Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Core participant

Earlier this year I applied for core participant status in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, specifically for the investigation "Child Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church". My initial application was provisionally rejected, but I re-applied, and my renewed application was addressed at the inquiry's preliminary hearing on July 28.

One of the criteria for core participant status is if "the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report." Ealing Abbey & St Benedict's School are of course both core participants, they conceivably might come in for quite a bit of criticism. But I was able also to demonstrate that I should be a core particpant on this point (among others.) I put before the inquiry the headmaster's prizegiving day speech in September 2011 which contained the following passage.
I absolutely refute that anyone associated with St Benedict’s School has misled the Inspectors or protected offenders - such allegations are at best misguided and at worst deliberately malicious. 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.
In the chair's determination, this was stated as one of the grounds on which my core participant status was granted.

By the way, a little earlier in Cleugh's speech, he praised the monks.
Could any of you here tonight imagine the School without the spiritual and pastoral guidance of Fr Thomas, Fr Alexander here and Fr Andrew in the Junior School? And so it has been with generations of Priorians before you - Fr Bernard, Fr George and Fr Kevin to name but a few.
The mention of Fr Kevin was perhaps a little unfortunate. A school building had been named after Fr Kevin Horsey, who died in 2006. It subsequently emerged that he had abused, and the building was renamed.

Soper in court

Soper appeared at Ealing Magistrates Court yesterday to hear the charges against him. Nine charges relating to five different  children. The charges include buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault. He has been remanded in custody until 19 September when he will appear at Isleworth Crown Court.

(NOTE: Just a reminder to those commenting. I won't publish any comments which speculate as to Soper's guilt or innocence. That's for the courts to decide and I don't want anything done that would interfere with the workings of justice.)

Monday, 22 August 2016

Soper arrested

The Metropolitan Police have had some trouble getting Laurence Soper back from Kosovo. Two extradition hearings both decided that Soper could not be extradited because in Kosovo there is a statute of limitations on the crimes of which he has been accused, and the time period had expired.

However it appears that the Kosovo authorities have nonetheless decided he was an undesirable alien and deported him. He arrived at Luton airport yesterday and was arrested on arrival. He will appear before Ealing magistrates today on charges including buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault.