August 2014

Sex beast back on the streets as victim warns he’ll strike again

John McDermott

John McDermott served Just five years of his 10-year sentence

Sex monster John McDermott is back on our streets – and one of his victims fears it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again.

The twisted child abuser is a free man after serving five years of a 10-year sentence for a series of horrific attacks on nine children.

However, it is suspected there were many more victims of the notorious predator.

McDermott, 64, along with his brothers James, Owen and Peter Paul left dozens of lives in tatters during their reign of sex terror spanning nearly 40 years in the small village of Donagh, Co Fermanagh.

Victims campaigner Michael Connolly, who suffered horrendous abuse at the clutches of the brothers, chillingly warned: “I’ve no doubt in my mind that Johnny McDermott will attack again. Johnny McDermott won’t be able to help himself.

“He’s abused people over four generations and he and his brothers have left in excess of 40 people in treatment.

“He’s a very dangerous man because he still wants to get his needs met and he’ll do it any way or manipulate any way he can to do so.

“He will use any opportunity he can to get to a child.

“I’m very fearful for people that he’s back on the streets. He’ll risk anything to get at another child.

“I wouldn’t trust him with a dog never mind to be out on the streets. I know this man and how manipulative he can be.

“He’s honed this over 40 years – this time in prison won’t change that.”

Mr Connolly slammed how the child rapist benefited from 50% sentencing remission meaning he served just five years of a 10-year jail term.

He said: “Remission shouldn’t be automatic. It should be earned.

“It’s a scandal in itself. There should be no remission for these guys.

“Remission should be earned through taking part in a meaningful sex treatment programme to reassure the public.

“No one knows what treatment, if any, he took part in in prison.

“At the moment criminals can’t be forced to take part in these treatment programmes because of human rights legislation but this way they would have to earn any remission instead of it being given as an automatic right.”

As one of the brute’s many victims, Mr Connolly has been informed by the Victims’ Support Agency of his release.

The dedicated campaigner, who has been calling on Stormont to set up a separate Catholic Church abuse inquiry, is entitled to know where his attacker is now living.

The Donegal-based man is planning to write to the Victims’ Support Agency to be able to avoid any chance encounter with one of the men who robbed him of his childhood.

He said: “I don’t want to be walking down the street and come face-to-face with my abuser. That would be horrific.”

There was outrage within the Co Fermanagh village when the vile abusers were originally placed back into the community where they caused such devastation.

Mr Connolly added: “I hope the authorities will have the common sense not to put him back in Donagh or close by as that will re-traumatise the people of the village and survivors.

“Donagh has moved on and it’s a gorgeous little village and because of the efforts of the survivors it’s now probably one of the safest villages in the UK because of their bravery in getting rid of the brothers.

“These are manipulative people. Johnny McDermott has fooled a whole community, curfews and SOPOs [sexual offences prevention orders] won’t stop him.

“They can’t watch him 24/7 or stop him going to the shop and 33% of sex offenders breach SOPOs in the first
six months.

“Johnny McDermott is a prime example of that. He’ll break it. The only safe place for him is behind bars.”

McDermott-brothers

Pervert brothers: John McDermott, second left, with his sick brothers Peter Paul, Owen Roe and Jimmy

January 2014

Donagh sex abuse: John McDermott sentenced over ninth victim

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A man who is already serving 10 years over his abuse of eight children will not serve any extra jail time for his admitted abuse of a ninth victim.

The judge told John Michael McDermott, from Moorlough Road, Donagh, County Fermanagh, he was “one of the worst” sex offenders in Northern Ireland.

He was one of four brothers responsible for what another judge had described as a “tidal wave of abuse” in the village.

He was sentenced to a further 12 months but will serve the term concurrently.

On Wednesday, the judge at Dungannon Crown Court told the 64-year-old: “If you are not the worst serial sex offender in this jurisdiction, you are certainly one of the worst”.

However, she ruled that given the “principal of totality” she would not add to his sentence.

Indecent assault

Last December, McDermott had admitted four charges against his ninth victim.

He pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the teenage boy, between April 1997 and 2001, when the boy was aged 13 to 17.

For each of the offences, McDermott was given four consecutive sentences of three months, but he will service the extra year concurrent to the 10-year jail term he is presently serving.

Referring back to an earlier court hearing involving the McDermott brothers, the judge said that they had “wreaked havoc” on the lives of children, some of whom blamed themselves for what happened, while in fact that blame fell squarely at the door of the abuser.

This is the fifth time in four years that McDermott has been brought before the courts for either indecent assault or gross indecency.

The Dungannon Crown Court judge said the latest victim contacted police last April after seeing a BBC programme on the brothers’ abuse.

Unfit

John McDermott was the only one of the four brothers to have stood trial for child sex abuse.

Two other brothers, 62-year-old James McDermott and 54-year-old Owen McDermott, were due to stand trial with him in 2010, charged with sex offences committed during the 1970s and 1980s.

However, the pair were deemed unfit to stand trail because of their mental disability.

A fourth brother, 62-year-old Peter Paul McDermott, took his own life on the day after he went on trial for his role in the abuse.

April 2013

John McDermott jailed for Donagh abuse ‘tidal wave’

A Fermanagh man who, together with his brothers, unleashed a “tidal wave of sexual assaults” has been jailed for a fourth time in as many years.

John McDermott, 63, from Moorlough Road in Donagh, is already serving over nine years, for the abuse of seven children over a 35-year period.

The judge said he was a “predatory sex offender” who targeted children.

