Thursday, April 22, 2010

Priest denies sex attacks on sisters in their bedroom
Priest denies sex attacks on sisters in their bedroom
Thursday, 22 April 2010

A Dublin-based priest accused of sexually abusing three young Co Fermanagh sisters allegedly went on to rape one of them while counselling her over an affair with a married policeman, a court heard yesterday.

The 75-year-old priest Fr Eugene Lewis, of Cypress Grove House, Templelogue in Dublin, is on trial at Omagh Crown Court.

He denies a total of 11 counts of indecently assaulting the three sisters on differing dates between August 1963 and September 1973.

Prosecuting QC Ken McMahon told the jury that while they would hear details of other offences against the ‘White Father', he is not charged with any of them since they were allegedly committed in the Republic.

Fr Lewis allegedly got to know the girls through a fellow priest in the order of the Society of Missionaries of Africa.

Mr McMahon said although welcomed into their home, one of the sisters claimed he often called at bedtime or on Saturday bath night.

Mr McMahon further claimed that the girl, when aged seven or eight, even alleged that the priest, his actions hidden by a large kitchen table, managed to abuse her in front of her father, who was unaware of what he was doing.

The girl, now a grown woman, would tell the court that Fr Lewis also allegedly abused her while telling her and her sisters stories in their darkened bedroom.

However, when she was aged 21, Mr McMahon claimed the priest raped her in the Templeogue base of the White Fathers in Dublin after her parents sent her to him when they discovered she had an affair with a married policeman.

She didn't shout or scream; she was traumatised, Mr McMahon said, who further claimed he raped her again the following night, despite her begging him to stop.

The lawyer said she later complained to her mother about the abuse, although she said nothing about the rapes, and it was not until two years ago that she finally went to the police, both here and in the Republic.

Mr McMahon said the abuse of one of the woman's sisters followed a similar pattern, taking place while he told the children stories in their bedroom.

She went to the PSNI quite independently of her sister in early 2008.

The court heard the final charge related to the eldest sister, who although firstly abused when she was about 11 or 12, she initially forgave Fr Lewis for what he had done.

When interviewed by police Lewis said: “ I never touched those children. It’s a total fabrication.” He also added that he would never have had any of them on his knee nor would he have been in their bedroom.

Mr McMahon said that in response to the rape allegation the priest said he remembered giving the alleged victim a lift to Dublin but claimed her counselling was carried out by another priest.

The trial is set to last two weeks.

No comments: