement at the sentencing sentencing in Donegal Circuit Court said he wondered if he would be gay if he hadn’t met Ferry.
The statement read out in court by investigating officer Det Garda John Gallagher said: “I am a gay man. I often question myself would I be gay if I hadn’t suffered at the hands of Ferry.”
The victim added in his statement: “People have sniggered at me because I was gay.”
It’s the first time Ferry, from Carrickboyle, Gweedore, has been named for the extra 15 counts of indecent assault against the same person between 1984 and 1987.
Judge John O’Hagan noted that at the time of the offences Ferry was 15 years older than his victim.
The court heard that Ferry stopped studying for the priesthood in 1979 and worked as a PE and religious teacher and was caretaker in schools in Gweedore.
He was sentenced in 2011 to 18 years, with four suspended, for raping and assaulting four boys aged between 10 and 17 at Ard Scoil Mhuire, Derrybeg, which is near his home, between 1990 and 2005.
His earlier trial, and today’s sentencing hearing, also heard he had pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault in 2002, but had returned to work at the school where he was a caretaker.
Judge O’Hagan said the sample indecent assault charges from March 1984 referred to crimes against the boy over a period of years from the age 13 when he did not know about sex.
The assaults were committed by a person he had looked up to as a teacher and school caretaker and “must have been devastating” for him.
The victim was paid £2 after the first offence and he received more money and cigarettes during later offences. His trust “was blown out of the water” and he failed his Leaving Certificate and did not know what to do.
The judge added: “He believes he is gay. Was he? Is he? I don’t know, but he is never going to find out as he is trying to deal with the situation as it is now.”
Judge O’Hagan said not alone were local children put at risk but students who attended the Gaeltacht schools were at risk as Ferry used a college for which he had keys as a caretaker to take people “nice and quietly” where nobody would see.
One of his duties was to enforce a curfew in the Gweedore Gaeltacht for students from all over Ireland who were sent to learn Irish. Ferry had groomed young boys to meet him in secret locations.
The judge said he recognised that Ferry acknowledged he “was possessed by something that was evil”. He had photographed his victim naked and said the pictures, which he developed in his own darkroom, were worth a lot of money but then he destroyed them.
He added: “I would hope that he never has any involvement with any young people ever again.”
The court heard from detective Gallagher that the victim reported being shown straight, gay and child porn pictures by Ferry, but the defendant insisted he had only shown the boy straight porn.
In separate legal proceedings, gardai have moved to destroy 869 porn CDs and DVDs, mobile phones and a silver revolver owned by Ferry.
The Garda destruction application opened last month at Glenties District Court and will resume there in January.
The HSE has been preparing a report into major shortfalls in its handling of handling of Ferry, who used a school premises after he was already placed on a sex offenders’ register in October 2002. Publication of the report has yet to take place.