Page last updated at 09:49 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 10:49 UK

Priest child abuse case continues

Father Eugene Lewis
Father Lewis denies the charges against him

A woman who claims she was abused by a priest said she decided to report him to police after discovering he was working at a girls school in Belfast.

Father Eugene Lewis, 75, is accused of abusing three sisters in their County Fermanagh home over a 10 year period between 1963 and 1973.

The woman, who cannot be named, said she thought he might be abusing again.

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

The abuse is alleged to have started when the sisters were as young as seven.

On Tuesday at Omagh Crown Court, one of the sisters said she remembered Fr Lewis entering her room to tell her a story, but abused her as he did.

By the time the woman was 15 she said she realised the sexual nature of what the priest had been doing.

The woman told the court that after seeing Fr Lewis at a party at one of her sisters' houses she discovered he was working in a girls school and involved in community work.

She made a complaint to the police in May 2008, shortly before this she said her sister contacted her out of the blue to say she was taking a case against him for abusing her as a child and raping her when she was older.

On Monday, the court heard how one of the sisters alleged Fr Lewis had raped her when she had gone 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.

Because the alleged rape took place in the Irish Republic, Fr Lewis cannot be tried for that offence in a court in Northern Ireland.

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.



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