Priest ‘devastated’ by allegations

Father Boland arriving at Derry Court yesterday. (1906PG91)
Father Boland arriving at Derry Court yesterday. (1906PG91)
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A priest accused of indecently assaulting a teenage girl told police he was “horrified” and “shocked” by the allegations.

Fr Eugene Boland, of Parochial House, Killyclogher Road, Omagh, denies five charges of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl between June 28, 1990 and June 30, 1992.

The offences are alleged to have occurred while the teenager volunteered at a Parochial House in the Galliagh area of the city.

She alleges that the 66-year-old hugged her, kissed her on the lips and rubbed her back underneath her clothing.

During the fourth day of the trial at Derry Crown Court, the jury of eight women and four men heard police interviews that were conducted with the priest in July 2010 at Omagh Police Station.

Fr Boland, who was administrator of St Joseph’s between 1985 until 1998, confirmed the alleged injured party would have been a regular visitor to the parochial house and she helped out there.

He admitted he would have kissed her on the cheek and hugged her, but denied ever kissing the girl on the lips.

The priest told officers he was an “open, friendly and bubbly” person and remembered saying something to the girl that he could have fancied her if he was “20 years younger and she was 10 years older”. However, he said it was “meant as a compliment. It wasn’t suggestive”. The priest claimed the girl “obviously misinterpreted it”.

The priest also told officers he received a phone call from her about this and he explained what he meant and apologised for any embarrassment it might have caused her.

He said he had “no recollection” of telling the girl he only saw good looking women in Derry, after moving from Moville.

When the specific allegations were put to the priest by police he said he had “no recollection of that happening”.

Fr Boland told police he was “devastated” by the allegations and “can’t think of any reason why this allegation had been made. My recollection is that nothing inappropriate happened.”

He also told officers he “never had fantasies about her or any young person. I am totally shocked.”

During the interview Boland said he had been a priest for forty years and it was the first time any allegation had been made against him.

He said: “I always had a good rapport with young people and this allegation is not true.”

Fr Boland said he always had the “greatest respect” for children, treated them well and that was why the allegations were devastating.

At hearing.