Father Charges Priest Corrupted His Sons
Bob Swales Told Court Revelations of Sexual Abuse Shattered His Belief
By Peter Geigen-Miller
London Free Press [Canada]
June 25, 2003
He agreed to have his children raised as Catholics because he thought religion would give them the solid foundation they needed to live productive lives. But Bob Swales testified yesterday his belief was shattered with revelations his children had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest.
Swales told a Superior Court civil trial he had believed religion was important in any family.
"You need a solid base and what better one than religion?" he said.
Swales, married for nearly 45 years, said he attended United and Anglican churches as a youth but his wife was Catholic and he agreed to have his children raised in her church.
He said his respect for the church and the men who worked in it extended to Barry Glendinning when the Catholic priest befriended his family in 1969.
In the spring of 1974, Swales and his wife were stunned to learn that Glendinning had been arrested and charged with sexually abusing his children.
The Swales and their sons, John, Guy and Ed, are suing Glendinning and the Roman Catholic Diocese of London for $7 million for damage they say was inflicted on them by the abuse.
Swales said Glendinning started playing a role with his family in 1969 and seemed to take on a big brother role, initially taking his sons for pizza, movies and other outings.
In addition, there were camping trips and visits to St. Peter's seminary, where Glendinning was a professor.
"I thought he was a pretty nice guy," he said of Glendinning.
Later came Glendinning's arrest and revelations of sexual abuse.
Swales said he's angry and disappointed the church did not support his family after the arrest.
Aside from a visit by the rector (head) of the seminary, there was no other contact by officials of the diocese, he told Justice John Kerr.
He told the judge that John, Ed and Guy went out of control after Glendinning's arrest.
Earlier testimony has shown John, Guy and Ed Swales engaged in drug and alcohol abuse and male prostitution.
Swales said he realizes his sons were not at fault for their troubled lifestyle.
"If Glendinning had not corrupted their minds in such rotten, filthy ways, they'd never have done it," he said.
In other testimony yesterday, Dr. Martyn Judson told the court there is a strong relationship between early alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse later in life.
Judson, a London doctor who helps patients deal with substance abuse and addiction, said alcohol use at an early age can act as a "gateway," promoting later use of other illicit substances.
Testimony has shown Glendinning introduced the Swales children to alcohol and tobacco.
Judson also testified there is a significant link between sexual abuse and later substance abuse.
The trial will take a break for the summer after a session today.
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