Paedophile Priest Puts Catholic Church in High Court

By Emma Stone
Coventry Telegraph
March 24, 2009

THE CATHOLIC church is set to be rocked by a further three compensation claims from men who allege they were abused as young boys by a paedophile priest in Coventry.

High Court hearings are scheduled for the coming months to hear the claims of Mr P, Mr K and Mr J, who claim they were sexually abused by Fr Christopher Clonan - an assistant parish priest in the city during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

All three men, who are being named by letters to protect their identities, are seeking six-figure compensation packages from the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

Mr P was a pupil at Christ the King Primary School and a member of the congregation at Christ the King Church in Westhill Road, Coundon, when he claims he was abused by Fr Clonan during the late 1980s. His hearing at the High Court in London is due to take place next month.

Mr K was also a member of Fr Clonanís congregation when he claims he was abused by the priest.

The sexual abuse is alleged to have taken place in the early 1980s when Mr K was in his early teens.

Mr J was also a teenage member of the congregation at Christ the King during the late 1980s and early 90s. Both Mr K and Mr Jís cases are due to take place at the High Court in London in June.

All three men are being represented by lawyers Clifton Ingram and their claims, which are each expected to be six-figure sums, will relate to loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, cost of medical treatment and pain and suffering.

The High Court hearings are the latest claims arising from Fr Clonanís 20-year tenure at the Coundon church.

A High Court judge is considering his judgment on the case of Mr M. The 45-year-old alleges he was subjected to serious sex assaults by Fr Clonan during the 1970s.

In 2005, the diocese paid out ?700,000 in compensation to a former altar boy, known as Mr A, who had been abused by Fr Clonan. The previous year, it paid ?330,000 to Simon Grey who was also an altar boy and had suffered at the hands of Fr Clonan. It is understood the latest claims, if successful, could bring the total paid to the Coventry priestís victims to well in excess of ?1.5m.

Fr Clonan fled to Australia amid growing allegations about his conduct in 1992. He had been assistant parish priest in Coventry for 20 years, earning the nickname Father Fix-it for his building skills and overseeing construction of church buildings. He died in 1998, after a secret life on the run in Australia.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.