A ROMAN Catholic monk was warned about his behaviour after molesting a 12-year-old boy at the school at which he was teaching – but instead of being reported to the police he was simply prevented from teaching younger children by the Benedictine abbot of the monastery to which the school was attached.
This shocking fact came to light when Richard David White, 66, was jailed for five years for child sex offences which took place in the 1980s when he taught at Downside School in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset.
Taunton Crown Court heard that, after he received a warning, the monk went on to indecently assault a second boy over the course of several months while he was aged 12 and 13.
White pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault and two of gross indecency with a boy at a previous hearing last November. He asked that four offences against another boy, who has never complained to police, also be taken into account.
Sentencing White, Judge Graham Hume Jones said:
You targeted this complainant and took advantage of his interest in old books and maps, you gave him access to the monastery library which is not normally open to pupils to indulge in your own sexual gratification.
White groomed the victim by giving him small sums of money.
The judge said he acknowledged there was no evidence to show he committed any further offences beyond 1989.
One of his victims who attended court said it was an “appropriate” sentence and would highlight to Downside School:
The risks of religious orders running educational establishments without the necessary safety nets.
He called for an apology from the Roman Catholic Church which runs the school.
The Abbott for Downside School said:
Our first thoughts are for those who were abused as children. Being conscious that the care of children is our paramount concern as educators, we are truly sorry that any child should have been abused at Downside.
He added that White has lived under restrictions since 1998 and has been withdrawn from active ministry.
Meanwhile we have just learned that a Roman Catholic bishop in Ottawa is due to be sentenced today for possessing kiddie porn.
Raymond Lahey, 71, a Newfoundlander who had been the head of the Nova Scotia diocese of Antigonish, was caught in 2009 at Ottawa’s airport after authorities checked his personal computer and found a large cache of child pornography.
Lahey pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography for the purposes of importation to Canada.
The Crown’s case involved 588 photos and 63 videos, with the Crown pointing out that some involved adolescent boys engaged in sex acts while wearing a crucifix and rosary beads.
Hat tip: Marcus Robinson and Canada Dave (Lahey report)