Friday, August 27, 2010

Man can claim damages in priest abuse case

Man can claim damages in priest abuse case
The governors of a Jesuit-run school in Lancashire have lost an appeal against a court ruling which gave a former City lawyer the right to pursue a £5 million damages action against them.
Patrick Raggett, 52, of west London, claims he was subjected to years of "insidious" sexual abuse by a teacher at Preston Catholic College.

He alleges that, while he was naked, Father Michael Spencer - who died in 2000 aged 76 - measured him "to chart his growth", filmed him performing exercises, photographed him and touched him inappropriately.

Mr Raggett's case is that he did not connect the experiences with years of under-achievement at work, a failed marriage and binge-drinking until he had therapy after an April 2005 breakdown.

But the governors of the college, which closed in 1978, deny liability and argued at a preliminary hearing at London's High Court last year that, even if the abuse occurred, the case could not proceed as it was brought outside the legal time limit.

However, Mrs Justice Swift ruled that the case could go ahead to a full trial. She accepted Mr Raggett's evidence that Father Spencer had subjected him to episodes of sexual assault and that he was sometimes abused several times a week over a period of about four years until he was in his fifth year at the college.

At the Court of Appeal in London on Friday, Lords Justices Mummery, Thomas and Toulson announced that they had dismissed the appeal by the governors against her decision.

Mr Raggett said outside court: "I am very pleased with the outcome and I remain resolute and confident that in the end justice will be achieved."

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