Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Laurence Soper found guilty of abuse

After two months of hearing evidence, the jury in the trial of Abbot Laurence Soper (real name Andrew Soper) returned its verdicts today.

Soper was convicted of two counts of buggery, two counts of indecency with a child and 15 counts of indecent assault. The charges of buggery were contrary to section 12(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956, since the offences took place when that act was in force. The name of the offence was changed from buggery to rape by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. So in modern terms, he's a rapist.

I shan't rehearse the details of his crimes, they have already been described by the Guardian, the BBC, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail among others.

I want to express the greatest of respect and admiration to the ten complainants who had the courage to come forward and give evidence in the face of what I've heard was a fierce cross-examination by the defence barrister. I have no doubt that it was an extremely unpleasant and possibly traumatic experience. I hope that the verdict helps to give you some measure of peace. The conviction could not have been won without you. You should be proud of what you achieved today.

This now brings the total number of monks and teachers associated with Ealing Abbey and St Benedict's School convicted of crimes associated with child sex abuse to five - two monks and three lay teachers.

John Maestri (a former maths teacher) was convicted on 3 separate occasions in 2003, 2005 and 2008 of offences against pupils committed in the 1970s and 80s. He received a custodial sentence for the first of these.

Father David Pearce (real name Maurice Pearce) was convicted in 2009 of eleven charges of abuse involving five different boys, all pupils of the school. These abuses occurred over a 36 year period. He was sentenced to five years for his crimes.

Stephen Skelton was convicted in 2011 of two counts of child abuse, 10 years apart, one at St Benedict's in 1983 and one later in Hampshire. When the pupil's mother complained, Skelton (who had taught at the school for only a term or so) was given a good reference and quietly sent on his way. He went on to abuse elsewhere. He was sentenced to six months suspended for two years.

Peter Allott (at the time the Deputy Headmaster) was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of possessing child abuse images. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to number of charges of making and possessing child abuse images and was sentenced to 33 months.

And now Soper. He will be sentenced on 19th December. I am not going to speculate as to what his sentence might or should be, that is for the judge to decide. (Nor will I allow publication of comments which speculate about it, so please don't bother to make any comments on that topic.)

Five convicted child sex offenders at one school. That is too many for it to be a coincidence. In time, those in charge of the abbey and the school will have to account for their failure to protect the children in their care. They will have to do so in public under oath, questioned by lawyers at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA). They have been required to provide copies of all relevant documents to the public inquiry. It wouldn't surprise me if they have already started rehearsing their answers.

One thing that the monks of Ealing will have to explain is how they not only harboured several criminal paedophiles within their ranks, but actually managed to elect a prolific child abuser as their leader. Laurence Soper was of course Abbot of Ealing from 1991 to 2000.

Lord Carlile, representing the school, has issued an apology, claiming that the school is now an entirely different place. The school would have to say that. We shall see how true it is in due course.

71 comments:

  1. Why did they elect him as Abbot? Because their organisation is rotten to the core. They lack even the basic conscience that would prompt many other individuals to see that such a person should not be elevated to leadership. Another illustration of this is that they chose not to go to the police. Same old story, are we surprised?

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    1. Dear Jonathan,
      I am keeping this anonymous, but I think you have a fair idea of who I am. We met in the very early days of you starting the blog along with a good friend of mine who was also at St Benedict’s.
      I wholeheartedly agree that the brave people who were willing to stand-up and give evidence deserve our respect and thanks but I would also like to thank you.
      Your dogged persistence, fairness, dignity and determination not to let these bastards get away with what they did is also worthy of high praise. I take my hat off to you.
      The more I think about my time at St Benedict’s the more annoyed I get. I wasn’t sexually abused but I was certainly aware of a constant sense of underlying violence
      I once witnessed a boy sitting next to me in a Physics lab, be pulled out of his desk, dragged across the floor and then kicked down three flights of stairs for some perceived slight that the little man, also the school judo instructor, had perceived. Nothing was done. It was all covered up. The way that they do. I understand that that, short-arsed psychotic git is now dead.
      That story is illustrative of the sort of thing that happened there daily. Violence and thuggery were the order of the day. I know it was the 70’s and we were all meant to be a lot tougher then but actually we weren’t and it was a lousy way to be “educated”. And that’s the point, we were not well educated. Oh sure, there were some of my contemporaries who went on to great things – principally the ones that came from stable families but for the ones who didn’t, the ones whose parents were not keeping an eye on the ball either through design or neglect, then we got left behind, We sure as hell weren’t going to ask one of those kindly men of God, Fr’s Pearce or Soper for any comfort or advice.
      For most of us it meant that we received a crappy education. Those years between say 12-16 are really important. No one gave a damn because all their energy was being used up either on inflicting violence or praying for divine intervention that they wouldn’t be caught fiddling with the kiddies.
      The reason these things happened and the reason that the likes of David Pearce and Soper got away with what they did is that no one was accountable because they all believed that God was on their side. We believed it too and were too scared to pick a fight with God’s representatives on Earth.
      If we 13 and 14-year olds knew that something was very wrong at that place what about all of the other lay teachers and the governors? When will they get their day in court?
      I believe in forgiveness but forgiveness can only happen when the truth, all of the truth, is out. If you are one of those who covered-up for these animals, don’t sleep easy in your bed tonight. Mr Plod may be knocking on your door next.
      Oh and one final thing, I understand that Soper is still a priest. Really? For the love of God will someone strip him of that title? Unbelievable.

