Friday, 14 October 2011

Abbot Laurence Soper

The efforts to address the child sex abuse scandal at St Benedict's School yesterday descended from tragedy into farce.

Abbot Laurence Soper has gone missing.

He is wanted by police in respect of allegations of child sex abuse. He was due earlier this year to return to the UK for a police bail appointment. He did not make that appointment. According to The Times (article behind paywall) prosecutors are preparing a European Arrest Warrant for him.

So we have a monk on the run. Where's Robbie Coltrane when you need him?

The Times article is full of quotes from eminent churchmen, all saying that they don't know where Soper is, and that they are giving all possible assistance to the police. But consider this: Soper is in his 80s. He has been a monk for most of his adult life, he hasn't lived independently for at least 40 years. He's going to need help, and he's going to need an income. The only possible place that help could be coming from is within the Catholic Church. So somebody in the church knows where he is. Somebody, somewhere, is protecting him. Somebody within the church is knowingly shielding a fugitive from justice. Somebody in the church is putting the welfare of an abusing priest ahead of his abused victims.

The police are certainly of the opinion that he is an abuser. You don't go to the trouble of issuing European arrest warrants without a pretty good case. This is far more serious than Father David Pearce. Soper was Abbot of Ealing from 1991 to 2000. It is one thing for there to have been a paedophile monk at the Abbey, it is quite another for there to have been a paedophile Abbot running the place.

It is inconceivable that there would have been no rumours at all within the monastery concerning Soper when he was a teacher at the school, inconceivable (if the evidence in the hands of the police is strong enough to justify a European arrest warrant) that there were no complaints at all from parents or pupils at the time. And yet, even though there almost certainly were these rumours, the monks elected him in 1991 to be their Abbot. What on earth were they thinking?

As Abbot, Soper was in a position to shield other abusers. He was Abbot when David Pearce "retired" as Junior School Headmaster in 1993 as a result of complaints about abuse, Pearce being appointed Bursar instead. Soper was also Bursar when John Maestri quietly departed the school in 1984, ostensibly on grounds of ill health, but in fact because of complaints of abuse. It's not conceivable that he didn't know the real reason for Maestri's departure. Maestri was Soper's deputy when Soper was Master of the Middle School.

There is a name for a group of two or more paedophiles who know of each other's activities and protect each other. That name is a paedophile ring. It looks increasingly as if there has been a paedophile ring in operation at Ealing Abbey for many years.

Things are still not right at the school. I have had a detailed look at the latest version of the school's safeguarding policy, which came into effect in September this year. I shall be blogging about it over the next few weeks, going through it paragraph by paragraph, as I did the May 2010 version. It has been tweaked here and there, but it is not the comprehensive start-all-over-again rewrite that is necessary. It still contains weasel words concerning whether and how abuse will be reported to the authorities.

Over the last 18 months or so, the school has had fairly unremitting publicity and official attention on its safeguarding, both in terms of its past failures and its present procedures. And yet, they still haven't managed to come up with a written policy that actually makes it clear how allegations and incidents will be reported. In the circumstances, I have to say that there could still be abusers at the school or the Abbey, with the abuse going unreported. I don't know whether there is any abuse happening now or not - if I knew there was abuse going on, I wouldn't be blogging about it, I would be telling the police, without delay.

Mr Cleugh has written to all parents, pointing out that in his prizegiving day speech he had said that "it was likely that further allegations would be forthcoming about historical safeguarding matters here at St Benedict’s", knowing that Soper had missed a police bail appointment. You might care to recall that at the same time last year, Mr. Cleugh in his prizegiving speech had this to say about the publicity surrounding the scandal.
Recent media and blog coverage seem hell-bent on trying to discredit the School and, at the same time, destroy the excellent relationship between School and Monastery. Is this part of an anti-Catholic movement linked to the papal visit? I do not know, but it feels very much as if we are being targeted.
I think Mr. Cleugh owes me an apology. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it though.


  1. How many students does this institution have? Tuition cost? Is this facility so prestigous that lazy and naive parents choose to sacrifice their children just to say their child attends?? Catholic or not, shame on all who turn a blind eye in the name of comfort. Who will take care of you when you are older, if you are a good parent, it will be your child you paid attention to. Signs of any abuse are clear...that is if you are really nurturing your kids, of course.

