Former Norfolk Catholic priest Father Anthony McSweeney ‘abused boy and took photos’, court hears
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
A man has told a court that he was sexually abused at a care home by a Roman Catholic priest who then took photographs of him.
The alleged victim, now in his 40s, was under 16 when he was at Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London, during the 1980s.
On the second day of Father Anthony McSweeney’s trial at Southwark Crown Court, the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the jury how the priest performed a sex act on him and then took out a camera, before warning him not to tell anyone what had happened.
The alleged victim said: “When I called an end to it he did mention that it’s not to be broadcast, I weren’t to tell anyone.”
He said the incident took place in a flat at Grafton Close belonging to John Stingemore.
The jury of seven men and five women has been told that he abused boys during his time as the home’s manager.
He was due to appear in the dock alongside McSweeney until he was found dead in his home last month.
When the man who claimed he was abused by McSweeney in Stingemore’s flat was asked why he did not tell anyone at the time what had happened, he replied: “Who would I tell? There was no one else other than the staff. It would only get reported to Stingemore.
“I felt a bit ashamed as well.”
In cross-examination, Stephen Spence, defending, put it to the man that he was not telling the truth.
He said: “You’ve made this up, haven’t you?”
The man replied: “No, absolutely not.”
McSweeney, 68, of Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, denies four counts of indecent assault, three of making indecent images of a child and one of taking indecent images of a child.
The once part-time chaplain at Norwich City FC was leading the congregation at St George’s Church in north Norwich when the claims against him emerged.
The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, was adjourned until 10am tomorrow.
Operation Fernbridge: Norfolk priest Tony McSweeney arrested
7 February 2013 Last updated at 09:50 ET
From the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21349730
A Catholic priest has been arrested in connection with alleged child abuse at a London guest house during the early 1980s, his diocese has said.
Operation Fernbridge is looking at claims that senior political figures and others sexually abused boys at the Elm Guest House in Barnes.
The Diocese of East Anglia said one of those arrested is 66-year-old priest Tony McSweeney, from Norfolk.
The other is a 70-year-old man who was arrested in East Sussex.
The Metropolitan Police said both men have been released on bail pending further inquiries until April.
Scotland Yard said the allegations were not connected with current residents of the former guest house, which has been converted into residential flats.
It is also investigating links between the guest house and the nearby former Grafton Close children’s care-home run that was by Richmond Council.
The 70-year-old arrested man, from St Leonards-On-Sea, is understood to be John Stingemore, who used to help run Grafton Close, which closed some years ago.
BBC News home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the police investigation centred on claims that the guest house was used by people to abuse boys from the home.
The allegations were investigated at the time but resurfaced in October after Labour MP Tom Watson raised the case in Parliament and called for further inquiries.
Mr Watson had been passed information by journalists working for the investigative news website Exaro.
Commander Peter Spindler, head of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime investigations unit, said the “complex multi-agency investigation” was supported by the NSPCC charity, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and Richmond Social Services.
He said anyone affected by, or with information about, activity in the early 1980s at the guest house or care home should contact the NSPCC or police.
Fr Mark Hackeson, of the Diocese of East Anglia, said: “The church diocese takes safeguarding of children very seriously and so we will be co-operating fully in any way with the police investigation.”
In a statement, Richmond Council said it considered “the safeguarding of all children and young people as an utmost priority and we take any allegations of abuse very seriously”.
A spokesman added: “We are offering our full support and co-operation to the police during their investigation. As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
The Notre Dame High School in Norwich said Fr McSweeney had voluntarily resigned from its governing body and had no further involvement with the school.
A spokesman said: “It must be stressed that no former or current student or member of staff at Notre Dame High School is involved in this investigation [into events] which allegedly took place in London during the 1970s and 80s.”
The NSPCC said its helpline number 0808 800 5000 was staffed by trained counsellors 24 hours a day. People with information could also use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org to contact them.
NSPCC helpline director Peter Watt said: “We will assist the police in gathering evidence and supporting those who come forward.”
Priest charged with child sex abuse
22 July 2013 Last updated at 16:47 ET
From the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23411788
A Catholic priest and a former manager of a children’s home have been charged over allegations of child sex abuse in the 1980s.
Father Tony McSweeney, 66, of Norfolk, and John Stingemore, 71, of St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex, were arrested in February.
The charges relate to alleged abuse of children from Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London.
They will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 4 September.
Father McSweeney was charged with three counts of indecent assault, three of making indecent images of a child, one count of taking indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child, the Metropolitan Police said.
Mr Stingemore was charged with eight counts of indecent assault, two of taking indecent images of a child and one charge relating to conspiring with others to commit a serious sexual offence, the police force added.
The charges relate to seven victims, all of whom were aged between nine and 15 when the offences are alleged to have taken place during the 1970s and 1980s.