      Anglicanism is looking increasingly attractive,

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    2. I'm not anonymous (but fully respect those who are) and I identify with a lot of what you have written. (Did we know each other?? Possible!) I well remember the psycho Stairzaker (spelling? You know the name I mean...) (JW: star the name out if it's off limits to name dead violent psychos. But he WAS a psycho. Not a paedophile, oddly, just a nutcase who liked scaring young boys) I was only mildly sexually abused at the place. (Ain't that great damnation by faint praise: "only mildly sexually abused"?) but I so so so feel for what you write when you mention the "constant underlying violence". Shit yes. I was fucking terrified for almost all of my many years there. The sexual abuse was horrific, but the worst was (as is always the case) targeted at the few. The pervasive violence, thought, was a daily ordeal.

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    3. Stirzaker was certainly a nasty piece of work, but Costello would be my choice as the St Benedict's psycho of my days. Extemporary translation would have to be undertaken whilst he was punching one's head (fist closed, middle knuckle to the fore), hitting one's head with a piece of chalk held between thumb and forefinger or hitting one's head with the textbook spine. Like Sean, I was 'only mildly sexually abused' - excessive caning by Flood and Horsey, both clearly relishing the experience - but the other miseries inflicted by that school still generate resentment 49 years after I left

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    4. i did not go to st bens but live right opposite it now. your teachers sound exactly like mine did and from the same era. the one i remember the most, not the one who got me drunk and sodomised me repeatedly, went on to own his own school . he was a sadist and a pedophile. why does teaching seem to attract such cowards.

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  2. I like your final point - I've always thought there would be more...

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  3. I live right opposite the abbey. As a boy I was raped by a male school teacher repeatedly over 3 years other abuse happened also by family members, and it contributed to the destruction of my life. I am 63 years old now and became a full on drug addict by the age of 16 and continued to be one for the next 35 years. I became a Christian at the age of 53 and a period of revelation followed. I realized how devastating my abuse had been and i had the teacher arrested. He had just retired as headmaster of a roman catholic primary school. He was on bail for a year but the CPs decided not to prosecute him due the the expiry of time and it was his word against mine. I have just given evidence to the Child sex abuse enquiry, mostly my beef was with the way the police acted. I am not a roman catholic but I often go into the abbey late in the evening for compline when all the monks troop out for prayer and i often wonder how many of them have this stain in their past and I think there probably has been some sort of individual interview with each monk by senior clergy where they have been asked to confess to any pedophilia and if they say there is none in their past then they are allowed to continue if they admit it then they will have been spoken to by the churches lawyers and some sort of secret damage limitation will have been done. They are not stupid to allow known abusers to continue in full public gaze. St benedicts is just completing a major building programme for the school and this is such an important money spinning part of their empire that i would have thought they will have thrown a lot of resources into cleaning up their act. It would be interesting to get some background on Sopers legal team and who was paying for it. I must admit that i thought that people like Chris Patten and a general masonic connection was going to fit up the trial. with the guilty verdict that appears to not be so however i will reserve my final views until after sentencing. I was asked at the inquiry my view of my rape and abuse and I told them it was a murder. It murdered who i was as a boy/man indeed it may have been kinder to me and my family to have killed me physically. The enquiry team told me this was a common theme of people who had given evidence to the inquiry. I note that Soper was a pupil at Benedict's maybe he was abused and liked it. I was very abusive in my relationships too and only through Gods mercy did i not abuse children, however i do not doubt that i was capable of it which is a terrible thing to admit. Abused becoming abusers is nothing new unfortunately .

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  4. Personally I think that, in Soper's case, there has been a miscarriage of justice.

