A former Catholic archbishop has denied a suggestion by lawyers for RTÉ the reason a woman was deeply troubled and “skewed” in her relationships was because he had sexually exploited her when she was “a vulnerable child”.
Co Tipperary-born Richard Burke, aged 66, said in the High Court he had not had any sexual encounter with Dolores Atwood until 1989 when she was aged 20 years and he was 40.
When they first had sex, she was very sexually experienced and his interaction with her could not have warped her later relationships, he said.
When she was aged in her 30s, she told him uninvited and in detail about her sexual experience, he claimed.
Mr Burke agreed he had other sexual encounters while he was a cleric, including with a married Nigerian mother-of-eight. He also said he had “embraced” and “improperly touched”, but had not had sex with, a sister of Ms Atwood.
Mr Burke, a member of the Kiltegan Fathers who served as a priest, and later as bishop and archbishop in Nigeria after being ordained in 1975, remains under continuing cross-examination in his action against RTÉ.