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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 21:56 GMT
NI priest faces sex assault charges
A Catholic priest has gone on trial accused of sexually assaulting an altar boy at a County Down church.

Father Gerard Anthony Green, 54, whose address was given as Ballinamoney Road in Lurgan, appeared at Newry Crown Court on Tuesday to face seven charges of indecent assault and gross indecency.

The court heard that Father Green is alleged to have assaulted the boy between 1977 and 1982.

The assaults are alleged to have begun when the youth was aged 12 and ended when he was 16.

Father Green has gone on trial
Father Green has gone on trial

The alleged victim, who is now aged 36, and lives in England has been giving evidence and was expected to be cross-examined later on Tuesday.

The jury was told that the offences took place in the sacristy of a church after Mass and in two parochial houses.

It was alleged the assaults came to an end after the youth was caught stealing money from another priest at the parochial house, and did not go back there.

The alleged victim told the court that he let the accused do what he did because he was a priest and he did not think he was doing anything wrong.

The court heard that the priest allegedly told his victim that he "loved him like a son and that it would be their secret".

In outlining the case to the jury, a Crown lawyer said that "essentially this was a case of the evidence of the victim against the word of Father Green".

BBC NI's Mervyn Jess reports:
"The jury was told that the offences took place in the sacristy of a church after mass and in two parochial houses"
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