Father William Finnegan is on trial for alleged sexual assault of a teenage girl in England. But that's not the only trouble he's in. The Roman Catholic faith leader has a massive, earth-shattering secret -- one that came out in court as officials were exploring the abuse case this week. He's married.
According to multiple news reports, it was announced to jurors that Finnegan, 59, secretly wedded in 1999. After the woman's previous marriage fell apart, she married the priest and the two told only those close to them about their matrimony.
Finnegan's wife, whom his lawyer, Jeremy Hill-Baker, identified as Beverley Dawson, subsequently testified in court about how the couple are "deeply in love."
Finnegan and Dawson, 48, apparently married when they were abroad. And, as the Daily Mail reports, after the wedding the priest would go home to his wife -- a former parishioner -- every Sunday, returning back to his parish, St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church in Fagley, Bradford, England, each Tuesday.
The secretive wedding and marriage were obviously bombshell admissions, considering that Catholic priests are required to take a vow of celibacy. Thus, it was acknowledged in court that, regardless of the sex assault court outcome, his days as a priest are over.
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The Daily Mail partially transcribed a portion of Hill-Baker's words before the court -- the very statements that brought the secretive marriage to light:
"You may be thinking that he is only human, that Father Bill, as a Catholic priest, has taken a vow of celibacy, condemning himself to a single and lonely life filled with perhaps an underlying sexual frustration because, let’s face it, it is not a natural state for a human to be in.
It would be understandable for you to be thinking, 'Well, perhaps it just got the best of him with that 17-year-old.'
Mr Hill-Baker then dropped the bombshell that Finnegan married Mrs Dawson, a mother of two, in Cyprus in September 1999.
No, you didn’t mishear me. So deeply in love was he that he was prepared to ignore the Catholic Church’s ban on marriage, a secret which has been kept from almost everyone until now."
The allegation against him in court is that he forcibly kissed and inappropriately touched a 17-year-old girl last Easter Sunday. Finnegan denies these accusations. While the girl's family claims he went to the home two days after the alleged incident unfolded and told the young woman he had sexual feelings for her, the priest's story is radically different.
Finnegan maintains that it was the teenager who kissed him and that he forcefully pushed her away and explained that such interaction was not appropriate. His wife testified that he called her later that day and expressed his dismay at the young girl's actions.
A verdict in the case could come today.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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