Last month, McDermott pleaded guilty to indecent assault and gross indecency of an eighth victim.

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He was given a sentence of three months on each count, they will run concurrently to each other, but consecutive to his existing sentence.

As a result, McDermott will serve an extra three months in jail.

He had been due for release in May 2014.

The latest offences took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the victim was 12.

He was assaulted by McDermott on two occasions; first at a local GAA pitch, then at a remote spot where the boy had gone fishing in the summer holidays.

The victim only went to the police last year. He told them he hadn’t reported the assaults earlier as he didn’t want people to think he was “queer”.

McDermott sat with his arms folded as the disturbing details of the assaults were read out. Occasionally, he bit his nails, but beyond that he showed no response.

Three other McDermott brothers were originally charged, but John McDermott remains the only one to have stood trial.

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James and Owen McDermott (pictured above) were deemed unfit to stand trial, while Peter Paul McDermott hanged himself at the start of his trial.

Click this for more on James and Owen McDermott:  Donagh abuse brothers unlikely to ever return to home

October 2011

Assault typified sustained abuse

A 61-year-old man already serving nine years for his involvement in the sexual abuse of five children has been jailed for another six months for indecently assaulting a 12-year-old schoolboy in 2002.

John Michael McDermott, from Moorlough Road, Donagh, Lisnaskea, admitted the four charges.

He is one of four brothers accused of sexually abusing children in Donagh over a period of 50 years.

Two others, 60-year-old James McDermott and 52-year-old Owen McDermott, were charged with offences relating to the sexual abuse of two boys and two girls in the ’70s and ’80s. However, they were deemed unfit to stand trail because of their mental disability. A jury found that they had carried out the abuse and they were given a two-year Supervision and Treatment Order and allowed to return to the family home beside a children’s playground. There was a public outcry and they have since moved to secure accommodation within a psychiatric hospital in Derry.

A fourth brother, 62-year-old Peter Paul McDermott, hanged himself the day after he went on trial for indecently assaulting two boys.

On Tuesday His Honour Judge David McFarland told Dungannon Crown Court that the additional six-month jail term imposed on John McDermott might appear lenient but it was the correct term when added to his earlier sentence.

McDermott is currently serving a nine-year sentence imposed on him last June after he pleaded guilty to a total of 35 offences, including the rape of a schoolboy, committed between 1969 and 2001.

The judge told him: “I consider that a sentence of six months is appropriate. On its own, I acknowledge, it is a lenient sentence. But when taken together with all the offences, it means a commensurate sentence of twelve and a half years, a sentence I believe correctly reflects your offending.”

Judge McFarland said that earlier sentence of nine years, followed by three years’ probation, had reflected the systematic abuse of five young people, four boys and a girl, growing up in Donagh.

McDermott’s latest victim was a brother of a boy who had been a previous victim.

The judge said that despite the age difference between them, McDermott would sometimes play, or go hunting with his latest victim.

During those periods of play, or hunting, McDermott grabbed the schoolboy and “forced him into submission” before sexually abusing him.

The judge said the indecent assaults exemplified McDermott’s sustained abuse of “children growing up in the village, moving on through each successive teenage generation”.

He told McDermott: “As one person grew up and was old enough to avoid you, or defend themselves, a younger person was identified and targeted.”

In addition to being placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, McDermott has also been barred from working with either children or vulnerable adults.

Earlier the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Robin Steer, told the court the offences were committed during 2002 when he was 50 and the schoolboy was 12.

The assaults took place either in the boy’s home or while playing hide and seek with him and others.

Another attack took place in a van while on a hunting expedition, as did the final attempt to indecently assault the boy as they drove home from the trip later that same evening.

Mr. Steer said that the boy managed to push McDermott’s hand away and afterwards confronted McDermott about the abuse and subsequently avoided him whenever he could.

Defence lawyer, Mr. Martin Rodgers, said McDermott was entitled to substantial credit for his guilty pleas, saving not only court time, but added stress to his victim in having to give evidence.

Mr. Rodgers also argued that the current charges were not as serious as those previously dealt with, and if they had been taken into consideration then, they would not have added to the overall sentence imposed at that time.

At the original hearing in June last year, McDermott and his two brothers between them faced a total of 61 charges against six victims, both boys and girls, committed over five decades from 1969 to 2002, and involved the rape of one boy, the attempted rape of a girl, gross indecency, indecent assaults, and even a threat to kill to ensure a victim’s silence.

While John McDermott was jailed for his offending, there was outcry when his two other brothers, were deemed unfit to stand trial by reason of their mental disability and were set free.

Although a jury found that between them James and Owen McDermott had abused four children as detailed in the 19 charges they faced, they were made the subject of a two-year Supervision and Treatment Order to help “protect the public from further harm”.

Judge McFarland told the three “deviant” brothers at the time, that “in some respects Donagh is a quiet picturesque village in County Fermanagh, but it was a far from idyllic childhood for those growing up there”, particularly their victims.

The judge said children “had their childhood stolen from them” and were subjected to “horrific” abuse.

“Some, of course suffered more than others, some for longer period, and some were abused by one or more brothers,” he told the court.

“It is also clear that there are allegations that other adults were involved in this systematic abuse,” he added.

“In short this was a village that had an appalling secret, and it was the children who bore the brunt of the tidal wave of abuse,” he stated.

“Having considered all the evidence, my assessment is that within this community there was a substantial background of physical dominance and bullying by adults over the children. As a consequence, the younger children were not treated with any respect or dignity, they were physically abused, emotionally abused, and ultimately sexually abused,” concluded Judge McFarland.