A Catholic teenager was tied to a wooden cross by work colleagues, a court has heard. The mock crucifixion was part of a “sustained course of bullying,” a jury at York Crown Court was told.
Four men faces charges of religiously aggravated assault, which they deny, the BBC reports.
As well as being tied to the cross, the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also had crosses and phallic symbols drawn on his face and body, the court heard.
The boy started as an apprenticeship at a shop fitting company in Selby, North Yorkshire, in July 2014, prosecutor Austin Newman told the jury in his opening statement. He subsequently worked alongside the four defendants: company manager Andrew Addison, Joseph Rose, Christopher Jackson and Alex Puchir.
Newman said the boy was subjected to bullying that “went beyond anything that could reasonably be described as banter or high jinx in the workplace.” Newman also told the court that the treatment of the boy was motivated by the fact that he was a practising Catholic.
Addison, 30, Jackson, 22, and Puchir, 37, are accused of staging the mock crucifixion by attaching the boy to a cross, which was then hung from a wall. Rose, 21, is accused of drawing crosses and penises on the boy while he was sleeping. “We say that the cross was indicative of hostility towards the victim based on his religious observance,” Newman said. Rose is also accused of spraying lit aerosol at the boy.
After he was arrested in May 2015, Addison refused to comment on the incidents to police. However, Rose, Jackson and Puchir accepted their involvement but claimed it was “banter” and was not motivated by hostility to the boy’s Catholic faith, the court heard.
Addison and Rose both deny putting a person in fear of violence by harassment and religiously aggravated assault by beating. Addison also denies a charge of assault by beating.
Jackson and Puchir both deny religiously aggravated assault by beating.
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