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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

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

D.1: Introduction

1. The institutional responses of Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School (St Benedict’s) to the allegations of sexual abuse made by pupils fall into three key periods:

  • 1970 to 2000, during Dom Francis Rossiter’s abbacy, when there was extensive child sexual abuse at St Benedict’s, much of which was perpetrated by David Pearce and Laurence Soper, who himself became abbot in 1991.
  • 2000 to 2010, covering the first 10 years of Abbot Martin Shipperlee’s leadership. (This followed Soper’s resignation in 2000 and coincided with structural changes in child protection that resulted from the Nolan report in 2001, after which Ealing Abbey aligned itself with the Diocese of Westminster child protection team.) During this time there was an increasing number of complaints against monks in the Abbey, and Pearce was able to re-offend against RC-A621 despite being under restrictions. Following concerns among the public, media and external institutions, Ealing Abbey instructed Lord Carlile of Berriew QC in August 2010 to undertake an inquiry.
  • 2010 to the present, the period after the publication of Lord Carlile’s report, when structural changes were implemented to make St Benedict’s independent of Ealing Abbey, during which better efforts were finally made to address safeguarding issues.
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