Catholic priest 'abuse' boy 'like lamb to the slaughter'

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Richard John James Robinson
Image caption,
James Robinson denies all charges against him

A 62-year-old man has told a court being sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest as a young boy left him feeling "like a lamb to the slaughter".

Richard John James Robinson, 73, denies 22 charges relating to offences against six boys aged under 16 between 1959 and 1983 at churches in the West Midlands.

Jurors heard the alleged victim was abused in Walsall from the age of 11.

He told Birmingham Crown Court he had thought "we were good friends" and that he was "ashamed" after being attacked.

The former clergyman, who was known to parishioners as "Father Jim", worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry until the mid-1980s, when he moved to California.

'Special one'

He was extradited from the US in August last year.

The alleged victim told the court he was abused by Mr Robinson until he was in his late teens.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury he "froze" the first time he was abused by Mr Robinson at the home the former clergyman shared with his mother.

He said: "I was like a lamb to the slaughter, I had no idea. I thought we were good friends, that's all.

"I just froze. He told me he was in love with me and I was the special one.

"As a boy I loved him. I probably did tell him that he was my hero.

"I just lay there and thought, 'Oh God, what has happened to me'. I felt so ashamed afterwards.

"I was totally under his control, I don't know why."

'Local celebrity'

The court heard Mr Robinson, who was ordained in 1971, abused the boy on a regular basis at a number of locations, including the cellar of the child's family home.

The alleged victim said Mr Robinson took him out in his sports car and showered him with attention.

He told the court: "He became like part of our family, everybody loved him and liked him, he was a very popular man.

"I liked him and, how can I put this to you, he was my hero, I was very fond of him.

"He was a boxer, a local celebrity, it was a sort of hero worship if you like."

'Different times'

Asked why he remained silent about the abuse the man said: "If you said to me afterwards why didn't you run away I'd have said, 'Well, where to? Where do you run to? Who do you tell?'"

He added: "At that time, they were different times, especially being from a Catholic family, you can't even mention sex."

Mr Robinson faces 22 charges, relating to indecent assault and serious sexual offences. He denies all the charges.

The case was adjourned until Thursday morning, with Mr Robinson remanded in custody.

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