A Catholic nun has been charged with the “systematic” abuse of seven schoolgirls in the 1970s. Sister Mary Teresa Grogan has denied the 63 counts of indecent assault put to her.

It is alleged that these crimes took place while she was teaching in a primary school (middle school) in the midlands of Ireland from 1973 to 1977. All of her victims were the same age, in third class, approximately nine-years-old.

One complainant told the court that the nun would call her to her desk and put her hand inside her underwear.

The lawyer for the prosecution, Aileen Donnelly SC, said that during the trial the other complainants would be giving evidence to the court of “highly similar” but not identical assaults, the Irish Times reports.

Many of the victims attended the trial on Tuesday at the Sligo Circuit Court.

RTE reports that Grogan has spent time in the missions in Africa but returned a number of years ago when one of the alleged victims made a complaint to the police and an investigation into her behavior began.

Grogan (62) pleaded “not guilty” 63 times for each of the charges.

The trial before Judge Donagh McDonagh is expected to continue for two to three weeks.