Beds, Herts & Bucks

Father Francis McDermott: Alleged victim 'kept diary'

Father Francis McDermott Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Father Francis McDermott, 75, denies committing sexual offences against six children in the 1970s

An alleged victim of child abuse kept a diary marking each sexual encounter with a Roman Catholic Priest, a court has heard.

Father Francis McDermott, 75, denies committing sexual offences against six children in the 1970s.

Aylesbury Crown Court was told that one of the alleged victims kept a diary in the summer of 1976.

It included a mark showing every encounter of a sexual nature, the court heard.

Father McDermott is alleged to have abused his victims in London and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

Giving evidence Father McDermott was asked by prosecutor Katharine Lumsdon QC about the allegations of sexual encounters. He denied them.

'Sexual encounters'

Ms Lumsdon showed the court pages of the diary the alleged victim had kept.

Summing up for the prosecution, she asked the jury to remember the case was set in the 1970s when a priest in the Roman Catholic Church was held in high regard and Father McDermott was in "a unique position of trust".

She said Father McDermott "does not have the courage to admit what he has done".

Patrick Hill QC, for the defence, described Father McDermott as "a man in his 70s of good character".

Mr Hill urged the jury to "try an individual, not an institution" [the church]. He also asked the jury to imagine the difficulty of dealing with allegations dating back more than 40 years.

He asked the jury: "Where would you begin defending yourself in allegations like that?"

The retired priest denies 18 indecent assaults, four indecent assaults on a male, two charges of indecency with a child, a serious sexual assault and a charge of rape, allegedly carried out between 1971 and 1979.

The case continues.

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