Fr. John McCallum
A County Down priest who worked as a hospital chaplain has been jailed for a year for downloading child pornography. Father John McCallum, 45, the former parish priest of Kilcoo, near Castlewellan, admitted 25 charges. Last year, police raided the parochial house in Kilcoo and found 320 indecent images and nine indecent movie files, many featuring eight to 12-year-olds.
Fr McCallum, of Ballymena Road, Antrim, stepped down from his ministerial duties in Kilcoo after his arrest. Police removed computers and financial records for examination from the parochial house in the village last July.
Newtownards Crown Court heard on Thursday that many of the images found by police featured both boys and girls.
A defence barrister said Fr McCallum had worked as a hospital chaplain in Belfast between 1991 and 2000, and had found the work stressful and traumatic. On the day of the Omagh bombing in August 1998, he ministered to some of the victims, who were treated at Belfast hospitals. It was said that the priest also attended a number of murder scenes. The court was told that he began to download pornography after drinking heavily
CATHOLIC CHURCH HIT BY FRESH SEX ABUSE SHAME
By Deborah McAleese Published on Rome Watch
FURTHER details of sex abuse within the Catholic Church were unfurled recently with the disclosure of abuse allegations within Armagh and Dromore dioceses, the final dioceses covering parts of Ulster to unveil the information.
According to Armagh diocesan records allegations of sexual abuse have been made against eight priests over the past 50 years.
And the Bishop of Dromore Rev John McAreavey confirmed that allegations have been made against five priests within his diocese.
These new figures potentially raise the total number of priests in Northern Ireland dioceses to have faced sex abuse allegations since the 1950s to around 60. Three of Northern Ireland’s dioceses, Clogher, Derry and Down and Connor revealed yesterday that at least 43 priests have faced sex abuse allegations over the past 50 years.
The revelations come during the same week that Fr John McCallum (45), a former parish priest of Kilcoo in Co Down, was sent to prison for downloading child pornography. Because part of Armagh diocese takes in the Republic it is not known how many of the priests there carried out their alleged sex abuses in the North.
According to the diocese “many” of the priests, both diocesan priests and priests of religious orders who held appointments in the area, are now dead. Some were dead before the allegations were made.
The accused priests who are still alive are no longer involved in “active ministry”. One has been convicted of child sexual abuse and is currently serving a custodial sentence.
The diocese would not reveal how much money has been paid out in compensation claims but said that a number of civil actions are pending and are close to settlement.
In Dromore diocese none of the accused priests are now in ministry. The diocese also received a complaint about a priest that related to events alleged to have occurred before he was ordained. He was asked to stand down from ministry.
Bishop McAreavey said: “I want to make it absolutely clear that the Church in our diocese must always strive to be a place of safety and trust where all our people, and especially the young, are cherished and protected.”
He added that numerous child protection policies and training strategies are in place.