Haworth Man Attacks "Failings" of Catholic School after Former Priest Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse
By Miran Rahman
December 13, 2017
|Author and photographer Peter Paul Hartnett, who says he uses his writing as a protest against child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church|
A HAWORTH resident whose evidence formed part of the sex abuse prosecution case against a former Roman Catholic priest has reacted to news of the accused's conviction.
Author and photographer Peter Paul Hartnett commented after 74-year-old Laurence Soper was found guilty of abusing boys at a London school during the 1970s and 80s.
Mr Hartnett said he had himself been let down by those in charge at this school, and said the school had failed in its duty of care.
Soper had faced 19 charges of indecent and serious sexual assault against 10 former pupils at the independent St Benedict's School in Ealing, where he taught.
The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that Soper was not charged with any offence against Mr Hartnett.
Earlier this month an Old Bailey jury took 14 hours to find Soper guilty of all the charges he faced. Soper, who had previously fled to Kosovo to try and avoid prosecution, is due to be sentenced on December 19.
He is the latest in a number of men to face allegations of abuse relating to their time at St Benedict's.
Mr Hartnett, who was himself a pupil at this school in the 1970s, said: "I was one of the many witnesses in that recent trial, whose statement became a part of the prosecution against the accused.
"A number of police investigations in recent years have led to arrests, trials and prison sentences for staff closely known to me as a pupil of St Benedict's, a school that I viewed as unsafe.
"As a vulnerable child, an at-risk teen, my welfare was felt to be none of God's business.
"I viewed that so-called religious community as a cult."
Mr Hartnett said he would be taking part in the March 2018 Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse, led by Professor Alexis Jay.
He explained that child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic church forms a key part of his writings.
He described his fiction, published under the name PP Hartnett, as being the protest of "an invisible survivor who is no longer silenced."
Mr Hartnett said: "Haworth has a certain literary heritage, but what I write is the other side of that spectrum.
"What I write is raw and real and the works I'm having published in January, March and May are all very much based around the area of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, with a sharp focus upon the Benedictine Order and that congregation."
On New Year's Day 2018 Mr Hartnett is publishing a two-track spoken word release called "schoolboysoul".
This will be followed by a five track spoken word EP on March 1 called "gentle and tender, act of confession", then a signed limited edition hardback collection under the same title on May 1 next year.