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Former priest wins damages from Church over childhood abuse

The Court of Session in Edinburgh has awarded an ex-priest £455’000 of damages after he was abused by his spiritual director at a junior seminary in the 1970s.

The man, who can not be named, went on to be a priest for several decades but ultimately sought laicization, citing the trauma of the abuse that occurred when he was between 14 and 16 years old.  

He sued the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland for £2.25m.

The Bishops admitted the abuse occurred and accepted liability for any loss or damage caused by the abuse.

Lord Clark, who heard the case, said the man involved had carried out his role as a priest in an effective and well-respected manner.

“However, as a teenager in secondary education working towards being a priest he had been subjected to vile sexual abuse by his spiritual director. This trauma has tormented him for many years,” he said. “As a perhaps obvious consequence, remaining in his role as a priest became burdened with intolerable difficulties. The loss he sustained and continues to suffer can never adequately be addressed by an award of damages.” 

Damages of £445,000 were awarded to the man for the loss that arose from leaving his role as a priest and for pain and suffering.

The spiritual director who carried out the abuse was convicted and sentenced for separate offences in the mid-1990s.

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