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Jury out in trial of priest accused of raping woman

by Press Association

The jury in the trial of a Roman Catholic priest accused of raping a woman in 1986 has been sent out to consider its verdict.

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, who presided over churches across north-east England, denies one charge of rape, and said what happened was consensual.

He told Newcastle Crown Court he wanted to have sex with the woman and they kissed and cuddled but it went no further.

The complainant told jurors she was raped by the priest after he repeatedly asked her for sex, which she refused.

The court has heard his accuser, who cannot be identified, asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill and she became angry when she was turned down, as the Catholic church had paid out money to victims of sexual abuse.

She said in an email that she had been abused by a serving priest years before, the court heard.

And in 2019 she told police she was raped in her own bed by Clohosey and claimed that as he left her home he said: “Goodnight, God bless.”

Kilkenny-born Clohosey, whose last parish was in Crook, County Durham, and who now lives in Filey, North Yorkshire, was not “worldly-wise” about women, the court was told by Robin Patton, defending.

He reminded the jurors that the defendant told them priests do not claim to be perfect, adding: “This is what this case is about – weakness.”

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