10 November 2011

Rapists in habits

Yestereday saw the issue of yet another report into child abuse, this tie by Benedictine Monks at St Benedict's school in Ealing, West London.

According to the BBC the head of a west London Catholic school has apologised for its "terrible legacy" of sex abuse. Christopher Cleugh, headmaster of St Benedict's school said the school would adopt the recommendations of an inquiry, led by Lord Carlile.

The report, which looked at 21 attacks since 1970, said Ealing Abbey monks must lose their control of the school. The abbot has accepted that he "failed" when he allowed a former head facing abuse claims to return in 2007.

The inquiry began last year after Father David Pearce, the former head of the junior school, was jailed for eight years in 2009, after being convicted of abusing five boys over a period of 36 years. Four of the victims were under 14.

The Right Reverend Dom Martin Shipperlee, who was appointed the abbot in 2000, said a victim had complained to him about Father David in 2001 and he had made the police aware of it.

In 2006, a High Court ruling awarded damages to one of Father David's victims. The priest was brought back to the abbey as bursar the following year. He went on to carry out the final sexual assault in 2007, before being arrested in 2008.

Mr Shipperlee said: "I allowed him to return because I have responsibility to and for him and it was my estimation that the best way I could discharge that was to have him in a place where we knew what he was doing. I was wrong. I failed. I didn't get that right at all, so a young person was put in the harm's way."

Later, he told BBC London that the idea of Father David being in the abbey was for him to work solely in the abbey buildings and not in the school or in the parish.

He added: "Clearly, I wasn't monitoring, looking closely enough."
When asked if he was considering his position over the situation, he replied: "I consider my position constantly."

In the report, Lord Carlile of Berriew said the form of governance at the school was "wholly outdated and demonstrably unacceptable". "The abbot himself has accepted that it is 'opaque to outsiders'."

Two trusts should be set up to remove "all power from the abbey" while maintaining the Benedictine connection for the parents, Lord Carlile added.

The new governing body must create a clear accountability between school management, governors and trustees. It should be transparent and understandable to outsiders and deliver effective monitoring, safeguarding policies and procedures.

The new governors must include representatives from the school community and diaspora, as well as people from outside the school, the report said.
It added: "In a school where there has been abuse, mostly - but not exclusively - as a result of the activities of the monastic community, any semblance of a conflict of interest, of lack of independent scrutiny, must be removed."

Following the publication of the report, Mr Cleugh said: "Past abuses at the school have left a terrible legacy for those affected and have tarnished the reputation of St Benedict's. I offer my heartfelt apology for past failures. The school could have, and should have, done more. We are determined that safeguarding procedures at St Benedict's should in future be exemplary and the appalling abuses of the past should never happen again," he said.

The recommendations will come into effect from 1 September 2012.

Meanwhile police are also looking for Father Laurence Soper, 80, former abbot of Ealing Abbey, who failed to answer bail in March following arrest on suspicion of abuse. He taught at the school from 1991 to 2000. It is believed that this disgusting pervert is being hidden by fellow monks in a monastery in Italy.

Another former employee faces a trial over sex abuse charges. Police are looking into new abuse allegations against the school from the 1970s and 80s.
 An international arrest warrant should be issued forthwith for Soper. He should be brought back to face charges now. Shiperlee has show himself unfit to continue his role as Abbot and should be dismissed summarily dismissed.

Marin Shiperlee is a negligent idiot who must bear responsibility for Pearce's final assault.  But then the same can be said for hundreds, abbots who put protection of abusers far above the damage done to children.

Sadly the Benectines have a long track record of abuse in their schools apat from St Benedict's. Here is a Wikipedia extract (yes I know it is easy just to head for that source, but on most subjects it is a useful introduction):

Buckfast Abbey

In 2007 Father William Manahan pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to eight charges of sexually assaulting pupils  at Buckfast Abbey Preparatory school between 1971 and 1978. He was sentenced to 15 Months imprisonment.

Father Paul Couch was also found guilty earlier of two counts of serious sexual assault and 11 of indecent assault. Father Couch committed the offences against six boys between 1972 and 1993 during two periods at the school. He was a Royal Navy chaplain from 1978 until 1983 and again from 1992. In 2007 he was sentenced to ten years in jail. 

The preparatory school was closed in 1994

Ampleforth College

In 1995 housemaster Fr  Bernard Green was arrested after indecently assaulting a sleeping boy in one of the school's dormitories. He received two years' probation for an incident which was said to have "petrified" the boy concerned. 

In 2005 Fr Piers Grant-Ferris admitted 20 incidents between 1966 and 1975 including beating boys bare-handed on the buttocks, and taking temperatures rectally. The Yorkshire Post reported in 2005 that former Abbot (and later Cardinal) Basil Hume did not call in police when the initial incident came to light in 1975, but removed Father Grant-Ferris to a parish in Workington (Clearly children in Cumbria were okay to molest).  Grant-Ferris was sentenced to two years in prison in 2006.

Father Gregory Carroll Carroll, 66, was jailed for four years in September for abusing at least 10 boys aged 11 to 14 between 1980 and 1987.

Detectives believed that  two other monks and a lay member of the community who are now dead also abused pupils.

Also in October 2000, Frank Hopkinson, retired former head of the school's finance department, was jailed for 12 months for downloading 836 indecent images of children. Hopkinson, who worked at the school for 40 years, had previously been jailed for sexual offences against a 14-year-old boy.

Belmont Abbey
Father John Kinsey  was sentenced to five years at Worcester Crown Court in 2005 by Judge Andrew Geddes for a series of serious offences relating to assaults on schoolboys attending Belmont Abbey School in the mid 1980s.
Kinsey attacked three schoolboys while a monk at Belmont Abbey during a two year period, grooming and attacking victims during bell ringing lessons and altar service duties. The frequency of his attacks increased to a weekly basis before Kinsey was sent away from the Abbey for a short period to train as a priest.

Belmont Abbey school closed in the 1990s.

There are two other Benedictine schools currently in operation in England, Downside and Worth. In January Police commenced investigations into sexual abuse at Downside in response to allegations of sexual abuse. At the time of the report one monk had been arrested but no charges laid.  Mercifully there are no indications of abuse at Worth School.

What this says about the fitness of the Benedictine Order to have any involvement in teaching I leave to the reader...


Anonymous said...

So evil

jams o donnell said...

Evil is the mildest word Nursie

Sean Jeating said...

It's only logic that the Pope is Benedict.

jams o donnell said...

True Sean!

Claude said...

They should be disbanded, not only as teachers, but as a religious order. All of them....In Quebec, they are dying out, since we kicked them from our schools. Obviously, people in religious congregations cannot supervise and control themselves. It's sad that a few good people are mixed up with rotten, evil ones. But it would be better, for the good ones, not to belong to such groups. Even just by association, it dishonour them.

jams o donnell said...

Well said Claude. The Benedictines should have no connection with education at all.