A retired priest is due to stand trial accused of indecent assaults on three women up to 40 years ago.

Father John Murray, 78, of Marguerite Avenue in Newcastle, County Down, appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

He faces charges linked to a police investigation into alleged historical clerical sexual abuse.

He, is accused of indecently assaulting three women between 1976 and 1988.

During a preliminary inquiry hearing, Fr Murray, who served at St Matthew’s Church in east Belfast, declined to give evidence or call witnesses.

A defence barrister did not contest the prosecution.

The judge granted an application to have Fr Murray face a crown court trial.

Fr Murray was released on bail.


Fr John Murray, former PP of Antrim and Rasharkin has been sent for crown court trial in Belfast.

Three former female parishioners have made very serious allegations against him.

I have been supporting one of those victims for a while now.

At the moment the matter is sub justice and comment is very limited.

When the trial is over I will have a very long and detailed blog to publish.



“An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
This type of clerical personality was only too recognised by The Bard


Shakespeare’s wonderful lines are applicable to more than clerical personalities, dear NatLang. We think otherwise at our peril.


In the UK there was a man who was prosecuted for sexual abuse at over age 100. He got 7 years. He will die in jail. His victims became aware that he was still alive and active when they saw press reports in the local newspapers of his 100th birthday. And, having thought he was long gone, they then reported him. So, no matter what age you are you can still be prosecuted and jailed.


I wonder can priests who inflicted physical punishment on students in the past and are now chaplain in the same school. Should they be prosecuted? Or should we turn a blind eye as ‘sure that was the culture back then’. Isn’t abuse always abuse in all times?


Too simplistic, I’m afraid, at 12:55.

Legally, until it was prohibited by law, corporal punishment was permitted. That is now happily, no longer the case. So, it is not possible to judge the actions of yesterday according to the criteria of today.


It’s not turning a blind eye at all. It’s attempting to evaluate the legality of an action at one time (e.g. slavery) by the laws of another (e.g. today when slavery is abolished). It’s like adding apples and oranges.



Not so. The Law then did not permit unqualified punishment.

Many teachers overstepped legal boundaries back then.


Yes, indeed Pat, I constantly look atbyou and wonder how the he’ll you got there!! It’s a miracle, a mystery….


Should Murray have been released on bail ? Given his past behaviour, fleeing the country at the first sign of trouble, and then refusing for a long period to return to talk to the police who were keen to speak with him about accusations, is there a possibility that he will do a runner again ? If so, then there is a good case to argue that he should be kept in custody, I think, pending his trail. He presents as old, establishment, a retired priest, someone who is well connected. But, is the enough to ensure that he will not flee ?


Was he unconditionally bailed? If yes, and this is same guy mentioned in blog long ago who scampered off to Canary islands to avoid police questioning then he ought not to have been unconditionally bailed. Perhaps strict bail conditions such as tagging with geophysical monitoring within a specified area would suffice if such is legally permissable.
That there are three complainants suggests stringent conditions.


The way Treanor and his consigliere O’Hagan handled this matter when it broke was a disgrace. There will be a lot of huddling in corners in Lisbreen trying to work out the best damage limitation from this. I doubt the victims will even be considered


That doesn’t surprise me one bit Pat. He seems to think that the hoi polloi are somewhat beneath him. He’s s buffoon


76 year old Fr Michael Higginbottom jailed for 18 years in Burnley Crown Court for abuse perpetrated at St Joseph’s Junior Seminary Upholland in the 1970s and 1980s. 18 years is a long sentence and he will certainly do 9 years in clink before being considered for parole, which will make him a good 85 years old. You would not want to be a priest in his 70s or 80s who had done questionable and abusive things decades ago, because their is a strong likelihood that these things will come and bite you. I think there is a good deal of old priests out there hoping that they make it to their graves before finding themselves in prison.


Pat, I got out of my big chair on Saturday and headed into Belfast and was a spectator at Belfast Pride It was a wonderful,colourful, fun filled day. There were representatives from many organisations and groups attending and taking part.
As there are now so many gay priests in the northern diocese do you think next year there may be a group or groups representing the clergy. I’d just love to see a gathering behind a banner sayin ‘ D&C says Love is a Right’
Could anyone suggest any priests who would have the courage to attend.

Just askin’ like.


Didn’t know you were queer, Dalriada Dick.😲

Mind you, the clue was in the name. Wasn’t it?😆


1.53::::But Magna, DalriadaDick knows you’re “queer” – in more ways than one!!😉😉😉😉😉😅😚😚!


I’m not Magna. Anything but. But what I am is unconditionally accepting of others, whether I agree with them or not. What’s more my life experience thus far has taught me to appreciate the customs of those of every origin, sexuality and colour.
Perhaps, just perhaps, if you followed my example Magna, you might be a much better, balanced and possibly a more fulfilled human being.

Just sayin like!


I’ll have you know, so I will, that I’m as straight as a roundabout and as queer as a bottle of chips in all ways…but one.😉


But…but Dalriada Dick, you said you were unconditionally accepting of everyone. Does this not include me?
So why would you want me more like you?😠


Not an event to gloat about hi but it is a sign something is being done on the home front. If anything is going on at present that’s what needs sortin hi. Some of these boyos are great on tinternet but fair comment how many priests are prepared to acknowledge pride publicly hi


12.55: Don’t forget to include the many lay teachers who inflicted horrendous physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse on children….and on young people….way back in the 60’s and 70’s…Any beatings I got were from lay teachers..There are manyives ruined by abuse in a its forms by people in different professions. As a teenager working on a farm I was sexually abused by the farmer I was working for and threatened if I opened my mouth. He was well respected in the community. So, there are many stories, yet untold, of abuse by many so called respected people in our communities…It took me decades to accept the wrongful harm done to me by this man. Abuse is horrible whoever the perpetrator is.


True. Abuse is horrible whoever the perpetrator.
But abuse by a clergyman also involves spiritual abuse for the victim/survivor.


4.43: As I said in my post at 1.38: abuse of any kind is horrendous, irrespective of perpetrator. I make no excuses for any perpetrator. None whatsoever.


Changes in D&C? Throw the vast majority of them out in the street and give their lodgings to homeless people. Or put them all in a few of their 3 and 4 bedroom houses. Bloody disgrace that they live in such opulent surroundings with so many young folk struggling to get a roof over their heads. These so called pastors of their flocks have taken the faithful for fools for far too long. I wonder how many social homes could be built on the bishop of blings estate. Mind you the castle Catholics in that area might be upset. Now there’s Christianity for you.


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