Perth priest on trial over beach shack abuse

At his trial in Perth yesterday, Fr Richard Doyle denied abusing a seven-year-old girl at a beach shack more than 20 years ago.

The West Australian reports that a 31-year-old woman broke down in tears yesterday as she told a District Court jury how a Catholic priest sexually abused her at his holiday home in Moore River more than 20 years ago.

With a public gallery of about 50 people including Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey watching, the woman said Fr Richard Joseph Doyle invited her family to holiday at his two-bedroom "beach shack" when she was seven years old.

She said that while her parents were asleep early one morning in one bedroom, Fr Doyle asked her to come into his bed in the home's other bedroom to scratch his back and then put his hand inside her underpants and placed her hand on his penis.

Fr Doyle has pleaded not guilty to two charges of indecently dealing with the woman, who cannot be named, in 1983 or 1984 when he was associated with the Willetton parish.

The woman said her family stayed at Fr Doyle's home several times but he had abused her only once.

Fr Doyle told the court yesterday that there was an incident at his holiday home but claimed that he did not invite her into his bed and denied putting his hand inside her underpants or placing her hand on his penis.

Fr Doyle said that when he woke early one morning, the girl was on top of him in his bed, giving him an affectionate kiss on the lips.

He admitted writing a letter to the girl's father in 1993 suggesting the girl receive some financial compensation. The trial is due to conclude today.

Priest 'asked me into his bedroom' (The West Australian, 25/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Barry Hickey (Wikipedia)

25 Jul 2007