Skip to main content

0800 917 1000   Open weekdays 9am-5pm

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church (EBC) Case Study: Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School Investigation Report

C.1: Introduction

1. There have been a number of allegations of child sexual abuse at St Benedict’s School (St Benedict’s) over the past 50 years. Precisely how many complaints were made during this period is unclear, as record-keeping and the reporting of incidents have been inconsistent and incomplete. However, since 2003, five men connected with St Benedict’s have been convicted of multiple offences involving the sexual abuse of more than 20 children, from the 1970s.

  • Father David Pearce was convicted in 2009 of offences against five children perpetrated between 1976 and 2008.
  • Abbot Laurence Soper was convicted in 2017 of offences against 10 children perpetrated between 1972 and 1983.
  • John Maestri, a former lay teacher at the school, was convicted in 2003, 2005 and 2009 of offences against four children in the mid 1970s and mid 1980s.
  • Stephen Skelton, another lay teacher, was convicted in 2011 of offences against two children, one a St Benedict’s pupil in 1983.
  • Peter Allott, the school’s former deputy headmaster, was convicted in March 2016 of downloading and distributing indecent images of children.

(Further details of the abuse follow below. A summary of the criminal convictions is set out in Annex 4.)

2. In addition, the Inquiry received evidence of at least 18 further allegations against these men and eight other monks and teachers (RC-F41, RC-F46, RC-F122, RC-F191, RC-F282, RC-F310, RC-F311, RC-F312).

3. The allegations received by the Inquiry cover a wide spectrum of behaviour, ranging from corporal punishment (in many cases for sexual gratification) to grooming, fondling of genitalia, masturbation, and oral and anal rape.

Back to top