November 27, 2017
Children at Roman Catholic church schools could still be “at risk” of sexual abuse despite years of efforts to root out predators, an inquiry has heard.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining the prevalence of paedophilia in the English Benedictine Congregation and failures in protecting young people.
This will focus on offenders that targeted children at two Roman Catholic schools, Ampleforth in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset, over the course of many decades.
But although numerous inquiries have exposed the problem of child abuse within church institutions and a string of offenders convicted, lingering safety concerns could remain, it was heard.
Counsel to the inquiry Riel Karmy-Jones told a hearing at IICSA’s headquarters in south London: “It may be that during the course of evidence and the submissions to come (that) there is some acceptance of failings, but reliance will be placed on changes that have been made over the years.
“But, as you will hear, concerns remain and you are likely to hear evidence that suggests safeguarding problems are still ongoing, in some instances, and with the inevitable result that children may remain at risk.”
The Roman Catholic Church is one of 13 arms of public life being scrutinised for child safety failings by IICSA.
Turning a blind eye to paedophilia should be made a criminal offence so Church institutions are discouraged from hushing up scandals, a victims’ lawyer said.
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