Highlands & Islands

Priest denies Western Isles child abuse allegations

A priest has gone on trial accused of sexually abusing two children in the Western Isles when he was a teenager.

Father John Angus MacDonald, 69, is claimed to have repeatedly raped a schoolgirl at a property in the Outer Hebrides between 1957 and 1958.

He is also alleged to have used lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards a 10-year-old boy at various places on an island a few years later.

MacDonald denied all charges against him at the High Court in Aberdeen.

The court heard that MacDonald left the Hebrides just before his 13th birthday to train to be a priest at Blairs College in Aberdeen in 1958.

One of his alleged victims told the court that MacDonald would take him out walking when he returned to the islands from the seminary.

The man, who is now 63-years-old, said: "What he would do was he would start to take me for walks.

"One was out into a hill and he started exposing himself."

Beside a hill

The man, who cannot be named, claimed that there were four separate incidents that took place at a house, a byre, on arable land and in a van.

The alleged victim claimed that MacDonald had driven him to a spot beside a hill in the van that looked out towards the sea.

"He was fondling me on one of these other occasions, making me feel that I was nothing," he told the jury.

"I was only a small child at the time, I wasn't fully developed. It was just awful."

Defence lawyer Mark Stewart suggested that the alleged victim had developed a hatred for his client due to an "old fashioned" disagreement over an unrelated matter.

But the man insisted he was telling the truth.

"I have never, never forgotten what that man did to me," he said.

The man said he had led a religious life when he was a child but had since lost faith in the Catholic church.

Back to church

The court heard that MacDonald, who now lives in Killin in Perthshire, had worked as a priest in his later years in Fort William and Kingussie.

Earlier, the court heard evidence from a 65-year-old woman who claimed she had been abused from the age of four until she was nine-and-a-half.

She told the jury that she did not remember what had happened to her until 1998, when she went back to church and childhood memories began to surface.

The pensioner said she was "horrified" and said she had "squashed every memory of abuse" out of her consciousness when she was a girl.

The woman said she could remember innocent role playing games involving MacDonald, and another older boy, which progressed on to incidents of a sexual nature.

"For as long as I can remember, he (MacDonald) was always going to be a priest and one of his favourite games was doing Mass," she said.

"This was not sexual, but I was physically being handled.

"They changed from playing Mass to playing doctors and very quickly these games became fairly invasive."

The trial continues.

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