Judgment Reserved on Abuse Claim

The Press Association
March 26, 2009

Judgment was reserved in a ?5 million damages claim brought by a former City lawyer from west London who claims he made a mess of his life because he was sexually abused at a Jesuit-run school.

Patrick Raggett was subjected to years of "insidious" abuse by Father Michael Spencer, a teacher at Preston Catholic College in Lancashire, who died in 2000 aged 76, his counsel, Robert Seabrook QC, told Mrs Justice Swift at London's High Court. Mr Raggett, 50, claims that, while he was naked, the priest measured him "to chart his growth", filmed him performing exercises, photographed him and touched him inappropriately. He said that he did not connect his experiences at school with years of under-achievement at work, a failed marriage and binge drinking until he had therapy after an April 2005 breakdown.

Mr Seabrook said: "At no time before that date did he attribute his disabilities to Father Michael Spencer's really outrageous and disreputable behaviour and there is no reason why he should - this was not a violent or painful rape or assault; there was no overt aggressiveness on the part of the priest." The governors of the College, which closed in 1978, deny liability and say that even if the abuse occurred, which is not admitted, the case cannot proceed as it was brought years outside the legal time limit. The judge did not say when she would give her ruling.


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