Monday, 10 October 2011

Ealing Abbey Trustees' Report

The Accounts and trustees' Report for the year to 31 August 2010 is now available on the Charity Commission website.

I have no doubt that the financial figures are all justified, having been through the auditors and all. But other aspects of the report are thoroughly dishonest, although the lies are mainly lies of omission.

Lets start with the list of Trustees on page 1.
Rt Revd Martin Shipperlee OSB – Chairman
Rt Revd Francis Rossiter OSB (resigned 30 April 2011)
Revd Alexander Bevan OSB
Revd Gregory Chillman OSB (resigned 29 March 2010)
Br Matthew Freeman OSB (appointed 30 April 2011)
Revd Timothy Gorham OSB (appointed 29 March 2010)
Revd Thomas Stapleford OSB
Revd Dominic Taylor OSB
Nowhere in the report is it mentioned why Revd Gregory Chillman OSB resigned as trustee - i.e. that he had been placed on restricted covenant, and barred from public ministry and from access to children. I would regard that as a significant lie by omission.

The report mentions the following about inspections carried out during the year.

The School was inspected in November 2009 and the results were highly successful. The published report stated that the School was highly successful in achieving its aims of providing good quality education and “teaching a way of living”. The pastoral care and personal development of the pupils are excellent. Teaching is strong, often excellent and at times inspirational.
No mention is made of the Supplementary Inspection carried out by the ISI in April 2010, which highlighted severe shortcomings in safeguarding procedures. Nor is any mention of the report of the Charity Commission's own two Statutory Inquiries, published in December 2009, which was highly critical of the trustees. This is a disgracefully partial report.

Then, the report makes this passing mention of safeguarding issues.

The School community was saddened for those affected by historical safeguarding issues. There were failures in the past and the School co-operated with the relevant authorities to help expose or punish those involved.
To be blunt, this is an insult to the victims and to the intelligence of all  those associated in any way with Ealing Abbey or St Benedict's School. The failures resulted in the conviction of Father David Pearce during the year being reported on, and this is apparently not considered worthy of any mention in the report at all. Second, it suggests that the abuse is "historical". Not so, incidents occurred during the year, which resulted in Social Services investigation, albeit not in any prosecutions. Thirdly, I notice weasel words in "the School co-operated with the relevant authorities", without mentioning whether the co-operation was pro-active, continuous or voluntary.

Later on, the report makes mention of the "Independent Review"
Independent Review
As a result of the historical safeguarding issues mentioned above, and due to the hurt and damage that they have caused and continue to cause, the Abbot commissioned a full independent review of the Monastery and School by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC. As well as looking at the history of abuse allegations, the review is considering policies for dealing with such allegations and other reassurance. This is likely to include a recommendation to strengthen the governance of the School by separating it from the overall governance of the Trust. It is hoped that this review will report in the summer or autumn of 2011.
The report is dated 24 June 2011. It seems that even back then, they had seen which way Lord Carlile's mind seemed to be working, and they have as a result resigned themselves to a split in the governance between the school and the rest of the trust, as I recommended in my evidence to Lord Carlile.

But the paragraph is still lying by omission. It has neglected to mention the other "Independent Review" commissioned by the Abbot during the year being reported on, and especially has failed to mention the circumstances under which it was prepared.

It seems as if the Trustees are still operating in denial mode. They are minimising the extent of the problems, omitting as many inconvenient facts as they think they can get away with, and seem still to be liberally throwing whitewash in all directions. In view of the huge scale of the failures and the widespread damage to children at the school which has resulted, this is a pathetically inadequate report.


  1. Will someone please explain to me, like I'm a three year old, how a report which is commissioned and paid for by St Benedict's, can be described as "independent?"

    Furthermore, will someone please evidence the social work qualifications and experience of Lord Carlile so that I might understand why he was appointed, and can therefore have confidence in this important aspect of his long overdue report.

