Pedophile Priest Loved Victim, Court Told

By Lauren Ahwan
The Sunday Mail [Australia]
July 14, 2006,5936,19786065%255E421,00.html

A PEDOPHILE priest was not a sexual predator but honestly believed he was in love with his teenage victim at the time of his offending, a court has heard.

The victim, now an adult, today told the South Australian District Court that former Anglican priest Raymond Frederick Ayles, 61, had destroyed his childhood and devastated his own plans of joining the church.

"I felt trapped in the relationship," he said.

"What person in their right mind asks a minor to send their pubic hair and semen stains in a letter, let alone sends you theirs?

"I still cannot believe someone, let alone my parish priest, wanted to take vows with me at the age of 15.

"It has haunted me for 30-plus years now. You never forget something like this."

Ayles has been convicted of three counts of indecent assault stemming from his relationship with the boy in the early 1970s while he was the priest of an Adelaide parish.

Ayles, who now lives in Cloncurry, Queensland, today said he never intended to hurt the boy.

Through his lawyer Stephen Apps, Ayles told the court he had held genuine feelings for the boy at the time of the offending.

"For him to talk about himself being in love with a boy who was then (aged) 14 or 15 may sound quite pathetic ... but that was the way he saw it," Mr Apps said.

"What he did was wrong, there's no doubt about it.

"But it was something that happened with one person.

"He didn't approach various young men, he didn't have relationships with various young men, he didn't interfere with numbers of young men.

"Insofar as he had this relationship with this one man, he believed he was in love."

Mr Apps said Ayles had been "sexually unaware" after living "the life of a monk" during his religious training.

Ayles, who previously told the court he wanted to marry his victim, was awarded an Order of Australia in 1987 but was stripped of the honour a decade later for an unrelated child sex conviction.

In that case, a jury found he had encouraged two 15-year-old boys to masturbate in front of him during a school camp.

Ayles will be sentenced for the indecent assault convictions next month.


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