Roman Catholic priest, 72, is cleared of raping woman in 1986

Roman Catholic priest, 72, is cleared of raping woman in 1986 after telling jury he kissed and cuddled woman but did not have sex with her

  • John Anthony Clohosey denied rape charge and said interaction was consensual
  • He said he wanted to have sex with the woman but they just kissed and cuddled 
  • Complainant claimed priest left after alleged rape saying: ‘Goodnight, God bless’

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, who presided over churches across north-east England, had denied one charge of rape

A Roman Catholic priest has been cleared of raping a woman in 1986 after telling a jury they kissed and cuddled but didn’t have sex.   

Retired John Anthony Clohosey, 72, who presided over churches across north-east England, denied one charge of rape, and said what happened between him and the woman was consensual.

During the six-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the North Yorkshire man, from Filey, told detectives they kissed and cuddled in her bedroom but did not have intercourse because he was unable to perform.

The complainant had told jurors she was raped by the priest on her bed after he repeatedly asked her for sex, which she refused.

His accuser, who cannot be identified, in recent years had asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle for help to pay a legal bill.

She grew angry when she was turned down, because the Catholic Church had paid out money to victims of sexual abuse, the court heard.

She said in an email to her priest – not the defendant – that she herself had been abused by a serving priest years before, the court heard.

And in 2019 she told police she was raped by Fr Clohosey and claimed that as he left her home, he said: ‘Goodnight, God bless.’

But the jury cleared him after deliberating for around 90 minutes.

Fr Clohosey, born in Kilkenny, Ireland, was one of five brothers who went to an all boys school before going to a seminary and joining the priesthood.

Robin Patton, defending, said the priest, whose last parish was in Crook, County Durham, and who now lives in Filey, North Yorkshire, was not ‘worldly-wise’ about women.

Mr Clohosey, of St Mary’s Priory (pictured), denied the alleged rape throughout the trial

He reminded the jury that the defendant told them that priests do not claim to be perfect, adding: ‘This is what this case is about – weakness.’

Fr Clohosey declined to make a statement after he was cleared.

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