He describes the moment when he and a friend finally summoned the courage to report the abuse
Somehow we plucked up courage to go and see the headmaster, Father Lythgoe. We stood nervously in his office and made our complaint. Said that we didn’t like to be touched. Said that we thought it was wrong.
He told us that we were making very serious accusations. These priests were very holy men. Didn’t we know about the missionary work that Father Dunworth had done in Africa? And why were we the only ones who had ever complained? Were we really so free of sin ourselves that we could afford to accuse others of wrongdoing?
Laurie Taylor recognises in his own experiences parallels with what he has read in the Murphy Report into abuse in Ireland.
As you read this report, you are gradually aware of one glaring omission from all the accounts given by bishops and archbishops of their reasons for inaction: a concern about the damage these serial abusers were inflicting upon young children. Whenever any mention is made of harm or damage, it is always in reference to the standing and reputation of the priest. It is this that must be protected at all costs.Those of you who are familiar with the events at St Benedict's may recognise other parallels. My immediate reaction on reading this was to recall the Abbot's press statement and letter to parisioners.
The crimes perpetrated by Fr David were a betrayal of the trust placed in him as a teacher and priest. His exploitation of the most vulnerable was brought to an end by the courage of those of his victims who came forward and revealed what had been happening.This is all extremely convenient. Nothing can now be done to protect Pearce's reputation - he's been convicted. But by heaping all the blame for everything on Pearce, the Abbot aims to paint the Abbey and the church in general as being whiter than white.
We have cooperated fully with the police throughout their investigation and I would like to express my thanks to them for the professional way in which they have dealt with this matter.
But we know otherwise. Mr. Justice Field was highly unimpressed with the veracity both of Pearce himself and of the other witnesses on behalf of the Abbey in the civil case undertaken by "C" in 2006. You can read the full text of his judgement online.
In it, the judge refers to answers which sounded rehearsed and did not have the "ring of truth", mislaid documents, failure to check memories against documents and a variety of other evasions which led him to believe that "C"s allegations were both true and did not admit of an innocent explanation.
"C" was one of the victims of assault to which Pearce eventually pleaded guilty last year. When the prosecution barrister summed up the charges against Pearce, he referred to a letter from the Abbot describing the reasons Pearce had been placed on a restricted ministry. It would seem in fact that the restriction was in fact a part of a promise to the Charity Commission following their Statutory Inquiry. But the public reason given was "To protect Father David from unfounded allegations".