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ON-AIR RAGE HITS MARIA; Radio callers blast priest sex attack victim.

THE former topless model who accused a Catholic priest of indecent assault yesterday faced a barrage of criticism on a radio phone-in.

One angry woman caller was put off the air after branding Maria McBride a slut during the debate on Clyde 2.

Mum-of-four Maria, once accused of running a brothel from her flat, has faced a torrent of abuse since boozy Father David Brown was found guilty of assaulting her.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard last week that the incident took place while Maria was working as his housekeeper at St Thomas', Riddrie, Glasgow in 1997.

But it was also said that she had a history of making allegations against men - and medical records revealed her to have a "hysterical and chaotic" personality disorder.

Maria agreed to take part in the debate about priests and celibacy in Dr Michael Kelly's Sunday morning phone- in.

But she was quickly slammed for making the allegations against the priest in a Sunday tabloid - which earned her pounds 12,000 - rather than going to the police.

Maria claimed that Cardinal Thomas Winning, the leader of Scotland's catholics, was to blame for the story becoming public.

She said: "I went to him to complain about Father Brown. He said he would attend to the matter. Instead, he had me sacked.

"The Catholic Church leaders need to open their eyes and admit these things happen, priests have relationships with women and this will continue to go on."

Meanwhile, Fr Brown, who will be sentenced in three weeks time, received a huge boost yesterday when an influential church group came out in support of him.

The Union of Catholic Mothers has declared its full support, not just in the Glasgow diocese but throughout Scotland.

And they are planning to petition Cardinal Winning to do everything in his power to influence the Fr Brown to remain working as a priest in Scotland.

The Cardinal is expected to meet Fr Brown next month, soon after he is sentenced by Sheriff Kenneth Maciver, to discuss the priest's future.

Margaret Quinn of Kings Park, Glasgow, is the current national president of the Union of Catholic Mothers and is also president of the Glasgow branch.

She said: "We will be writing to the Cardinal before he meets Fr Brown to let him know how we feel.

"We will also assure him of our prayers that he and Fr Brown can find a solution for Fr Brown's future, a solution which will also benefit the Catholic Church in Scotland.

"We feel Fr Brown is too good and valuable a priest for Scotland to loose."

Many of the priest's colleagues thought he was foolish to employ an unmarried mother with such a sleazy past as his housekeeper.

But friends say that, if the six foot priest was guilty of anything, it was being naive and acting as a true Christian.

One parishioner said: "He practised the gospel that he preached.

"His crime was he was a Christian and opened his door to a young women struggling to bring up young children on her own.

"If people say he was wrong to do this then it shows just how strong a Christian they are."

In court the 48-year-old priest admitted he was an alcoholic and would have to fight his illness for the rest of his life.
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Author:Cameron, Stuart
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 30, 1999
Words:552
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