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THE former topless model at the centre of a sex trial involving a Catholic priest has a history of making allegations against men, a court was told yesterday.

Pretty Maria McBride once accused a baby-sitter of sexually abusing her daughter.

She also told police that she had been assaulted by two ex-boyfriends - one of them a police officer.

However, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that no action was taken against any of the men.

Maria, 31, who claims she was sexually harassed by Father David Brown, 48, while she was his housekeeper, was diagnosed by her own psychiatrist as suffering from a "hysterical personality disorder", the court heard.

Defence counsel Margaret Scott told her: "You seem to have quite a pattern of making allegations against people."

Maria claimed the priest had put her through a nightmare in her four years as housekeeper at St Thomas' RC Church in Riddrie, Glasgow.

She said she received a mixed reaction from parishioners when she started work as Father Brown's housekeeper.

She said: "Some people thought I didn't look like a typical housekeeper in stilettos and a stripey suit. I used to say to them 'What do you expect, Nora Batty?' Other people thought I was a breath of fresh air."

Father Brown denies a total of six charges of sexual assault and breach of the peace involving Maria and two other women.

He is accused of placing the mother-of-four in a state of fear and alarm during overnight stays in the priest's chapel house in 1997.

Father Brown is also accused of assaulting Maria by groping her and trying to get into bed with her.

She admitted selling her story to a Sunday tabloid for pounds 12,000 before she even made a complaint to police.

Maria had known Father Brown since she was eight years old and went to work as his housekeeper in 1995.

But their friendship soured when she told him she planned to wed her non-Catholic boyfriend in a register office. She said Father Brown told her that if she did, he would sack her.

She claimed the drunken priest used to cuddle her, sometimes touching her breasts or putting his hands under her clothing.

Maria admitted calling in police and alleging that an ex-boyfriend had assaulted her. She said police were also called in after she alleged that another ex-boyfriend, police officer Alan Gow, had hit her.

Maria said she also went to see her GP at the Govanhill Health Centre, in Glasgow, after suspecting her young daughter had been sexually abused by the babysitter.

She claimed her GP ignored her concerns and told her to go home, calm down and make a cup of tea.

She claimed the doctor later struck her off the practice list and told her to find another doctor.

Maria eventually took her daughter to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, Glasgow, for an examination but an investigation by social services found no conclusive proof of molestation.

Margaret Scott, defending, told her: "You are an extraordinary woman who has repeatedly made false allegations against other people when things haven't been going your way."

She said Maria only made the claim against Father Brown to protect her job when she saw his drinking worsen and expected him to have to leave the parish.

But Maria insisted she was telling the truth and denied she was impulsive and manipulative and went to extremes to get her own way.

Quizzed about her medical background, Maria denied she'd been told she was suffering from a hysterical personality disorder.

Miss Scott said Maria first started going to see a psychiatrist in 1995.

She asked Maria: "Did your GP not tell you that your psychiatrist said you had a hysterical personality disorder and would you be surprised if he described you as a dangerous woman?"

Maria replied: "It was never put to me that I had a problem."

She also denied getting a friend to support her allegations, to pursue a complaint for unfair dismissal after she was sacked in 1997. She said: "She might be my best friend but she wouldn't tell lies for me."

In tears, she added: "I haven't made up anything about Father Brown. All of it is true. He used our friendship and then threw it all at me. If he was a real friend, he wouldn't have done that."
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Author:Hardaker, Paul
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 18, 1999
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