Catholic priest who had secret love child is jailed for two years

‘Highly respected’ Catholic priest, now 75, who had secret love child with teenager, molested her younger sister and later dated their mother is jailed for two years after victim comes forward decades later

  • Alan Devine, from Stockport, became infatuated with girl when she was just 15 
  • She gave birth to his baby at the age of the 19, with infant given up for adoption
  • The priest was convicted of six indecent assault offences upon two victims

Alan Devine, now 75, from Stockport, has been jailed for two years after having a secret love child with a teenager

A ‘highly respected’ Catholic priest who had a secret love child with a teenager has been jailed for two years after his victim came forward decades later. 

Alan Devine, now 75, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, became infatuated with the girl when she was just 15.

She gave birth to his baby when she was 19, and the infant was given up for adoption – but the father’s identity was kept secret.

The victim, now in her 50s, came forward decades later, and it also emerged that the girl’s younger sister, now also in her 50s, had also been molested by Devine, who later started dating their mother after he left the priesthood.

Devine was convicted of six indecent assault offences upon the two victims over a five-year period during the 1970s, following a two week trial at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester.

The older girl claimed she had sex with Devine in his office at the Stockport Convent School where she was a pupil.

Her younger sister said she was groped whilst being taken to swimming lessons in his car.

However, the incidents only emerged when the victim went to police, and her younger sister later also came forward.   

In a statement, the older victim described the ‘horrific’ impact Devine’s actions had on her.

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She said: ‘The unexpected birth of a child when I was in my teenage years, the courses of counselling and medication has had a psychological impact – nobody can imagine how it has been for me. I have had severe mental blocks.

‘The first four years of my child’s life, I have no memories, I have blocked these memories, I have blocked out things like her 5th birthday. 

‘I have struggled to hide this and have become reserved in protecting people and protecting my mother and protecting myself. I have never had a relationship before this and have struggled with my feelings.’

The ‘highly respected’ Catholic priest became infatuated with the girl when she was just 15. She gave birth to his baby when she was 19

The victim explained how she and her mother now have no contact, as a result of the priest’s actions.  

She explained: ‘It has been horrific and it has affected my relationship with my mother.

‘Over the years our relationship became strained and I now have no contact with her. My daughter’s birth was a huge shock. I was completely indifferent and I know that is a terrible thing to say. I was in total denial and traumatised.

‘He was involved in the decision to have her adopted. I get up each day and I keep as quiet as I can in an attempt to hide things. Here today I hope my future will be different.’

Devine was convicted at Minshull Street Crown Court and ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years. 

It emerged he had accepted a police caution in 2005 for possession of indecent photos of children while working in a children’s home.

The older girl claimed she had sex with Devine in his office at the Stockport Convent School (above) where she was a pupil 

The victim wept in the public gallery as Judge Stuart Driver QC told an emotionless Devine: ‘Witnesses described you as highly respected in your position and you were trusted because of your position.

‘The mother of the family allowed you to be alone with her daughters and in particular to visit them unsupervised. 

‘Your behaviour was a profound and very serious breach of trust. You were not only a parish priest and family friend but a chaplain at the school.’ 

The judge continued: ‘The victims have made statements about the impact of your actions which was serious and long lasting.

‘In mitigation I have taken into account your age and your poor health and I have read your character references which show a better side to you and the good work you have done inside and outside of the church over the years.

‘But ultimately, I am afraid, you have shown no remorse.’

Devine was convicted of six counts of indecent assault on the two victims between 1972 and 1976 following a trial at Minshull Street Crown Court (above)

The court heard the older girl had been a pupil at the Stockport Convent School where Devine was appointed Chaplain.

He lived in a presbytery but was said to be ‘different’ from the the older stricter priests.

Devine was known for shunning cassocks in favour of wearing regular clothing and later he befriended the girl’s family.

The victim claimed she had sex with Devine three times including an encounter in his office in which she recalled had red flooring. She became pregnant by him aged 19.

She told the hearing: ‘Nineteen then is not like 19 now. I was not ready to be a mother. I had no idea I was going to be a mother. 

‘He was a priest, he should not have been having sex with anyone. I have no memory of my post natal time after giving birth.’

She said she later had flashbacks and was diagnosed with depression. She told her husband about the child and that Devine was the father.

The victims’ eldest sister told the court: ‘Father Devine wasn’t like other priests. They always used to be older and strict where as when Alan came he was very different. He was younger and he used to walk around in his normal clothing.

‘He seemed to be at our house a lot during the week at night. When my sister gave birth to a baby, I was not aware she was pregnant or had a boyfriend but the baby was given up for adoption.

‘It was only in 2005 when I was made aware of who the father of the baby was. My sister started talking about times he had come round to the house. She was describing it to say that it brought back bad memories. She also spoke about him going upstairs to her bedroom.

‘She got so upset because mum didn’t believe her so she left the house. Mum didn’t believe her so there was a massive divide in the family.’

Devine admitted fathering a child with the daughter but claimed the affair began after she turned 18. 

He confessed he was ‘infatuated’ with her but when asked why he got into her bed he said: ‘I think it was a spur of the moment thing’.

The girl’s mother claimed she thought Devine and her daughter were ‘just friends’ and said her own relationship with him ‘evolved slowly.’ 

Recalling her daughter’s pregnancy, she said: ‘That was a shock, I went to the hospital she said that she would not be keeping the baby. She said that she had a one night stand with someone called Nick.’

Defence lawyer Robert Lancaster said in mitigation: ‘The defendant has been assisting in the church, especially with the elderly, assisting in getting them to the shops and to church.

‘There is a low risk of reoffending and low risk of harm and there is a risk that he may not manage in a custodial environment.’

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