[Note: This important article was not blogged in Tracker when it appeared earlier this month. See also Report by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C. into Matters Relating to Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School, Ealing, released on November 9, 2011.]
December 7, 2017
By Fiona Hamilton
A “sadistic” monk who was head of a top Catholic school was convicted yesterday of molesting ten pupils in a campaign of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s that was exposed by The Times.
Andrew Soper, known as Father Laurence, is thought to be the most senior Catholic priest to be convicted of sex crimes in the UK. He withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and fled to Kosovo to avoid prosecution for attacking boys at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London.
Soper, the former abbot of Ealing Abbey, which adjoins the school, spent five years abroad before he was extradited. A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for 14 hours before finding him guilty of 19 charges of indecent assault and buggery between 1975 and 1982.
Soper, 74, who is likely to die in jail, is the fourth staff member of St Benedict’s to be convicted of indecent assault and the school apologised unreservedly last night for the “serious wrongs of the past”.
The 60-year history of abuse at the school was exposed by The Times and a report by an independent barrister concluded in 2011 that there had been a “lengthy and cumulative failure” by monks to protect children in their care.
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