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    1. I was there exactly at the same time and Father Laurence was nothing but the kindest man I ever met. He made me feel there was someone there that was not evil like the others

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    2. i was raped for 3 years by a teacher between the age of 13-15 not at st bens but the guy who did me went on to be the headmaster of a roman catholic primary school. he was charm personified and i have no doubt that the parents of the children who entrusted them in his care thought he was the kindest most caring and gentle man. I had him arrested 40 years after the last time he raped me. he had just retired as the headmaster and was looking at taking up the post as deacon in his local roman catholic church that would have given him access to more children. these people are sick and they hide behind masks of all description

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    3. so the evidence was all lies and the jury were suckered in by the prosecution and Soper was defended by some legal aid hack? who were his defence team does anyone know and who paid for them and as someone else asked where did he get £250,000 to go on the run with?

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    4. There was clear evidence of undue physical punishment, but in Soper's case the evidence of sexual intent or actual sexual activity was weak.
      The jury were not unanimous. I believe that the minority reached the correct conclusion.

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    5. so he was only a sadist then not a sadistic rapist. thats alright then. Someone else asked a very pertinent question where were the parents. My father went to a very well known public school as a boarder in the early 30,s he absolutely hated every minute of it. yet when i was 12 he was trying to shove me into the same place. i refused to go so they sent me to another place where all the teachers appeared to be rapists. What on earth makes the parents do such things. By the time i was 16 my life was effectively over i had been repeatedly raped and was a full on drug addict and completely estranged from my parents and family. just before my father died about 10 years later during an argument in one of our very infrequent meetings i told him what had happened at the school and also mentioned how my god father his best friend also used to make a very long journey to sexually abuse me at the school. he died shortly after and i regret to this day telling him of the abuse but struggle with working out the reason for sending me to the dump. My Christian friend in Ealing who used to be a teacher has 7 children and they home school all of them they wont let their children anywhere near any school

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  6. I also think that is Soper's case there may well have been a miscarriage of justice.
    I was a pupil at St. Benedict's from 1978
    until 1983, didn't particularly like the place but some of the testimony against him just does not ring true.
    He did not select pupils randomly to cane them. They were sent to him normally by other teachers, just as an example........
    I guess he did not exactly help his case by skipping bail..........

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    1. i think pedophiles can recognize instinctively other pedophiles and there may have been a level of collusion going on.

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    2. I did not really concider myself to be a particularly bad pupil. I was naughty and was punished on a regular basis with the cane.
      I do remember the 50% special offer from Soper for dropping my trousers although I do remember I turned this down. So lucky.

      I also remember a very tall priest who left marks on the ceiling as he swung the cane round.

      Looking bad it seems so wrong that we could be caned for any small wrongdoing but at the time it seemed the norm

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  7. Given the number of Benedictine priests who have now been convicted of sexual offences against school students, there must have been at some point a collective throwing of moral sensibilities to the winds and the adoption by these men of Madame de Pompadour's well known maxim 'Apres nous le déluge'.
    Where were the parents in all of this ?

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  8. Soper was 'on the run' for a period of around 7 years. Did the trial reveal what exactly happened in that time? More interestingly was the 230,000 Euro. The sum Soper withdrew from his Vatican Bank account.
    How did he amass such a sum? Where did it all come from? What was the source? Monks ordinarily do not have private bank accounts- all very unusual.

    Any clarity offered to these questions would be appreciatted.

    Only a final note. Ealing Abbey must be dissolved as a monastic community. It is a grotesque charade. I suspect we may have a conspiracy there amongst other things.

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    1. I believe (though I may be wrong) that Soper received an inheritance shortly before he fled.

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    2. what happened to the days when men of God took vows of poverty? Didnt Jesus say to the rich young ruler sell all your goods and give them to the poor then take up your cross and follow me. I am just an old fashioned fool but the monks in the abbey live a pretty cushy life with cooks cleaners valet cars, foreign holidays etc in fact a life indistinguishable to one lived in the world apart from supposedly having no women. Even that is increasingly being shown to be false with a large number of priests fathering children and having girl and boy friends. It is a mess

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    3. Interestingly the receipt of an inheritance seems to persuade a weak-willed religious to ignore his vow of poverty quite often. The (ok, alleged) poderast (sic) Paul Symonds left the Jesuits and became a secular priest following receipt of an inheritance. (In another similarity with Soper he was also accused of pEderasty, and whilst for various reasons this never went to court he was nonetheless stripped of his OBE).

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  9. Those of you who think Soper is innocent, please remember that he was found guilty by a court of law seeing all the relevant available evidence. If he has any reason to think the trial was unfair or the jury reached a perverse verdict, then he has the right to appeal against conviction.

