Child sex abuse inquiry to query whether Gove asked about investigation

The Guardian

January 21, 2018

By Owen Bowcott

Environment secretary’s alleged interest in inquiry into priest suspected of abuse surfaced last month

The child sex abuse inquiry is to write to Michael Gove to ask whether he attempted to find out about the release of an investigation into a priest suspected of abuse at a prominent Catholic boarding school.

The alleged interest of the former secretary of state for education in a police and local authority inquiry into the priest surfaced during evidence given to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last month.

Gove, now the environment secretary, denies making any phone calls to the local authority in relation to the investigation. A search of education department telephone records, his office has said, can find no trace of any such contacts.

In a statement to the Guardian, IICSA said: “The Roman Catholic Church hearings are ongoing and there are a number of matters that require further investigation, including the evidence heard on 13 December 2017 in relation to the former secretary of state for education. The inquiry will be making requests for further information on this issue.”

The priest, only identified by the reference number F65, is alleged to have had “connections to some quite senior figures”. In evidence given to the inquiry on 13 December, F65 was said to have been the subject of an allegation of oral sex with a 16-year-old boy.

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