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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Case Study: Archdiocese of Birmingham Investigation Report

C.7: Safeguarding cases post-Nolan

75. Using the schedule of allegations prepared by the Inquiry,[1] we examined how the Archdiocese dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse said to have taken place after the Nolan report in 2001.

76. In a large number of cases, since the Nolan report, important details, such as when the allegation was reported and when the incident was said to have occurred, were unclear from the records provided. This suggests poor record keeping – a failing which was also found by CSAS during their 2010 audit of the Archdiocese – remains an issue.

77. We reviewed seven cases that clearly related to allegations of child sexual abuse said to have taken place since 2001. All of the allegations were referred by the Archdiocese to the statutory authorities and, as a result, two offenders were cautioned by the police.[2]

78. In one case, from 2002, RC‐F179 (a priest) was charged with offences relating to possession of indecent images of children. The indecent images were found on the parish computer, having been seized with the consent of RC‐F179 and the Church. RC‐F179 was placed on administrative leave. The prosecution withdrew the charges due to complications in the investigation. RC‐F179 resigned as a priest and thereafter his whereabouts became unknown.[3] Mrs Knowles, the CPC at the time, sought advice from COPCA (in which the name was provided to COPCA).[4] COPCA advised the Archdiocese to make all dioceses and religious orders aware of this matter in case RC‐F179 sought appointment elsewhere in the Church. The Archdiocese followed that advice.[5] It was also apparent from the safeguarding file that the Archdiocese also liaised with social services and the police during the course of the investigation.[6] This appeared to be a good example of the safeguarding team liaising effectively with COPCA and other agencies.

79. There was evidence that safeguarding within the Archdiocese had improved since the Nolan report in 2001. However, by the time of the 2010 CSAS audit, nearly a decade had elapsed since the Nolan report and much work remained to be done.

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