    If you have evidence of his innocence that the court did not hear, then by all means tell the police or tell his lawyers or both. Don't just complain here.

    If however you think he's innocent on the basis of gut feeling rather than evidence, then whinge as much as you like here. I'll publish the comments until they get boring, at which point I'll stop.

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  10. Richard people should be allowed opinions and should not be dismissed as whinging just because they do agree with everything that you believe to be 100% true. People who actually went there during the late 70’s like me, have a better understanding than those who are very quick to offer their opinions based on the usual headline seeking journalism we see these days. I do not agree with this a witch hunt, trying to blame every priest, lay teacher or now by some posters, parents who that sent their children to St Benedicts in that era.
    So here are some facts that people who went there will recognise

    You were not randomly selected for the cane. It was usually due to being sent there by a lay teacher for something that was supposed to have happened in class or in the playground.

    The cane was really reserved for the lower stream pupils, of which I was one so I am not being biased.

    It was clearly not warranted in every case but unfortunately was enshrined in the school process and was largely used as a threat.

    Most of the teachers never sent anyone for caning, although two teachers in the physics department were the opposite as they hated the world as someone else mentioned.

    The form masters I had would always try and avoid caning as they took no pleasure in it but the above mentioned physics guys would try and insist on it.

    The vast majority of pupils were never caned let alone sexually abused, detention being the main method of discipline employed.

    I was caned twice, 3 quick whacks each time across the backside. Short, painful and then straight out the door with no lasting mark. Mine and my friends were not beatings as some are saying they received.

    The schools right to discipline was part of the rules that parents who sent their children to the school signed up to and parents were not asked permission before a child was caned. I can recall some occasions when parents then removed their children from the school.

    There was bullying in the School just like every other school.

    The vast majority of former pupils, based on a sample my friends at least, enjoyed their time at Benedict's

    Yes Soper was a sadistic bastard

    The story of 3 with your trousers off or 6 on was a myth as I heard it every year for the 5 years I was there, even though Soper, at my time at least did not cane in the upper school.

    Pearce was never called the Devil in the Collar. He was called Gay Dave as he was so effeminate

    The sexual abuse, which I do believe occurred in some cases was in the Middle School, which was away from the main buildings so gave predators the opportunities. It was also closest to the Monastry itself.

    Turning to Soper he probably did get sexual gratification from caning and on balance it is correct to convict him but I am not sure if he committed all the acts he has been convicted of.

    Finally just to add balance, I have also suffered sexual abuse, not a St Benedicts but before I went there, so I am well aware of the effects it can have on you and I have great empathy for those who have suffered.

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    1. So you are calling us liers! That's big of you . To be honest none of us give a flying fig about your deficient thought process. Go tell the national crime agency your thoughts ( they are rather good at their jobs) . I'm sure that they would suggest that you are delusional as do I .

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    2. I accused no one of being a liar, my view is different. Here we go again, if you don't agree with everything that is being said you are the liar. This was my point. What makes you a spokesman for US!

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  11. Don't know we I called you Richard, Jonathan

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  12. not sure if the post was aimed at me but I like to read everyone's views and my comments are trying to add a little levity into what is a very sad situation. I personally was not at the school and only know what i have read. however there is no smoke without fire. i have said previously that homosexuality and pedophilia is endemic in the church but very much so in the roman catholic church and the stables need to be flushed out thoroughly but i do not think it is going to happen

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  13. I very much agree with the above....
    Not sure that Soper was in fact a "sadistic bastard" though.
    He may have got some satisfaction from
    caning boys or he may just have been repeating the methods with which he himself had been brought up/educated.
    I myself was caned by him and do recall
    it was a bit "creepy" with him checking
    you for padding, but I would say it likely fell short of being able to be classed as sexual abuse.
    I also think that in spite of the above he did genuinely wish for boys to receive a good education there. He taught me Latin and was in fact quite a good teacher.
    Some of the evidence against him frankly seems at odd with what I experienced. As an example, I don't recall him ever being seen anywhere near where we used to play football in break time, let alone selecting someone for caning for 'kicking a football in the wrong direction'.......
    He was also as has been seen by him shipping bail, a bit of a coward, so
    I think it is very unlikely that he would had been courageous enough to bugger a pupil, even if he wished to.
    It would clearly have left physical evidence which could have sent him to prison.
    He was though almost certainly complicit in covering up complaints against the likes of Pearce and Maestri
    whose abuse was no doubt deliberately covered up to prevent St Benedicts receiving bad publicity.
    That however is not what he has been convicted of. He may indeed be guilty but my experiences of him lead me to the opposite conclusion that in this instance he may well have been wrongly convicted partially as a result of his own cowardice and stupidity and partly because of the appalling and deservedly
    so reputation St. Benedicts now has

