Boy punched priest in head, court hears

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 The Age (Victoria, Australia)

16 August 2013

Adam Cooper

An alleged victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest was told not to return to a boarding school when his parents confronted management, a jury has been told.

The opening day of the trial for David Edwin Rapson heard the boy was 15 when he was allegedly grabbed on the testicles by the priest in his office at Salesian College Rupertswood one day in 1989.

Prosecutor David Cordy said the boy told Mr Rapson to “f… off” and punched him in the head and went home to report the alleged incident to his parents, who then contacted the Sunbury school.

But the boy’s parents were told that the teenager’s behaviour was “inflammatory” and that it would be in the school’s “best interests” for him not to return, the County Court heard.

“So that was the end of that,” Mr Cordy told the jury in his opening address on Friday.

Mr Rapson has pleaded not guilty to eight charges of indecent assault and five counts of rape related to alleged incidents involving eight boys between the mid 1970s and 1990.

One of the complainants alleges he was raped on four separate occasions in 1990.

The court heard Mr Rapson, now 60, was a man in his early 20s when the alleged incidents first took place, and that the eight boys involved were now men ranging in ages from their late 30s to early 50s.

Mr Cordy told the jury Mr Rapson had a tendency to use his authority over the boys and entice them to his office with the invitation to play computer games, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes before abusing them.

The court heard one of the complainants was given acrid-tasting Milo before he was allegedly abused, while another “passed out” and fell asleep after being given a glass of lemonade, before he was allegedly raped.

Defence counsel Shaun Ginsbourg said his client denied the accusations.

Mr Ginsbourg urged the jury to consider the evidence in a calm and clear-headed manner and not to be swayed by any feelings of distress, outrage or disgust.

Mr Cordy also stressed to the jury to carefully consider the evidence, as it was insufficient to assume Mr Rapson was guilty because “things aren’t too good for Catholic priests at the moment”.

The trial, before judge Liz Gaynor, continues.

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