Fr. Denis Forde
Retired priest convicted of indecent assault (February 2006)
A 73-year-old retired parish priest has been convicted of indecently assaulting a woman in the sacristy of a church where he was serving almost 25 years ago.
Canon Denis Forde from Dunmanway, Co Cork, had denied four charges of indecently or sexually assaulting Mary Morgan, who was aged in her 20s at the time.
Now aged 46, she told the court that her mother was the sacristan at the Church of the Incarnation in Frankfield in the late 70s and early 80s and she also helped out there.
She became friendly with the curate, the then Fr Denis Forde, and in time came to regard him as a father figure.
She described how Canon Forde indecently assaulted her on four occasions in the sacristy of the Church.
She said the assaults ranged from kissing her on the lips to putting his hand inside her underwear and fondling her.
Canon Forde denied the allegations which Mary Morgan made, although he admitted that on one occasion he had embraced her and kissed her on the lips and that he had been sexually aroused.
But he claimed the kiss had been a one-off and had occurred in the context of a platonic relationship and not for sexual gratification.
After deliberating for almost six hours, the jury convicted Canon Forde on all four counts. He will be sentenced in May.