Priest fled UK out of ‘cowardice’ after sexual assault charges
Nov 21 2017
A Roman Catholic priest fled the country out of “cowardice and stupidity” after being accused of abusing young boys, a court has heard.
Laurence Soper, 74, is charged with 19 counts of sexual assault against boys at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, where he taught.
Mr Soper was returned to the UK in May 2016 from after a five-year police hunt in Kosovo, the Old Bailey heard.
Ten former pupils have made allegations dating back to the 1970s and 80s.
The boys allege they were subjected to rape, sexual touching and beaten with a cane.
Mr Soper was arrested in 2010 and bailed, but failed to return to a London police station in March 2011.
A European Arrest Warrant was issued for him in 2012.
Mr Soper – who is no longer a monk but remains a priest – said his whole life had been “ruined” by the allegations.
He insisted he did not flee to Kosovo because he was guilty.
He said: “My stupidity and cowardice and wishing to bury my head in the sand played a big part.
“If you want to destroy a priest, vicar, anybody, all you have to do is make an accusation up against them.
“Their future is ruined, their character is ruined.”
Mr Soper said he had been beaten with a cane several times when he too was a pupil at St Benedict’s in the 1950s.
It was “not totally uncommon” to hear of boys being caned with “clothes off”, he added.
Mr Soper told jurors, he had caned boys as a teacher but felt “totally different” about the practice now.
He denies all the charges against him, including indecent assault and indecency with a child.
The trial continues.
Why is the Charles Howeson trial getting media coverage, but not the Laurence Soper trial?
CASES OF INTEREST AT THE OLD BAILEY ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 17
Court 7 at 10am Trial Continues in the case of Andrew Soper, a Catholic priest, who has denied sexually abusing 10 boys at a west London school in the 1970s and 80s.
Witness number 24 continues
Priests were ‘part of a paedophile network’
19 Oct 2017
A child abuse victim claims a paedophile ring was operating at a Roman Catholic school where a former monk allegedly sexually assaulted schoolboys, a court heard. St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London, has covered up ‘serial abuse’ by teachers and priests over the past six decades, according to one of Father Andrew Soper’s former pupils. Soper, 74, a former abbot of Ealing Abbey in west London, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of a string of sex…
Andrew Soper trial: Alleged child abuse victim claims paedophile ring operated from Ealing Catholic school
The former pupil of Father Andrew Soper accused St Benedict’s School of covering up “serial abuse”
19 OCT 2017
On Thursday (October 19), a former pupil of Father Andrew Soper accused St Benedict’s school of covering up “serial abuse” by teachers and priests over the past six decades.
Soper, a 74-year-old former abbott of Ealing Abbey, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of a string of sex offences – including buggery and indecent assault against 10 schoolboys.
Prosecutors claim sexual abuse and violence against children was widespread at the Roman Catholic school from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Jurors heard Father David Pearce, a former headmaster at the school, and John Maestri, a former maths teacher, have previously been prosecuted for child abuse there.
The court heard from one complainant, who accused Soper of indecently assaulting him twice, who said he believes Maestri ran a paedophile ring at the school.
‘The Benedictine Order should answer for the serial abuse’
The complainant replied: “I believe that the Benedictine Order should answer for the serial abuse that has gone on in its educational establishments for the last few decades.
An investigation into one of the worst scandals to afflict the Catholic Church in Britain is set to be dropped from the public inquiry into child abuse.
Next week lawyers for Alexis Jay, chairwoman of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), will propose that no evidence be called about decades of abuse of pupils at Ealing Abbey and its adjoining independent school, St Benedict’s.
Victims were furious and accused Professor Jay of backtracking on her previous promise not to reduce the scope of the inquiry. They said the move undermined the credibility of the inquiry, which has lost three chairwomen, cost more than £20 million and shown little tangible progress since it was set up by Theresa May in 2014.
More on Ealing Abbey here
Andrew studied Modern Languages at Bristol University, having attended Skinners School in Tunbridge Wells.
He started his teaching career at Douai School (where csa was covered-up) near Reading before moving to Winchester College, (where csa – John Smyth Qc – was covered-up) where he was Head of Modern Languages.
Andrew joined Birkdale School (Pervert teacher smacked boys admitting it had satisfied his “perverted instincts”.)
in Sheffield in September 2002 as Deputy Head before being appointed as Headmaster of Stonyhurst College (where csa was rife) in September 2006.
Several former priests and teachers at the Jesuit-run Stonyhurst College in the Ribble Valley were investigated over sex abuse allegations in the late 90s
Father James Chaning-Pearce, who taught maths and physics there, was convicted of molesting four boys and jailed for five years in 1997.
And Father John James Pearson was later jailed for two years after admitting to more than 20 indecency charges at Preston Crown Court, also relating to Stonyhurst.
