Catholic Priest in Court on Child Abuse Charges

This is Lancashire [United Kingdom]
December 14, 2006

A Catholic priest has appeared in court to face a catalogue of child abuse charges against schoolboys in Bury.

John McCollough, aged 61, appeared at Bury Magistrates' Court charged with 12 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency with children during the 1980s and 1990s.

The offences are alleged to have taken place while McCollough was an Anglican rector at Christ the King with Holy Trinity Church in Spring Street.

Dressed in a light grey sports jacket and dark trousers, he spoke only to confirm his name and personal details during the 10-minute hearing.

McCollough, who now lives in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, faces eight counts of indecent assault and four of gross indecency.

Prosecutor Miss Shazia Aslam said: "This is an historical sex abuse case which involved two young and vulnerable children.

"At the time of the alleged offences, the defendant was ordained as a priest and in a position of trust."

The alleged attacks spanned a six-year period.

McCollough worked in Bury between 1985 and 1995, but left in 1997 to become a Catholic priest.

He is currently a priest at St Vincent's Church in Dagenham, but was put on administrative leave following the police investigation.

No plea was entered and reporting restrictions were not lifted.

He was released on unconditional bail and was excused attendance at the next hearing on February 16.


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