Sexual abuse in Catholic Church 'swept under the carpet', damning report finds

10 November 2020, 16:42

A report has condemned the leadership of Cardinal Vincent Nichols in tackling child sexual abuse
A report has condemned the leadership of Cardinal Vincent Nichols in tackling child sexual abuse. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church was "swept under the carpet", a scathing report has found.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) condemned the "repeated failures" of the institution to support victims and their families and said a failure to act when complaints were raised had "consigned other children to the same fate".

The report, which looks at the response by Church officials in England and Wales between 1970 and 2015, blames "weaknesses in leadership" as a significant factor in the failure to address the issue, which has loomed over the institution for decades.

"The responses of Church leaders over time were marked by delay in implementing change as well as reluctance to acknowledge responsibility," it added.

It highlights the "immovable attitude to allegations of child sexual abuse" by Catholic leaders in the UK, who were more concerned about the reputation of the Church than repairing the damage inflicted on victims.

In the almost 50 years covered by the report, it discovered the Church received 900 complaints involving 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse against hundreds of officials including priests, monks and volunteers.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has condemned the Catholic Church's response to allegations
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has condemned the Catholic Church's response to allegations. Picture: PA Images

The inquiry looked at Father James Robinson, who was not reported to the police or investigated by the Church after complaints were first made in the 1980s.

Instead, he was moved to another parish in the Archdiocese of Birmingham where he continued to abuse children until he fled to the US.

He continued to work in California and received financial support from the Archdiocese for seven years before being arrested and convicted in 2010 for "unimaginably wicked" crimes.

Since the explosive Nolan report in 2001 recommended sweeping changes in the Catholic Church, today's findings suggest that only some improvements have been made but many of the most important are yet to be implemented.

In May 2019, Cardinal Vincent Nichols asked the Inquiry for forgiveness "for our slowness and defensiveness" in preventing further cases of abuse.

The IICSA concluded it would be "wrong" to regard child sexual abuse with the Church as a historical problem, with over 100 cases reported each year since 2016 and studies in the US and Australia suggest that still up to 7% of priests are perpetrators.

"We will never know the true scale of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church," the report concluded.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Trump Hush Money

Twelve jurors confirmed for Trump hush money trial

Jonathan Hall KC admitted refugees have previously been let into the UK without the full checks.

Refugees have been admitted to UK ‘without proper checks’ due to being 'too overwhelmed’, terror watchdog says

Jeremy Clarkson was seen comforting his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan, after tragedy stuck Diddly Squat Farm when two piglets died in an emotional scene captured on an episode of Clarkson's Farm

Jeremy Clarkson comforts sobbing girlfriend after tragedy strikes Diddly Squat Farm in new series

Lord Nick Houghton speaks to LBC’s Andrew Marr.

Ukraine 'is fighting proxy war on behalf of Nato', says ex-military chief as he criticises 'incoherent' defence spending

Peter Murrell has been charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from the Scottish National Party.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell charged in connection with embezzlement of funds from SNP

Kenya’s military chief General Francis Ogolla

Kenya’s military chief dies in helicopter crash

Sydney Sweeney hit back at the comments about her.

Sydney Sweeney hits back at 'sad and shameful' producer who said she ‘can’t act’ and ‘isn’t pretty’

Jonathan Hall has hit out at WhatsApp over the lowering of the age limit.

UK’s terror watchdog hits out at WhatsApp over lowering of age limit as he says more kids are being radicalised online

Lost Star Trek Model

Long-lost first model of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise finally returned home

Comedy writer Graham Linehan took to X, formerly known as Twitter, said that while plans for the "surefire hit" were underway, "trans activists were busy trying to destroy [his] life."

Graham Linehan rages at trans activists busy trying to 'destroy' his life as he teases Father Ted musical in works

United24 ambassadors

Polish man suspected of aiding Russian plot to assassinate Zelensky arrested

Indonesia Volcano

Thousands evacuated and tsunami alert issued after Indonesian volcano eruption

Mayar Yahia

Heartbroken family pay tribute to 'cherished daughter', 4, killed after being hit by car in Birmingham

Peter Murrell has been re-arrested in connection with a probe into the party's finances.

Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell re-arrested in connection with SNP finances investigation

APTOPIX Trump Hush Money

Jury selection enters pivotal stretch as Trump’s hush money trial resumes

Croatia Election

Croatia’s conservatives believe majority is close despite inconclusive vote