  2. Sterling write up there Jonathan. You are a thorn in St Benedict's and the Abbey's side, but offer a voice to the many boys that have been abused there over the last 6 decades, and have been ignored and laid silent.
    At the end of the day all you are trying to achieve is safety for the children at the school. Having discovered a paedophile ring at the school (which the pupils have known about for a LONG time) anyone would think that they would bend over backwards (sorry) to assist with safeguarding improvements but you have only come up against obstruction.
    Maybe they will at last be forced to make real changes? I sincerely hope so, but suspect that the culture that is prevalent in the school and its institution will prevent that.

  3. As someone who was in the same form as Fr Laurence when we were at school, I can categorically deny that he is in his eighties. His current age is 69 - please correct your report.

  4. The police seem to think he was 80 a year ago when they arrested him.

  5. In the light of all that has happened at St Benedict's, I find it truly amazing that people are still prepared to pay good money to send their children there.

  6. "...seem to think...." Just about says it all, really. Just where did they get their information from, or were they just guessing? I stand by my previous comment.

  7. Mr West says :

    "I shall be blogging about it[the new safeguarding policy]over the next few weeks, going through it paragraph by paragraph, as I did the May 2010 version. It has been tweaked here and there, but it is not the comprehensive start-all-over-again rewrite that is necessary. It still contains weasel words concerning whether and how abuse will be reported to the authorities.

    Can I hear the sound of distant cheerleaders, some say Abbeyvistas, preparing to defend the indefensible? The Metropolitan police last week spoke with Boots on Haven Green in preparation of the “Monk on the Run” news reaching the papers, and industrial stocks of ‘Reality Pills’ are now freely available to those connected with the school and the abbey who still seem not to understand the scale of the problem, and show little committment to safeguard the children in their care.

    It is all bizarrely similar to Ampleforth, but of course there the chief denier was Basil Hume who refused to permit the police onto the premises and was finally persuaded by an individual who was unconnected with the place. This article in the Guardian long after the investigation is full of ludicrous claims by among others the police suggesting that ‘things are now very different,’ a claim which is made from a standpoint of ignorance of the law. The nonsense uttered by Madden (Ampleforth) in the final paragraph of the article is from the script used by all schools even today, when hoping to close an uncomfortable chapter. It’s a devalued and meaningless phrase unusually delivered without a shred of supporting evidence – here goes:

    ..... there was now "a framework of reporting, monitoring and pastoral supervision which provides safeguards for child protection almost unrecognisable from those applying in those days".

    In 1960 there was no mandatory requirement for any school to report allegations or actual abuse including rape, to the Police or social services.

    In 2011 - nothing has changed.

    Unless a school’s safeguarding policy commits to reporting all allegations to the LADO, children are not being safeguarded. Read in full the policy posted on the St Benedict’s website.

    Because there is no statutory requirement to report allegations or actual abuse, all commercially operated independent schools are presented with a conflict of interest when faced with an incident of abuse. To report or not? Can sufficient reason be found not to report? Can I use parents’ unwillingness to report to justify non-reporting?

    No report (to the LADO) means parents will not receive the independent and knowledgeable advice they need for the benefit of their child.

    But for the school “No report to the LADO” means little likelihood of the alleged offence reaching court meaning the reputation and the balance sheet of the school remain intact.

    From a previous posting I see that quite coincidentally St Benedict’s, Ampleforth and Worth, all Benedictine settings, use the same solicitors - Veale Wasborough.

  8. "The only possible place that help could be coming from is within the Catholic Church. So somebody in the church knows where he is. Somebody, somewhere, is protecting him. Somebody within the church is knowingly shielding a fugitive from justice. "

    Really? "The only possible place"? Do you have facts you are not telling us Mr West?

  9. Abbot Lawrence Soper was an accountant before he entered the Community at Ealing. He was for many years Bursar and Prior of Ealing from 1983 till he became Abbot in 1990. Then he served on the Abbot Primate's Curia and was Bursar of S. Anselmo.

    He is perfectly capable of arranging his own hiding place and is financially astute. He is not a cloistered monk who could not survive or cope outside the cloister.

