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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Family trauma over 'evil' priest
Father McGrath was sentenced to five years imprisonment
Father McGrath was jailed for five years
The family of a young girl whose rape was aided by a County Kerry priest have said they were left "deeply "traumatised" by the affair.

Jeremiah McGrath, 63, who also worked in Fermanagh, gave thousands to paedophile William Adams to help groom the 12-year-old for sex.

McGrath got a five-year sentence for what relatives called "heinous" crimes.

The family said their trust had been broken by the "evil" priest, who was a friend and visitor to their home.

Adams, 38, originally from Belfast, was given a life sentence after pleading guilty to rape and abuse of the child.

The judge ordered that he serve a minimum of seven years and six months.

He abused her in accommodation in Blackpool paid for by McGrath; Adams had given her gifts using money sent to him by the priest.

In a statement, welcoming the sentences, the girl's family said they'd been deeply traumatised by "the lengthy investigation into these heinous crimes which were carried out by these two evil individuals."

They added: "Father Jeremiah McGrath had full knowledge that Billy Adams was a convicted child rapist and was aware of the serious danger posed by Billy Adams to all children."

McGrath was found guilty of facilitating the abuse at Liverpool Crown Court last month.

William Adams
William Adams received a life sentence

He first met Adams in a hostel for the homeless in Dublin in 1988. The two men subsequently developed a sexual relationship.

At that stage Adams had already been to jail in the Irish Republic for abusing a young girl and admitted as much to the priest.

McGrath had denied all the charges.

The priest, who wore his clerical collar throughout the trial, insisted he had no idea that Adams was abusing the girl and claimed the cash transfers were linked to his gambling habit.

Sentencing McGrath, Judge Brian Lewis described his behaviour as "evasive, disingenuous and utterly insincere".

He said he had tried to minimise his part in the crimes and had shown no remorse.

McGrath had been suspended from the ministry by the Bishop of Clogher pending the outcome of the trial.

As well as the jail term, the former parish priest has been ordered to pay 5,000 in costs.

Jeremiah McGrath arriving at court for sentencing

Priest sentenced for aiding rape
14 Jun 07 |  Northern Ireland
Priest who adored rapist friend
14 Jun 07 |  Northern Ireland
Priest 'unaware' of child abuse
21 May 07 |  Merseyside
Priest guilty of funding grooming
25 May 07 |  Merseyside

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