Ex-Priest Denies Sex Abuse Claims

By Peter Geigen-Miller
London Free Press [Canada]
September 26, 2003

In the witness stand for the first time since his six-week civil trial began, a retired Catholic priest denied yesterday he performed oral sex on any of the three brothers suing him for $7 million in a sexual abuse lawsuit. Under questioning by his lawyer, the Wallaceburg-born Rev. Barry Glendinning said his sexual activity with a youthful John Swales involved massaging the genitals with oil and body painting with water paints.

Earlier testimony has told of sex acts involving brothers John, Ed and Guy Swales and other children between 1969 and 1974 when Glendinning taught liturgy at St. Peter's Seminary in London.

Witnesses have testified the activity occurred in Glendinning's seminary quarters and on camping trips.

Glendinning, 69, retired and living in Toronto, said he may have touched John Swales' penis with his lips but that nothing happened beyond that. Asked if he performed oral sex on Swales or had the youth perform it on him, Glendinning said he did not.

He likewise denied having oral sex with Ed and Guy Swales or having them perform it on him.

Glendinning, wearing a grey suit and tie and appearing calm, gave the same denial when asked about masturbation involving the three brothers.

John, Ed and Guy Swales and their family are suing Glendinning and the Roman Catholic diocese of London for damages arising from what they say was repeated sexual abuse by the seminary teacher.

Yesterday, Glendinning told of meeting with John Swales in 1969 at a summer camp organized through St. Mary's elementary school.

The friendship continued beyond the summer and extended to other members of the family.

As members of the Swales family and others in the courtroom looked on, Glendinning told of meeting John's parents, Donna and Bob Swales, and sitting down over coffee or tea while visiting their home.

Asked about testimony by John Swales that he stayed repeatedly in the priest's seminary room overnight, Glendinning said that was not his recollection.

Asked about Guy and Ed Swales spending many nights in his quarters, as they have testified, Glendinning responded: "I don't believe that to be the case."

He likewise denied nude body painting involving children occurred in his seminary rooms.

He said body painting occurred exclusively on camping trips because they happened in remote locations where such activities would not draw attention.

Body painting in his seminary rooms would not have been possible because it would have left marks and anyone could have walked in and discovered it at any time, he said.

Glendinning did acknowledge the occasional use of oil -- for massage -- with the children in his seminary quarters.

He also acknowledged providing John, Ed and Guy Swales with tobacco and alcohol on occasion.

Glendinning pleaded guilty in 1974 to six counts of gross indecency involving the Swales brothers and other children and was placed on probation for three years.

His testimony resumes today.


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