Father of two victims gives evidence at Lismore priest trial
IT WAS seeing Father John Casey during a broadcast of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes' funeral in 2014 that prompted a second victim to finally come forward and join his younger brother in making formal allegations of child sexual abuse against the Lismore priest.
The father of the two brothers was in the witness stand at Casey's trial in Lismore District Court yesterday, where he was cross-examined by defence barrister Charles Waterstreet.
Casey is facing 27 charges relating to the historical rape, sexual assault and indecent assault of three young boys in Mallanganee in the 1980s.
All but one charge relates to incidents that allegedly involved the two brothers.
The court heard the third victim, who is the youngest of the three complainants and was between nine and 10 years old when the assaults occurred, told his father in 2005 he was sexually assaulted by Casey as a child.
The following day, January 21, the father rang the Lismore Catholic Diocese about the allegations.
Defence put it to the witness he told the Diocese a catholic priest had raped his sons.
"I don't remember using those terms," the witness said. "I would have been relaying what [my youngest son] had told me.
"If he had described it that way, that's how I would have described it."
When asked how he knew what had happened to both boys after only speaking to one, the witness said he would have been relying on what his youngest son had told him.
The witness said once he found out his older son, the second victim, didn't want to pursue the allegations, he dropped the matter as he thought both brothers needed to stand together.
"My recollection is that [the older brother], in his usual way, did not want to deal with it," he said.
"My belief was, if it went further, whoever was defending John (Casey) would have a field day of the difference between the two boys."
The victims' father said he first met Casey in 1985 while living with his family in Bonalbo.
When asked about his relationship with Casey, the witness said he considered the priest a good enough friend "for me to leave my two boys in his care."
The court heard the witness contacted the Lismore Dioceses again in December 2014 when his older son asked him to 'do something' about the historical sexual assaults after seeing Casey at a broadcast of Phillip Hughes' funeral and being "stirred up" by it.