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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Priest denies abusing young girl
A Catholic priest has denied sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and helping another man to groom her for sexual abuse.

Father Jeremiah McGrath, of Rosslea, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is alleged to have committed the offences in Merseyside and Blackpool last year.

Father McGrath pleaded not guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to one count of sexual assault and three counts of facilitating a child sexual offence.

He was granted conditional bail.

Videolink appearance

Fr McGrath, who has been suspended by the church, is accused of carrying out the offences between May and November 2005.

He is accused of giving money to 38-year-old William Adams, who is originally from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, to groom the girl and pay for accommodation where the abuse took place.

He is also accused of driving the girl to see Mr Adams, who was living in Blackpool at the time of his arrest.

Mr Adams, who is charged with offences including child rape, also appeared at the hearing via videolink.

He is expected to enter his pleas next week.

Priest in child abuse court case
21 Dec 05 |  Merseyside
Bail for priest charged over rape
21 Dec 05 |  Northern Ireland

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