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    1. hello I think your post is one of the more reasoned and it has led me to repent from my attitude to Mr Soper . Jesus said whoever is without sin cast the first stone. My sins specially my sexual sins are so black that I really am in no position to judge anyone. I can definitely understand why Soper skipped bail, hadnt Peirce just gone down for 8 years and I suspect that Soper saw the writing on the wall and the thought of having ground up glass put into his meal tray in your seggregated block in Brixton prison for the next 5 years did not fill him with joy and that would be enough to make anyone want to leg it. However as Jonathan said, the Jury saw and heard all the evidence and those people decided that the balance of probabilities were that he had raped at least on 2 occasions. I am trying to think what sort of physical evidence you were referring to after any sodomy? In my case when i reported the rapes 40 years later there was no evidence other than my videotaped statement to the police which described in graphic detail my toilet routines after each bout of sodomy. The man who did this to me certainly was not worried about leaving any physical evidence and i suspect in the heat of "passion" many pedophiles are equally unperturbed. You are right though his case was not helped by being on the run. it will be interesting to compare his sentence with Pierces as he should get a longer sentence because of his flight. It is all about forgiveness though. I remember finding out where my abuser lived about 10 years ago and my first thought was to go to his home and kill him and his whole family. I prayed hard and knew that God was telling me to forgive so I have spent the last 10 years forgiving him, on a good day when i feel well and life is ok it is easy on a bad day when life sucks the old fantasy's come back. The Lord desires mercy not judgement because He knows that is what each of us needs.

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    2. i was a victim of sopers alot later than the 1980s whilst i was in yoi feltham, he was confidant enough to sexually assault me whilst on a prison wing so he is guilty of a lot more than he has so far stood trial for, the church has not changed much in how they are still trying to keep abuse out of the public domain i know because i am currently still in contact with them in 2017......... the church works and deals with all issues via canon law rather than common law.
      until this changes then not just sexual abuse shall continue but also financial..........

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    3. Soper was not convicted "on the balance of probabilities". This was a criminal trial so the convicting majority must have been convinced "beyond reasonable doubt" of his guilt. I see no reason why the evidence of Soper's accusers should be disbelieved.

      I can't say anything useful about sexual abuse at St Benedict's since despite being aware of the banter I never experienced it myself or had any specific knowledge of it. What I personally look back at and find problematic is something different.

      I was beaten often and sometimes quite severely, by numerous different individuals and usually for quite minor transgressions. However I can;r remember ever having a sense that any sexual gratification was involved, even when some of the more notorious names were delivering the punishment. I'm not saying that it wasn't the case for other people, just that in my own case I was never personally aware of it.

      Apart from one occasion when I'd managed to arouse what was effectively a bout of uncontained rage, the beatings I received were administered as a matter of dispassionate routine. It's that absence of any emotional or even gratificatory component that I now find so disturbing.

      Significant physical violence, along with the fear of violence, was inflicted on young children who, as someone else has said here, were sometimes naughty, sometimes indisciplined and in my case perhaps rather annoying but hadn't in any way brought brutality upon themselves.

      In those days physical punishment was legal and the disciplinary norm in many schools. That said, intentional cruelty is not meant to be part of the Rule of St Benedict or the Benedictine ethos of education.

      This saga of Laurence Soper is extraordinary. I find myself wondering whether the inability of the senior school staff and the monastic community to understand that cruelty has no place in the relationship of adults to children in their care is what underlies what seems to have been an uncaring and self-serving response to serious allegations of sexual abuse within the school.

      It would be wrong to tar all the many lay and clerical staff who were kind, supportive and tolerant towards me with the same brush of criticism. They did their job properly whatever the shortcomings of the institution and I'm grateful to them. And even the individuals whose actions I find so unacceptable today were often decent people but conditioned by being part of a brutally unthinking system.

      That's why Jonathan's efforts to engage with St Benedict's and other schools and persuade them to adopt adequate procedures to ensure the protection of the children in their charge from all forms of abuse are so important. Protection of children from harm should have been the school's first and over-riding consideration. There is no excuse for St Benedict's foot-dragging. Lessons have not been learned in the past. It's up to the school to show they have been now and that it knows what it must do.

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    4. You raise a good point about the 'absence of any emotional or even gratificatory component' in the infliction of physical punishment being 'disturbing'.
      But if either of these elements were present would that have not been even more disturbing ? The case against Soper, as the Crown Prosecutor made clear in her opening address to the jury, was not about the rights or wrongs of corporal punishment itself, but on the alleged'ruse'of corporal punishment being used by Soper for self gratification. Hence it would seem that genuine dispassionate administration of punishment was the only permissible way to keep within the law.

