Former Norwich Catholic priest denies sexually abusing boys

Father Tony McSweeney Father Tony McSweeney

Staff Reporter
Friday, December 20, 2013
9:32 AM

A former Norwich Catholic priest and a former children’s home manager denied sexually abusing a string of boys more than 30 years ago.

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Father Tony McSweeney, 66, and wheelchair-bound John Stingemore, 71, are accused of molesting lads at the now closed Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London.

McSweeney - who officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxing legend Frank Bruno and his ex-wife, Laura - was a trainee priest at the time of the alleged attacks.

The once part-time chaplain at Norwich City FC, was leading the congregation at St George’s Church in north Norwich when the claims against him emerged.

Both pensioners are accused of targeting children while Stingemore was in charge of the council-run home between February 1980 and July 1981. The allegations relate to six victims aged 15 and under.

McSweeney, wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie, struggled into the dock using a walking stick.

He spoke only to confirm his name and deny taking an indecent photograph of a child and two counts of indecent assault on a male person in the 80s.

McSweeney also denied three counts of making indecent photographs of a child and a further count of possessing indecent images which were allegedly found on a Dell laptop in January and February this year.

Stingemore, bearded and wearing a navy coat and grey trousers, was permitted to sit outside the dock due to his disability.

He sat with his head bowed sharply forward as he denied five counts of indecent assault on male person, indecency with a child and taking an indecent photograph of a child.

McSweeney, of Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, and Stingemore, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex are due to stand trial next year.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks. No date has been fixed but it will not start before June.

Fr McSweeney, who has been a priest for 29 years, was appointed a director at Notre Dame High School in April last year but resigned after his arrest and moved to West Sussex.

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