Priest jailed for abusing girl (7) during First Confession
A PRIEST sexually assaulted a seven-year-old girl during her First Confession and then gave her absolution when he was finished.
The revelation came as Fr John Calnan (76) was jailed for two years for abusing the shocked girl in "a small sweaty kitchenette" of a west-Cork school in the 1988.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Calnan, who stopped working as a priest in 1992 after other allegations of indecent assault were levelled against him, pushed his hand under the girl's pinafore dress and inside her underwear during First Confession.
Calnan, of The Presbytery, Paul Street, Cork, has multiple previous convictions for indecent assault against both young girls and boys.
He was also convicted of attempted rape of a young girl before the Central Criminal Court in 2012.
Calnan, who was ordained a priest in 1964 and spent most of his career in west Cork, is currently serving a sentence which he is due to be released from in March 2016.
After the seven-year-old girl was finished saying her prayers and Calnan was finished with his abuse, he offered her absolution and sent her from the room.
Calnan pleaded guilty to a single count of indecent assault even though he insisted to gardai that he had no recollection of the actual incident.
"School is meant to be a safe place. The church is meant to be the protector and guide," the victim said.
"How could he abuse a little girl? The church was the dominant force and was not to be challenged. There were thinly-veiled warnings about (the consequences of) speaking out.
"But I have kept my faith in God and I think constantly of the way my prayers have been answered and John Calnan has been brought to justice," the victim said.