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    5. I wasn't wanting to dispute the wrongness of Soper's use of physical punishment for purposes of self-gratification. What disturbs me about the dispassionate administration of violent punishment is that it requires the person administering the punishment to believe that it is right deliberately to inflict pain on children in a subordinate position. Whether or not the law of the day allowed it, the school's disciplinary ethos endorsed the brutal treatment of children in its care. Did that environment of institutionalised violence lead to other forms of abuse being treated as less wrongful than they would have been otherwise?

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    6. I think that the regrettable idea then, commonly held by clergy, was that children and young people up to the age of majority were assumed not to have any rights. I write as a lawyer.

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  14. Does anyone else remember the confession setup during the school mass on Thursdays? It was heard by Dom Dominic, who was deaf as a post, so one had to shout. So much for the secrecy of the confessional. That could have been a classic Monty Python sketch.

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  15. You state correctly that there have been five convicted child sex offenders at one school but do not forget a history of child abuse extending back for over 60 years. I am reminded of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the early 1500's.I feel that there is no longer a role for the Benedictine Order in this country.

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  16. the main thing that stands out from the majority of these posts is the poor spelling and grammar and for that St. Benedict's has much to answer for.

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  17. i was a victim of sopers from somewhere other than st bens for me he is where it all started justice comes in many forms and some will be satisfied, some wont.

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  18. Soper was, amongst other things, a visiting chaplain at HMP Feltham. In response to the question about his means, Soper inherited several hundred thousands from his mother. He was supposed to surrender this to the OSB. In court, it was said that he forged the special permissions required to open a Vatican City bank account where he deposited his inheritance. These forgeries were produced in court.

    Soper was head treasurer of the OSB at St Anselmo's, which is grimly amusing in view of his pre-monastic life and the reasons he took holy orders in the early 1960s. Various sums have been cited in relation to the funds he withdrew from his Vatican bank before going on the run in Kosova. As he remains to be sentenced, I will refrain from discussing his Kosovan sojourn here.

    As to the guilty verdicts, 10/12 jurors found him guilty on all charges after an exhaustive trial and examination of the facts, allegations and witnesses. His defence QC left no rock unturned, no limit of decency overstepped, in her defence of her client, who may or may not have been Soper.

    To those who say here that Soper is the victim of a miscarriage of justice, which guilty verdicts are questionable? Which one of the rape charges would be unsound in your opinion? Or the indecent assault charges? It's a rhetorical question. Many boys passed through the school oblivious to this aspect of the place. Just because the pedophile ring operating there didn't target you does not mean none of this happened.

    Nor does it mean that several generations of former pupils got together and conspired to perjure themselves, as alleged amongst other things by counsel for the defence, who was clearly taking her lead from ex-Headmaster Cleugh and the school trust, who employed Peter Allott, let's not forget.

    When I read some of the comments of this nature on this blog, I canot help wondering how many of you are nonces yourselves, even if unrequited. As I remarked in court, the OSB is remarkably welcoming to pedophiles. That said, I have known some wonderful Benedictines. It's an institutional problem and I tend to agree that the English Benedictine Community should be dissolved and reformed. Ealing Abbey should be turned into housing for refugees.

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    1. i think the whole roman catholic church should be dissolved not just the Benedictine community. Isaiah ch 1 v4 - 6 could be talking about the roman catholic church, "brood of evil doers, the whole head is sick from the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores they have not been closed or bound up".

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    1. I don't have any other posts from "Unknown" so there nothing identifiable for me to delete.

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  20. In mass this morning the priest asked the congregation to pray for all people abused by the clergy and they also specified the clergy at Ealing abbey

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  21. Things are looking up when a priest at Sunday Mass can publicly ask for prayers for those abused by clergy at Ealing Abbey. This sad and scandalous story has a long way to run.

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    1. It's a measure of our low expectations that this is regarded as welcome surprise rather than the very least that could be done.

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    2. very true. i think the rc church view of itself is a**e over t*t. The church says its priesthood is the jewel in its crown. I am not a RC but my wife is and this morning in the abbey i was looking around at the normal people in the pews who were really there trying to get close to God trying to love their neighbor etc and the thought occurred to me that these are the people Jesus loves the sinner in the pew is the jewel in the crown the "pearl of great price" that Christ died for and the sooner the rc big wigs wise up to that the sooner things may get better. I still like it when they do the peace thing in the mass as i dont like people very much and it often opens my eyes to the warmth and kindness of some people.

