Philip Temple aged 66 pleaded guilty to abusing 12 boys and 1 girl whilst working as a Social Worker and a Catholic Priest in London in the 1970 and 1980’s.
Temple worked as a Social Worker in Lambeth and Wandsworth Councils between 1971 and 1977. He abused the children in Care Homes in South London. He was appointed as a House Father of Rowan House in the Shirley Oaks complex near Croydon and has admitted abusing children here. He was suspended in 1977 after allegations of sexual offences were made.
In 1981 he became a Monk in the Catholic Church and was ordained as a Priest in 1987. In 1988 he was based at the Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters. Here the abuse continued and he has admitted to abusing 2 children, one of which was an alter boy.
In 1988 and 1989 a teenage boy from the Church accused him of sexual abuse and he faced two trials. The first trial ended without a verdict and he was acquitted in the second trial.
At the Woolwich Crown Court on the 9th August 2016 he admitted lying on oath during these trials. Judge Christopher Hehir apologised to the teenage boy who had told the Court that he attempted suicide after these trials. Judge Hehir said, “I am sorry justice was not done when you came to Court in 1988 and 1989.”
The victim said, “I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape what he did and we can never be free of it.”
Following the trial in 1999, the Diocese wanted to have Temple removed and his Order set up an internal inquiry. This was the only step that the Catholic Church was able to take because as a Monk Temple was only answerable to the head of his Order in Italy and not the Diocese in England.
In 2002, the Diocese was reassured by the order that Temple was not in the UK and would not be returning.
The Metropolitan Police in 2015 launched a new investigation and Temple was arrested and questioned in London. When the Police first contacted him, Temple denied the allegations, however, during the course of the interviews Temple admitted many of the offences and volunteered names of more boys he had abused.
At Court last week Temple admitted 7 charges committed in the 1970’s and had in April of this year already admitted to 20 similar charges and 2 charges of perjury at the Croydon Crown Court.
During sentencing Judge Hehir told Temple, “You of course exploited the opportunities of your deceit as to your character had afforded you, not only by sexually abusing children, but as a priest by lying on oath to deny the truthful accusations brought against you by one of your victims. Your actions as a priest demonstrated you were a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.”
Temple has been jailed for 12 years.