Fr “Jock”George Earle, accused of abuse as Headmaster of Stonyhurst, yet he went on to lead the Jesuits’ British Province…
Update on Soper court case:
Monday, 19 September 2016
Soper formrly of
@stbenedicts to appear @ Isleworth Crown Court on 19 Sept on charges of indecent assault + buggery
In court he gave his name as Andrew Charles Kingston Soper – with Laurence being the name he took when he was ordained as a priest.
Fugitive Catholic monk Laurence Soper is flown back to Britain after a five-year manhunt and charged with abusing five boys as young as 14
Met Police arrested him at Luton airport last night and then charged him.
Soper, who was detained under a European Arrest Warrant in Kosovo in May, will appear at Ealing Magistrates’ Court today.
British priest wanted on child sex charges should not be extradited – Kosovo court
A former priest wanted on child sex abuse charges from the 1970s and 1980s should not be extradited to Britain because the crimes were committed too long ago, a court in Kosovo ruled on Monday.
Soper will remain in custody and the prosecutor has three days to appeal the ruling, she said.
This is the second time authorities in Kosovo have rejected the extradition request. In June, a court in Pristina rejected the request, seeking more documents from British authorities.
1 July 2016
A judge in Kosovo has blocked the extradition to Britain of former abbot of St Benedict’s Laurence Soper accused of child abuse.
In 2010, Laurence Soper was arrested and questioned in Italy, where he was living at the time, after an alleged victim approached police claiming he had abused him.
When British police summoned him again for questioning in 2011 he did not return, sparking what became a five-year Europe-wide manhunt before he was eventually found and arrested in the Kosovan city of Peja earlier this year.
Wanted monk Soper had travelled to Balkans freely
A runaway former abbot arrested in Kosovo over child sex offences had been travelling freely around the Balkans on his British passport, his landlord said last night.
Laurence Soper, a senior Roman Catholic cleric, had travelled to Macedonia and Albania despite jumping police bail and evading a European arrest warrant, it was claimed.
Soper lived in Kosovo for years under the name Andre Insajderit. Soper has also used the name Andrew Charles.
CPS appeals as monk accused of child abuse remains in Kosovo
4 June 2016
The Goddard Inquiry (also known as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) has issued a call for applications for “core participant” status in its investigation into abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. The inquiry website states:
“The first case study will examine the English Benedictine Congregation which has been the subject of numerous allegations of child sexual abuse, including at schools run by the Congregation. The Inquiry will examine the relationship between Orders such as the Benedictines and the Catholic Church in England and Wales and consider how that relationship impacts on child protection. In this way the Inquiry will evaluate whether any failings identified within the English Benedictine Congregation, and within any other case studies identified as part of the investigation, are representative of wider failings within the Catholic Church.”
Laurence Soper is the former abbot of Ealing Abbey. He taught at St Benedict’s (where Chris Patten is patron) for 12 years
The Metropolitan police had sought to bring back Laurence Soper, a senior cleric in the Roman Catholic Church, when he was found in the Balkans, in the eastern town of Peja, after a five-year manhunt.
Neighbours told a reporter that Soper, 72, had lived in the town for some years, did not have a job and had said he was writing a book.
“Kosovo is the unrecognised break-away Serbian state which was at the centre of the bombing campaign that generated huge numbers of orphans. This bombing campaign … destroyed many families in Bosnia and Herzegovina…
The resulting micro states in the Kosovo-Bosnia-Albanian region are now the hotbeds of child trafficking syndicates who have wealthy customers in the Vatican to the West and Czech and Polish pedo traders in the North West.”
Young Offender Institution between 1988 and 2000 by a former worker.
Laurence Soper was bursar of Sant’Anselmo and treasurer of the worldwide Benedictine
His friends say that Laurence Soper also worked at the Vatican Bank.
From Laundering To Profiteering, A Multitude Of Sins At The Vatican Bank
For decades, the Catholic Church has been dogged by scandals involving money. Vatican City — a sovereign state — controls its own finances through the Vatican Bank. It developed as a cross between the Federal Reserve and an offshore bank.
The Vatican Bank – one of the top banks in the world for money laundering
2011: In recent years, Soper frequently took himself off on sudden short holidays to Morocco, Tunisia, Albania and Montenegro.
Child abuse case monk in secret trip to Vatican while on the run
Fr Laurence, known as ‘St Benedict’s banker after hiding in Montenegro on the Adriatic coast – where the European Arrest Warrant is not valid – he secretly returned to the Vatican to empty his account.
Did the Vatican know nothing about his return to withdraw funds?
Harrow school where Laurence Soper was chaplain
George and Emily McCorquodale are children of Neil Edmund McCorquodale and his wife, née Lady Sarah SpencerLady Sarah, whose godmother was the Queen Mother, was a prosecution witness and had to answer questions about the gifts to Diana’s godchildren and about the “rape tape” – alleged to have contained allegations made by former servant George Smith of a male rape in the royal household.
‘BULLY’ BROTHER PUNISHED.
EMILY’S illness is the family’s second blow in less than a month after her brother was disciplined for bullying at school.
George, 18, is to be excluded from end of term celebrations at Harrow as a punishment for taunting a fellow pupil.
