Vatican Launches Ealing Abbey Inquiry
'Inquisition' investigation of abuse dating back to the sixties
Following the failure of a former Abbot at Ealing Abbey to return to face charges relating to child abuse it has emerged that the Vatican has launched its own investigation into the series of allegations against monks.
Laurence Soper, aged 81, was due to report to police in West London earlier this month but failed to return from Rome and attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful. He disappeared from the headquarters of the Benedictine Order in Rome where he had been acting as treasurer. He had been a teacher at St. Benedict's School up until 1984 and was Abbot at Ealing until 2000.
The Abbey has now been visited by Bishop John Arnold, an auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, and Father Richard Yeo, a senior member of the Benedictine Order in England. They were asked to make an apostolic visitation last month by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was formerly known as the Inquisition. Bishop Arnold has said that recommendations following the visitation will be sent to the Vatican based body which oversees the Church's investigations into the most serious crimes by its members including child abuse.
Fr. Martin Shipperlee, Abbot of Ealing Abbey told The Times: 'The visitors and the Holy See will want to know that child protection is a priority here and that we've done all we can to ensure that what has happened in the past does not recur.'
St. Benedict's School have already commissioned their own inquiry into child protection at the school although the allegations of abuses by teachers against pupils concern cases which date back at least two decades. Lord Carlisle QC, the former Government anti-terrorism adviser is chairing the inquiry which is due to report shortly. David Pearce, a former headmaster of the junior school was convicted of offences against children and sentenced to 5 years in jail.
October 25, 2011