NSW priest 'not truthful' in assault trial

NSW priest 'not truthful' in assault trial

A Catholic priest has no memory of any other Sydney swimming carnival other than his first, the one when he allegedly indecently assaulted a student, a jury has heard.

Anthony William Peter Caruana describes the “happy atmosphere” and diving in to cool off quickly having recently started as a year master at Chevalier College in the NSW Southern Highlands in 1982.

Crown prosecutor Nerissa Keay suggested it stood out because he grabbed the genitals of a year-seven boy underwater after calling him over in the pool.

“No,” Caruana said in Sydney's District Court on Thursday, giving evidence for the second day in his trial.

The 79-year-old has pleaded not guilty to 29 historical charges involving 12 complainants, before leaving in 1989 following claims about his conduct towards boys.

He also coached a school rugby team in which a player says he was sexually touched by Caruana as he was being shown how to pack a scrum.

Following another incident where Caruana called the same boy out of his dormitory bed and removed his trousers, his father spoke with the union coach before “unusually” taking his son home from a football game, Ms Keay said.

The former boarding schoolmaster says he has no recollection of the Hunter's Hill sports match but does remember the child returned to school the following week due to “reports” he had seen.

“You are not being truthful,” Ms Keay said.

“I am truthful,” Caruana said.

As bandmaster Caruana told one musician words to the effect of “God will love you if you do what I say” and “you're pleasing a man of God” while holding his hand against his genitals in the instrument's storage room, the court has been told.

But the former conductor repeatedly denied having any conversation of religious nature with the boy, and said he never entered the band storage room.

He also denied holding the child in a headlock telling him “we still have things to learn together, I still have things to teach you,” when he told his teacher he was quitting the band.

The Crown pointed to a questionnaire Caruana filled out a month after he left in 1989, saying he would change “this feeling I have towards young boys,” if he could.

On Wednesday Caruana said he left out that he was referring to his “dreams”, he had for about 30 years since age 18.

“Isn't it the case, by your evidence then, that you were having dreams about fondling young boys in the 1980s when these alleged incidents occurred?” Ms Keay said.

“I wouldn't have a clue when (the dreams) occurred,” Caruana said.

“You were doing the very things you were dreaming about.”

“No.”

The trial continues.

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