Sex Abuse Trial to Examine Church Policy

September 13, 2003

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An American expert on church law will be called to testify in London on the authenticity of a document that orders a veil of secrecy around sexual abuse by priests. Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer and advocate for victims of sexual abuse by priests, will be questioned about the document believed issued by the Vatican in 1962. It outlines steps for maintaining secrecy about what is called the "worst crime" -- homosexuality, sexual activity with young people of either gender or sexual activity with animals.

London lawyer Rob Talach said as far as he can discover it's the first time the document will go before a court in North America.

The document will be used to bolster a legal claim by John, Ed and Guy Swales and their family against the Roman Catholic Diocese of London and Rev. Barry Glendinning.

The Swales seek $7 million for damage caused by sexual abuse by Glendinning when he was a teacher at St. Peter's Seminary in London in the early 1970s.

Earlier, a London psychologist testified Glendinning's abuse of John Swales was equivalent to operating a school for sexual abuse.

Peter Jaffe, an expert on the impact of sexual abuse, said John Swales abused his siblings because he was "schooled" in sexual abuse by Glendinning.

Earlier testimony has shown John Swales abused his siblings after he was repeatedly abused by Glendinning over more than three years.

Ed and Guy Swales also were abused by the priest.

Glendinning was placed on probation for three years in 1974 after pleading guilty to six counts of gross indecency with children.

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