A catholic priest who served in Seaham and Jarrow cleared of raping woman

A catholic priest accused of raping a woman in her home before wishing her her "Good night, God bless" has been cleared.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:31 pm
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

John Clohosey, now 72, was on trial for attacking the complainant after his request for sex was refused.

The woman had remained silent for several decades about what she claimed, until she was refused a loan from the church diocese and reported what she said that Fr Clohosey had done to her.

Father Clohosey, who went on to be the priest at churches in Seaham, Jarrow, Newcastle, Gateshead, and Crook, County Durham, denied rape.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court jurors found him not guilty of raping the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The court heard the victim reported Fr Clohosey after she asked the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle by email if she could borrow money to settle an outstanding bill in 2019 and her request was refused by the church finance office as it did not meet "charitable objectives".

In a follow up email the woman said "devastated would be an understatement" of how she felt about the rejection and added: "It seems paying off victims of priests' abuse does come under its objectives but helping families in times of dire need does not."I too was abused at the hands of a Catholic priest many, many years ago.

"I chose not to speak out because of shame and my respect for the Catholic church.

"They have now shown me they didn't deserve my respect."

The court heard the priest who received the email reported what the woman had said to the church safeguarding department and the police became involved.

Prosecutor Shaun Dodds told the court the woman said she had known Fr Clohosey when he was involved at a church but he moved on to another parish.

She said after the move, Fr Clohosey sent her a letter asking if he could visit her and she agreed, although thought it was unusual.

The woman claimed Fr Clohosey raped her during the visit.

Fr Clohosey was interviewed by the police in September 2019 and denied rape.

Mr Dodds said: "He stated he did visit (the woman) and asked her for sex.

"He said she said no five or six times but then had agreed to have sex with him.

"He said they had gone into her bedroom where they kissed and cuddled but they didn't have sexual intercourse."

The court heard the woman claimed she said "no, I want you to go" during the attack.

She said when Fr Clohosey left the house he told her: "Goodnight, God bless".

During the trial, Fr Clohosey, of King Street, Muston, Filey, North Yorkshire, said the purpose of his visit to the woman's home was "friendship I suppose, and to see if she would like to make love".

When asked how that reconciled with his vow of celibacy he explained: "Human failings... we never claim to be perfect."

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

You can subscribe to this website and enjoy unlimited access to local news, information and puzzles online. With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Simply click ‘Subscribe’ in the menu.