    Indeed it is said before one of the stock market crashes in the 1980's he forsaw the problem and liquidated the Abbey's share portfolio and saved the Community a large loss.

    It is good to see that Abbot Martin has published a clear message on the homepage of the Ealing Abbey website. We need to see more openness from Ealing. I await the Carlile Report with great interest.

    Bryan Dunne
    OP - 1990

  10. Where does Mr West get his facts? According to Department for Education,from a source that is likely to be 97% unreliable. The BBC, and other media, report that ‘According to the Department for Education survey, only 3% of investigations resulted in a criminal caution or conviction for the teacher’. In fact, the issue of child abuse in schools is summed up as follows: ‘Nearly half the allegations made against teachers in England are malicious, unsubstantiated or unfounded’.

    In the light of these findings, reportage on this blog should be decidedly more circumspect. Bandying about phrases such as ‘paedophile ring’ may make for attention grabbing headlines in sections of the press but here they are merely attempts to add fuel to the fire and inflame emotions.

  11. It's taken decades but justice is now to the forefront, and it has its own sadnesses, but these people must be brought to trial. Anybody who talks about attention grabbing headlines simply does not understand what all this is about.

  12. 09.04 comments logically, quoting understandably from the much reported DfE press release.

    Some background is needed. There is no DfE methodology for gathering alleged abuse statistics through existing protocols. The information that was collected by the DfE when it was responsible for handling notifications was so basic that nothing could be extrapolated from it. There is still no means of extrapolating important intelligence for Notifications / referrals made to the ISA under SVGA 2006, but work has belatedly started to make use of this vital data.

    What does this mean?

    The press release issued by the DfE earlier this week is not sourced from empirical data such as notifications / referrals or other factual and evidenced data. It is based on a survey by a research subcontractor because the DfE has no data. It is worthy of a Jaques Tati sketch were it not so serious.

    In February this year the following notice appeared on the DfE website:

    Call for Expressions of Interest
    Research project 2010043: An Investigation of Allegations of Abuse Against Teachers

    Deadline for Expressions of Interest: midday on 22nd December 2010
    Expected Project Start Date: February 2011

    The dates alone tell you this is a quick and dirty job!

    Research, if this is what it is, is important and someone may wish to request a copy of the report via freedom of information. I am deeply sceptical of the relevance of the report because no categories of abuse have been specified in the press release. What definition of abuse was used? What categories were included in the report? What thresholds were used? What was the breakdown between independent and maintained schools? Breakdown of sex? Ages of alleged victims? What evidence of clustering? How many incidents of abuse in the report?

    The press release explains none of this so the statement is meaningless.

    Those who may have watched the unfortunately named programme ‘Educating Essex’ will have seen a pupil allege she was struck by a teacher. The sea documentary cameras were so discreet that people forgot they were present. The pupil’s lie was proved on playback and she was punished via exclusion. I suspect claims of this nature are rampant in some schools. The motivation for a false allegation of this nature is perfectly clear to most adults. But the frequency of this type of allegation compared to a sexual or emotional one is likely to be very different, yet the DfE lumps all allegations together to produce a politically convenient press release. Gove's department playing fast and loose with a very challenging and important subject.

    This sort of dross helps no one, including schools staff.

    This is not the first occasion that the DfE has demonstrated its ‘one club’ understanding of safeguarding. It is after all an education based ministry – not a social care ministry. Regrettably safeguarding transferred from Health to the DfE sometime ago and educationalist have been in charge of it ever since and making a complete hash of it.

    Any Ministry responsible for legislating a sector, which then has to employ a subcontract research business because its civil servants have or decades failed to capture data on actual and alleged child abuse when the Secretary of State (Gove) has ministerial responsibility for the protection of children, is incompetent.

  13. Mr West, can you tell us if Chillman is still resident at the Abbey? It has been conjectured here on this blog that he may be one of the monks referred to in the ISI follow-up report, and according to the recommendations of ISI should no longer reside at the Abbey.

  14. It would appear from the evidence on this blog that a popular hiding-place for people who are unfit to work with children is behind Mrs Gumley Mason.

