Priest denies abusing boy

Fr Michael Higginbottom

Fr Michael Higginbottom

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A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a young boy nearly 40 years ago has strenuously denied the allegations.

Father Michael Higginbottom told a jury that none of the allegations were true.

He also told Liverpool Crown Court that he did not even remember the alleged victim, who is now aged 52.

The complainant has claimed that while he was a pupil at St Joseph’s College, a seminary for prospective priests, in Upholland, Higginbottom repeatedly seriously sexually assaulted him.

Fr Higginbottom, now aged 74, of West Farm Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, denies eight offences including indecent assault, alleged to have taken place between September 1978 and March 20, 1979.

He also disputed the man’s claims that he used a strap and cane on him as punishment.

He did agree he had used a Vandergraph generator, used to demonstrate electrostatics, and gave pupils a mild electric shock but said it always made them laugh.