Accused priest denies child sex claims at trial

By Sam McKeith

A LISMORE Diocese Catholic priest has denied sexually abusing two boys in northern NSW in the 1980s at a jury trial in Sydney.

John Patrick Casey, 70, is on trial in the NSW District Court facing six charges related to the alleged abuse of two boys in the state's north in the 1980s.

After his arrest in 2015, Mr Casey, who was ordained as a priest in February 1974 and also worked as a police chaplain, was immediately stood down as parish priest for Sawtell.

In his second day of giving evidence at the trial on Thursday, Mr Casey admitted that the boys stayed with him at the Mallanganee presbytery in the mid 1980s, but denied any abuse ever took place there.

He rejected claims he had one of the boys perform oral sex on him, masturbated in the boy's presence, put the boy's penis in his mouth, or suggested that the alleged victim's dad "messed" with him.

"Do you say that these (offences) didn't occur," Mr Casey's barrister, Ian McLachlan, put to him.

"That's correct," Mr Casey replied.

Mr Casey also denied "inserting a finger" in the anus of the other alleged victim when he was taking a shower or that he winked at him when he was getting picked up from Mr Casey's residence the following day.

"I'm not a winker," Mr Casey told the court.

Mr Casey's evidence in chief also included a denial that he "pulled down the pants" then masturbated another boy while working as a priest in Queensland.

Earlier, Mr Casey said that although he appeared calm in his police interview after being arrested in July 2015 there was a "war going on" inside him.

"I was confused, I felt under duress," he told the court.

The court also heard Mr Casey worked as a priest in the navy for five years, including on a trip to Kuwait, where his duties included making videos of the sailors he would send back to navy headquarters.

The trial had previously been told that before working at Mallanganee in the 1980s Mr Casey was a priest at Casino, Lismore, Townsville, Coffs Harbour and Kempsey.

On Wednesday, he was described by a character witness as a "very good role model" and a "friendly and engaging" person.

The trial continues before Judge Sarah Huggett. -NewsRegional

News Corp Australia

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