Detective Constable Mark White, of Avon & Somerset Constabulary, said: “As a result of our inquiries a 79-year-old man living in the Irish Republic received a caution and an 80-year-old man, resident in the South West of England, was also cautioned. The second man was removed from Downside Abbey following our inquiries.”
And BBC Points West reported yesterday that there are in addition a further two monks are still living at the monastery on restricted ministry.
That makes five. It's a bit of a pity Fr Aidan couldn't have come clean about that initially. This is beginning to rival Ealing Abbey in terms of scale - not a competition that Downside should want to win.
Restricted ministry failed at Ealing in the case of Father David Pearce, who was able to abuse a child even after he had been placed on restricted ministry. He was arrested in January 2008 and pleaded guilty in August 2009 to a string of offences spanning 36 years. The ISI, DfE, Charity Commission and Lord Carlile have all condemned the use of restricted ministry as ineffective. The Schools Minister Nick Gibb took a personal interest in ensuring that the practice ended at St Benedict's. That the policy of restricted ministry is still in use at Downside four years after Pearce's arrest is nothing short of a disgrace.
Downside's most recent ISI report is a nightmare. I'm going to describe that in more detail in future articles. The school has published a response on its website.
We have prepared an Action Plan in consultation with the appropriate agencies, and it has been sent by the Department for Education to Ofsted and ISI for their evaluation.Talk is cheap. If a practice known to be ineffective at protecting children is still in use, then they can "subscribe to the principle that the protection of children is paramount", as much as they like but it won't matter in the slightest since the practice doesn't match the principle.
We are working with our Trustees, Governors and outside advisors to ensure that the plan is implemented in a timely and effective manner.
We fully subscribe to the principle that the protection of children is paramount in all that the School undertakes.