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British Benedictines to surrender control of school after sex-abuse inquiry

Catholic World News - November 09, 2011

A Benedictine abbey will relinquish control of a noted school in London, as the result of an investigation into a history of sexual abuse there.

Alex Carlile, who led an independent investigation into the abuse charges at St. Benedict’s School, recommended that the school should be removed from the control of the Ealing Abbey monastery, and placed under the aegis of a new educational trust. The monks of Ealing Abbey said that they would move to implement the recommendation.

Carlile said that pattern of abuse—including 21 cases over the past 40 years—showed that the monastery had failed to protect students. He concluded that “the form of governance of St. Benedict’s School is wholly outdated and demonstrably unacceptable.”

The Vatican recently ordered its own investigation into the abuse charges involving Ealing Abbey. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced that Bishop John Arnold, an auxiliary of the Westminster archdiocese, would supervise the probe along with Father Richard Yeo, the head of the Benedictine order in England.

Concerns about the Ealing Abbey escalated in October when a former abbot, Father Laurence Soper, failed to appear in court to answer abuse charges. Carlile strongly urged Father Soper to turn himself in to authorities. The former abbot is now the subject of an international arrest warrant. He is believed to be living in Italy.

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