Child sex abuse inquiry to include North Yorkshire independent school next year

By Emily Flanagan
Northern Echo
December 21, 2016

A TOP independent school in North Yorkshire will be included next year in one of three public hearings carried out in the national child sexual abuse inquiry.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSE) has published an internal review, setting out how it intends to proceed with its inquiry under its latest chair Professor Alexis Jay, who took over this summer as the fourth head of the inquiry.

The review states it will reduce the number of public-inquiry style hearings into key institutions to speed up the process and prevent future abuse. As a result it will hold public hearings into three of its investigations; the Roman Catholic Benedictine Congregation, children outside of the UK and Rochdale Council establishments, with scope for other public inquiries later.

The inquiry into the Roman Catholic Benedictine Congregation - which encompasses Benedictine monastic organisations across the UK, including Ampleforth Abbey and College - will be held in December 2017. There will be further public hearings the following year into the wider Catholic church.

The internal review stated the investigation will examine the extent of “any institutional failures to protect children from sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales”. It will include two case studies, the first relating to the English Benedictine Congregation and the second to the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

The review stated that so far more than 4,000 documents have been obtained from abbeys and associated schools at Ampleforth, Belmont, Buckfast, Douai, Downside, Ealing, St Mary’s, Stanbrook, Worth and Curzon Park.

It has also gathered material from police forces, the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Charity Commission.

The IICSE review report stated: “The Inquiry has also undertaken a rapid evidence assessment of the literature and evidence which exists concerning the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

“We will request statements from core participants in early 2017. We will concentrate work first on materials relevant to the English Benedictine Congregation, including selecting material for disclosure to relevant core participants.

"The inquiry will hold a further preliminary hearing and a public hearing in December 2017. Further public hearings in connection with the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the wider Roman Catholic Church will follow later in 2018.

“In 2017, a research project will examine how national safeguarding policy and practices have been implemented at a local level by relevant church authorities.”

A spokesman for Ampleforth School said it did not wish to comment on a general inquiry into the Roman Catholic Benedictine Community.


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