Priest jailed for abusing three sisters

Thursday 02 September 2010 14.16
Eugene Lewis - Ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register
Eugene Lewis - Ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register

A Dublin-based priest has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing three sisters nearly 50 years ago.

In May, Fr Eugene Lewis, a former provincial superior of the White Fathers, was convicted of indecently assaulting the young girls at their home in Co Fermanagh.

Lewis was found guilty of abusing his victims on dates between 1963 and 1973 - when the girls were aged between seven and 13.

The 76-year-old priest, who is based at the White Fathers' headquarters in Templeogue in Dublin, was convicted on 11 counts of indecently assaulting the children.

During the trial, the jury was told the victims' family had welcomed Fr Lewis into their home. Two of the girls said the priest had abused them while telling them bedtime stories.

Today at Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, Senior Counsel for the defence said Fr Lewis had effectively lost everything since his conviction, and would never again be permitted to celebrate mass.

The court was told the priest still strongly maintains his innocence.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said it was clear all three victims had been adversely affected by the abuse and that there had been a blatant and very serious breach of trust.

The judge jailed Lewis for four years and ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.