Forty monks and teachers have been accused of historical sexual abuse against pupils who attended Ampleforth College run by English Benedictine Congregation in North Yorkshire.

Ampleforth College which is a private Roman Catholic School was described as a “honeypot for offenders” at a public hearing of an inquiry into allegations of abuse at the school yesterday.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is examining safeguarding policies at the school and considering the “prevalence of child abuse within the Catholic School and the extent to which the Catholic culture has or does inhibit the proper investigation and prevention of such crimes.”

The inquiry has been notified of multiple allegations against approximately 40 monks and teachers. Since 1996, three monks and two teachers have been convicted for sexual offences against pupils.

Representatives of the victims explained to the Inquiry the position of power the abusers had over their victims, as they were seen as people who held, “positions of trust” and “spokesmen for the God they worship”. There was a “shared awareness” amongst them that their actions would be “covered up or dealt with in house.”

Matthias Kelly, QC, counsel for Ampleforth, said, “the school and the abbey wanted to apologise for the hurt, injury, distress and damage done to those who were abused as a result of our failings”. Kate Gallafent, QC, for the English Benedictine Congregation said, “ the Catholic church was committed to giving the inquiry its full co-operation. The congregation expresses profound shame that any child has been the victim of sexual abuse whilst in the care of the schools connected with its abbeys.”

Jordans Solicitors have a specialist team with many years of experience in bringing civil claims against religious organisations and schools. We have helped many victims to recover compensation some of whom were abused whilst attending Ampleforth College. If you have been affected by anything in this article we would urge you to contact us.

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