In some instances he threatened the boys with damnation if they reported what he did
A FORMER priest who had been on the run in Brazil for almost a decade has been jailed for 10 years for abusing 18 boys over three decades.
Peter Kennedy (74), a former member of the Kiltegan Fathers order, committed the abuse across five different counties as he was moved from parish to parish.
On one occasion he told a boy that he was an “angel of God and God didn’t mind what he did”.
Some of the children went to their parents about the abuse but the situation was not reported to gardai or the church authorities. When one boy told his mother what had happened she slapped him and said “how dare you say that about a priest”.
Another boy was repeatedly abused when Kennedy visited the family home to pray with the child’s dying father and administer the last rites. While molesting him, Kennedy told the victim that “if he was a nice boy his father would be okay”.
In 2003, Kennedy was involved in one of the largest sexual abuse settlements ever seen in Ireland, which resulted in a victim of his being awarded €325,000.
But afterwards he went to London to work as a taxi driver before fleeing to Brazil using a British passport. He rem- ained there for eight years before being deported to the UK in 2011.
From there he was returned to Ireland to face these charges.
Kennedy was a missionary in Africa before serving in several parishes in Ireland. He would use his position as a priest to gain access to the boys and molest them.
In some instances he threatened them with damnation if they reported what he did.
Kennedy, with a former address in Ballinahown, Westmeath, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of indecent assault in various areas of the country between 1968 and 1986.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that some of these charges were “sample counts” representing more than one instance of abuse.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Martin Nolan commented that by his count there were more than 100 instances. One victim alone told gardai he was abused about 100 times.