Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'Priest left boy traumatised'

'Priest left boy traumatised'
Anna Cox
June 23 2010 at 08:21AM
The Star

A 12-year-old boy, allegedly assaulted sexually by a Catholic priest at a church camp in Brits, North West, in February 2008, is still receiving psychological counselling.

Testifying against Georg Kirkhoff, his mother, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child, said that after the camp, the child's behaviour had changed.

The priest is charged with three counts of sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

He is alleged to have got into bed in his shorts with several children, but was stopped from performing any acts by other children who witnessed the event and managed to "rescue" their friends.

Although the child was the "leader of the pack", who had encouraged other children into "naughty" behaviour during the camp, the change in his personality had been obvious, said the mother.

The defence tried to convince the court that the child had behavioural problems, but the mother denied this, saying he was a leader and his peers loved him.

"Yes, he was naughty, as all young boys are, but his behaviour changed and this was also brought to my attention by his teacher, who, I think, did not know the circumstances," she said.

She said that about two weeks afterwards, she had been alerted by other parents to problems at the camp.

"I approached my son, but not directly, because I did not want to influence him or make suggestions to him.

"He told me what happened. He was troubled, so I did not ask the details," the boy's mother said.

She said he was no longer able to perform in stressful circumstances, which he was able to do before.

The priest had allegedly pushed the boy in the chest, but he had not sustained any physical or medical injuries.

The priest's German passport was confiscated after a high court order.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow.

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