    I wonder if Interpol has thought of looking there?

  15. 'Look - our Jonathan's the only one in step!'

    From the Minister Responsible down to anyone on this blog objecting to its intemperate language, its prejudgement of individuals and forensic analysis of accusations the details of which we know little if anything about, are, according to Mr West, obdurate, incompetent, mendacious and/or maliciously obtuse! But, he has to understand, many people find his self-righteous self-confidence both alarming and shocking! See, for example, his 'colourful' account of Abbot Laurence Soper, above. As far as any of us know, Father Laurence - far from being 'on the run' - may well be dead.

  16. Your posting 14:43 suggests that civil servants are so busy protecting the Minister that they are failing in their responsibility to protect children.

  17. 17:28
    Chillman is still living at the Abbey. According to the latest from Peter Turner, he is still on restricted ministry.

    Peter Turner has confirmed to me that Chillman is the monk referred to in item (ii) on page 1 of the ISI Supplementary report "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."

  18. There is something wonderful about the fact that the wheels of justice do turn, even if they take a long time. It restores my faith in human nature. But it is extremely sad when a man who has fatal weaknesses, but who in other ways is an extremely good man, is made subject of an international manhunt. There is human tragedy in this inevitable and welcome course of events - and complexity, and it is searingly sad.

  19. 01:04 In many cases, paedophiles work their way into respected or even eminent positions in life partly in order to put themselves beyond suspicion and so provide themselves with the means of abusing children with minimal chance of being detected, or of any accuser being believed.

    Is the good that such people do, "in passing" as it were, any reason not to have the full force of justice brought down on them for their crimes?

  20. No - justice must be done. There is no doubt about it. I agree with all your reasoning. At the same time, I believe that when someone is a "Jekyll and Hyde", the Jekyll can sometimes exist alongside the Hyde.

  21. This is a bizarre conversation. The law is, surely, the law. There is nothing much more to be said; it is there at the will of the people, instituted by their democratically elected parliamentary representatives, and for the good of all the people fairly and equally.
    If a speed camera catches you driving at 40 in a 30mph zone it is no defence in court to assert that on many other occasions you have driven at 28mph. The fact I that you have broken the law.

  22. Mr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are in all of us, 01:38. Those we choose to single out and label are in no way exceptional. Your critique is of human nature not Fr Laurence Soper!

  23. Is the Law absolute, 05:01? It is, surely, as you yourself admit, a contrivance, albeit a nominally contractual one. In answering the question, may I remind you of what one of man said when accused of breaking the Law? 'Man is not made for the Sabbath (the Law) but rather the Sabbath (the Law) is made for man’. In other words, in his mind at least, man transcends the Law. May I, gently suggest that you might look a little less to the Law and a little more to your humanity?

  24. 09:57
    One of the particular characteristics of the Murphy Report into abuse in Ireland was that whenever "welfare" was considered by the authorities, the report noted that the church authorities were always considering the welfare of the abusing priest. The welfare of the abused victims rarely if ever got a look in.

    I very much hope you aren't making the same mistake.

  25. Re entry at 01:11 -

    It seems, Mr West - a mild looking man if ever there was one - is seeking not justice but 'THE FULL FORCE' of justice! What is the distinction? Can someone please explain?

    - R.Perplexed

  26. He may be dead 20.57 - but clearly Shipperlee does not think so from the statement he read to BBC TV South East news on Friday, and neither do the police.

  27. Does our 'humanity' inevitably lead to mistakes, Mr West?

  28. You notice that now winter is beckoning that the Abbeyvistas are back.

    They have distinctive features, the most pronounced is the unremitting personal remarks and attacks on West whilst they ignore the effect this blog continues to have on safeguarding at two Ealing schools.

    Some see Abbeyvistas as pests, but as they are on their way to extinction through self harm, they are permitted a last squawk.

