Abuse victim ‘made to feel like a liar’ after abuser aquitted in previous trials

A man who was sexually abused by a former Catholic priest when he was a teenager said he was left feeling powerless after his abuser was acquitted following two trials.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he “felt like a liar” when he initially went to give evidence against abuser Philip Temple (pictured) – a member of a “trusted institution” – who was eventually jailed for abuse against 13 victims at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday.

He said his abuser was a “shoulder to lean on” when he was being bullied at school during the 1990s.

Temple, of no fixed abode, admitted 27 counts of non-recent sexual assault and two counts of perjury, and was sentenced to 12 years in jail extended for one year on licence.

Addressing the court on Wednesday, Temple’s victim said: “When the trials took place, I knew I was telling the truth. I knew I was not lying.

“However, to have trusted institutions such as the church and the legal system allow lawyers to try and discredit me – to seed doubt of my character into the jury about how trustworthy I was – has stayed with me and led to a deep rooted mistrust of myself.

“Intellectually, I knew I was telling the truth and that the legal system has to work the way that it does. But emotionally, I felt like a liar, like I was the one to blame, the one not to trust and the one who was responsible.”

He added: “The effects of the perjury in particular were what fully undermined my confidence in myself and who I am as a person.

“The perjury taught me that doing the right thing is not rewarded. That playing by the rules is futile. That being sensitive is weak. That trusting in someone, in anything, will only lead to disappointment or worse.

“It taught me that if you have influence, money and power, you can buy lawyers to protect your interests at the expense of what is right.

“I had none of those things. This taught me that in this world, I was nothing.

“The perjury and the resulting not guilty verdict damaged my faith in the legal system to protect the innocent and deliver justice.

“It left me and the legal system powerless to do anything about a man who I knew to be a danger,” he added.

Judge Christopher Hehir apologised to the victim, saying Temple had, through his previous perjury, branded “a truthful young man a liar”, but that the acquittal could not be set aside because of the nature of the offence.

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