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Catholic school sheltered child abusers, says former abbot

Catholic school sheltered child abusers, says former abbot

A former abbot at Downside Abbey in Somerset, Aidan Bellenger, above, claims that a school attached to the monastery sheltered child sex offenders and tolerated abuse.

According to this report, Downside Abbey is is being investigated by an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse after two of its monks were jailed for child sex offences.

Letters from Bellenger revealed his fears that:

The issue of child abuse was tolerated by all my predecessors as abbot.

In a letter sent last year, he said of two monks who had been imprisoned over abuse:

Neither was penitent. Both were protected (and implicitly) encouraged by their abbots.

He said of two other monks:

[They] avoided trial, but their offences (more than allegations) remain on record.

His letter including a warning that a monk who still lives at Downside had taken part in “perverse and criminal” activities.

Two others he said were open to allegations of “paedophilia”, adding:

Small fry perhaps but in outside perceptions they would be in trouble.

And he warned:

More ‘historic’ cases will emerge’, listing five other names, which have been redacted by the inquiry.

Earlier this week, the inquiry heard from a woman who said she was abused by a member of the staff at the school in the 1980s, when she was a disabled teenager having to use a wheelchair.

In 2012, when he was still Abbot at Downside, Bellenger apologised to former pupils for abuse that led to the jailing of a monk, Richard David Monk, 66, for five years.

In a lengthy  letter to  past pupils, known as Old Gregorians, he disclosed the extent of the failure to protect children at the school.

Hat tip: Angela_K and BarrieJohn

8 responses to “Catholic school sheltered child abusers, says former abbot”

  1. barriejohn says:

    Who’d have thought it; the Catholic Church sheltering child abusers!

  2. Duuuhhhuuhuhhh says:

    This appalling criminality will be a surprise only when a catholic enterprise or establishment is proven beyond doubt never to have harboured any pedophiles.

  3. sailor1031 says:

    Why, how, is anybody still catholic? Do they have no moral sense whatever? I asked my jesuit cousin that question “why?” – his answer “why indeed”. And yet he still is……most of my family of the older generation still is. All the young ones are of course atheist; per one of my nephews “nobody believes that stuff anymore”. The end is coming but unfortunately I won’t live to see it.

  4. Broga says:

    “Neither was penitent. Both were protected (and implicitly) encouraged by their abbots.”

    And there you have it. Even when exposed they have no regrets and no shame. The culture of child abuse as an acceptable form of sexual activity for priests is so deeply embedded that it cannot be eradicated. And the tolerance amongst RCs generally and politicians who could take action is shocking.

  5. StephenJP says:

    But apparently this fellow was in charge from 2006 to 2014. What did he do about it when he was running the show? What about the ones who “avoided trial”, or the monk who still lives there, or the five names that have still to be revealed? Maybe he too was happy enough to connive in the cover-up for as long as outsiders weren’t interested.

  6. sowa says:

    @Broga is right: RCC is rotten to it’s very core and Bergoglio playing good uncle and throwing around banals for guilible masses certainly won’t change it. Not because he can’t. Because he’s not interested in it. He’s just a puppet of Vatican’s liberal lobby who’s supposed to play this cool, hip pope everybody likes. Somebody who talks a lot about change, gives hope but don’t do shit and humans being humans will soon forget there was any issue. Make no mistake: liberal lobby is not “liberal” in their moral approach but marketing strategy. Conservative Ratzinger was a PR failure so they got rid of him but whoever is the pope, the ultimate goal is the same: preserve status quo in Europe, expand on new “markets” in Africa and S. America. So what if some children will suffer along the way? Catholic minions will always come first before some brats.

  7. Robster says:

    How much more gross and disgusting criminal behaviour must this pope flavoured religious outfit, it’s (past any doubt) criminal staff undertake before being shackled and held to account?

  8. Broga says:

    @Robster: I think the Pope is too busy with a really important issue to devote time to the endemic paedophilia in the priesthood. He wants to change the Lord’s prayer as he doesn’t like “Lead us not into temptation.”

    He has to follow his priorities and child abuse seems to be well down the scale.