Catholic brother allowed to live by school had been charged with abuse of seven victims
By Jonathan Humphries
February 03, 2021
|St Francis Xaviers College in Woolton|
The teacher was never convicted after a judge ruled there had been an "abuse of process"
A Catholic brother who was allowed to live on school grounds was the former head of a school accused of abusing multiple children.
The man spent several years living in France before moving onto accommodation connected to St Francis Xavier's (SFX) College in Woolton.
The ECHO has since learned that the man, a member of the French Catholic order the Brothers of Christian Instruction, was charged with 10 counts of indecent assault against seven victims, some under 13, at a school outside the Merseyside area.
Documents from Liverpool Council, shared with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) revealed the case reached court but collapsed "on a technicality due to abuse of process."
The ECHO revealed on Monday how the Brothers of Christian Instruction, the trustees of SFX, devised a 'safeguarding' plan allowing the man to live there as long as a 'locked gate' separated his lodgings from school grounds.
However this unravelled after the Archdiocese of Liverpool carried out a site visit in March 2019 and found two brothers had been allowing him to access school grounds anyway.
The incident led to the departure of deputy head teacher, Brother Peter Tracey, and school chaplain Brother James Hayes.
The Brothers of Christian Instruction, or La Mennais Brothers, were founded in 1819 by French priests and own property adjoining the school on Beaconsfield Road, Woolton.
Brothers of Christian Instruction spokesman, Br. Yannick Houssay, superior Provincial for England-France, told the ECHO last week the order viewed the man as innocent.
He said: "The individual concerned has never been convicted of any offence, and in this country we have a presumption of innocence.
"It is not the case that a stay was granted on a technicality. The judge, having reviewed the evidence, decided that an indefinite stay to the proceedings should be granted.
"After a five year placement in one of our communities in France it was decided to look for another residence in England. After consultation with all the appropriate authorities, the individual moved to our community in Liverpool.
"Following a visit by the safeguarding coordinator of the Archdiocese, it became clear that the property did not comply with the terms of the safeguarding plan so the individual took up residence elsewhere."
Andrew Keeley, chairman of SFX governing body, said the governors had not been aware of the plan to house the man on Beaconsfield Road and "acted immediately" when it came to light.
He said: "When the Governors learned of the situation, the person concerned was removed from the site immediately and they commissioned a full independent investigation in accordance with the college’s procedures.
"This ultimately led to the departure of two of the brothers from the college."