The former priest of St Matthew's Catholic Church in the Short Strand area of Belfast has denied sexually abusing a young female parishioner in the 1980s.
71-year old Peter Donnelly, from Drumaroad Hill in Castlewellan, appeared in the dock of Belfast
Crown Court on Monday, accused of sexually assaulting the girl in the
parochial house of the church over a period spanning from July 1982 to
Donnelly has been charged with six counts of
indecently assaulting the girl, and a further charge of gross indecency
with a child.
The pensioner denies all seven charges against him.
the case against Donnelly, Crown prosecutor Kate McKay told a jury that
the alleged abuse was carried out when the victim was aged around 10,
up until her early teens.
Mrs McKay said the abuse started in
the early 80s, when the priest used to hug her and put his arms around
her, but this "progressed when he started to kiss and touch her
The prosecutor told the court the woman recalled
several incidents of abuse, including an incident which took place in
the bedroom of the parochial house when she was forced to get onto a bed
with the naked priest who then molested her.
She claimed other
incidents took place in the dining room and hallway of the east Belfast
The court heard a complaint was made to the
police in September 2010 and after the alleged victim attended a
specialist PSNI unit established for people who claim to have been
sexually abused, Donnelly was arrested.
He told police he didn't recognise her and "totally denied" sexually abusing her.
The case continues.