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Former lay brother accused of molesting young girls

PUBLISHED: 11:38 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 05 October 2010

Liam Roberts catholic priest on indecent assault charges at luton crown court....see words ends

Liam Roberts catholic priest on indecent assault charges at luton crown court....see words ends

SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY/ JOHN O REILLY.

A FORMER lay brother at a religious order in London’s East End has appeared in court for alleged sex attacks on young schoolgirls after telling them, “This is what you do for a man of God.” Liam Roberts, now 80, denies 14 charges of indecent assault on youngsters during the 1960s and 70s at Bethnal Green’s Order at Our Lady of Assumption Priory

A FORMER lay brother at a religious order in London’s East End has appeared in court for alleged sex attacks on young schoolgirls after telling them, “This is what you do for the men of God.”

A woman now aged 48 giving evidence at Luton Crown court yesterday (Wednesday) claimed attacks began when she was nine years old.

“I can’t stress how they put the fear of God in me,” she told the court. “I was terrified of the nuns and priests.

“We were told what we were doing was for the men of God.”

Liam Roberts is accused of assaulting the youngsters during the 1960s and 70s, when he was known as Brother Augustine, at Bethnal Green’s Order at Our Lady of Assumption Priory.

The 80-year-old, now living in Northamptonshire, denies 14 charges of indecent assault and two charges of indecency with a child.

The allegations involved fondling girls and getting them to perform sex acts on him when he was in his 30s and 40s, prosecutor Richard Milne told the court.

Another woman giving evidence yesterday said: “I can’t begin to say how traumatised I was.

“Why I didn’t tell anyone was because I was too scared. It was so well indoctrinated in us that I never said anything.”

One alleged victim who later emigrated to Australia had seen a programme on TV in 2002 about abuse back in Britain by Catholic clergy on youngsters which unsettled her and raised concerns about what had happened to her all those years ago, the prosecution says. She reported it to the Catholic church in Perth who referred the allegation to the UK and a police investigation began.

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