Tot Revealed Abuse, Judge Told Light
His Mother Said the Four-Year-Old Imitating Sexual Behaviour Led to a Talk with Her Sister and a Call to Police
By Peter Geigen-Miller
London Free Press [Canada]
June 19, 2003
A Catholic priest's sexual abuse of children came to light when a four-year-old boy began rubbing against his mother while she talked on the phone, a London civil trial judge was told yesterday. The mother testified she was chatting when the four-year-old pulled down his pants and rubbed against her.
Shocked, the woman ended the call and asked what her son was doing.
The boy responded he was doing what his aunt had been doing to him while babysitting.
The woman called the aunt, her younger sister, and demanded to know what was happening.
Her sister burst out crying and told the woman: " 'That's what Father Glendinning does to us.' "
A short time later, the woman talked to her sister and two brothers and they also said they'd been involved in sexual activities with Barry Glendinning, a Catholic priest, at St. Peter's Seminary in London.
The woman said she contacted London police and accompanied two detectives when they went to the seminary and knocked on Glendinning's door.
She said Glendinning knew immediately why she and the detectives were there.
"Our eyes locked and he said, 'Thank God it's over,' " she testified.
The dramatic testimony came during an emotion-filled eighth day of the trial. The Roman Catholic Diocese of London and Glendinning are being sued by John, Ed, and Guy Swales and their family.
The Swales are claiming damages for sexual abuses at the hands of Glendinning while he was a teacher at the seminary.
The woman, whose identity can't be revealed because of a court order, said police asked her to go through hundreds of pictures of children found in a drawer in Glendinning's room at the seminary.
Many of the children were nude, and some were wearing black mesh underwear, she said.
She said there were pictures of more than 30 different children in the room.
She said the episode with the photographs came back to her when The London Free Press recently published a photograph of John, Ed and Guy Swales.
She said she recognized Ed Swales as one of the children she'd seen in the photographs taken from Glendinning's room.
At that point, Ed's mother, Donna, broke down and was helped out of the courtroom.
She's been sitting and listening to the testimony throughout the trial. She returned later.
The woman said she blames Glendinning, not her sister, for her children's abuse.
Testimony has indicated two of the woman's young children were abused by the sister.
Later in the day, Ed Swales, who has a history of heart trouble, began trembling while testifying and had to leave the courtroom. He was unable to return.
As he was helped out of the room, his brother John angrily asked diocese representatives if someone has to die before the suit is settled.
He was escorted away without further incident.
The trial continues.
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