  2. Find something else to do with your time 20.27.

  3. Where does it say that Revd Gregory Chillman as you guote "i.e. that he had been placed on restricted covenant, and barred from public ministry and from access to children"
    Where do you get this from? Where is the evidence? I am so fed up with the lies on this site

  4. 22:11
    I obtained the information from Mr Peter Turner, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

  5. Many times on this site it has been brought to the attention of people like you 22.11, that Mr Chillman can always resort to legal action if he has been defamed. On the 25th July 2010 when the Carlile ‘inquiry’ was being arranged this interesting exchange of emails occurred .

    As you can see Barry Hudd, PR guru to the Bishop of Portsmouth; a man the school quickly contacted when signs of damage to its reputation seemed imminent (shame the school for decades failed to act so promptly (sometimes never) when reporting allegations and actual child sexual abuse to the authorities); was exchanging emails about this precise subject with among others including Tony Nelson, a solicitor acting for both the school and the convicted former teacher and paedophile monk David Pearce.

    No one has sued I understand, because any lawyer would advise the complainant that it would be a futile in light of the evidence. Despite having significant resources ranged against him, Mr West has continued to assert the facts, the unwisdom of doing anything else in is obvious to everyone – except you 22.11. If West were telling lies it would be public suicide.

    Unfortunately both you and Barry Hudd just don’t like what you read on this blog and for reasons known only to you. Hudd therefore promulgated legal action without any evidence to support the defence of Chillman, and you courageously scream ‘foul’ from under the comfort blanket of anonymity.

    On another small matter while I am here. I notice from the school’s latest accounts that the “Principal” Solicitors are listed as: Stone King, Veale Wasborough and Beachcroft LLP, yet nowhere is Haworth & Gallagher the firm run by Tony Nelson mentioned. Given Mr Nelson’s role in the appointment of Carlile, it is surprising that his firm is not included in the list. Is it because his firm specialises, I understand, in criminal litigation?

  6. In their recent report on St Benedict's, the Independent Schools Inspectorate recommended that the School should "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".

    Gregory Chillman is on a restricted ministry and barred from contact with children. The Abbot should comply with the recommendation and expel him from the Monastery.

  7. An interesting list of law firms @ 11.56:

    Stone King - Also act for that other benedictine setting Downside

    Veale Wasborough - act for Worth as principal solicitors, and Ampleforth particularly in relation to policy documents.

    Do these other Benedictine settings also use Howarth Gallagher and not list the firm in their accounts?

  8. 16.04 - rather like French governments, St Benedict's accedes to laws, regulations and guidance at the drop of a hat and then ignores the lot and does what it wants.

    There is a cultural problem at the place and as Shipperlee commissioned and paid for Carlile's exercise, he'll likely ignore it as soon as he dare.

    Shipperlee is just waiting for the thud of car doors and the crunch of gravel on the drive as the cars leave. Then it’s back to normal.

    Future ISI inspections? Well there is the first joke except it’s not funny.

  9. Shipperlee is clearly incapable of supervising members of the monastic community who have had restrictions placed on their ministry. This was clearly demonstrated by the case of David Pearce who was able to abuse at least one more St Benedict's pupil while under restrictions that banned him from contact with children.

    After all that has happened, why should we believe that Shipperlee can be trusted to enforce the restrictions that the Diocese of Westminster has imposed on Gregory Chillman?

  10. No trust at all can be placed in Shipperlee, his fellow trustees or the senior management of the place 13.52, but then neither can anyone have any confidence that future inspections of the school will pick up shortcomings or failures. One only needs to look at the 2009 ISI inspection to realise this.

    Unfortunately it is only when things go wrong that the non-existence and the ineffectiveness of the 'child protection' framework is exposed in all its useless glory.

    This is why a robust and effective safeguarding policy is so crucial. It is a written undertaking authored and signed by the school which should clearly set out the actions it will take when allegations of abuse arise. It is for parents to hold the chairman of Trustees to account for any (i) the quality of the policy and (ii) any deviation from it.