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  22. No matter what people think about Soper it has to be remembered that the recent court case consisted of ten victims and nineteen charges. The case was heard over nearly two months. The jury found him guilty on the evidence provided by the victims and the police officers from Winter Key who investigated tirelessly. Now tell me Soper was innocent! From a victim.

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    1. Court was a bit of hard work , I knew it would be pretty horrid although I'm sure none of us were quite prepared for quite how extreme it was.
      I'm looking forward to a nice cup of tea with" our" crew on Tuesday , while soap hole is getting double cuffed for transit in a freezing cold Serco van full of terrorists and murderers.
      I hope he doesn't think we are not * still friends yeasssss .

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    2. Anonymous from the way you speak I have to assume that you were one of us ten?? I was Victim 1. If I am right it may be good to meet. I think my liason officer is going to contact us all with the possibility. It's with regret that I won't be able to attend next Tuesday as I am out of the country.

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    3. it is very morbidly fascinating waiting for the result, it must have been a bit like this when people were hung drawn an quartered. if Soper is fortunate he will be sent to a sex offenders prison like the one that max clifford died in. They are relatively tame compared to what sexual offenders have to put up with in general prisons i understand.

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    4. No 1 . It's Thursday now at 0900 .
      I will talk to you, no problem. Chat with our OIC .

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  23. The conviction of Soper augurs very badly for Cardinal Pell...

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  24. On a wider note I wonder how much abuse has taken place within the Abbey itself? Access is available to young impressionable altar boys... I am of the belief that the culture of any business - and St Benedict's is a business first - is lead from the top. The Abbey. Unless there is REAL change there is a high risk that nothing very much will change. It would not surprise me in the least if in a few years time another abuse is reported there. After all this sort of thing has been going on for over 60 years. A few years is but a short window of time. A former pupil.

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  25. If soper sopa soap hole doesn't get a spur to himself, it's on the cards. It's the only'way he can be kept safe to serve his sentence. When it was obvious soper was not coming back
    I lost it and ended up on block with Peter allott. Hmp pentoville a wing. He was two floors down near the lift. They put me in one of the condemned men's cells upstairs to try and freak me out. Just for the record , I wasent scared of talking because of my family bible bashing. I was told I would be killed if I spoke along with anyone who I loved. If I succeed at anything= death for me etc etc.
    I feel sorrow for those who can just not be able to Geelieve but contempt for those that wish to disprove. He had two juries . 12 public and 12 of us . 10 I know but lierpartt and deluca .didn't find a way through. Many do not. Every day again, is a blessing. The grave is only a cold victory.

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    1. i was in pentonville back in the late 70,s it was a real dump then. When i became a Christian 10 years ago i started going into the london prisons with a mate from the sally army. It had not changed much but the only difference was that the last time i went in as a Christian i was not critically ill withdrawing from enormous amounts of class a drugs. in those days there was no treatment just bunging you into a cell on the medical wing and go cold turkey. it was there i was diagnosed with a personality disorder. Oh well thats the benefits of a private education.

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  26. I think to some extent people are missing the point here. People and that includes myself were abused by Soper and because he went on the run it took a long time to bring him to justice. After years of waiting and even during the trial and waiting for the jury to give their verdict I was never sure if he would actually be found guilty. I knew he was guilty and the guilty verdict means more to me than anything. Yes of course I hope he dies in prison but when you look at the unfortunate people Saville abused they never had the chance to actually see him found guilty. We have been fortunate enough to get a guilty verdict!

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  27. Some of these comments illustrate exactly what the problem is. People saying "I'm not sure he abused anyone; I was there and he never abused mE" etc.I have a feeling that some of you often say, about other allegations lesehwre, "Oh, but there hasn't been an actual TRIAL!" Here, there has been an actual trial and you are saying ti must have been flawed, that the man did not get justice. You are, in various evasive and euphemistic ways, saying that 10 separate people have consistently lied to the police and have then gone on to perjure themselves in court. Stop and ask yourselves how easy YOU would find it to stand up in front of a crowded courtroom and describe in detail acts of sexual assault committed against you when you were a frightened child. I can hardly think of anything more upsetting and more courageous. The police do not investigate these kinds of allegations sloppily; nor does the CPS lightly take the decision to proceed with prosecution. You are quite simply in denial and I find myself asking: why? Do you think that an adult having sexual contact with a child is acceptable or, at least, no big deal? Perhaps you think that men of the cloth should be exempt from the processes of law that other citizens are subject to? Perhaps you think that God forgive everything and so justice in a secular court is an irrelevancy? These attitudes help one group of people only: those who abuse children. Your moral cowardice is staggering.

