It’s the ultimate act of betrayal.
Many innocent young boys suffering either at home or school had their innocence taken away from them by their trusted priest.
He was their counsellor, their wrestling trainer, their confidant.
But Father David O’Hearn was also their abuser.
O’Hearn was a priest in the Newcastle & Hunter region throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. He was relocated from parishes many times and he was even subject to a church inquiry in 1995.
Somehow this paedophile priest always escaped justice.
He tried to fight against justice for four years – through trials, and numerous appeals to court decisions and hearings. He even took his cases to the High Court.
Justice was finally served in 2016.
O’Hearn was convicted of 44 child sex offences.
His known victims were six young boys – their ages ranging from 9 to 13.
This monstrous priest manipulated and groomed his victims – telling them his abuse was what “what God wants”.
He forced his victims to look at pictures of Jesus while he sexually abused them, and manipulated victims’ parents to believe their children were liars to try and ensure the horrible truth would never be believed.
O’Hearn used his position as a youth leader and sports training organiser to develop a relationship with his victims.
He used wrestling as a means of physically interacting with the children – touching their genitals during practice sessions.
He took altar boys on fishing trips, where he shared a tent with one of his victims and proceeded to expose himself to the child.
O’Hearn even took naked photos of one of his victims to share with another priest.
This is just another example of the Catholic Church’s entrenched culture of accepting paedophilia.
Many of O’Hearn’s victims now suffer from drug and alcohol abuse.
Tragically, one of O’Hearn’s victims attempted suicide because of the ongoing trauma suffered from this horrific abuse.
O’Hearn was sentenced to 18 years and three months in 2016. His time served began in 2012 when he was initially jailed.
O’Hearn will be eligible for parole in 2022.
Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme.
Image Source: The Herald