Michael Higginbottom, 76, a former Catholic Priest and teacher at St Joseph’s College, Uphollad, Lancashire, is on trial for sexually abusing two boys in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The Jury at the Burnley Crown Court has heard how Higginbottom, “sexually abused 2 boys regularly, systematically and horrifically.”
Higginbottom denies 5 counts of serious sexual assaults and 7 counts of indecent assault.
The victims were not at the school at the same time and do not know one another but, “their accounts, if true, demonstrate that they had very similar experiences at around the same age in the defendant’s private quarters”, Prosecutor David Temkin told the Court in his opening address.
Both victims say that they were abused in Higginbottom’s living quarters at the boarding school and “were threatened with violence and both were struck with a strap or belt.”
The first complainant, who wanted to become a Priest attended St Joseph’s in the late 1980’s. The Court heard how Higginbottom had “forced himself again and again on the youngster and forced the boy to perform a sexual act on him on regular occasions. He was unable to disclose the abuse until 2013 when he was encouraged to make a report to the Police.
The second complainant who also wanted to be a Priest attended St Josephs in the mid 1980’s. He disclosed to the Police in 2017 that he had been assaulted by Higginbottom on numerous occasions.
Higginbottom at interview denied that he was attracted to men or boys and denied any form of sexual contact with the second complainant. In response to the allegations made by the first complainant he said that they “were all lies.”
The trial continues.
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