Former priest to go on trial accused of sexual abuse at Catholic seminary
By Neil Docking
April 12, 2016
|Former priest Michael Higginbottom, 73, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, is accused of historic sex offences against two schoolboys at St Joseph's College in Upholland in the late 1970s|
A former priest accused of historic sex offences against two schoolboys at a catholic college run by the Archdiocese of Liverpool is set to stand trial.
Michael Higginbottom, 73, is alleged to have sexually abused children at St Joseph’s College in Up Holland, near Skelmersdale, in the late 1970s.
The school, which shut in 1992, was a Roman Catholic seminary and provided a secondary education to boys aged 11–18 who wished to go into the priesthood.
The alleged offences are said to have taken place in the late 1970s when the complainants were in their early teens.
Higginbottom appeared at Liverpool Crown Court this morning where he pleaded not guilty to four counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery.
The defendant, with grey receding hair and glasses and wearing a grey suit, blue shirt and blue tie in the dock, spoke only to confirm his personal details and enter his pleas.
Dan Travers, prosecuting, said his trial would be estimated to last seven days.
Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, said it would take place on September 19.
Higginbottom, of West Farm Road, Newcastle, was granted bail.
St Joseph’s College, which first welcomed pupils to its 153-acre semi-monastic environment in 1883, was run by a board of trustees headed by the Archbishop of Liverpool.
The school closed in 1992 following a decline in pupil numbers.
Known by pupils simply as ‘Upholland’, it was a boarding school and all boys who attended would live and study at the college.