Child abusers unlikely to be allowed to return home
Published: 14 Jun 2012 13:000 comments
There was a public outcry two years ago when Owen Roe and James Francis McDermott were allowed to return to the Fermanagh village where they and their brothers carried out decades of horrific child sex abuse.
Owen McDermott was charged with attempting to rape a girl, indecently assaulting her, physically assaulting her and threatening to kill her. He also faced two counts of indecently assaulting another girl and two of indecently assaulting one of the teenage boys allegedly abused by his brother.
James McDermott was charged with four counts of indecently assaulting a teenage boy and four of committing an act of gross indecency with the same boy. He was also accused of indecently assaulting a second boy and committing four acts of gross indecency with him.
However, a jury at Dungannon Crown Court found them unfit to face a criminal trial by reason of their mental incapacity, although it did find that they had committed the sexual acts complained of in the charges.
His Honour Judge David McFarland told them the Orders he was making were "therefore in no way a sentence or an attempt to punish you, but are rather focused on the need to protect the public from further harm".
He gave them Supervision and Treatment Orders for two years, the maximum period allowed under the law. The brothers were initially allowed to return to their home on the Moorlough Road in Donagh, provoking angry protests from their victims and neighbours. They then agreed to voluntarily admit themselves to a psychiatric hospital in Londonderry, but that sparked further controversy, with parents of other patients protesting at their presence on the ward.
Such was the outcry over the handling of the case that questions were even raised in the Assembly at Stormont, which in turn sparked two separate inquiries, one by the Department of Justice and the other by the Department of Health and Social Services.
Yesterday Judge McFarland not only renewed his Supervision and Treatment Orders, but on application from Chief Constable Matt Baggott, made a new, life-long, SOPO (Sexual Offences Prevention Order), which also extended the restrictions imposed on the brothers, in particular where they can live in the future.
Whilst not actually banning them from their home village, the Order granted to the police makes it impossible for the brothers to live anywhere "unless approved by their designated risk manager".
The other three restrictions still remain in place, namely that unless given approval, in the form of written permission, the brothers are prevented from having any contact or working with children under 16 years of age, or vulnerable adults. They are banned from St. Patrick's GAA Club in Donagh, unless in the constant presence of an approved adult, and from going anywhere near the local school, playground or play group in Donagh.
Owen Roe, who is now 55, and James, who is now 63, and two of their brothers were brought before the courts for what was eventually described as a reign of child sex abuse terror which had lasted for over 30 years.
Their elder brother, Peter Paul McDermott, hanged himself following the opening day of his trial.
In June 2010 their other brother, 62-year-old John McDermott was jailed for nine years when he pleaded guilty to 35 charges in relation to the sexual abuse of five children in and around Donagh, described at the time by Judge McFarland, as a village with a terrible secret, where children were forced to bare the brunt of a "brutal tidal wave of abuse".
John McDermott's sentence was extended by another six months last year, after he admitted sexually abusing a sixth victim.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Roundup section
7 Mar 2014 19:00 • Editorial Department
Ballinamallard United are in for a busy few days with two big games in three days coming up.
7 Mar 2014 15:00
Fermanagh Trust @FermanaghTrust Taxes do NOT cover the cost of Children’s Hospice @NIHospice but do fund play parks, business support services, airport hangars, etc WHY?
7 Mar 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
ROARING engines and squealing tyres may become a thing of the past in Hollyhill link car park after Fermanagh District Council teamed up with the PSNI and Road Service to tackle the problem.
7 Mar 2014 11:50 • Editorial Department
Police are releasing an efit image based on a description of a man they would like to speak to.
7 Mar 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane
Pictured 50 years ago are Mrs. Florence Carrothers, Saloon, Ballinamallard (on right) and Miss Dorrie Foy, of Wheathill, Derrygonelly, who share the Hassard Cup as they were equal in gaining the greatest number of points in the home baking section of the County Show.
7 Mar 2014 10:00 • Rodney Edwards
SINN Fein’s Phil Flanagan (pictured) has described the behaviour of some financial institutions as “disgraceful” after he was charged £168 for four failed direct debit payments by his bank.
7 Mar 2014 09:25
Holders Enniskillen Town Utd will have to overcome Junior Cup semi-finalists Lisnarick if they are to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup.
6 Mar 2014 21:20 • Rodney Edwards
Firefighters are dealing with a blaze in Donagh tonight (Thursday).
6 Mar 2014 21:00 • Julie Kenwell
DIRECTOR of this year’s Enniskillen Drama Festival says he fears for the future of the event on the eve of its opening night.
6 Mar 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards
Spake: “There must be a funeral... there are cones out.”
6 Mar 2014 19:00 • Julie Kenwell
MENTION the term domestic abuse and often the stereotype that comes to mind is a struggle between a male and female in their home.
6 Mar 2014 18:00 • Editorial Department
An armed robber been jailed for three-and-a-half years for holding up the Halifax Bank in Enniskillen using a machete.
6 Mar 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards
DUP Councillor Bert Johnston cried “I paid the price” during a lively Council debate on Monday night after a Sinn Fein councillor claimed he had been involved in a fracas many years a go in which “somebody got a kick in the ass.”
6 Mar 2014 16:00 • Editorial Department
FERMANAGH District Council has rejected a proposal by one of its councillors who suggested that it helps Erne Rovers acquire a football pitch.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Rodney Edwards
AT least three people in Fermanagh regarded as ‘on-the-run’ have received a so-called secret letter from the Northern Ireland Office, it has been claimed.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Editorial Department
The on-the-runs (OTR) issue ought to have been relatively straightforward.
6 Mar 2014 15:30 • Rodney Edwards
A prospective UUP Council candidate has defended himself after he called Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly “scum” and a “tramp” on Facebook.
6 Mar 2014 15:05
Enniskillen Olympic triathlete Gavin Noble is to take a step back from ITU Racing this season as he pursues a career with Specialized Bikes, the Enniskillen man taking up the position of Global Sports Marketing Manager for Triathlon for Specialized.
6 Mar 2014 14:00 • Rodney Edwards
TEMPERS flared in the Council Chamber this week over a proposal to erect commemorative signs at commonwealth war graves in Breandrum Cemetery in Enniskillen.
6 Mar 2014 14:00 • Mark Conway
Century TV, for whom former Impartial Reporter journalist Graham Little runs the Northern Ireland operation, will be the host broadcaster for the world famous Giro D’Italia which comes to Northern Ireland in May.