‘I felt guilty after sex act with chaplain’

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by her school chaplain when she was a secondary school student yesterday told the High Court that the first time he performed oral sex on her they were both naked in bed in his house.

The woman, now aged 28, said they chatted and had tea before moving to the bedroom. She said she was shocked afterwards and felt guilty.

On the fifth day of the case yesterday — where the woman is claiming damages against the former priest — she also alleged that, when she was drunk on a youth trip to Cologne, Germany, to see the pope, the then school chaplain performed oral sex on her in a house where other students were also staying.

The woman has sued alleging that, between 2004 and 2007, she was repeatedly and wrongfully physically and sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually abused, and subjected to sexualised behaviour by the then Catholic chaplain and teacher in her secondary school in the South East.

She has sued the priest, as well as the school and the local bishop. They have all denied the claims. The school contends 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 former priest. The former priest has denied all claims.

Under cross-examination yesterday by Miriam Reilly, counsel for the priest, the woman, referring to the trip to Cologne, said she was getting sick on the bathroom floor because she had been drinking and the chaplain helped clean up after her.

She said she was lying on an air mattress the chaplain was using in the house, and he allegedly performed oral sex on her.

She said the son of the host family was on the couch in the same room.

The woman also detailed how, when she was either in transition year or fifth year at school, the priest drove her to the woods on a Christmas Eve and performed oral sex on her.

She said she was in the priest’s house exchanging Christmas gifts when there was panic as his mother arrived at the house.

She said she had to run out the front door as the priest’s mother drove around to the back door.

She told the court she ran down the priest’s driveway to the road and the priest, who had allegedly been texting her to see where she was, drove to meet her and they went to a wooded area where, she says, he performed oral sex on her. Afterwards, he drove her to the local town, where she met her parents and other relatives for a Christmas Eve dinner.

Asked why she could not remember whether it was when she was in transition or fifth year at the time, the woman broke down in tears.

She disagreed with counsel’s contention that she had made up the story and said she knew it happened.

She said it was a short visit and they were together for less than an hour and he mentioned he had a lot on because it was Christmas Eve.

The case before Mr Justice Robert Eagar continues today.


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