|Priest Accuser Sues Catholic Church As Lawyers Blame Abuse for Ruined Life
September 26, 2010
A MAN claiming to have been raped by a priest is to sue the Catholic Church for counselling in a landmark legal action.
Christopher Williams claims he was abused over a period of five years in the 1990s between the ages of eight and 13 by the churchman, who has since died.
He is now suing the church but claims he does not want compensation – only counselling.
He revealed his action days after the Pope made his strongest apology yet to the victims of abuse during his UK visit.
Christopher, 30 said: "The Pope is right to apologise but his words cannot help me cope."
And his lawyer Cameron Fyfe said: "I have acted for many abuse victims who have sought compensation but Christopher's only concern is to get counselling so he can be well again.
"I had hoped that my many letters to the church asking for this would be answered, but we have been disappointed by their lack of response."
Christopher was recently convicted of three break-ins at the chapel house where he says the rape happened – incidents he describes as "a cry for help".
He was sentenced to 100 hours community service at Livingston Sheriff Court and placed on probation for one year.
He said: "At 21, I suffered a breakdown after finally telling what was done to me. Afterwards, my life spiralled out of control.
"I took 80 euros on one occasion, but on the other occasions, I broke in because I wanted to be caught. I wanted to tell why I was hitting back at the church."
His claims have caused a split within the church after he was given the backing of a retired priest who learned of his claims.
Father John Robinson even claimed to police that he was assaulted by another priest after informing him of the allegations.The leader of Scotland's Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has been made aware of the row.
Christopher's family told the church about the claims nine years ago and police were called in but he refused to give a police interview and nobody was prosecuted.
His mother Mary McGinty, 51, said: "My son was so traumatised and afraid of the repercussions in a small community. A police officer took a statement from me. I watched helplessly as my son began to disintegrate in front of me."
Christopher claimed the abuse happened within the chapel house for five years between the ages of eight and 13.
He added: "I bitterly regret not being strong enough to see the matter through when I was 21, but I was just too traumatised."
A church spokesman said: "The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh is fully aware of Mr Williams' allegations.
"He has instructed a solicitor to pursue a civil claim and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.
"The archdiocese has a total commitment to the delivery of justice to all concerned in such matters and has co-operated fully with the police and the Crown Office."
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