‘Everything about this relationship was risky’

A woman, who claims she was sexually abused by a chaplain when she was a secondary school student, yesterday alleged in the High Court the priest performed oral sex on her in the school oratory.

The 28-year-old woman said that, after the sexual activity, the two of them got ready for a sixth-year graduation Mass. She said she was in fifth year at the school in the South-East at the time and was wearing her school uniform.

Referring to the alleged encounter, Miriam Reilly, counsel for the former Catholic priest, asked was it not very risky. The woman said “everything about this relationship was risky”. Replying to Ms Reilly, who put it to her this did not happen, the woman said she knew it happened and the priest had performed oral sex on her.

The woman has sued alleging that, between 2004 and 2007, she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned, sexually abused, and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the Catholic chaplain and teacher. She has sued the now former priest, as well as the school and the local bishop.

They have all denied the claims and Mr Justice Robert Eager was told that the school claims it is not vicariously liable for any alleged actions of the priest and contends the diocesan bishop is liable. The woman is also seeking aggravated damages against the priest. He has denied all claims.

The woman also alleged that when she was babysitting, the chaplain visited her and they had oral sex. She said it was when she was babysitting at two different houses and the priest, who is 20 years older than her, would stay one and a half to two hours.

The case before Mr Justice Robert Eagar continues next week.


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