  29. As 01:04 and 01:38, I want to reiterate - the full force of justice must be brought down on anybody who abused children. There is no room for compromise here. At the same time, I think that there is a tragedy of behaviour here which could be prevented if one could understand the temptations that befall monks, left in absolute authority over young boys, in a highly authoritarian atmosphere of their making, backed by religious force. Let's not just have safeguards in place. Let's not have monks starved of sexual contact left in unfettered authority over young boys. This is the real problem, and was pervasive at Ealing Abbey. This is nothing to do with whether I believe in the rules of the Catholic faith for its priests. I am not saying here that priests should be allowed to marry, but only that, as long as they are not allowed other sexual outlets, they should not be given access to boys. I was a pupil at St B's and taught by all the monks under scrutiny,and believe that this was the fundamental problem. Let justice be done, but let us protect children and future, not just by the safeguards, but also from those who are self-evidently sex-starved. Apologies for raising such unpleasant matters but it is time to tell the truth. At the same time, I reiterate - and I cannot do it more forcibly - let justice be done, and let's not ever give any priority to abusers over victims. The abusers deserve no sympathy.

  30. I am very hesitant to post here as I am one of the victims of Soper.

    For very obvious reasons I have absolutly no intention of writing about any details here but I wanted to add to this discussion from my, unfortunatly, not unique point of view.

    As I understand it the police did NOT want this story made public for their own reasons and actually went as far as to ask the newspaper not to publish before they had obtained the European Arrest Warrent.

    In true Murdock style the paper ignored this request and published and be damned.

    My point of view is very simple. I want Soper to be held accountable for his past actions to both myself and others. I could not care less about self serving media chewing on a story for monitary reasons that may very well predudice any legal actions. I care even less for self-serving bloggers jumping on the band wagon and using the Abbey's actual compliance with the the police not to make this story public until they said so against them.

    Soper may or may not be alive, if he is then I personally think it highly unlikly that the Church is giving him sucor.

    I will say this though, IF Soaper is caught and brought to trial and gets off because of your actions and those of the media then I would personally like to take you all to a dark alley and give you a bloody good thumping so you may know some of the nightmare I have walked through. I'd like to but I wouldn't as I'm a civilised man, so I'm told, but I think you get the idea.

    Mr West, you trifle with very personal and extreamly painful memories and you stand on your soap-box and decry the Church, the Abbey, the School and the Abbot when all they did was comply with a request from the police. I would have thought your venom best aimed at Soper.

    Perhaps you'd care to tread more carefully, as the saying goes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and if you only 'report' part of the story weither by ignorance of the facts or by design, the chances are you'll do more harm than good.

  31. How come you think so little of our humanity, Mr West? I, like most others,wish there were a great deal more of it around.

  32. Soper's legged it! And others linked to the church who have done the same have yet to be found. They are not at the top of police 'to do' lists, especially in Italy unfortunately.

  33. 14:30
    I have two primary considerations. First is the welfare of the victims of Soper and others I am in touch privately with a number of former pupils of St Benedict's who have been abused, some of them severely. They have, without exception, fully supported my actions and the publicity I have brought to their calls for justice. I do of course know a great deal more than I publish. Reasons for not publishing information include to avoid prejudicing any future trial and respecting the confidences that have been placed in me.

    Many crimes receive widespread publicity - far more than has ever been generated over St Benedict's, and yet successful trials do follow. The police have my contact details, and if I were to receive a request from them not to publish some fact or to withdraw an item from the blog, I would unhesitatingly agree. I have received such a request - not to mention the names of any victims of abuse, a request I am most willing to agree to, since I do not wish to intrude into their privacy in any way.

    My other main concern is the safety of the current pupils at St Benedict's School. I will not rest until the school's safeguarding procedures are an example of best practice and I have evidence that they are being diligently implemented. It is impossible to absolutely prevent all abuse, but good safeguarding practice can ensure as far as possible that any abuse is detected early and stopped immediately with the minimum of harm to the pupils. As a victim of abuse, I am sure you would not wish others to suffer as you have, if there are measures that can still be taken to protect them.

    Some people have claimed that I am anti-catholic. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am anti-abuse. It so happens that abuse has occurred at the school my son attended, and I intend to see to it that abuse on that scale cannot ever happen again. Had the school not been catholic, my actions would not have been different in any way.

    May I offer you my very best wishes. I hope that Soper is brought to justice, and that this will help you close a chapter of your life that has undoubtedly caused you great suffering. Having spoken to several of your fellow abuse survivors, I have some idea of what you have gone through. You have my absolute assurance that I will not knowingly do anything that will reduce the chance of Soper's trial and conviction.

