A Catholic priest from the U.K., accused of molesting young boys in his care during the 70s and 80s, was simply “moved on” by the church and never prosecuted, despite the fact he was found in possession of child porn and a range of sex toys.
Father Tony McSweeney, 68, is accused of molesting three youngsters at Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, West London, while years later a cleaner discovered a drawer crammed with video tapes and child pornography.
The housekeeper who found the incriminating items in the priest’s drawer, Julia Woodyatt, met McSweeney in 1998 while he was working at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Leigh-on-Sea and living in the presbytery.
She told the court as follows today.
“Originally when I was cleaning there was a television and a video in the bedroom. I would dust them and on dusting them there was a video with a warning inside the video player — it just seemed a bit odd. I thought that it may have been some type of adult movie which I wouldn’t have had a problem with because I think everybody has needs — priest or not.”
The jury heard that some days later, when Woodyatt put away McSweeney’s laundry and she opened that drawer she found a truncheon and other sex toys. She told the court as follows.
“I thought socks and pants went in the side drawer and so I opened them to put them away and there was articles in the side drawer. That I would not have had a problem with either. And so then looking for a place to put his shirts — there was a chest of drawers next to the TV and video — opened the second drawer down and it was full of those black tapes with blue tape across them. I closed the drawer and left.”
The Catholic priest was 33 in 1980 when he had access to vulnerable boys in care. Prosecutor Sarah Plaschkes, QC, said during the proceedings, “that gave this defendant the opportunity to sexually abuse teenage boys who were in care and away from their families. It is our case that this defendant sexually abused three boys at that children’s home in Grafton Close, Hounslow.”
The trial, which is expected to last for roughly two weeks, continues tomorrow.