But the teenager has been allowed to stay on to take his exams.
George, who bears a striking resemblance to close friend Prince Harry, will leave the pounds 19,500 a year school after next Saturday’s Speech Day, traditionally attended by all the school’s pupils. Sources at Harrow said George carried out a relentless campaign of abuse against the other pupil who eventually reported him to his family.
They went to housemaster Dr James Holland, who took action.
While not excusing George’s behaviour, sources suggested he has been deeply affected by his sister’s illness and publicity surrounding his family during the Paul Burrell trial. One said: “Obviously all the other pupils were aware of it and it did not help his behaviour.
“There was some emotional impact and that was reflected in how he behaved towards other pupils.”
Harrow’s headmaster Barnaby Lennon denied George had been expelled. He said: “I’m not prepared to discuss the disciplinary record of any individual pupil.
Harrow is one of Britain’s oldest public schools and has educated six Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill.
Jimmy Savile and Prince Charles’ very close friendship with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball
Prince Charles Provided Free House To Bishop Arrested in UK Child Abuse Probe
The UK’s spiraling child-abuse scandal has already reached Prince Charles once – he was a good friend of the children’s TV presenter Jimmy Savile who was a predatory paedophile – and now the prince’s judgment is being called into question again, after it emerged that a retired Church of England bishop arrested by police investigating historic allegations of child sex abuse was given a free house to live in by Charles after the bishop resigned in disgrace having received a police caution for committing acts of gross indecency.
Ball said : ‘He [Prince Charles] has been wonderfully kind and allowed me to have a Duchy house. The prince is a loyal friend.’
‘I have immense admiration for him. He has been through horrific times and is a great person.‘
Establishment figures who helped paedophile bishop Peter Ball avoid prosecution for sex abuse revealed
Harrow School’s relationship with convicted paedophile friend of Prince Charles, the Rev Peter Ball:
Ian Beer was an old chum of Denis Thatcher
At Denis Thatcher’s Funeral : a poem was read by Sir Denis’s old rugby chum, former-head of Harrow, Ian Beer
1982Dec 24 Fr
Archive (Thatcher MSS)
MT Engagement Diary
1340 To Chequers
1830-2000 Small drinks party
Carringtons, Tim Smith, Ian Beer (Headmaster of Harrow), Station Commander of RAF Halton, Jimmy Savile, Mr. Hooker, Davids, Hamiltons, Nicholsons, Alison Ward:
Tim Smith – Leon Brittan’s PPS 1983-1985 He has no memory of the ‘Dickens Dossier’.
Harrow graduate and a Tory Party ex-vice chairman
Parly under-sec NI Office 1994
On 3 July 1997 he was found guilty of taking cash for questions from Al Fayed, along with Neil Hamilton
Harrow: In 1974 an IRA bomb exploded at one of the masters’ flats, and in the same year an arsonist set fire to one of the houses, The Grove. The offender, one of the boys in the house, was tried in 1975 at the Old Bailey, where he produced evidence of “card and beer sessions” and claimed to have been the victim of homosexual “attack”.
Peter Ball was Chaplain to the Headmasters’ Conference for a period of time
Career Barclays Bank 1960-64; entered monastery Ealing 1964; ordained: deacon (Assisi) 1969, priest 1970; St Benedict’s Sch Ealing: teacher 1973-83, bursar 1975-91, prior 1984-91, ruling abbot 1991-2000; titular abbot St Albans 2000-; episcopal vicar for Religious in Archdiocese of Westminster Western Area 1995-2000; delg to Gen Chapter (sec) 1985 and 1989; pt/t chaplain Harrow Sch 1981-91, visiting chaplain Feltham YOI 1988-2000; chm Union of Monastic Superiors 1995-99, gen treas Int Benedictine Confedn 2002-; Freeman City of Norcia Italy; FRSA 1975
Background on St Benedict’s:
Chris Patten is a former pupil and is on the Board of School Advisers
A review by Lord Carlile QC (considered a whitewash, especially as it was commissioned by the school’s trustees) into decades of paedophile activity at St Benedict’s school, a Catholic school attached to the abbey, published in 2011, listed 21 abuse cases starting in 1970.
Soper was named as one of five clergy wanted for questioning in relation to paedophile activity involving pupils.
The inquiry at the school was prompted after a former headteacher, Father David Pearce, was convicted of abusing five boys. He was jailed for eight years in 2009 for the abuse over 36 years. Four of the victims were under 14.
Father David Pearce
Lord Carlile’s report says that as a result of the reforms being put in place, he believes that St Benedict’s is now an “excellent place” for boys and girls to be “educated in safety”.
In addition to Father David Pearce, two former teachers at St. Benedict’s (John Maestri and Stephen Skelton) have been convicted of sexual abuse of pupils, and the school’s deputy headmaster Peter Allott was arrested in late 2015. He subsequently pleaded guilty to possessing, making and distributing child abuse images and was sentenced to 33 months in jail.
