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Priest sentenced to five years' jail

Published: 3:36PM Thursday September 25, 2003

A retired Catholic priest has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment in Dunedin after admitting 10 representative charges arising from sexual assaults on four boys between 1962 and 1972.

Magnus William Murray, 76, now lives in Auckland.

The offences were committed when Murray was acting in various roles for the Catholic Church in and around Dunedin.

The judge at the sentencing at the High Court in Dunedin heard the defence counsel and Murray's sister-in-law plead for leniency. But the judge said he had to balance any mitigating factors against the age and number of boys involved, and the gross abuse of trust.

The Catholic Church says it has no plans compensate four boys sexually assaulted by the Dunedin priest, despite knowing that abuse was taking place.

Spokesperson Lyndsay Freer says although the church knew the abuse had happened, appropriate action was taken at the time and Murray was sent to Australia for counselling.

Freer says to her knowledge no compensation has been sought by the victims.

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