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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 15:41 GMT
Priest jailed over boy sex abuse
Former Catholic parish priest Dermot Keaveney (picture from Sussex Police)
The judge said Keaveney gave no thought to the damage he caused
A former Catholic parish priest has been jailed for 16 years for a string of sex attacks on two young brothers.

Retired Father Dermot Keaveney, from Hindhead, Surrey, was convicted of 15 offences against the boys in a trial last month at Lewes Crown Court.

Keaveney, 72, was serving at churches in Brighton and Hove when the offences happened between 1975 and 1982.

Judge Paul Tain said the "quite appalling breach of trust" had profound lifelong effects on his victims.

'Church and family betrayed'

He said that one victim had not married or had children, and had also been to prison, as he struggled to cope psychologically with having been abused as a child.

And the judge said Keaveney had betrayed the family, the church and the wider Catholic community.

He had also given no thought to the emotional and physical damage of his actions.

Judge Tain said he hoped the sentence would show the community and victims the courts were "prepared to put in place a protective message".

I am appalled and saddened
Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton

The boys were aged between 11 and 15 at the time, the jury heard.

Keaveney, of Beacon Hill, targeted them by taking advantage of their deeply religious family who had placed their faith in him, the court was told.

Jurors heard he gave the boys treats, and took them on day trips and holidays, before sexually abusing them. He asked them not to tell anyone.

Keaveney had denied the allegations, insisting he had given support to the boys and their family.

He was banned from serving in any educational role with children.

'Shocking and horrific'

After the hearing, Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said: "I am appalled and saddened that a man who people entrusted to his care did not live up to the high standard we expect of a priest.

"I apologise most sincerely to the victims and to everyone else who has been affected by this shocking and horrific case."

He added that the Catholic church now had a "strict child protection policy" under which victims were encouraged to come forward.

And he said the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton had "co-operated fully" with the police investigation, and Keaveney, already retired, was suspended from "any form of ministry" as soon as matters came to light.

Det Con Darren Grimes said: "Our determination to bring this case to justice, despite the passage of time, is reflected in today's sentencing.

"We hope that now the brothers and their immediate families can start to rebuild their lives."

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