Undertaker accused of child abuse admits indecently assaulting police officer while he was training to be a monk

Gerald Martin.

Gerald Martin.

An undertaker accused of sexually abusing young boys in public toilets has a conviction for indecently assaulting a police officer in a public toilet.

Gerald Martin was fined by magistrates in 1974 while he was a member of the Society of the Sacred Mission monastic order, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Judge Simon Phillips QC allowed the previous conviction to be put before the jury in Martin’s trial after he told the court earlier he had no homosexual encounters while he was with the monastic order between 1971 and 1974.

Peter Makepeace QC, prosecuting, told the jury the offence took place when Martin touched the plain clothes officer’s private parts over his clothing.

Martin said: “I was working in a nursing home for the terminally ill in Sheffield.

“I was not in my monk’s habit, I was in civilian clothes. It was a five-mile walk from the home to the priory where we were staying. I went into those toilets to spend a penny, as I was walking out I was bashed and banged by the police officer, that is the God’s honest truth.

“They took me to the police station, charged me and I pleaded guilty.”

Jamie Hill QC, defending, asked Martin why he pleaded guilty.

“It was the 1970s,” said Martin. “No disrespect to the police, but no one would have believed me, there were no witnesses, no one else was in the toilet. The person who hit me will know he’s done wrong. I just wanted it out of the way, it was one of the reasons I left the order, I’d let them down and felt terrible about it.”

Cross-examining Martin, Mr Makepeace pointed out a series of inconsistencies in Martin’s police statements, including claims he had not had sexual activity with anyone in a public toilet.

“These were lies, weren’t they?” asked Mr Makepeace.

Martin replied: “That was not a lie, it was just untrue.

“I am now telling the truth, members of the jury, I’ve had no sexual activity with anyone under-age.

“Yes, I admit to adult relationships, but not children.”

Martin, 66, of Valley Close, Hartlepool, denies 14 charges.