News Courts

Saturday 30 August 2014

Nun charged with 63 counts of indecent assault

Greg Harkin

Published 13/11/2012 | 19:43

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A NUN developed a "system of abuse" to indecently assault young girls she taught, a trial has been told.

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Sister Mary Theresa Grogan (62) also known as Sister Peter, faces 63 counts of indecent assault against seven girls aged seven and eight at a school in the 1970s.

It took almost 40 minutes for all the charges against the nun to be read out to the jury of seven women and five men at a special sitting of Sligo Circuit Court.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at a classroom and library at a school in the Midlands between 1973 and 1977.

The trial has been moved to Sligo from the area where the alleged offences took place.

Sister Peter would call her alleged victims to the front of third class at the school to indecently assault them, Aileen Donnelly for the DPP told the jury.

Ms Donnelly went on: “They were brought up to the desk and they were abused by indecent touching.

“This amounted to a system of abuse . . . and systematic indecent assaults.”

Ms Donnelly said the 63 counts would not cover all the allegations, but the prosecution had reduced the number of alleged assaults to help “with the administration of justice”.

Sister Mary Theresa Grogan, dressed in a black-and-white tweed suit and white top, had earlier pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The court heard she joined her order in the 1960s and had become a teacher at the Midlands school in the early 1970s.

She left Ireland in 1990 and returned to the Midlands in 2005.

Ms Donnelly said that, on seeing her return, one of the alleged victims made a formal complaint to gardai in January 2006.

The trial continues at Sligo Circuit Court.

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