Page last updated at 09:05 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 10:05 UK

Church elder denies sexual abuse

Scales of justice
A church elder and his co-accused deny child sexual abuse

A church elder sexually abused a woman so often that she began to think it was "the norm" a court has heard.

The woman, now 44, told Antrim Crown Court that the abuse began when she was 10 and continued until she was 18.

She also claimed that the church elder, who denies 27 charges of indecent assault, encouraged a friend to sexually abuse her.

The other man, now aged 53, denies four indecency charges. The men cannot be named to protect the woman's identity.

The alleged offences took place between June 1975 and December 1983.

The woman described how the elder, who is now 66 years old, was welcomed into her home as a regular visitor and called about three times a week.

She said the abuse happened so often that, "it was constant, it was just drip, drip, drip all the time, it got to be the norm.

"It didn't matter if you yelled at him, it didn't matter if you screamed at him, it didn't matter if you cried - it was just constant," she said.

Both men denied the charges during police interviews.

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