Priest on trial for sexually assaulting boy, 9, in church
Irish Catholic priest canon Mortimer Stanley allegedly sedated a schoolboy before sexually assaulting him at a church, a court has heard.
The 84-year-old is accused of 19 counts of indecent assault over four decades while he was working at St Vincent de Paul Church in Norden, Greater Manchester.
A jury at Minshull Street Crown Court heard last week how one of the alleged victims, who was nine at the time, claimed Stanley, who was born in Limerick, came up behind him while he was getting changed.
He allegedly covered his mouth and nose with a handkerchief soaked in a “chloroform-type” substance.
Chloroform is a volatile liquid once used as an anaesthetic.
The alleged victim says he then passed out, slumped over a shelf.
He told the court when he woke up he was partially dressed and Stanley – still partially wearing his church robes – was sexually assaulting him.
The witness, who can not be named, said:
I started coming round and lifting my head. That’s when I remember the arm coming around again, he still had the tissue and tried to put it in my face again, but I managed to lock my arm out.
I’m pretty sure I was going through the motions of sex, but at my age I didn’t know. Everything was drugged, my body was numb.
He added that Stanley – who is now living in Ballybunion in Kerry – quickly dressed then returned with smelling salts stating that he had fainted.
The boy fell ill before going to bed, still dazed with a “banging headache”.
The court also heard statements from two priests who worked with Stanley around the time the alleged offences took place.
Priest Bernard Kealey, who began working at St Vincent’s in 1984, said:
The girls would sometimes be sat on his knee.I noticed they would be rather familiar with him.
Former priest James Sweeney, who lived with Stanley at the presbytery between 1988 and 1989, added:
I had noticed that Father Stanley had a lot of primary school children in the presbytery. Father Stanley would often have the girls sitting on his knee or be tickling them.
Stanley denies all charges.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes