Catholic Church Leader 'Protected' Paedophile Priest
Claims that the Ealing teacher allowed to continue despite complaints
The Times On Line website is reporting that the head of the the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales was in charge of a child protection system that allowed an Ealing priest to continue abusing schoolboys - despite repeated complaints.
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, chaired the church’s child safety watchdog in 2001-08.
It was during this time Father David Pearce, 68, a Benedictine monk and former headteacher at St Benedict’s School, was repeatedly investigated by church officials and police.
Despite a High Court ruling in 2006 awarding damages to one of his victims, Pearce remained a priest at Ealing Abbey, where he assaulted one final victim before his arrest in 2008.
Last year Pearce was jailed for eight years after admitting a catalogue of sex offences against teenage pupils during 35 years at the Abbey.
The Times reports that Archbishop Nichols has denied any knowledge of the Pearce case while he was chairman of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (Copca).
Church officials said that Archbishop Nichols was not told the full details of Pearce’s child abuse offences until he replaced Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor at Westminster last year.
A spokesman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor confirmed that the Cardinal was aware of the allegations.
The Cardinal has recently been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to sit on the Vatican body that appoints bishops.
September 16, 2010