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Father Paedophile Tony McSweeney

A former Catholic priest watched as a suspected paedophile groped young boys genitals and forced them to bend over as they washed themselves in a shower, a court has heard.
Father Tony McSweeney is accused of ogling the youngsters while alleged child molester John Stingemore touched the boys during “shower nights” at a care home in the 1980s.

Southwark Crown Court has been told that Stingemore, who died last month before he could be brought to justice, would abuse the boys while McSweeney watched.

One alleged victim told the court the abuse would be "almost all the time" when Father McSweeney stayed at the Grafton Close care home.

The 68-year-old faces eight counts of paedophilia and indecent assault charges against three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

The alleged victim, now 49, stayed at the home for several months in 1980.

Asked if he knew McSweeney, who sat in the dock listening to proceedings through a hearing loop, he said: "I knew him as the priest. I just remember he was a big bloke.

"I didn't think he was a member of staff, I just thought he was a mate (of Stingemore's) who turned up."

The court heard how the home had "shower nights" when groups of children would be taken to the shower block in groups.

Asked what happened on those occasions, the alleged victim said: "I was watched. Stingemore would watch us but I seem to remember it being more when the priest turned up.

The victim told the court how once they had finished showering, Stingemore would check the boys’ bottoms and genitals “to make sure they were clean”.

He claims McSweeney would watch as Stingemore would make the boys bend down at which point he would part their buttocks and lift their testicles.

Asked by prosecutor Sarah Plaschkes QC if Stingemore had explained why this was necessary, the witness said: "No."

"You were 15 years old, did you need any assistance with washing?" she asked.
"No," the witness replied.

Asked how often this abuse would take place over the course of a month, he said: "Maybe four or five times. It didn't happen very often but when the priest turned up it seemed to be all the time."

Asked if he had said anything to anyone at the time, he said: "No, it just wasn't spoken about. I didn't have a very good relationship with my mum at the time so I had no one to talk to."

The court heard how he later told his wife in 2012 after reading newspaper reports about serial child abuser Jimmy Savile.

A statement she gave to police, which was read to the court, said: "We had read in the newspaper about Jimmy Savile and he said he thought there had been abuse in the first children's home he stayed in."

The case continues.

Catholic priest 'watched as suspected paedophile groped boys in shower' 17 February 2015 By Chris Hewett

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