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Ampleforth and Downside report details 'wide spectrum of physical abuse'
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has published a damning report on the English Benedictine Congregation.
The 200 page report focuses on Ampleforth and Downside abbeys and their associated schools, where there have been numerous accounts of child sexual abuse. It forms part of a wider investigation into abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, with a further public hearing on a third abbey and school, Ealing and St Benedict’s, expected to be heard in early 2019. The inquiry will then publish its recommendations, including its views on the role of inspectors and regulators in scrutinising behaviour at the schools.
Allegations stretching back to the 1960s encompassed "a wide spectrum of physical abuse, much of which had sadistic and sexual overtones”, said the report, which followed several weeks of evidence hearings at the inquiry last year. These included personal accounts from victims.
Ten people have been cautioned or convicted over sexual activity or pornography offences involving a "large number of children". Both Ampleforth and Downside published apologies to the victims of abuse.
The report said: "For much of the time under consideration by the inquiry, the overriding concern in both Ampleforth and Downside was to avoid contact with the local authority or the police at all costs, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged abuse or actual knowledge of its occurrence.
"Rather than refer a suspected perpetrator to the police, in several instances the abbots in both places would confine the individual to the abbey or transfer him and the known risk to a parish or other locations."