Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

I didn’t accuse priest of rape to get a payout, woman tells court

A woman who claims she was raped by a priest she thought was going to counsel her about her affair with a married policeman has denied doing it for the money.

Father Eugene Lewis, of Cypress Grove House, Templelogue in Dublin, is on trial at Omagh Crown Court accused of sexually abusing the woman and two of her sisters when they were little girls growing up on the family farm in Co Fermanagh between August 1963 and September 1973.

He denies the 11 charges of indecently assaulting the now grown women, who can’t be named or identified.

The 75-year-old priest is not charged with the rapes because they allegedly took place in the Republic of Ireland and he cannot be tried for that in a Northern Ireland court.

The jury has already heard the woman was sent to the seminar's headquarters after her family discovered she was having an the illicit affair with the married man.

Cross-examined yesterday, she said: “I was devastated over what he had done.”

Defence barrister Mark Barlow asked her why she did not say something to another priest the following day.

She replied: “I didn’t tell him because I was ashamed about what happened.”

Mr Barlow said that, according to her, exactly the same thing happened the following night. Didn’t she think of screaming? “No I didn’t,” she replied.

“I don’t have the words to describe how I felt that night. This was a man my parents respected.”

Mr Barlow asked her if she had considered using the bed to baracade the door the following night.

She said she didn’t and that after he raped her a second time she didn’t know where or who to turn to.

Mr Barlow said Fr Lewis would tell the court that at the time of the alleged rapes he was looking after his elderly frail mother.

“He never raped you on the Wednesday night, he never raped you on the Thursday night,” Mr Barlow declared.

But the woman countered: “Eugene Lewis raped me on the Wednesday and Thursday night.”

Mr Barlow told her the priest denies vehemently her allegations of abuse.

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

The woman responded: “It has nothing to do with that.”

The lawyer said: “Your whole motivation is compensation.”

The woman replied: “That’s not correct. The first thing I said to my solicitor was, this is not about compensation, this is not about money, this is about doing what is right.”

At hearing.

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