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Senior priest locked boy in a church crypt during ‘Gothic horror’ campaign of abuse.
A senior Catholic priest who locked a teenage boy in a church crypt during a “Gothic horror” campaign of sexual and physical abuse has been jailed.
Father Joseph Quigley, a former national education advisor for Roman Catholic schools, also battered the boy with a hurling stick as part of sadomasochistic punishments.
And despite his actions coming to light, the church failed to inform police about his behaviour and sent him for therapy in America before allowing him to resume his duties.
Quigley, 56, began abusing the boy in 2002 under the “camouflage” of being a parish priest of St Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic church, in Hampton-on-the-Hill, near Warwick.
Warwick Crown Court heard how he made his victim take showers with the door open, stroked his inner thigh while forcing him to wear a gym kit and made him chew paracetamol.
Quigley, who also worked as a private tutor, would lock the youngster alone in a “cold and dark” crypt as a punishment surrounded by tombs which left him “terrified”.
The disgraced priest was eventually forced to resign after the victim confided in his therapist what had happened to him as a teenager and police were contacted.
Quigley, of Stone, Staffs., denied four charges of sexual activity with a child, two of sexual assault, two of false imprisonment and one of cruelty.
He was found guilty of all nine charges at Warwick Crown Court and was jailed for 11 1/2 years on Friday and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.
Sentencing him, Judge Peter Cooke said “By the time you did this you had been an undetected sexual sadist for about 16 years, a man guilty of abusing his position to carry on a sexual relationship with someone whose trust you were abusing.
“You very quickly warped what was supposed to be tutoring into opportunities to sexually abuse him, an opportunity you gleefully took.
“The sessions themselves quickly started to take place with him being obliged to change into gym kit because having him scantily attired whetted your sexual appetites.
“There were also other manifestations of cruelty which I suspect were also sexually motivated.
“It was an act of pure sadism to make him more compliant to your ongoing sexual abuse by the almost Gothic horror of using the crypt.
You were able to perpetuate the abuse for one reason – that you were a Roman Catholic priest.”
Judge Cooke said the boy’s family had trusted him because they were ‘indoctrinated by the belief that a priest would no more hurt a child than would Jesus himself.’
He added: “How wrong they were. A dog collar and the title of priest does not guarantee propriety, and for the depraved it presents unparalleled camouflage.”
Judge Cooke said: “A report on you when you were sent to the United States said you are a sexual sadist with voyeuristic tendencies.
“This was a planned exercise in manipulation. It was the most gross breach of trust.
“You remain wholly unrepentant. You are clinging to your unrealistic denial of any wrongdoing.”
Prosecutor Adrian Langdale QC told the court the Catholic church failed to contact police about Quigley and instead church leaders sent him to an institution in the USA for therapy “believing they had fulfilled their duties”.
He said: “He was a Catholic priest, in a position of power and trust over the complainant.
“The abuse took two forms. First that it was overtly sexual by nature, such as touching and massaging the legs of the young complainant up to and around the groin area.
“There were other acts which were more like punishment of a sado-masochistic nature, such as caning or hitting boys with hurling sticks or shutting boys in the crypt of the church. It will seem extraordinary that a person’s religious beliefs could make them blind to what was wrong.
“But this is why Father Joe, as he was known, was able to get away with the abuse for so long.”
Having targeted his victim, Quigley took advantage of him struggling at school to offer private tuition to get him alone.
Although some allegations emerged in 2012, the full facts only came out after the victim began to see a therapist in 2017 – and the therapist informed the police.
When Quigley was questioned he told a series of ‘careful and deliberate lies and untruths’ and Judge Cooke praised the ‘devastatingly effective’ questioning by officers.
Detective Sergeant Abigail Simpson, of Warwickshire Police, said after the case: “I welcome today’s sentence and hope this sends strong a message to other perpetrators of child sexual abuse that we will always thoroughly investigate sexual offences against children and do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice, regardless of when the offences took place.”