In 1982 a Middle-School Master called John Maestri disappeared weeks before he was due to replace Dom Laurence Soper as Master of the Middle School.
“It emerged many years later that the parent of the victim had complained to Abbot Francis that she would report John Maestri to the Police if he were allowed to take up the post as Master of the Middle School. He then disappeared.
Maestri has been before Isleworth Crown Court on three occasions. All of them for sexual offences against boys under the age of 14, all of them pupils at St. Benedict’s School, and all the offences relate to his time teaching at the school. In all three cases he pleaded guilty to the charges.
Maestri went on to teach at another school after he left St. Benedict’s.
…The obvious inference is that Maestri was asked to leave quietly to avoid publicity, and that part of the deal involved giving him a good reference that made no mention of the real reason for his departure.
I wonder how many times something like this has happened at the school.
But the most ironic and even tragic thing is that Maestri’s position as junior school headteacher subsequently went to – Father David Pearce.
It was a very strange failure of judgment that caused the Abbot to appoint two paedophile abusers in quick succession as junior school headteacher
The judge said:
“I use the phrase of a paedophile ring, that’s precisely what that was.”
Peter William Allott, who was the deputy head at St Benedict’s Catholic Independent Day School, pleaded guilty to possessing, showing and making indecent images of children, one offence of possessing extreme pornography and possession of class A drugs
Allott admitted possessing 25 ‘grossly offensive’ images on a hard drive and sharing the images with other offenders
Allott, 36 was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command, acting on intelligence was received that an individual had been using video conferencing facilities to share indecent images of children with others around the UK.
The judge said:
“I use the phrase of a paedophile ring, that’s precisely what that was.”
Allott was associated with a man whose online chat name was “London Paedo”.
He added that he shared images on Zoom and had image capture software to save pictures when others sent them to him.
Some of the material featured children as young as 2 years old.
“He was alarmed by some of it. He said he was surprised some of them were still alive.”
There’s a pattern here. The abuse is widespread. The perpetrators often seem to have been made headmaster of the middle school at some point in their career. The abuse was common knowledge – to both boys and teachers. And nothing was done, because the authority of the church was behind the abusers. They were monks and priests as well as teachers. Sometimes senior monks – headmaster or even Abbot
Paedophile Peter Allott left for a year in 2011 to work as a research associate for a project on the Prime Minister David Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative and Catholic social teaching at CambridgeUniversity.
Chris Patten is linked with paedophile- infested St Benedict’s as patron. Peter Allott of St Benedict’s was convicted of making indecent images of underage children
Chris Patten is linked to Patrick Rock, a paedophile also convicted and making indecent images of underage children (Patrick Rock was Patten’s former adviser on the West Balkans)
2011 David Cameron brought Patrick Rock back into Downing Street appointing him deputy head of the influential No 10 policy unit. The same year Peter Allott was chosen to work on David Cameron’s Big Initiative Policy Project
Was Peter Rock involved?
Vatican Inquiry into Ealing Abbey Child Sex Abuse
October 25, 2011
2014 Lord Patten named president of new Vatican media team
Patrick Rock, former aide to David Cameron, has been convicted of five counts of making indecent images of children.
Patrick Rock – Special advisor to Chris Patten
After his unsuccessful attempts at becoming an MP, Patrick Rock became an advisor to various Ministers during the 1990s, including
Michael Howard and also Chris Patten in Brussels, where he was given responsibility for the Western Balkans.
Tony Blair sent Patten to Brussels. Patten was there from 1999 – 2004
Patrick Rock admitted downloading the pictures of young Czech girls while staying at the Pinehurst hotel and golf club in the US
He admitted downloading images of 20 young girls.
Youngest victim would have been 8 yrs old.
Commenting in the Telegraph, Joan Smith pointed out that his youngest victim, now 10, would have been even younger 2 years ago when the offences were committed and that his government duties had included devising policies to make the internet safer for children. Smith expressed astonishment that Rock would not spend a single night in prison and says upper class status protected him
Cameron Aide Guilty of Downloading Child Porn; but Did Policy Chief Delete Indecent Images on Second Computer?
Daily Mail (London), June 2, 2016
It can now be revealed that he may have hid other incriminating evidence before his arrest in February 2014. Rock is believed to have wiped a computer after a tip-off from his sister that the FBI had seized his iPad containing the images. It had been found by builders at his mother’s home in North Carolina shortly after her death.
Investigators believe his sister, who lives in America, emailed him about the search. … prompted Rock to erase the memory on a second tablet he had with him in the UK.
Slain UK MP Jo Cox Took Close Interest in Bosnia
British MP Jo Cox gave her first child a Bosniak name and had ties to Srebrenica.
Slain UK MP Took Close Interest in Bosnia
…took a passionate interest in the Balkans, Sudan and Syria, visiting Srebrenica and running a camp for orphans from the eastern Bosnian town, where Bosnian Serbs massacred about 8,000 Bosniak Muslims in 1995.
