Saturday, October 24, 2009

Church elder guilty of sex abuse

Church elder guilty of sex abuse

The 66-year-old was found guilty at Antrim Crown Court
A 66-year-old church elder has been convicted of indecently assaulting a woman who said he began abusing her when she was still at primary school.

John William McConaghy, from Urbal Road, Dervock in County Antrim, was found guilty of all but one of the 20 indecent assault charges he faced.

McConaghy, who was also a Sunday school teacher for more than 30 years, will be sentenced next month.

His cousin and fellow church elder John McElheran was unanimously acquitted.

During the 10-day trial at Antrim Crown Court the woman, who is now 44, said she was indecently assaulted from the age of around 10 until she was 18.

She alleged that she was assaulted so often it became "the norm".

She said McConaghey's abuse "petered out" as she reached adulthood and struck back at him, scratching his face as she fought him off.

McConaghy, who is also known as Jack, was placed on the sex offenders' register.

The jury took just over three hours to acquit 53-year-old Mr McElheran, from Ballinlea Road in Stranocum, of the four charges of indecent assault which he faced.

Mr McElheran said he was "very, very relieved" at the verdict and added: "The Lord is my shepherd".

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