|Scandal-hit Catholic School Suspends Yet Another Teacher
By Michael Russell
September 16, 2010
ANOTHER teacher has been suspended at a school recently investigated following a raft of abuse allegations against former teachers and trustees.
The revelation was made at a meeting designed to reassure parents following a report into St Benedict's, an independent Catholic school, by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).
The school, in Eaton Rise, Ealing, could not comment on the details of the latest investigation but said it is not a criminal matter.
The school's lawyer, Anthony Nelson, said police were happy for the headteacher to conduct an internal investigation at a meeting a fortnight ago, which was also attended by social services.
Mr Nelson said following the allegations: "The teacher was immediately suspended, outside agencies were contacted, the parents of the appropriate children were advised and had face-to-face meetings with the headteacher. Nothing more could have been done."
The news was revealed at a meeting on Tuesday, giving parents the opportunity to ask questions at the start of the new term following the ISI report and the announcement by the school's governors last month that Lord Carlile QC had been commissioned to conduct an inquiry into child protection.
ISI inspectors visited the school earlier in the year after being informed of past allegations of abuse involving six former teachers or trustees. They include Father David Pearce, currently serving a five-year jail term for admitting 10 indecent assaults and one sexual assault between 1972 and 2007.
The ISI highlighted shortcomings in child protection which the school says it has taken steps to address and inspectors are satisfied with.
Jonathan West, whose son attended the school but who was not harmed, and who remains concerned about child protection at St Benedict's, staged a protest outside the meeting after being refused entry himself.
He handed out cards inviting parents to read the ISI report for themselves and where to find it.
Mr West added: "Parents said the headteacher chairing the meeting was given a very hard time. There were a lot of questions from a lot of concerned parents, it took them an hour to get from the first slide of their presentation to the second."
It was also revealed that a monk, on restricted duties following past allegations, was still living at Ealing Abbey, which has close links with the school.
Mr Nelson added: "On July 29 myself and the chairman of trustees met with senior officials of the ISI and Department for Education at my behest. The subject of the elderly monk was discussed.
"I said I would obtain a medical report and risk assessment which were sent to those departments last week. We are awaiting their response but whatever they recommend we will abide by immediately."
The latest revelations came just before a state visit by Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Catholic Church.
The four-day visit, which started yesterday (Thursday), is expected to be dogged by protesters, many unhappy at the way he has handled abuse claims within the Catholic Church in this country and beyond. ..
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