Abuse Response Rapped
A London Woman Says She Was Outraged the Rc Diocese of London Countersued Her Son
By Peter Geigen-Miller
London Free Press [Canada]
Downloaded June 11, 2003
A London woman testified yesterday she was outraged when she learned the Roman Catholic Diocese of London had launched a counterclaim against her son as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit. Donna Swales took the stand for the second day during the civil trial in which her family and three sons, John, Ed and Guy, are seeking $7 million in damages from the London diocese and former London priest Barry Glendinning.
The family and brothers are seeking damages for pain and suffering resulting from sexual abuse by Glendinning, once a teacher at St. Peter's Seminary in London.
Glendinning pleaded guilty in 1974 to sexual abuse.
The diocese denies negligence.
The counterclaim by the diocese says John Swales, one of the victims of the priest's abuse, sexually, physically and emotionally abused his siblings.
Asked for her reaction to the counterclaim, Donna Swales testified yesterday she was outraged, angry and hurt the diocese was blaming her son for her family's troubles.
"I thought it was unbelievable that they would do that," she said.
She was then asked how she felt when she learned the diocese had attempted to have lawyer Paul Ledroit removed as the family's legal representative in the suit.
"To put it crudely, I thought they were playing dirty pool," she said.
The reasons for the diocese's attempt to have Ledroit removed were not discussed in court yesterday.
Ledroit took Donna Swales through the increasingly serious troubles that befell the three boys after Glendinning's arrest.
For Guy, the troubles included convictions for break and enter, assault, breach of probation and drug trafficking.
John's convictions included possession of stolen property, mischief, assault and causing a disturbance.
Donna Swales said Ed went from being a model child to being highly aggressive.
"He was the one I worried about the most," she said. "He was so withdrawn."
Ed went to jail after he and Guy were involved in a fight.
Donna Swales said she wasn't aware the extent of the boys' involvement with drugs, alcohol and male prostitution until she saw court documents related to the lawsuit in recent years.
Under cross-examination, she said she should have noticed what was happening and sought help for her troubled family members.
"I didn't know enough to get help," she said.
Later, she added seminary officials should have questioned why her children were staying overnight at the seminary with Glendinning.
The trial continues.
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