Anthony McSweeney, 70, was jailed in 2015 for 3 years for abusing a 15 year old boy at Grafton Close Children’s home in Hounslow, West London. He assaulted the boy with the manager of the care home, John Stingemore, who died before the trial.
An independent review that was commissioned by the Dioceses of Brentwood and East Anglia found that Anthony McSweeney with videos of adolescent boys in 1998, but this was not reported to police. McSweeney was investigated as part of a police probe into the allegations of a paedophile ring at the Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow after the review found that the allegations of sexual abuse were not acted upon or taken seriously by the Church. During the trial in 2015, it emerged the Catholic Church nearly removed him when his cleaner found sex toys, truncheons and indecent videos of teenage boys at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Essex in 1998.
The review also revealed how McSweeney was, instead of being dismissed, moved in 1999 from the Diocese of Brentwood, where he served at Saint Luke’s in Harlow and at Saint Peter’s in Eastwood, to St George’s Parish, Norwich, which is part of the Diocese of East Anglia, after the tapes were discovered.
At his sentencing at Southwark Crown Court in 2015, Judge Alistair McCreath said: “He has a voyeuristic interest in children, either in seeing them unclothed, or in seeing them sexually abused by others. He had abused his position of trust and there was no doubt the children observed by the priest had suffered sexual harm of a psychological nature posed a high risk of serious harm to children, via sexual assault and exploitation through sexual images.”
In a joint statement, the Dioceses of Brentwood and East Anglia said: “At the time of these events awareness of the need for child protection was in its infancy. Now over 95% of parishes have at least one safeguarding representative whose task it is to ensure that the concerns of the local clergy and parishioners are taken seriously, and to refer those concerns to the diocesan safeguarding coordinator.”
The review has found the following key findings:
“■The Church should have taken more robust action following the discovery of video tapes in 1998 and should have ensured that the matter was reported to the police so that a full investigation could have taken place
■Local priests and parishioners were not adequately supported, their concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously nor acted upon diligently
■McSweeney’s transfer to East Anglia was poorly managed, lacked insight and was not adequately documented”
Jordans represent numerous victims of abuse by the Church. If you or a family member needs expert advice on a sexual abuse compensation claim, please contact us for a free, confidential, no obligation basis on 0330 300 1103.