Priest had sexual 'fondness' for boys, court told

By Sam McKeith

THE "driving force" for a Lismore Catholic priest's alleged abuse of two boys in northern NSW was a sexual predilection for pubescent boys, a court has been told.

John Patrick Casey, 70, is on trial in the NSW District Court facing six charges related to the alleged abuse of the two boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in the state's north in the 1980s.

The Lismore Diocese priest is accused of having one of the boys perform oral sex on him, masturbating in his presence and putting the boy's penis in his mouth. He is alleged to have inserted his finger in the other boy's anus.

The offences against the boys are alleged to have occurred while they were staying with Mr Casey at the Mallanganee presbytery in the mid 1980s.

Mr Casey, who was ordained as a priest in February 1974, denies all the charges.

In his closing address on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor Matthew Breeze said there was an "abundance of evidence" Mr Casey was sexually interested in boys.

"He had a predilection, or a fondness, or a liking for pubescent boys," Mr Breeze said.

"That was the driving force, that's what made him commit the offences."

The court heard that on a family car trip, one of the alleged victims "screamed out" that Mr Casey had assaulted him many years after the alleged abuse.

"His parents had no idea what he had been through," Mr Breeze said.

Mr Breeze described the evidence of one of the alleged victims, against whom most of the abuse is alleged to have occurred, as "strong and powerful", calling him an honest, reliable and credible witness who "was telling the truth".

"You can believe his evidence," Mr Breeze told the court.

He urged the jury to consider as "tendency evidence" testimony from a witness who claimed he too was assaulted by Mr Casey as a boy, in the late 1970s.

In that instance, Mr Casey allegedly pulled down the pants of the boy then masturbated him on a mattress at an isolated Queensland beach house.

Mr Breeze said the jury should not be swayed by a likely defence claim that one of the complainants was "mixing up" the alleged abuse by Mr Casey with other assaults suffered in childhood.

"It's simply not possible for [the victim] to be confused about who abused him," Mr Breeze said.

The court had previously been told that before starting work at Mallanganee in the 1980s Mr Casey was a priest at Casino, Lismore, Townsville, Coffs Harbour/Sawtell and Kempsey.

The trial continues before Judge Sarah Huggett.



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