Victims face predator priest in court

Last updated 14:03 16/12/2013

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Victims of Australian serial child predator Father Finian Egan have faced their tormentor in court, with one telling him: "May God have mercy on your soul, because I certainly don't".

Three women abused by the Catholic priest over three decades took the stand in his sentence hearing at the District Court in Sydney on Monday to describe the guilt, shame, pain and fear they have lived with.

One woman, who can't be named for legal reasons, described how she kept the abuse secret for 50 years after initially confiding in a nun who then flogged her, forced her to drink castor oil and made her clean up her own vomit.

To this day, the woman said she is fearful she will go to hell for speaking ill of a priest, so strong is the Catholic faith that was indoctrinated in her as a child.

The trial heard she was a 10-year-old boarder at a girls' home when Egan made her sit on his lap, took off her underwear and sexually assaulted her.

She asked a nun to cut off her hair after Egan described it as "beautiful" and she still hates going to the hairdresser or receiving compliments, she told the court.

"I was a 10-year-old child who needed to be cared for, but instead I was manipulated, abused, punished and humiliated," the woman said through her tears.

Another victim said Egan took away her childhood, her innocence and her trust in people.

"Father Egan took away the chance for me to experience my first kiss with a boy, my first sexual experience," the woman said, adding Egan was like a member of her family who then abused her under her mother's nose.

Egan's third victim told the court she refused to be labelled as such.

"I'm not a victim. I'm a survivor," the woman said.

She told the court her Catholic mother had disowned her and blamed her for not stopping the abuse.

"Still to this day I'm being crucified for what he has done," the woman said.

"I'm here today to lay the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the pedophile sitting in front of you."

The 78-year-old, who was found guilty of rape and seven counts of indecent assault by a jury last month, briefly removed his hearing aid during one of the women's victim impact statements before putting it back in.

The Catholic priest sexually abused the three women when they were aged between 10 and 17 while he worked in various dioceses in Sydney and on the NSW Central Coast in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

The hearing continues before Judge Robyn Tupman.

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- AAP

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