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    1. i agree with the decision of the court and also the adage "if you cant do the time dont do the crime" comes to mind. However for me as a survivor of being raped repeatedly by a man in my early teens, the main focus is how do i stop the rot now at the age of 64. I have said before that for me and i also suspect for many people subject to this abuse, and i think it only applies to boys not girls because our abuse takes away our identity as a man, is the guilt and torment that we subject ourselves to because we think we were complicit in our abuse. Yes we were young and naive but i suspect none of us were physically restrained and then raped or abused or kidnapped. so there had to be an element of "allowing" the abuse to take place. This aspect has haunted me all my adult life even when i was not aware of it , it was there deep in my subconscious. How does that element get dealt with? I suggest that having the abuser sent to prison satisfies the law but does not heal that wound.

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    2. In 2004 & 2007 then again in 2011 I gave statements to the police. They were video statements and just prior to the trial the police played them back to me. Despite the difference in years they were exactly the same. These statements were played to the jury prior to me giving evidence. I was the first in the witness box and was asked very little about the abuse I suffered but what the defending QC did do was try to show me to be of bad character. I suffer voices and flashbacks so I was accused of being a fantasist not that I actually suffered mental health problems. Because the school paid me an out of court settlement I was accused of being a professional victim. Not that I needed money to pay for my care due to mental health problems! The defence was weak and some what derogatory to the victims as opposed to proving Sopers innocence. I'm just glad the whole matter is behind me and look forward to sentencing on the 21st!

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    3. For me the guilty verdict meant the world to me. The sentencing will help but as you say you are never healed.

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  28. Anonymous at 9.19, What you are describing very definitely does apply to girls as well as boys. After sexual abuse and rape there is very often that deep shame that comes from feeling "I allowed this to happen." The real shame should be felt by the abuser, of course, but we know that it doesn't work that way. Let's not fall into the trap of suggesting that some abuse is "less serious" or "less damaging" and that, therefore, some survivors of abuse are more deserving of support than others.

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    1. Anonymous at 12.25 I certainly did not mean to minimize the damage done to girls by childhood abuse, i know it is just as destructive as it is for boys. Indeed in my recent evidence to the child sex abuse enquiry i answered the question put to me what i thought the consequences were for all people of both sexes who have suffered this abuse, I replied that it was a murder. I would like to expand on my previous post with a personal testimony. My mother was austrian and at the end of the war she was raped by one of occupying forces in her city and she became pregnant and had a back street abortion. She was obviously badly affected by this however she was able to carry on meet my father and have 2 children and live a relatively normal life as a woman dying at a ripe age of just under 90. She was 23 when she was raped. I have absolutely no doubt that this was a major event in her life and could well have contributed to her many idiosyncrasies.However for boys there is a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. this rite takes place around the early teens and many of these pedophiles seem to be predate boys of this age. The abuse destroys that rite. It can cause the death of that boy becoming fully a man. In that way it is a death and i am absolutely certain that the abuse of a woman will also cause a murder but a different part of the spirit and soul.As you rightly say there is no more or less serious or damaging abuse, but there are markedly different results from the abuse depending on gender i believe.

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  29. Hi all. For those who attended the trial, I would be very interested to hear about Sopers behaviour and appearance in court. I.e did he appear defeated, frightened, confident, giving appearance of innocence and fighting his case, "old" etc? Making eye contact with anyone? Any friends/supporters? I am aware he testified in his defence also and would be interested to know this (as well as his behaviour sitting in the dock), as I was unable to attend any of the trial. Thanks guys.

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    1. Well I was the first one to give evidence and I actually gave up the right to special measures but when it came to it the whole ordeal was so traumatic I never looked at him from entering to leaving the court. My wife however was sat with the police and he looked at my wife on several occasions and in her opinion he had an air of confidence about him and she felt he gave the impression of someone who was going to walk away a free man. After leaving court we headed abroad where we will stay until the New Year so can't help you further. Sorry.

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    2. The final delay at sentencing 30 mins, was due to him refusing to leave the holding cell he occupied.
      He threw himself on the floor and had to be carried/ dragged into the court. H

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    3. Crikey! He's a bit too old for breakdancing! Anyway, what a coward, he is!

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    4. 16:53 " he was crying like a girl" as well, ? They literally had to stand behind him and shove him into the court.
      My mother used to call people like him ' a gutless wonder' .
      I reckon the name fits.

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    5. 16:53 " he was crying like a girl" as well, ? They literally had to stand behind him and shove him into the court.
      My mother used to call people like him ' a gutless wonder' .
      I reckon the name fits.

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