Woman says nun on trial for abuse was her favourite teacher
A woman has told a court that a nun, who had started to indecently assault her when she was seven years old, had been her favourite teacher.
“I loved her,” the witness told Sligo Circuit Court as Sr Mary Theresa Grogan listened from the public gallery.
The woman in her 30s, one of seven complainants who has made allegations against Sr Grogan, said the nun used to tell the other children in the classroom to “teigh a chodladh”(go to sleep)while she assaulted her up at the desk.
The witness said Sr Grogan was the only teacher who did not slap the children. She wept as she said that she had made her feel special.
“She called me her pet.”
The complainant showed the jury how the nun would beckon her up to the desk to correct her homework while the other girls in third class would have their heads in their arms on top of their desks after being told to go to sleep.
Sr Grogan, a member of the Mercy Order, has denied 63 counts of indecent assault against seven girls who were then in third class at a school in the midlands. The offences are alleged to have taken place in the 1970s.
The witness said she would stand to the left of the desk to have her homework corrected. “She would whisper in my ear and tell me how good I was.” She said the nun would have her right hand on the desk correcting homework and would put her left hand inside her underwear.
She said she was still seven when went into third class. The assaults started after about a month. It happened regularly, “definitely twice a week”, and continued until she went into fourth class. Asked how she felt, she said it made her feel good. “I think it was just the attention”.
She made a statement to gardaí in January, 2006. Her children were starting school and she wanted to make sure there were no nuns in the school. “I wanted her named and shamed,” she said.
Cross-examined by Geraldine Biggs SC, she was asked why she had not told all the details of the assaults to a nun from the Mercy Order who had interviewed her about the allegations. She said it would be hard to use the word “vagina” when talking to a nun.
The trial continues today.