June 2018

Scottish priest pounced on 12-year-old in her own living room

A PRIEST who was exposed as a pervert when his victim confronted him 50 years after he molested her has been jailed for six months.

Father Michael Maher, 74, former parish priest of St Isidore’s Biggar and St Mary Magdalene’s Forth pounced on the girl when she was 12 and abused her in her own living room while her mother was in the house.

Maher was close friends with the schoolgirl’s parents and regularly called at their Lanarkshire home.

The offences started in 1968 when he was 25 and continued for four years but stopped when the girl was 15

He has now been put behind bars by Sheriff Thomas Millar who labelled Maher’s conduct ‘abhorrent’.

Depute fiscal Morag McClintock told the court Maher molested his victim in her parent’s bedroom before lying on top of her and simulating sexual intercourse during visits to the family home.

Maher, who was ordained in 1968, also brought the girl to his parish house in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, where he kissed her and also lay on top of her. Miss McClintock said increased publicity over historic sexual abuse prompted the woman to contact Maher and led to his email confession.

She said: “The accused indicated he had always expected an email from the complainer and part of the email read, ‘I am so sorry for the hurt and pain I caused you, and still do, and all the harm done to you and to your family and I beg your forgiveness.’”

Miss McLintock said the 62-year-old had been left damaged by her torment. She added: “She attributed the failure of relationships and her first marriage to the abuse.

“She never got over the abuse and blamed it for ruining her childhood. “She felt she was thrown into an adult life when she was too young and as a result did not understand the sexual and emotional feelings.”