A teenager and practicing Catholic in the United Kingdom was reportedly tied to a cross and hung from a wall in a campaign of bullying by four of his older, male co-workers.
The victim, 19, also allegedly had religious and phallic symbols drawn on his body with permanent marker, was tied to a chair, had deodorant sprayed towards him and ignited and was violently lifted off the ground by his underpants in various alleged incidents, the BBC reports.
Four men – Andrew Addison, 30, Joseph Rose, 21, Christopher Jackson, 22, and Alex Puchir, 37 – are on trial in York Crown Court in connection with the bullying and are accused of religiously aggravated assault by beating.
According to court proceedings, the incidents occurred while the victim was serving an apprenticeship at the Direct Interior Solutions – a shop-fitting company in Selby, North Yorkshire.
“(I felt) ashamed and distraught. I couldn’t believe it. It hadn’t happened to anyone else,” the victim told the court in video comments of the mock crucifixion.
After he had been tied to the cross, his co-workers hung the cross on a wall about three feet above the ground and filmed the incident, the victim said.
“Afterwards I was thinking they were trying to take the mickey out of my religion. Otherwise why was there a cross made?” he said.
The victim told the court that the incidents started not long after he joined the firm in July 2014. He was a churchgoer and had told his colleagues that he had ignored his phone on one occasion because it had gone off while he was in church.
That kicked off a campaign of bullying from the four men. On one occasion, the victim recalled that he and his colleagues were in London for a refitting job at a hospital when Rose attacked him with a can of deodorant and a cigarette lighter, while Addison was laughing and filming the incident.
In another incident, the teenager was allegedly pelted with eggs and flour by Jackson, Addison and Rose while he was in the shower. Shortly thereafter, the men reportedly struck again while the victim was asleep and drew crosses and phallic symbols all over his body with permanent marker.
The victim described the incident as “humiliating” and said that he felt “stupid” having to go to work covered in the drawings. He told the court that scrubbing the marker off had left his skin red and sore.
The victim explained that he did not report the incidents immediately because he did not want to be fired. He also said he was ashamed to tell anyone what had happened to him and that he was afraid of further retaliation from his colleagues.
Addison and Rose both denied putting a person in fear of violence by harassment and religiously aggravated assault by beating.
Addison also denied a charge of assault by beating. Jackson and Puchir both deny religiously aggravated assault by beating.
The trial is ongoing.