Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 14:52 UK

Priest jailed for child sex abuse

Father John Corrigan
The 71-year-old carried out a string of sex attacks

A Catholic priest has been jailed for four years after admitting a string of sex attacks on young children.

Father John Benedict Corrigan, 71, was extradited from Ireland to the UK to face charges for sexually abusing three boys and a girl in Durham and Tyneside.

He pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault on boys aged between eight and 13, between 1967 and 1972.

Some of the offences occurred when Fr "Ben" of Westport, Mayo, worked at St Wilfrid's Church in Gateshead.

He admitted the attacks against the boys shortly after he was extradited last year and the publicity led to a fourth female victim coming forward.

He later admitted two indecent assaults on the 15-year-old girl, nearly 40 years ago, at Newcastle Crown Court.

Speaking after the hearing, Father Dennis Tindall, the safeguarding co-ordinator for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, said: "I think justice has been done for the people whose lives have been harmed by Father Corrigan.

"I have worked with the victims for a number of years and I know they have suffered greatly.

"For the members of the families who were here today they will feel they can move on."

Fr Tindall said that when allegations are made against members of the Catholic Church, procedures are now in place to investigate them fully.

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