As well as giving her first-born child a Bosniak name, Lejla, she referred regularly to past tragic events in Bosnia – and Kosovo – in parliamentary speeches urging Britain’s Conservative government to intervene more forcefully in the Syrian civil war.
2. (C) Patrick Rock, External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten’s cabinet adviser on Balkans issues, pointed to the 30 June EU statement offering full support for Ashdown’s actions in Bosnia earlier in the day and stressing the need for full cooperation with the Tribunal. Regarding visa bans, Rock thought that it was possible that the EU would follow the U.S. and add additional names recommended by Ashdown. He was firm, however, in saying that the EU was not able to freeze assets of ICTY indictee support networks, which he attributed to legal issues in some member states. Although the presidency country could not change member-state law, Rock did feel that the Dutch might be able to take a more active approach and encouraged our raising the issue with them. Rock said that the EU’s Western Balkans Working Group (COWEB) would almost certainly consider the demarche at its next meeting and remarked that the UK “could often be helpful.”
Patrick Rock comes from a Catholic family and was schooled by Jesuits
Rock’s headmaster, Fr George Hughes Earle, was a protected Jesuit paedophile
Fr “Jock”George Earle, accused of abuse as Headmaster of Stonyhurst, yet he went on to lead the Jesuits’ British Province…
Young Jock joined the RAF, and served as an Intelligence officer in India and Burma.
On returning to Britain Earle worked briefly for the Ministry of Defence, then read Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford,
Fr George Earle, headmaster of Stonyhurst from 1964 to 1971, and later provincial of the Society of Jesus in Britain – The judge at his trial concluded that three charges of indecent assault against one boy dating back to 1971 had to be dropped because of an agreement that was made at the time between the solicitor representing the boy’s parents and the Jesuits’ solicitors
George Hughes Earle, known as Jock (1925 – 2003)
After stepping down from Stonyhurst, Earle became an assistant to the Provincial for Education; he also became co-editor of The Way, the Jesuit journal of Ignatian spirituality. For three years he was Rector of St Aloysius’s College, Glasgow (Fr. George Earle. 1978 – 1981), with overall responsibility for the Jesuit parish and school. To the further surprise of many members of the Society, he was chosen to head the Jesuits’ English province, which was renamed the British province at his instigation.
One of his special concerns was the Society’s South African region, but he was not pleased when it was suggested that this was because he was preparing a comfortable billet for when he had completed his six years in office.
After a sabbatical, Earle assisted the South African bishops’ conference with the training of priests, and proved a popular retreat giver. When the allegations about his headmastership emerged, Earle returned to Britain, later joining the staff of the Jesuit Refugee Service at Osterley, Middlesex, helping asylum seekers.
Vatican Inquiry into Ealing Abbey Child Sex Abuse
October 25, 2011
Chris Patten attends a mass with newly appointed cardinals held by Pope Francis at St Peter’s
Chris Patten to take up media adviser role to Pope Francis
Former Conservative MP takes up new role only two months after dramatically quitting as chairman of BBC Trust due to heart problems
09 Jul 2014
He most recently was head of the organisation that oversaw the BBC, enduring three turbulent years as Britain’s public broadcaster battled a series of scandals.
He stood down in May after heart surgery, saying he needed to reduce the range of roles he undertook.
Why, then, would he undertake such a significant role?
Jimmy Savile: BBC boss Lord Patten rejects call for independent investigation …
Chris Patten accused of a cover-up on BBC Savile probe
BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten told the Commons’ media select committee: ‘We will publish everything the Pollard review reports.’
Sexual predator Jimmy Savile was regular visitor to Catholic school at centre of abuse scandal
FORMER BBC presenter was frequently invited to Fort Augustus Abbey by Benedictine Order monks.
Disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, a good friend of Savile’s, was also a regular visitor at the school.
The revelations of Savile’s visits to the school came as it emerged that many more pupils have stepped forward to claim they, too, were victims of monk teachers.
Savile spent much of his time in the Highlands even before buying a cottage in Glencoe in 1998, which was just over an hour’s drive from Fort Augustus.
Fort Augustus was used as a “dumping ground” for problem clergy who had confessed to abusing children.
O’Brien, who was forced to leave Scotland earlier this year after being forced to admit to inappropriate sexual behaviour, was guest of honour at the school’s old boys’ dinner last year.
The pair met when O’Brien was priest at St Patrick’s Church in Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, in 1971.
Savile was a regular visitor because his mother Agnes was friends with O’Brien’s colleague, Fr Denis O’Connell.
Five men claimed on the Sins Of Our Fathers documentary that they were raped or sexually abused by Father Aidan Duggan, an Australian monk who taught at Carlekemp and Fort Augustus between 1953 and 1974.
Fury at sex abuse inquiry snub: Ex pupils ‘devastated’ by bombshell U-turn
May 15 2017
VICTIMS who claim they suffered horrific sexual abuse at a Scots school have been snubbed by an official inquiry – despite being backed by the PM who said they helped set it up.
When she was Home Secretary, Theresa May wrote to a former pupil of Fort Augustus Abbey school to thank him for his “invaluable” help setting up the English Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in 2015.
