Saturday, May 15, 2010

Priest tells trial he is 'not a paedophile snake'

Priest tells trial he is 'not a paedophile snake'

Father Lewis denies the charges against him
A priest accused of abusing three sisters in their County Fermanagh home has denied being "a paedophile snake".

Father Eugene Lewis, 75, denies 11 charges of assault between 1963 and 1973. The sisters say the abuse began when they were as young as seven.

Fr Lewis faced a second day of cross-examination at Omagh Crown Court.

He said he was an "innocent man," adding: "I never entered that home with sexual intent, I never abused those girls."

The sisters have claimed he often called at bedtime or on Saturday bath night and would indecently assault them while telling them bedtime stories.

A prosecution lawyer put it to him: "Your only interest in this family was little girls for your own sexual gratification".

Fr Lewis replied: "That is a completely wrong account of who I am, or my attitudes or behaviour over a lifetime."

When it was put to him he had abused three girls in their bedroom, the priest said he had never been near the room.

"There was never any sexual intent or sexual impropriety with these children," he said.

He added: "I can only state the facts, this was 40 years ago and these are the facts as I clearly remember them."

Fr Lewis 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.

The trial continues on Monday and is expected to last several weeks

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