Dom Martin Shipperlee faced questioning over handling of sexual abuse claims at school
'The abbot of Ealing Abbey has resigned over a failure to investigate child sexual abuse allegations at a London school amid an escalating diplomatic row prompted by the papal nuncio’s reluctance to cooperate with a public inquiry.
The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) was informed on Friday that Dom Martin Shipperlee, who had been abbot since 2000 and taught at St Benedict’s School in west London, had given up his responsibilities.
His abrupt departure comes immediately after he appeared before the inquiry, answering questions about how he handled allegations of sexual abuse against monks and teachers at the school dating back decades.
Two senior monks and teachers, Andrew Soper and David Pearce, were jailed for a series of offences against pupils at the school. Soper, who was found guilty of 19 rapes and sexual offences at St Benedict’s, fled to Kosovo at one stage in an attempt to escape justice.
The public inquiry has written to the pope’s representative in Britain, the archbishop Edward Adams, asking him to disclose details of his handling of complaints about Catholic schools in England and Wales and specifically relating to investigations at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s school.
The papal nuncio has so far failed to comply and declined to comment about the requests. David Enright, a solicitor at the law firm Howe and Co who represents 18 victims of abuse by Catholic priests and monks, who are taking part in IICSA, has written to Theresa May asking her to expel Adams if he does not comply.
In a statement to the Guardian, the Foreign Office confirmed it was investigating the papal nuncio’s position. A spokesperson said: “The government takes the issue of child protection extremely seriously. We fully support the IICSA inquiry and are looking into this matter further.”'#
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