But the evidence of former Scottish pupils like him who attended that infamous boarding school is now unlikely to be heard at the powerful inquiry in London.
Last week, Fort Augustus Abbey was left off the list of schools to be examined by the IICSA later this year.
The snub has prompted fury among those who claim their lives were ruined by what they experienced at the boarding school.
Last night one victim told The Sunday Post: “This has come out of the blue. We’ve been waiting a long time for the inquiry.
“The effect is devastating on our mental health. There have been a number of suicides by ex-pupils because of the abuse.”
He said former pupils are very upset at the bombshell development, especially given Prime Minister May’s earlier support.
In 2015, Theresa May wrote to one of Fort Augustus’s ex-pupils following a number of meetings between the pair where they discussed the alleged abuse he suffered.
Having set up the inquiry less than two weeks previously, she wrote: “With your help we have now established an inquiry to get to the truth about what child sexual abuse occurred in institutions across the UK and why nothing was done.”
But those words now seem empty, after lawyers for Fort Augustus Abbey pupils were contacted last week to reveal the shock evidence reversal.
Fort Augustus Abbey – which was run by an order of English monks – is at the centre of allegations of physical and sexual abuse spanning 30 years.
The exclusive Highlands school shut for good in 1993 but horrific allegations about the way pupils were treated emerged in 2013.
Last year, the English Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse announced those claims would be examined – despite the school being in Scotland.
There is a Scottish inquiry set up to probe similar issues north of the border called the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
But campaigners say the English inquiry has been given more clout to take action, which is why ex-pupils from Fort Augustus lobbied to be included in it.
A spokeswoman for the IICSA said the institutions to be examined were still not set in stone – despite the new proposals.
She said: “No decisions of any sort have been made about the matters to be considered at the hearing.”
Ex-headmaster of Aberdeen school,
Father Francis Davidson,
at centre of sexual abuse allegations resigns from university post
Father Francis Davidson has been accused of failing to act on reports during time at Fort Augustus Abbey School in Highlands.
15 AUG 2013
A FORMER headmaster of a boarding school at the centre of sexual abuse allegations has resigned from a role at Oxford University.
Father Francis Davidson has been accused of failing to act on reports during his time at the Catholic Fort Augustus Abbey School in the Highlands in the 1970s.
He has quit as monastic superior of the Benedictine college St Benet’s Hall, where he was responsible for the welfare of student monks at the university.
Alleged victims who attended the Abbey school told a BBC Scotland investigation that they were molested and beaten by monks over a period of three decades from the 1950s.
It has also been claimed that abuse was carried out at Carlekemp, its feeder school in East Lothian. Both schools are now closed.
Police are investigating the allegations.
One former pupil told the BBC that he told Fr Davidson personally of the abuse but the monks remained in the Abbey. Fr Davidson is the only surviving headmaster of the school.
In a statement issued to the BBC, Fr Davidson offered his sympathies to former pupils for any historic abuse and said he was “shocked and saddened” to hear of the allegations.
He added: “I do not recall them being reported to me during my time as headmaster of Fort Augustus Abbey School.
“As investigations into matters at Fort Augustus Abbey School and Carlekemp Priory School are ongoing, I have stepped aside from my role as religious superior at St. Benet’s Hall.”
Earlier this month, one of Scotland’s most senior Catholics apologised to former pupils amid the claims.
Hugh Gilbert, the Bishop of Aberdeen, said: “It is a most bitter, shaming and distressing thing that in this former Abbey School a small number of baptised, consecrated and ordained Christian men physically or sexually abused those in their care.”
Anne Houston, chief executive of charity CHILDREN 1ST, said: “The focus here must always remain on what’s best for those who were abused in the past and what will make a positive difference to them; that and helping protect children now and in future by taking steps to minimise the risk of this ever happening again.
“It is crucial that the church fully and openly co-operates with the ongoing police investigation and passes on any and all relevant information it may have relating to any allegations of abuse at these schools.”
Father Abbot Mark Dilworth in his beloved cloisters at Fort Augustus Abbey with Cardinal Keith O’Brien
Mr Slater – worked at both CH and Ampleforth – Ampleforth filled with paedophiles.
The name had come up in conversation at IHT’s cottage when JDS (Headmaster John Shippen) and IHT were discussing Mr. Slater, who had been a CH Housemaster and formerly a monk at Ampleforth.
Top public school suspends child sex charges teacher
THE head of music at a prestigious private school has been suspended following allegations he sexually assaulted a pupil three decades ago.
Sean Ambrose Farrell, 49, denied two charges of indecent assault and two charges of gross indecency when he appeared before York magistrates last week.
All four offences are alleged to have been committed against a child aged under 14 at the time at Ampleforth College’s junior school.
Farrell, of Riddings Road, Ilkley, was released on bail on condition that he has no unsupervised contact with children aged under 16.
