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The sexual abuse scandal in the English Benedictine Congregation is a significant episode in the series of Catholic sex abuse cases in the United Kingdom.

Abuse at Benedictine Monasteries

Ealing Abbey

In April 2006 civil damages were awarded jointly against Dom David Pearce, a former head of the junior school at St Benedicts, and Ealing Abbey in the High Court in relation to an alleged assault by Dom Pearce on a pupil while teaching at St Benedict's School in the 1990s, although criminal charges were dropped.[1] He was subsequently charged in November 2008 with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching and gross indecency with six boys aged under 16. The counts related to incidents before and after 2003, when the law was changed to create an offence of sexual touching. [2] [3] After admitting his guilt at Isleworth Crown Court to offences going back to 1972 Pearce was jailed for eight years in October 2009.[4][5]

The conduct of the Ealing monastic community, as trustee of the St. Benedict's Trust, was examined by the Charity Commission, which found that it had failed to take adequate measures to protect beneficiaries of the charity from Dom Pearce.[6]

Buckfast Abbey

Father William Manahan of Buckfast Abbey pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court to eight charges of sexually assaulting pupils.[7]

Father Paul Couch was also found guilty earlier of two counts of serious sexual assault and 11 of indecent assault.[8] 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.[9] In 2007 he was sentenced to ten years in jail.[10]

Ampleforth College

Several monks and three members of the lay teaching staff at Ampleforth College, one of the leading Roman Catholic schools in the country, have molested children in their care.

In 2005 Father 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 Basil Hume did not call in police when the initial incident came to light in 1975, but removed Father Grant-Ferris. Several other incidents came to light in 2003, when the abbey hired a psychologist to conduct risk assessments on staff.[11]

Belmont Abbey

Father John Kinsey of Belmont Abbey, Herefordshire 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.[12] [13]

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.

Due to falling pupil numbers Belmont Abbey closed the school in the early 1990s.[14]

See also


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