  34. Any animus against Jonathan West is directed at what he writes, though what he writes inevitably reveals quite a bit about the man himself, of course.


    I notice that the latest ISI Instection Report has either been taken off the schools website or has been buried therein, makinging it impossible to find.

    However the Diocese of Westminster Report is still on prominant view. This Diocese Report was the report where the reporting inspector was Deacon Anthony Clark, a Governor of the school!.

    It would appear to me that the school is very ashamed of the ISI findings and have tried to bury it yet again. Shameful.

  36. 10:05
    It is still there, but I agree it is not easy to find. Go to News, Headmistress' Letters, and click on the February 2011 letter. There is a link to the ISI report there.

  37. Thanks Mr West.
    I have now found it but it has been well and truly buried. The Diocese Report is prominant but the ISI is not. I still feel the school have tried to bury it by not placing it in an obvious section.They still appear to be trying to hide bad news from parents.

  38. Bryan Dunne said: "Abbot Lawrence Soper was an accountant before he entered the Community at Ealing. He was for many years Bursar."

    Bryan, you omit to state that L Soper ceased being an accountant after some... let's call them financial iregularities, after which he avoided a prison sentence by informing on his colleagues.

    He then became a monk, and later was appointed bursar (but of course!!).

    (at Benedict's 1984-91, including in Scott house, of which Dom Stanislaus Hobbs was master, in 1984-85)

  39. @ 14:30, you state that:

    "As I understand it the police did NOT want this story made public for their own reasons and actually went as far as to ask the newspaper not to publish before they had obtained the European Arrest Warrent."

    I would be very interested to know your source for this information. I have no wish to denigrate you, but in view of past events, if it came from the Abbey or the School then it deserves to be treated with great suspicion.

  40. Mr West, you trifle with very personal and extreamly painful memories and you stand on your soap-box and decry the Church, the Abbey, the School and the Abbot when all they did was comply with a request from the police.
    I do agree

  41. @18:40 my 'source' was not the Abby, school or Church.

  42. One thing is crystal clear:

    No one accused on this blog - in particular Fr Laurence Soper - could get anything like a fair trial. Congratulations to you all, Mr West especially!

  43. 11:01
    Rubbish. Other cases have received far wider publicity than anything generated over St. Benedict's. And yet fair trials have occurred.

  44. @ 11:01

    It seems that Father Lawrence doesn't want a fair trial, or indeed any sort of a trial, that is presumably why he is on the run.

  45. 11.01 is being conveniently fanciful.

  46. @ 00:31

    You say that your source, "was not the Abby, school or Church."

    That only leaves the police, the newspaper or the Holy Spirit.


  47. Mr Vincent Tabak received a great deal of media coverage preceding his trial. His case has not been prejudiced for perfectly clear reasons.

    The same reasons apply with all cases that garner media attention prior to the start of the case. It is surprising that certain posters on this site seem not to understand why.

  48. Vincent Tabak's case is utterly different, as you must surely know.

    Today, however, we hear that Mr Werritty is busy preparing to challenge the likes of this blog via his solicitors.

  49. I'd like to think I'm wrong, but I get the impression that several of the above 'anonymous' entries are not as anonymous as one might hope! Could the poster concerned please identify his contributions or, at least, desist from posting anonymously?

  50. The principles applied to any case going to court are the same no matter what the subject.

  51. 17.50 is really inflating the influence of this mild mannered blogsite.


    What has the blogsite achieved?

    Very little according to many of the posters. Fizzing about it therefore seems misguided.

  52. Blimey 17.50, that'll have every blogger on the planet quaking in their boots!

    It's like bring menaced with a powder puff!

  53. It is the government's Education Bill that could stop communication about alleged abuse via speech, the internet, or email. The coalition government is proposing the cessation of free speech in England. However in the Lords tonight Lord Phillips, a solicitor who specialised in litigation, let rip and has made clear his intentions for later in the passage of the bill if his expectations of 'no change'are not met. A number of other peers were of similar mind.By the end of it all Lord Hill looked as if he had been at the bottom of a ruck for a fortnight and was happy to hear the whistle @ 11pm.

  54. It is the business of the Judiciary to ensure trials are fair. Since this blog is local it will merely be a matter of ensuring no jury member is a follower of it or looks at it during any trial.
    This blog is a discussion forum, albeit a sometimes heated and passionate one, nothing more than that. All of us as followers must maintain that sense of proportion. This blog is about our democratic rights and our freedom to express our views about the issues raised, it is not a trial or judgment on anyone - that is a job for the law..

  55. Here is Lord Phillips's speech in Hansard from last night’s Clause 13 debate of the Education Bill.

    I recommend that you scroll to the end of his speech and click “see this speech in context” as he continues having had a time overrun drawn to his attention.

    If you would prefer to see it as it happened then here is the link and drag the timeline to 21.52

  56. .
    The Telegraph's report on the Clause 13 debate in the Lords yesterday. Brought to you slightly later than 23.54's report. S/he is clearly 'well up' on the subject and must have been watching the debate online.

  57. From the 'latest' St Benedict's newsletter we read that Carlile's report will be presented to the poor saps that are current parents on the 9th November. Of course you will not be entitled to read it in advance so that you can ask moderately competent questions on the night because Martin and the s***s that run the place simply would not want that to happen.

    Between now and the 9th there is a little more time for Martin to make appeals to the author of the report for changes, and for electronic tippex to be applied because let’s not forget that it was Martin who commissioned and paid for the "independent report" and he is unlikely to permit its release until he is at ease with its content.

    Martin, I’ve booked ringside seats for the show. I admit that I no longer qualify to attend your proposed meeting for parents, but I should be attending because the timeframe of the report coincides with me being a fee payer to your lousy institution - more fool me!

    So let's see what Carlile has to say. If he has done a competent job, and there are already reasons that suggest this is not possible, and produced and credible report with sound recommendations I will say so.

    Of course, it will then be down to the school to implement the recommendations and one can place no confidence in that occurring.

    Someone more competent at posting may choose to post a link to the newsletter.



    My mother was disgusted when she heard what had been going on over the years I was there and to think that her hard earned money was supporting it. Us kids laughed it off then but the unfortunate ones came out crying with no one to turn to.

    I cannot believe the school has a nursery.

    Whatever is written on paper, will never be practised.

  59. I just found Laurence Soper's entry in Debretts. I wonder if he'd now like to change his recreations from "walking" to "running?" Personally, as one of the St. Benedict's boys whose teenage life was made a misery by him, I'd like him to take up a new recreation : "taking a long walk off a short pier".

    1. I wonder if I was at school with you. Soper made my life a misery. In fact I am the man in his 40's that you read about in so many articles. My sympathies are with you.

  60. Supreme
    Order of
    England &

    That's YOU, SOPER.

  61. Re: Comment on 15 October 2011 @ 20:57

    Quote: "As far as any of us know, Father Laurence - far from being 'on the run' - may well be dead."

    One glaring hiccup in your theory, abbeyvista: If Soper hasn't fled Rome, it seems a safe assumption that his body would been found - either at St Anselmo or on the street. Rome is not some uninhabited rainforest and it's rather difficult not to notice a dead priest.

    The facts:

    1. There is no dead body.

    2. He went AWOL exactly when he was re-summoned to London by the Police for further questioning.

    All things considered, the probability of his having died is pretty much zero. So the only question is: Has he fled by choice or by force?

    It's a rhetorical question, given the people who can answer it never will. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    I sincerely doubt he has met with a sticky end at the hands of people keen to silence him. Though, in true psychopathic tradition, he's clearly expert in dobbing in others to cover his own guilty arse, I'm sure the wiley old cockroach has a back-up plan to stem the possibility of his "untimely" death being someone else's tidy solution.

  62. "Somebody in the church is putting the welfare of an abusing priest ahead of his abused victims." unfortunately it is more than just one person within the Catholic church that is, and has for many years, put the interests of abusing priests ahead of their abused victims.