He has been removed from his post at Wellington College, in Berkshire – which counts the late actor Sir Christopher Lee and Will Young among its alumni – several months ago after North Yorkshire Police launched an investigation.
A Wellington College spokesman said: “In line with our safeguarding procedures, Wellington suspended the member of staff concerned and excluded him from the school site as soon as it was made aware that the police were investigating these accusations.”
Monk ‘who ran sex club involving young boys’ at country’s top Catholic School ‘remained in his job for eight years after allegations were first made’
Apr 5 2017
- Father Jeremy Sierla allegedly ran ‘sex club’ for boys at Ampleforth College
- He remained at Catholic school for eight years after allegations first made
- Police told he would make pupils perform sex acts in their pyjamas
- Investigation began in 2004 but no charges were ever brought against him
Detectives spoke to more than a dozen young men who attended the school’s Junior House between 1990 and 1993 when Father Jeremy was housemaster.
Some recalled the monk whipping boys’ bottoms with his habit, encouraging the pupils to tie him up, showering naked with them and putting his hands under their duvets, the Times reported.
Photos and video clips – none indecent – of Ampleforth pupils were found on Father Jeremy’s computer, including one of a 12-year-old boy holding a rose in his mouth.
The investigation was triggered when the same boy, in his early 20s by 2004, made allegations to police about abuse he claimed Father Jeremy had subjected him to.
The monk was not charged after prosecutors ruled there was insufficient evidence against him, and the CPS said the case file was destroyed years ago, the Times reported.
Father Jeremy continued to work in the abbey shop from 2004 to 2012 and posed for photographs to promote Ampleforth’s own brand Abbey Beer.
A music teacher, Dara de Cogan, who joined Ampleforth in 2004 was jailed last week for sexually abusing a female student during violin lessons.
A school spokesman said that Father Jeremy’s continued presence at Ampleforth was approved at a meeting of safeguarding professionals in 2004 and that his case was reviewed again in 2007 by an independent safeguarding commission.
It took a further five years before the Department for Education (DfE)told Ampleforth he should not be allowed on school grounds.
TheDfE said that it was unable to discuss individual cases but stressed it was ‘paramount that children are protected at school and that there are robust safeguards in place’.
It added: ‘Where schools fail to meet standards, we will not hesitate to take action.’
Monk accused of Fort Augustus Abbey abuse arrested in Sydney
23 January 2017
A former Catholic monk accused of child abuse at a Scottish school has been arrested in Australia.
Father Denis “Chrysostom” Alexander was one of several monks accused of abusing boys at the former Fort Augustus Abbey boarding school in the Highlands.
The BBC has learned he has been remanded in custody in Sydney pending his extradition back to Scotland to face trial.
The Crown Office here said it would not comment on legal matters elsewhere.
Father Alexander has always denied the allegations.
In 2013, he was confronted by BBC Scotland in Sydney as part of a documentary which prompted a major police investigation.
Now, three and a half years after that programme, that investigation has taken a significant turn with the former Benedictine monk’s arrest.
He will face a further hearing on Wednesday at the local court in New South Wales, where it will emerge if he will oppose the extradition or not. He will also be entitled to apply for bail.
One of Father Alexander’s accusers, Hugh Kennedy, has previously spoken of his frustration at the length of time it has taken the Scottish authorities to request the extradition of the former monk who is now 80.
One other former Fort Augustus monk is due to face trial in Scotland soon for a series assaults, whilst a further seven cases remain under consideration by the Crown Office in Scotland.
Fr Alexander was returned by the Catholic Church to Australia in 1979, after allegations of abuse were made by another Fort Augustus Abbey pupil, who the BBC has also spoken to.
No report to the police was made, and no warnings were provided about his alleged offending behaviour, to the Church in Australia where Fr Alexander continued as a priest for a further 20 years or more.
He was stripped of his priestly faculties in 2013 after the BBC programme.
Cardinal George Pell accused of sexually abusing two choirboys, book claims
Vatican’s financial chief, who has always denied wrongdoing, faces fresh allegations of abuse, relating to his time as archbishop of Melbourne
Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, is accused of abusing two boys at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s
New allegations of child abuse are being levelled against Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s financial chief and the most senior figure in the Australian Catholic church.
Fairfax Media has reported claims contained in a new book, Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, that he sexually abused two choirboys at St Patrick’s cathedral after becoming archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
The author Louise Milligan first flagged these claims on the ABC’s 7.30 Report in July last year. But according to Fairfax Milligan’s book, to be released on Monday, contains details of the accusations that have not been made public before.
After the 7.30 Report Pell accused the ABC of conducting a “scandalous smear campaign.”
Cardinal Pell’s office issued a statement on Saturday saying the cardinal had “not been notified by the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions or Victoria police of the status of their investigations, which have been underway since at least February 2016.”
“Cardinal Pell will not seek to interfere in the course of justice by responding to the allegations made by Melbourne University Press (publisher of Milligan’s book) and media outlets today, other than to restate that any allegations of child abuse made against him are completely false,” the statement said.