    Has anyone read the latest St Benedict’s policy?

  11. One thing St. Benedict's taught me was to stand up and be counted.So I will not be annonymous.I would add it taught me many good things.
    As a pupil at St Benedicts at the early time of the events in question and inquiries current, I have my own views on the reported abuse. I would comment that abuse was prevelant at many many boys and girls schools of different religous pursuasions at that time and it took many forms.None of this is receiving any attention. I place the blame for events at st Benedicts as much on the society of the time and the lay catholic parental acceptance of authority as on the perpetrators.It seems with all the advantage of the long view that putting male celibate priests in a position of power among young boys was like putting a saucepan of petrol on the hotplate. But do not believe abuse at schools at the time was solely sexual.It was physical and psychological. My siblings were marked for life by what they experienced elsewhere and their old schoolfriends suffer the same. Allow law and administrative processes at the school and abbey to run their course. There will always be a duty for administrators to keep the school on an even keel as these proceed.Sometimes a focused view serves the current children better. Why should they suffer more than necessary as bones are dug up for the benefit of past victims? The abbey and school owe that to the current pupils and much of Mr. West's arguments seem to be totally focused on a gratuitous destruction of anything and everything done by others. Is there another agenda here?

  12. m habell
    I attended an independent school in the 1970s. I accept that the 70s are very much a different era from now.

    I also accept that I wasn't altogether happy at the school I attended - I was interested in science and music, while the school was interested in Latin and rugby.

    But the school I went to did not have anything resembling the culture of abuse and bullying that a large number of OPs have described as being the norm at St Benedict's.

    The child protection shortcomings aren't just an historical matter of the 1970s. The ISI and the Charity Commission have both severely criticised the current management in recent inspections.

    I'm sure that St Benedict's wasn't unique in this respect, but that doesn't make what has happened there right. It was wrong, and must have been known to be wrong at the time by the perpetrators.

  13. Mr West,
    You have so many areas of blogs that it takes time to catch up and things I thought not published then appear. Thankyou for a direct answer. It is possible you saw my letter of last week in The Times following the Editorial on the Carlile Report.It had always been inexplicable in the past years of scandle that noone had mentioned Kevin Horsey of my time. I feel that society and parents of the time were also complicit because often the mention of what went on was either ignored or treated with amusement.Incredible as it seems today, mothers would regard a choir master or scoutmaster who had an overly familiar liking for young boys with an almost indulgent air... as long as it wasn't their son.Likewise certain monks we mentioned.The past, as they say, is a different country.
    I have been critical of you because I could see no value in a blame exercise to old pupils when the perpetrators are dead or imprisoned as clearly therefore justice cannot be meted out.Catharsis then? For those few unable to shake the experience off? Well yes... but at the price of vast numbers who had tried to move on, succeeded, only to be confronted with it all over again. For the future then? Well yes, I can understand that reasoning if only you were now more conciliatory. I see no value in blaming new masters of a listing ship.You more than most must understand the difficulties of managing under news assault. I do accept the argument that continuing critique has a bearing on future governance in schools but you should now put a hand out and offer encouragement and give current St. Benedicts authorities a chance. Not to do so ruins the lives of current pupils.Why is that important? Well,besides the colateral damage of your campaign, contrary to what you imply, I actually think that St Benedicts is a very good school today teaching some human values most schools do not bother with.(Compared with others nationally and internationally I know)
    I chose to send my children to another fiercely successful London School. I do not regret it but I saw that what they gained in dispationate drive for academic sucess they lost in the pastoral sense that St. Benedicts is good at.My children's school too had its darkside and it was institutionaly rather than personally delivered.
    When I compared notes of my time with a colleague, ex Charterhouse, he looked at me blankly and said " but that was normal at our school." My sisters and their friends have been in later life horribly affected by the bullying by female teachers that occurred at their private school.
    I really think, Mr West,you cannot mend history. You could now best serve your cause, by being more supportive of the school now.