Victims have come forward describing abuse they suffered while at Buckfast Abbey School, a boarding school attached to the abbey, since closed. In one case, the investigation was handled by Chris Jarvis, the diocesan safeguarding adviser for the diocese of Plymouth.
The investigation never went anywhere, and now we know why. Jarvis has pleaded guilty to posessing and distributing child pornography and will appear in Plymouth Crown court today, presumably for sentencing.
The Times also has an editorial on the subject today, Rooting out Evil (also behind paywall), in which they lay into the complacency and secrecy of the church in the face of numerous stories of abuse. The end of the editorial is as follows.
But when things go wrong, the response to calamity must never be secrecy. Those calling for rigorous investigation are not anti-Catholic; they are anti-abuse. From the Vatican down, that must be the response to these latest scandals.Mr Cleugh, please remember that. In September last year, you used your prizegiving day speech to accuse me and others of anti-catholicism. Do you remember saying this? (It is recorded in the 2010 Priorian magazine, page 7).
Recent media and blog coverage seems 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 have two questions for you Mr Cleugh.
What matters to parents most is that their sons and daughters are safe and happy. I promise I will continue to do everything possible to ensure this is the case and I know that, in this assertion, I speak for all my colleagues.
- Are you now prepared to withdraw and apologise for those claims of anti-catholicism?
- If you are truly doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the pupils, why have you removed from the school's safeguarding policy the appendix which described the procedures for dealing with allegations against members of staff?