Former Norfolk priest convicted of 18 historic sex offences against children
PUBLISHED: 19:39 19 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:38 20 February 2019
A former priest who spent time in Norfolk has been convicted of 18 sex offences against six children in the 1970s.
Francis McDermott, 75, was a priest in a number of different parishes from 1971 to 1979, where he befriended local families and sexually abused the children.
He abused his first victim while training to become a priest in London. After becoming ordained, he worked in Norwich and High Wycombe, where he committed further offences.
Some years later, McDermott, of Atlantic Way, Westwood Ho, Bideford in Devon, contacted his first victim again, after being accused of sexually assaulting a young girl who he believed the victim knew, Aylesbury Crown Court heard.
The victim recorded the conversation he had with the priest and in 2017, after receiving therapy, he reported the abuse and shared the recording with the police.
Yasmeen Malik, senior crown prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “Francis McDermott exploited his position as a priest to strike up friendships with families in his local parishes, and then used his charm and charisma to gain the trust of the children so he could sexually abuse them.
“The victims have shown great courage in admitting what happened to them and giving evidence against McDermott, it’s their brave actions that have seen him convicted of these serious offences.”
McDermott, who was convicted after a trial, is due to be sentenced in March.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “It’s quite astonishing that McDermott sought support off one victim of his sickening abuse in an attempt to silence another he attacked when she was a young girl.
“But the courage of those he abused and manipulated means the catalogue of his vile crimes has now been exposed despite his twisted attempt to blame the victims.
“Sexual abuse is never the fault of the victim and it’s important that survivors know it is never too late to come forward and seek support.”
The NSPCC Helpline is available 24/7 for adult survivors of sexual abuse to contact for support and advice on 0808 800 5000 or via email@example.com.