Retired Priest Changes Story in Sexual Abuse Testimony

By Peter Geigen-Miller
London Free Press [Canada]
September 27, 2003

After earlier denying that nude body painting with children occurred in his rooms at St. Peter's Seminary in London, a retired Catholic priest changed his story yesterday and said it did. Rev. Barry Glendinning, the retired priest at the centre of a $7-million sexual abuse lawsuit, also changed his story about performing oral sex on the three brothers suing him and the Roman Catholic diocese of London.

Asked during cross-examination if acts of fellatio, nude massage and body painting had occurred in his seminary rooms, Glendinning agreed they had.

A day earlier, he denied having oral sex with John, Ed or Guy Swales.

The Swales brothers and their family are suing Glendinning and the diocese for damages they say resulted from sexual abuse by the priest between 1969 and 1974 when he taught liturgy at the seminary.

The diocese has counter-sued John Swales, claiming he was partly responsible for damage inflicted on his family when he sexually abused his siblings.

London lawyer Gordon Cudmore, representing Swales in the counter-suit, suggested Glendinning had taught young boys, including John Swales, to engage in sexual activity.

Glendinning agreed.

"You were a good teacher, weren't you?" said Cudmore.

"I guess I was," replied Glendinning.

"In addition to abusing the Swales family, you taught John to abuse, too, didn't you?" asked Cudmore.

"I assume so," said Glendinning.

"You're a pedophile, aren't you, sir?"Cudmore asked at another point.

"Yes, I guess so," said the retired priest.

Asked about the impact of his sexual abuse on the Swales family, Glendinning said he's aware the result has been terrible.

"It's the deepest regret of my life that this happened and I was responsible for the sexual acts that took place with them," he told the court.

"I consider it the bleakest part of my life."

Glendinning conceded under cross-examination he'd violated his sacred priestly promise to remain chaste when he engaged in sex with children.

"You broke a solemn promise to God many times, didn't you?" asked lawyer Paul Ledroit, representing the Swales family.

"I did," said Glendinning.

Ledroit asked if the retired priest had a selective memory because he disagreed with witnesses on many points but was clear on many details of his seminary years.

"I hope not," said Glendinning.

The retired priest was asked why he'd accumulated hundreds of pictures of nude children, found in his seminary room when he was arrested in 1974.

Glendinning said the photographs were taken for their "stimulative properties" and were used for masturbation when he was alone.

The civil trial before Justice John Kerr of the Superior Court of Justice took a break yesterday after six weeks. It is scheduled to resume Oct. 20.

Glendinning, retired and living in Toronto, has completed his testimony.


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