October 7, 1994
LEEDS, England (AP) -- A judge on Friday jailed a priest for two years for molesting four altar boys, the youngest of whom was 10.
The Rev. Patrick Hegarty, 63, a Roman Catholic priest for 25 years, pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the boys between 1979 and 1993.
Judge Norman Jones at Crown Court in Leeds, northern England, said Hegarty had abused his position of trust.
"Society demands the highest of standards of those in whom such trust is reposed -- teachers, scoutmasters, those who run courses for youths, and, above all, priests," Jones said.
Prosecutor James Goss said Hegarty, of St. Joseph's Church in Leeds, gave one boy beer to drink before molesting him, and bribed another with gifts to keep quiet.
The attacks usually occurred when the boys stayed overnight at the priest's home, Goss said. The first boy was 14. The second was a 10-year-old altar boy who regularly stayed at the priest's house and was assaulted over a four-year period from 1985.
The third boy was a 13-year-old altar boy whom he abused more than 15 times between 1991 and 1992.
Goss told the court Hegarty gave the boy running shoes, jeans and coats to ensure his silence.
The fourth boy was a 14-year-old who spent one night at the presbytery last November. Hegarty gave him beer to drink before molesting him, Goss said.
Hegarty's lawyer, Ian Dobkin, said apart from the offenses Hegarty was "an ideal, good, caring parish priest, someone his parishioners could relate to."
The Catholic church has barred him from ever again serving as a priest.