Thursday, May 27, 2010

Priest guilty of indecent assaulting sisters

Priest guilty of indecent assaulting sisters
Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 12:43 UK

Father Lewis was found guilty of 11 counts of indecent assault A court in Omagh has found a Catholic priest guilty of sexually abusing three young sisters.

Father Eugene Lewis, 76, denied 11 charges of assault between 1963 and 1973. The sisters said the abuse began when they were as young as seven.

The abuse took place at their County Fermanagh home.

A jury of six men and six women unanimously convicted the former provincial superior of the Society of Missionaries of Africa.

The priest was also accused of raping one of the sisters, but since the alleged incident happened in Dublin he could not be tried for the offence in Northern Ireland.

During the six-week trial the jury heard that Lewis had befriended the girls' parents nearly 50 years ago.

Prosecuting QC Ken McMahon said the priest had "wormed his way" into the family through a fellow, but innocent cleric.

Mr McMahon told the jury that although welcomed into their home at anytime, he often chose to call at bedtime or on Saturday bath night.

Lewis, who currently resides in Dublin, was ordained in 1958 and after his time in a seminary between 1960 and 1970, he went to Dublin and then served on missions overseas.

More recently he has worked in west Belfast.

He will be sentenced in June.

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