July 01, 2005

Victim of priest's abuse wins record sum

The Guardian

Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Friday July 1, 2005
The Guardian

The Catholic church was warned by lawyers last night that it is likely to face further claims for compensation for the prolonged sexual abuse of children carried out by one of its priests after a victim was awarded a record 635,000 in damages by the high court.

The figure, awarded to a 35-year-old man who was abused over a 10-year period by the priest, Father Christopher Clonan, is the largest settlement the church has conceded in this country and is the first claim to have been decided at a court hearing.

The man, known as A, was abused between the ages of seven and 18, from 1977 to 1988, while Clonan was a parishioner at the Christ the King church in Coventry. The court was told that the victim now suffers from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder and has lived for the past five years in a mental health home.

Mr Justice Clarke, hearing the case in Manchester, said: "A told no one of the abuse until 1992. Thereafter his life fell apart. He has never been the same again and has never regained the same enthusiasm for life that he once had. The revelation of the abuse had severe consequences for his family ... [Clonan] was trusted and admired. The abuse was the grossest breach of the trust that A and his family placed in him."

Posted by kshaw at July 1, 2005 07:29 AM