Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 10:21 UK

'Money not motive' in abuse case

Father Eugene Lewis
Father Lewis denies the charges against him

A woman who claims she was raped by a priest has denied she brought the man to court "for the money".

Father Eugene Lewis, 75, is not on trial for the rape which allegedly took place in the Irish Republic, but is accused of abusing three sisters.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place when he visited the family at their home in County Fermanagh.

Fr Lewis, who is a member of the Society of Missionaries of Africa, denies 11 charges of assault.

The offences span a 10-year period between 1963 and 1973 when Father Lewis lived at the White Fathers College in Blacklion, County Cavan.

The victims said the abuse began when they were as young as seven.

The sisters said Father Lewis would often visit the family when it was their bath time or bedtime.

The case is being heard at Omagh Crown Court.

When one of the sisters, who cannot be named, was cross examined on Monday by defence barrister Mark Barlow she said she was "devastated" by what Fr Lewis had done.

She said that when the rape allegedly happened she had gone to Fr Lewis to seek counsel about an affair she was having with a married policeman.

The jury had already heard the woman was sent to the Dublin headquarters of the 'White Fathers', Society of Missionaries of Africa, after her family discovered she was having an affair.

Omagh courthouse
The trial is being heard at Omagh Crown Court

The woman, who alleges she was raped on two consecutive nights, said she did not scream out because "this was a man my parents respected. Who was I to shout and to scream."

Mr Barlow also suggested she was partly motivated by her three applications for compensation.

The woman said it was "not about the money, it was about doing what is right".

The court heard that Fr Lewis told police "I never touched those children. Its a total fabrication", and that he was the victim "of a family lynching mob".

Fr Lewis was ordained in 1958 and after his time at the college in Blacklion between 1960 and 1970, he went to Dublin and then served on missions overseas.

More recently he has worked in west Belfast and as a parish priest in Dunmurry.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific