A monk who had taught in the school a long time ago has recently come under investigation by social services. At the time of the follow-up visits he was living in the monastery under a restrictive covenant barring him from contact with children.I asked Mr Turner a set of questions questions about Chillman, to whch he was kind enough to offer replies.
1. On what date did he resign as a Trustee?
A. Fr Gregory resigned as a trustee of Ealing Abbey on 29 May 2010 (I later learned that this was an error, it was 29th March 2010.)
2. Did St Benedict's make a Referral to the Independent Safeguarding Authority within a month of his resignation?
A. No, because it was unnecessary he ceased to be a trustee because he was no longer on the Abbot’s Council.
3. If not, was a Referral subsequently made, once the issue had been raised by the ISI?
A. A referral was made to the ISA in October 2010.
4. On what date and for what reason did he resign as Chaplain of St. Augustine's Priory School?
A. Due to age & ill health he resigned on 3 October 2010.
5. On what date and for what reason did he resign as Chairman of Governors of St. Augustine's Priory School?
A. As (4) above.
6. In the last 5 years has he been a governor of any other schools? If he is still a governor, please list the schools of which he is a governor. For any where he has resigned as a governor within the last 5 years, please give the school, the date and the reason.
A. Fr Gregory was a governor of the Gunnersbury School, but gave up that role some time ago.
7. What are the terms of the restrictive covenant referred to in the ISI report?
A. Fr Gregory has no public ministry.
8. Is the restrictive covenant mentioned in the ISI report still in force on the same terms?
9. If the restrictive covenant has been modified or cancelled, please indicate the date on which this occurred, and the reasons for the change.
10. Is Father Gregory Chillman still resident at Ealing Abbey?
This was very interesting to me, because it is at odds with information that has previously been provided by St. Benedict's. At the safeguarding meeting with parents last September, I understand that although Chillman wasn't mentioned by name, this bit of the ISI report was raised, and the Abbot and Headmaster assured parents that "almost all" the restrictions had been lifted. The implication seems to have been that there was in investigation, the allegations were without foundation, and therefore almost all the restrictions have been lifted. But according to the information from Peter Turner, this is not true. The restrictions on Father Gregory Chillman remain in force on the same terms that applied at the time of the ISI inspection in April 2010.
The ISI Supplementary Report on St. Benedict's included the following as Recommendation 1.
1. Ensure that any staff or members of the religious community live away from the school, if they are subject to allegations of misconduct related to safeguarding or convicted of wrongdoing.After a good deal of kicking and screaming, and extensive correspondence with the ISI and the DfE, this recommendation was eventually carried out with respect to Father Stanislaus Hobbs, who no longer lives at Ealing Abbey. But it hasn't been carried out with respect to Father Gregory Chillman, who remains at Ealing Abbey living under restricted covenant. The ISI criticised the use of restrictive covenants, since they had already failed to prevent abuse occurring at Ealing Abbey.
And then there is the issue of St. Augustine's School. Father Gregory Chillman remained chaplain and Chairman of Governors of St. Augustine's School for several months after he was placed on restricted covenant and denied any public ministry.
Did the trustees of St. Augustine's (including the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton) know that their chairman of governors had been put on restricted ministry?
If they didn't know, then Chillman himself was almost certainly breaching the terms of his restrictive covenant by remaining in the post. And I find it inconceivable that Abbot Martin Shipperlee didn't know about Chillman's role at St. Augustine's, and so he should have informed the St. Augustine's Trustees himself, and ought to have required Chillman's resignation.
If the St. Augustine's Trustees did know about Chillman's restrictive covenant and did nothing for several months, then they chose to retain the services of Chillman as chaplain and Chairman of Governors when they knew he had been placed on restricted covenant and barred from access to children. Negligence towards the safety of the pupils seems about the kindest interpretation that could be put on this.
The ISI inspected St. Augustine's in March 2010, with a follow-up visit in May. This overlaps with the supplementary inspection visits to St. Benedict's which took place on 30th April and 17th May. The ISI were definitely aware of the connection between the schools through Father Gregory Chillman, because I told them. It is inconceivable that the ISI, in the course of their inspection visits and subsequent correspondence, made no mention to St. Augustine's of Chillman's restrictive covenant and his unsuitability for the role. And yet he remained in place.