Priest Abuse Allegations Investigated

By Jenny Simpson
Lancashire Evening Post
September 17, 2010

A mum-of-three who claims she witnessed a classmate being abused by a priest 40 years ago is finally having her allegation investigated.

Sheila Robinson, 51, says she walked in on a Catholic clergyman touching a young girl inappropriately at a school in Leyland.

Mrs Robinson reported what she saw at the time to a teacher but says she and her classmate were not believed and told to keep quiet.

Now, having written to the school this year about what she saw, Mrs Robinson has received a letter from the Archdiocese of Liverpool, stating they have referred concerns to police.

Mrs Robinson believes the priest has since died but says she has been unable to get over what she saw as a child and felt she should report it again.

She said: “It has taken this long for people to feel they can come forward.

“When we reported it as children, we were treated as sinners.

“We were told we were wicked, lying girls.

“The big thing for me was I was branded a liar and was shunned.”

Mrs Robinson, who now lives in Devon, said she was pleased to hear that the Liverpool Archdiocese was taking her new complaint seriously.

A letter from Deacon Des Bill, safeguarding co-ordinator at the Archdiocese, said: “I fully understand the sensitivity and potential anxiety that can exist for anyone disclosing allegations and concerns, regardless of when they occurred.

“In line with our national responding to allegations procedure, I have informed Lancashire Police of the concerns raised.”

A letter sent from the school’s head teacher added: “Whatever happened all those years ago, you have a right to be listened to and the matter correctly dealt with under the safeguarding protocols that are now in place. The issue of safeguarding children is taken very seriously.”

Mrs Robinson said she had spoken out to encourage other victims or witnesses or abuse to come forward, however long ago the incident happened.

She said: “We have the right to be listened to and dealt with.

“This is a good time for people who have something on their chest to come forward.”

No-one at the Archdiocese could be reached for comment yesterday.


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