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Nun accused of calling girls to front of class to abuse them

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Sister Mary
Theresa Grogan at
Sligo Circuit Court

Sister Mary Theresa Grogan at Sligo Circuit Court

Sister Mary Theresa Grogan at Sligo Circuit Court

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

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.

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.

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.

She said the jury would hear one alleged victim "describe how she was called up to Sister Peter's desk, what the sister would say to others, and you will hear her describe that she had been indecently assaulted".

The alleged victim, said the prosecuting barrister, would say that Sister Peter "put her hands inside her underwear and indecently assaulted her".

Ms Donnelly went on: "The other young girls will recount abuse and indecent assault that took place in a manner which was highly similar.

"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."

Allegations

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.

One girl would tell the court, she said, that she was abused over a two-year period, having re-taken third class.

The trial continues today.

Irish Independent