Priest John Clohosey not guilty of historical rape charge

BBC [London, England]

May 25, 2021

A Roman Catholic priest accused of raping a woman in 1986 has been found not guilty.

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, had denied one charge of rape and said what happened between him and the woman was consensual.

During the six-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, he said he wanted to have sex with the woman and that they kissed and cuddled but it went no further.

The woman had told jurors she was raped on her bed after she refused sex.

The jury returned the not guilty verdict after deliberating for 90 minutes.

The court heard how the woman, who cannot be identified, had asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill.

‘Not worldly-wise’

She grew angry when she was turned down, as the Catholic Church had paid out money to victims of sexual abuse, the court heard.

She said in an email to her priest, not the defendant, that she had been abused by a serving priest many years ago, the court heard.

In 2019 she told police she was raped by Father Clohosey and claimed that as he left her home, he said: “Goodnight, God bless.”

Father Clohosey, born in Kilkenny, Ireland, was one of five brothers who went to an all boys school before going to a seminary and joining the priesthood.

It took a jury 90 minutes to clear Father John Clohosey of the rape allegation
It took a jury 90 minutes to clear Father John Clohosey of the rape allegation

Robin Patton, defending, said the priest, whose last parish was in Crook, County Durham, and who now lives in Filey, North Yorkshire, was not “worldly-wise” about women.

He reminded the jury that the defendant told them that priests do not claim to be perfect, adding: “This is what this case is about – weakness.”

Father Clohosey declined to make a statement after he was cleared.