  63. The Rt. Rev. Dom. Martin Shipperlees's lamentable conduct at recent media interviews leaves one in no doubt that his resignation or removal as abbot is immanent. I strongly suspect that Ealing Abbey will be suppressed as a monastic foundation and what remains of its" monastic community" dispersed to other Benedictine houses. What is clear is that the Apostolic Visitation is an attempt by the Vatican to forestall a disaster. Shipperlee was a member of this monastic community for many years prior to his election as abbot. He must think we are extremely credulous to believe his assertions that he had no idea of the extent of the crimes committed by members of his community prior to his election. One thing is clear his predecessor Rossiter was ultimately responsible for this unfolding tragedy. When will law enforcement agencies finally start prosecuting these people for their decades of complicity? One thing is clear there will be further revelations. For the Rt. Rev. Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton to state that lapsed Catholics are not that interested in the sex abuse of children as an issue is not just nonsense but is an indicator of the arrogance of this man and reflects a wider prelatial perspective on these crimes. Please do refer to The Guardian 14/11/11.

  64. I have read with great interest the account of the situation at St. Augustine's Priory School. What exactly are the pupil enrollment numbers for this academic year? Surely they are declining? Why would parents desire to send there to children to an educational establishment embroiled in such controversy? Surely it is time for the closure of all schools connected with Ealing Abbey? Why has this not happened?

    I am wondering whether an criminal investigation is ongoing at the abbey. Have all monks, past and present- whether they were postulants, novices or professed- been investigated? Former members of the Ealing Abbey monastic community need to be interviewed and an appeal made for all victims to come forward. I strongly suspect that monks past and present have facilitated, colluded with and enabled members of the monastic community to commit acts of sexual abuse against children. It raises the question of who else may have been abused- at the monastic guesthouse or elsewhere? Surely the facilitation of such crimes demands investigation and prosecution?

  65. It is a scandal that his whereabouts are being covered up, with one Fr Elias Lorenzo, a prior at St Anselmo in Rome, the Benedictine monastery, where Mr Soper had been working as a treasurer, saying yesterday: 'He is not hiding here or in the Vatican - that would be too Dan Brown.' One thing is for sure that somebody is offering him shelter and the Vatican is not even handing over criminals to other countries, therefore it is partner in crime. And this case is not the only one, not to speak of all the Satanistic and Freemasonry and other secret societies infiltrating and purposefully corrupting the church from within. The people, who know, where he is and still hide him are co-criminals and co-conspirators and need to be taken to responsibility as well. When will the Pope finally put his house in order?! It was mentioned that Mr Soper might be in hiding in one of the monasteries at the Adriatic coast or in Montenegro, helped by his friends there. What does that say about monasteries - deserted by holy priests and inhabited by criminals?! One feels sick to the stomach at this evil, and well done to the gentleman above and all others, who stand up for the innocent and vulnerable. It is about time that all churches are being made accountable for their actions - and these days it seems, but then, it is an ongoing old sad story - as already since the crusades has happened all this abuse, often even organised internationally, from the lurches. Sadly, we have to warn our children to watch out for the signs of evil especially in their schools and in the church, as the devil seems to have found still a comfortable hiding place in the lurch. It was also said that Mr Soper was a banker before he joined religious life, so he is probably useful to the church in these troubled financial times and might just work hidden away in a private bank for the Vatican. Who would look there anyway, as it is an invisible and secret world, where there are accounts with no names attached but then, there are already too many fallen souls, who the above description matched. It seems that the church has itself from defending God's law and from holiness in this matter and from Jesus Christ's command to feed the poor and needy and to protect the children utterly detached. So very sad, that unpunished go the arrogant and greedy and seedy with their abusing of the low and poor and needy.

    But God hears and sees every smallest sin and He will make sure that justice is being done eventually for Jesus Christ's sheep, and we must speak out for our next of kin, when he is too anxious at his oppressor to shout.

    God bless you!

    Mother Sigrid (Ziggy) Agocsi
    Order of the Holy Rose (OHR)


  67. The Rt Rev Laurence Soper is a good friend of mine. I first met with him when i was serving time in feltham young offenders institute then he got me a job working in ealing abbey. I never would of thought that he was into child abuse and i think there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. No one will know the real truth untill he returns and trust me when i say this he want due to the bad press on the subject

  68. They finally got him in Pec, Kosovo and ready for extradition to UK