“He repeats his vehement and consistent denials of any and all such accusations, and stands by all the evidence he has given to the royal commission.”
The boys, students at St Kevin’s College, sang in the cathedral choir and were allegedly abused by the archbishop in a room somewhere in the precincts of the cathedral. They left the choir and the school shortly afterwards.
Milligan claims one of the choirboys died of a drug overdose in 2014. His mother was subsequently told by the second boy that they had been abused by Pell when they were teenagers at the cathedral.
Milligan writes that both spoke to the Sano taskforce established to investigate allegations that emerged during a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria and the later royal commission into child abuse.
Pell has now been accused of abusing boys at three stages of his career: as a seminarian, a priest and as archbishop of Melbourne.
He has denied all these allegations on a number of occasions. No charges have ever been laid against him in relation to them. The cardinal, prefect of the secretariat for the economy at the Vatican, has stated that he willingly co-operated with the detectives of the Victoria police when they interviewed him in Rome in October last year.
Sano has also investigated allegations that as a young priest Pell abused boys in the swimming pool of his hometown Ballarat. Pell also denies these allegations.
Milligan writes that Pell and his defenders have been able to “bat off or gloss over” the swimming pool allegations by casting them as “horseplay or a bit of rough and tumble … The story of [the choirboys] has no such ambiguity. If these allegations are true, they point to utter, sinful hypocrisy.”
Citing ill health, Pell declined to return to Australia to give evidence to the royal commission in person last year and instead gave evidence by videolink from Rome. In February this year the Australian senate called on the cardinal to return home “to assist the Victorian police and office of public prosecutions with their investigation into these matters.”
Pell dismissed the parliamentary resolution as “an interference on the part of the Senate in the due process of the Victoria Police investigation.”
According to reports, the police have now twice sent briefs of evidence concerning Pell to the Victorian office of public prosecutions.
The Guardian is not claiming Cardinal Pell is guilty of any allegations of sex abuse, only that they have been investigated by police.
Operation Sano continues.
The Guardian contacted the Vatican, Pell’s office in Rome and his office in Australia for comment.
Cardinal George Pell ‘to be CHARGED over child sex abuse allegations’ sending shockwaves through the Catholic Church
Cardinal Pell is not just Australia’s most senior cleric, he is one of the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic world.
For two decades, he has been a frontline figure in the Church’s debate over controversial issues such as homosexuality, Aids and stem cell research.
He has also handled the Church’s official response to allegations of sexual abuse within its Australian ranks during a series of inquiries.
He gave evidence via video link to a Royal Commission into abuse last year.
It is hard to overstate, therefore, the significance of the decision to press charges against him.
When he returns to face those charges in an Australian court, every second will be scrutinised not just by the Australian press, but by members of Catholic congregations across the globe.
- Cardinal George Pell will reportedly be summoned to Australia by police
- The summons is believed to be related to a child sex abuse investigation
- Authorities are expected to announce the possible charges this morning
Cardinal George Pell is expected to be charged over child sex abuse allegations.
It is understood Cardinal George Pell will be summonsed to Australia from Rome in relation to a child sex investigation by Victoria police.
The summons will be issued today to the 76-year-old head of finances for the Vatican, according to The Australian.
Authorities are expected to provide additional details on the investigation and possible charges this morning.
It is not clear whether the cardinal will return home from Europe or if he will be extradited to face the charges.
Cardinal George Pell is expected to be charged over child sex abuse allegations (pictured eating in Italy)
Cardinal Pell will be summoned to Australia from Rome in relation to a child sex investigation by Victoria police
Cardinal Pell appeared via video-link for a public hearing of Australia’s national child-abuse Royal Commission in early 2015.
When he was asked to fly to Australia to appear in person, he declined, citing health problems.
The Cardinal was interviewed by three detectives from the taskforce in Rome in October 2016, who updated the evidence.
He has strongly denied the allegations of abuse.
The Office of Public Prosecutions submitted a second brief of evidence on Cardinal Pell to the police last month, according to The Herald Sun.
The summary said charges could be laid against Pell based on the evidence but that it was up to the to decide if they wanted to or not.
The Sano taskforce, which investigates allegations of sexual abuse, has been investigating Cardinal Pell since 2016
Police could be powerless to make Cardinal Pell return to Australia because he is so high up in the Vatican that he has diplomatic immunity.
Cardinal Pell was appointed to the Vatican’s Secretariat of Economy in 2014, the third highest ranked position within the church.
His high ranking grants him diplomatic immunity in Australia, meaning he cannot be forced to attend court or provide information, according to legal experts.
New South Wales state parliament member David Shoebridge told the Newcastle Herald in May that Australia had an extradition treaty with Italy, but it did not include the Vatican.
‘[Australia] hasn’t managed in 44 years to get one in place with the tiny pretend nation-state of the Vatican that exists wholly within Rome,’ he said.
‘This is why George Pell can’t be forced back to face questioning.’
Victoria Police will not comment on reports Cardinal George Pell is to be charged by summons over historic child sex abuse allegations.
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