BY ED WEST
A FORMER lawyer is seeking £5m damages against the Jesuits for allegedly allowing a priest to sexually abuse him while he was at school.
Patrick Raggett, 50, claims that French and PE teacher Fr Michael Spencer abused him as a boy while school authorities and staff turned a blind eye.
He told the High Court that he only linked the alleged abuse with his wrecked life after a breakdown in 2005, which followed a failed marriage, drug abuse and drinking.
The Jesuit school was shut in 1978 and Fr Spencer died in 2001, aged 76, but Mr Raggett claims at least one other priest witnessed the abuse.
Mr Raggett, who waived his right to anonymity, is seeking the largest amount of damages for sex abuse in British history, the previous record being £600,000. The case, against the school governors and the Society of Jesus Trust, could open a floodgate to other claims.
The order’s insurers deny liability, and the case could be thrown out because the allegations are “out of time”.
His barrister is expected to argue that he missed out on 12 years of partnership earnings estimated at £400,000 a year.
A spokesman for the British province of Jesuits said the Society took “any allegation of this nature extremely seriously” and had sought to “assist positively with inquiries” since the claim was made in 2006.