|Man Tells Court of Seven Years of Sex Abuse by Coventry Priest
By Emma Stone
October 6, 2010
A MAN has told a court how he endured seven years of sexual abuse by a former Coventry priest.
The 62-year-old married man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the trial of Richard James Robinson the abuse began when he was 11.
Robinson, who was known to many as James or Jim, was not yet qualified as a priest when he befriended the man’s large Catholic family in the late 1950s.
The 73 year-old went on to become a priest, serving at many parishes in the Midlands region, including St Elizabeth’s in Foleshill, Coventry.
Robinson denies 22 charges of sexual abuse against young boys – instances alleged to have happened both before and during his time in the priesthood – against four alleged victims – in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Speaking at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, the 62 year-old Midlands man told the court he was first introduced to Robinson after he became friends with his older brother over a common interest in boxing.
The man explained Robinson soon became part of the family.
He said: “Everybody loved him, he was a local celebrity. He was my hero. I was very fond of him.”
The trial heard Robinson took the man and his brother to boxing gyms and venues across the region but the man said the abuse started after a few months.
He said: “He (Robinson) said I was a nice looking lad. He seemed to like me better. I was the centre of his attention.
“He asked my mother and father if I was allowed to sleep at his house.
“My mother and father agreed and that’s when I started staying at his house.”
The Midlands man told the court on that first stay at Robinson’s home, he was raped by him, while Robinson’s mother was in the next room.
He said: “If I realised what was going on I wouldn’t have gone to bed. I was in that much shock.
“People say ‘why didn’t you run?’ But where would I have gone? Who could I tell? I was like a lamb to the slaughter. I had no idea. I thought we were friends.”
The man told the court the abuse became frequent and continued until he was in his late teens and Robinson began training as a priest.
He added: “I didn’t like what was going on but I thought he loved me. At that time it was different, especially being from a Catholic family.
“Just mentioning sex would get you hung, drawn and quartered.”
The man explained how in 1999 he broke down and confided in his brother about the abuse.
He went on to make statements to the Catholic church and West Midlands Police. The trial continues.
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