|Priest's Victim Denied Payout from Catholic Church
By Rebekah Oruye
April 26, 2009
Priest's victim denied abuse payout
A JUDGE has told the Catholic Church it will not have to pay compensation to a man sexually abused when he was 12 by a priest in Coventry – because he didn't attend his church.
The High Court was told that the victim, now 45, was in his teens when he was abused by Fr Christopher Clonan in the mid-70s.
Fr Clonan, then in his 30s, groomed the boy by paying him pocket money to wash his car, clean the presbytery and iron his clothes.
Mr Justice Jack said he was satisfied abuse did take place, but he ruled that the victim was not entitled to compensation from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, which includes Coventry, because he was not a Catholic.
He also said Fr Clonan's youth work in Coventry was "not a priestly activity" for which the Church could be held responsible.
Fr Clonan, who was assistant parish priest at Christ the King Church in Westhill Road, Coundon, for 20 years, fled the country in 1992 and died in Australia six years later of a brain haemorrhage.
In 2005, the diocese paid out £700,000 to a former altar boy, known as Mr A, who had been abused by Fr Clonan. The previous year, it paid £330,000 to Simon Grey who had also suffered at the hands of the Coventry priest.
Several other victims of Clonan have won smaller amounts in damages from the diocese.
Three further claims are going through the court process and, if successful, they could bring the total paid to the Coventry priest's victims in excess of £1.5 million.
This victim, referred to in court as 'M', sought around £250,000 in damages. M, who has learning difficulties, was granted permission to challenge the decision in the Court of Appeal.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.