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Wife in gay row accuses priest of assault; Elderly cleric facing charge.

THE CATHOLIC Church is to be rocked by another court case after allegations that a priest punched a woman.

The elderly cleric is said to have assaulted the farmer's wife when she accused him of spreading gossip about her.

The woman, a mother of one, is expected to tell a court next month that she went to see the clergyman after discovering his young curate in bed with her husband.

The incident is the talk of a sleepy Irish village.

Since the scandal emerged she has fled the parish and the curate is now working in a neigbouring county.

Garda sources believe her husband's gay affair had been going on for some months before his wife arrived home unexpectedly and caught the men together.

The woman is believed to have been totally unaware of her husband's gay tendencies.

A friend of the couple said: "This is a terrible thing to happen to anyone.

"On top of the shock she also had to contend with the fact that her husband's lover had been their priest. She had welcomed him into their home and she trusted him.

"To come home and find your husband in bed with another woman is one thing, but to find him in bed with a man is another matter altogether.

"She was in a bad way after it. It has been very difficult because it is the same here as in other small towns - everyone knows your business.

"She couldn't take the embarrassment so she moved away."

The woman is now separated from her husband who is still living on the family farm.

But the scandal is set to be exposed in open court after a bust-up with the curate's superior.

The alleged assault happened at the church house after the woman confronted him about spreading rumours about her.

A Garda source said: "She complained to us that this priest had hit her in the face after she called in to tell him to stop spreading rumours about her.

"She claims he was going around telling people that she was sleeping with all sorts of men.

"She said she went over to the house and as they argued he punched her in the face.

"We have since summonsed the priest and he is due up in court to face the charges.

"Obviously the whole thing is connected. It appears that for whatever reason the priest blames this woman for what happened with her husband and the curate."

welcomed him into their home and she trusted him.

"To come home and find your husband in bed with another woman is one thing, but to find him in bed with a man is an- other matter altogether.

The woman is now separated from her husband who is still living on the family farm.

But the scandal is set to be exposed in open court after a bust-up with the curate's superior.

The alleged assault happened at the church house after the woman confronted him about spreading rumours about her.

A Garda source said: "She complained to us that this priest had hit her in the face after she called in to tell him to stop spreading rumours about her.

"She claims he was going around telling people that she was sleeping with all sorts of men.

"She said she went over to the house and as they argued he punched her in the face."

"We have since summonsed the priest and he is due up in court.

"It appears that for whatever reason the priest blames this woman for what happened with her husband and the curate."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 1, 1999
Words:598
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