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UK News

Woman accusing priest of rape sees him in court and says ‘may God forgive you’

by Press Association

A woman who accused a Roman Catholic priest of raping her 35 years ago faced him in court and told him, “may God forgive you, you are a liar and a rapist”.

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, who presided over churches across North East England, denies rape but did say that he had asked her for sex when he visited her home in 1986, and they kissed and cuddled.

Newcastle Crown Court has heard that the complainant, who cannot be identified, asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill and she grew angry when she was turned down, and said in an email she herself had been abused by a serving priest years before.

The jury has seen a video interview in which the woman tells police that Clohosey visited her home in Tyneside in 1986 and after an awkward conversation asked her to have sex with him, then raped her when she refused.

Robin Patton, defending, suggested the sexual encounter had been consensual, and that the priest visited her again a few weeks later.

She replied: “That is a lie, that simply didn’t happen.”

Addressing the defendant, she became upset as she said: “May God forgive you, you are a liar as well as a rapist.

“If you can stand there with a Bible in your hands, the book you are supposed to live your life by, to save your skin, may God forgive you.”

The woman said she approached the diocese for a loan to help her with a financial problem.

She told the court: “There was nothing sordid or underhand about it, I asked and they said no.”

It was then that she said in an email to her priest – not the defendant – that she had been abused, and was later to tell the diocese safeguarding team and the police more details about what allegedly happened, the court heard.

She explained to the jury how she named Clohosey having not mentioned it to anyone for more than 30 years.

She had been reluctant to report the complaint which she had shut in a box in her mind, but once she came forward, she could “barely think of anything else”, the court heard.

She told the jury: “The lid would not go back on the box, as much as I tried.”

She denied she was being “dishonest” in making the allegation, saying: “I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose, for me standing here, telling my story, my journey.

“There are no winners, just two losers.”

The jury has heard that Clohosey, of St Mary’s Priory, Filey, North Yorkshire, told detectives they went into her bedroom where they kissed and cuddled but they did not have sex as his penis “went flaccid”.

The trial continues.

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