herald

Monday 20 November 2017

Child porn priest caught after he left laptop on plane

A former priest and convicted child abuser has been jailed for three years for possession of large amounts of child pornography.

Oliver O'Grady (66) had thousands of explicit images of children stored on computers and USB drives, some depicting victims as young as two. Gardai also found more than six hours of child pornography videos and more than 500 pages of online discussions on the subject of child pornography.

O'Grady, formerly of Charlemont House, Dublin 2, was sentenced to 14 years in California for abusing children while serving as a priest. He was deported back to Ireland in 2001 after serving seven years of his sentence.



alerted

The images were discovered after O'Grady left his laptop on an Aer Lingus flight. A staff member examined the computer and alerted gardai after coming across the files.

O'Grady pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of possessing child pornography at Dublin Airport on February 15, 2010 and at Citi Hostel on Charlemont Street and Elephant Storage Unit in Tallaght on December 10, 2010.

Detective Garda Gerard Keane of the Paedophile Investigations Unit told prosecuting counsel, Kerida Naidoo, that he found nearly 280,000 images on O'Grady's laptops and hard drives, the majority of them showing children in sexual poses. He also found more than 1,000 child pornography video files which totalled more than six hours in length.

An audio file was also discovered. It started with O'Grady discussing religious matters but after several minutes he began discussing the sexual abuse of a male child before returning to the topic of religion.

Det Gda Keane also found over 500 pages of chat logs which showed O'Grady's "serious fixation" on children. Most of the data had already been deleted by O'Grady but garda experts were able to recover it.

On February 15, 2010 O'Grady was returning to Dublin from Amsterdam on an Aer Lingus flight. He left his laptop on the plane and it was put in the lost property department.

Aer Lingus rules state that if lost property is not claimed within three months, the staff member who found it is allowed to keep it. When a staff member claimed possession of the computer and examined its contents they found the illegal files and alerted gardai.

Gardai went to the hostel where O'Grady was staying and he showed them to a locker containing several USB devices and an external hard drive. He also told them about more computer equipment in a storage facility in Tallaght. All the devices contained illegal files.

In an interview O'Grady admitted the equipment was his but answered "no comment" to all other questions.



Isolated

Defence counsel, Phillipp Rahn, said O'Grady was "a socially isolated man". He was born in Limerick, and emigrated to California after joining the priesthood. In 1993 he was sentenced to 14 years for four counts of lewd acts against children and was deported to Ireland on his release.

After leaving the priesthood, he moved to Amsterdam for several years before returning to Ireland on the flight where he left his laptop behind.

Judge Martin Nolan commented that "if people didn't download child pornography there is a good chance that those children would not be abused in the first place".

He said O'Grady had a serious problem and prison in America had not rehabilitated him. He jailed him for three years.

hnews@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News