Finian Egan Accuser Tells Court Why She Came Forward

By Paul Bibby
The Court Reporter
October 15, 2013

Paul Bibby

Accused: Finian Egan at St Gerard's Catholic Church, Carlingford in 1989.

A woman who was allegedly abused by a Catholic priest in the 1960s says she decided to finally come forward last year after hearing that another girl had allegedly been assaulted by the same priest 20 years later.

The woman, who cannot be named, was giving evidence in the trial of Finian Egan, a 78-year-old former priest who worked at multiple dioceses across NSW during a long career.

Egan is facing eight counts of indecent assault and one of rape in relation to a series of alleged attacks on young girls in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"What made me come forward was the fact that I discovered something had happened to somebody [at the hands of Egan] in the 1980s," the woman said during a fraught stint in the witness box at the Downing Centre District Court on Tuesday.

"I blamed myself - I thought, '20 years ... something has happened to somebody else 20 years after it happened to me'. I blamed myself ... I came forward but I wasn't believed and he just kept on going."

The woman said she had been indecently assaulted by Egan on at least four occasions after she was sent to St Martha's Institution for Disadvantaged Children in Leichhardt at the age of 10.

The alleged assaults occurred in the Sacristy of St Martha's and the presbyteries of St Fiacre's and St Columba's, both of which are located nearby.

The jury heard that in addition to her ongoing sense of guilt, the woman had suffered two mental breakdowns during adulthood, including one after the death of a cousin in 2001.

But counsel for Egan, Anthony Tudehope, suggested to the woman that she was making up the abuse allegations.

"I suggest to you that that didn't happen, and that what you are telling us is something that didn't occur at all," Mr Tudehope said.

"You can think or suggest what you like, I know exactly what happened," the woman replied.

"I don't care what you're saying because I know what happened and I've had to live with it for 50 years, so suggest as much as you like."

The trial before Judge Robyn Tupman continues.


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