Northern Ireland news

Victim of sexual abuse takes over Co Tyrone altar to voice anger at verbal attacks

St Mary's Church in Strabane
John Breslin

A victim of sexual abuse took over the altar of a west Tyrone church to voice his anger at people humiliating and verbally abusing him on the streets of his home area.

The man told the congregation at a Mass in Strabane the verbal attacks are linked to sexual abuse he suffered in the past.

He has been the victim of verbal attacks for many years, people who know the man said. His abuser served five years in prison.

The incident happened during Mass at St Mary's Church, Melmount.

“There is people in this town who are humiliating me and antagonizing me left, right and centre because of my past sexual abuse,” the man told the congregation.

The incident was captured on webcam and has since been widely shared.

The man strode to the altar and took over the microphone as Fr Michael Doherty prepared communion. He first apologised for interrupting the Mass.

He told Mass-goers that he had just been targeted with verbal abuse while out in Castlederg.

“Anybody in this town who has anything to say to me, say it to my f****** face. You will not call me a pervert. “

After leaving the altar the man could be heard shouting further remarks.

Strabane independent councillor Paul Gallagher said he knows what the man has experienced over many years. Apart from verbal abuse, his home has also been daubed with comments.

“This is a man who has suffered horrendous abuse throughout his life. He continues to be verbally assaulted and abused by people to this day and this cannot go on,” Mr Gallagher said.

“I would implore people in the future to leave this man alone. It is very sad that he has felt he has needed to take this action.”

Northern Ireland news