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Priest's abuse made girl (13) ill, court is told

A woman who claims she was sexually abused by her local priest has denied before a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury that she had suffered from delusions or auditory hallucinations.

Father Maeliosa O Hauallachain (72) of Seafield Road, Killiney, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecent assault in a confessional box and a friary attached to a Louth church on dates between July 31, 1981 and August 2, 1982, when the complainant was between 13 and 14 years old.

The complainant, now 42, told Hugh Hartnett, defending, that she had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital on a number of occasions but said: "My problems started for me when I was abused. I was perfect up until then."

Ashamed

She admitted that she had told a social worker in 1994 that she had been sexually abused by her uncle but said that was because she was "too ashamed to say that it was a Catholic priest who had abused me".

She accepted that she told the same social worker that her father had physically abused her but claimed that she meant he had hit her when she was bold as a child and then later as a teenager when she "got way, way out of control" he would discipline her.

"I caused my family serious, serious pain and hurt. My father never beat me up. He did his best to discipline me," the complainant told the jury.

She denied that she objected to her medical notes or social worker notes being disclosed to the defence: "To my recollection I handed over everything because I have nothing to hide."

She agreed that she had a "significantly difficult relationship" with one partner and that she did allege he had physically abused her.

The woman agreed with Mr Hartnett that she had been examined by doctors on her admission to a psychiatric hospital in July 1986. She said that on that particular occasion she was admitted having had a nervous breakdown.

She again denied that she had been hearing voices and would not accept a suggestion that these voices were in the background directing her how to live her life.

"I was very mentally sick due to the effects the abuse had on my life," she told Mr Hartnett.

She agreed that she was admitted to hospital in 1990 again but denied that she was suffering from paranoid delusions at the time.

"I was obviously suffering from some sort of mental disorder because of the abuse I suffered as a child," she said.

Mr Hartnett suggested to her that despite the fact that she gave a full history to the psychiatrist treating her, which included a psycho-sexual evaluation, it was not until 10 years later that she mentioned the abuse by Fr O Hauallachain.

"I never mentioned sex abuse until later. I was ashamed and I had it in my head that God would punish me if I told anyone," she told the jury.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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