Irish Daily Mirror [Dublin, Ireland]
May 22, 2021
By Tom Wilkinson
Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, denies the charge but said he kissed and cuddled with the complainant on her bed
An Irish priest accused of raping a woman in 1986 told a jury he went to her house to see if she would “make love”, adding: “We never claim to be perfect.”
Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, denies the charge but said he kissed and cuddled with the complainant on her bed.
Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court heard his accuser, who cannot be identified, asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill and grew angry when she was turned down as the Catholic Church had paid out money to victims of sexual abuse.
The court was told, in an email, she said she had been abused by a serving priest years before.
Jurors also heard the woman claimed to police she was raped in her own home by Clohosey after he had asked her to have sex with him several times.
The accused, who was repeatedly reminded to keep his voice up, gave evidence from the witness box in his defence.
One of five brothers, he grew up in Kilkenny, attended an all-boys’ school and went to a seminary aged 18, before he was ordained at 24 and then moved to Newcastle.
He told defence counsel Robin Patton he was happy to agree to a vow of celibacy at that age.
But he said the purpose of his visit to the woman’s home in 1986 was: “Friendship I suppose, and to see if she would like to make love to us. Human failings… we never claim to be perfect.”
Clohosey told the court during the visit he asked her to “make love” before she agreed, “jumped up” and went to her bedroom, where he followed shortly after.
The accused testified she was partially clothed and he lay on top of her but he claimed there was no penetrative sex and he did not have an erection.
Clohosey said he felt “deflated” after the event and got dressed.
Asked how he would have felt about the vows he
had taken, the defendant replied: “I’m sure I felt guilty about what I had done.”
The priest said he called round a second time some weeks later – which the complainant disputes – and asked again if they could have sex, which she declined.
Clohosey, whose last parish was in Crook, Co Durham, now lives at St Mary’s Priory, Filey, North Yorkshire.