Father John Shannon is the fourth man to be convicted of sexual offences against children to have lived on Caldey Island off the Welsh coast.
The Abbot, Daniel van Santvoort, has confirmed that Shannon lived on the island in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, police found 740 indecent images of children on a computer that Shannon had downloaded whilst working as a lecturer at a Catholic seminary in county Durham. The police have confirmed that three of the images were of the most serious nature and classed as level five, and 75 were level four.
Shannon’s Barrister argued that Shannon had never had a chance to explore his sexuality and viewing the images became a compulsion. He was jailed for eight months at Durham Crown Court and placed on the sex offender register for 10 years. He was also banned from working with children for life.
It was discovered in November that Tahddsus Kotik was accused of sexual abuse against children dating back to the 1970s and 1980s. Kotik was a Benedictine monk and lived in the monastery on Caldey Island from 1947 until his death in 1992. It was also discovered that Paul Ashton hid on the island, before finally being caught and taken back to the mainland and later sentenced and jailed. Ashton was found to posses 5,000 images of child abuse on his computer. He had been living in Caldey under an assumed identity for seven years. John Cronin is also suspected to have lived on the island under an assumed name in 2009 in a cottage owned by the Monastery.
Caldey Abbey have so far settled civil claims by six women in March this year and the Abbot Van Santvoort has publicly apologised for the Abbey’s failure to report Kotik to the Police despite its knowledge of his offences. Another six women and a man have since approached the Guardian newspaper alleging abuse by Kotik.
The Conservatives’ children’s spokesman in the Welsh assembly, Darren Millar, has called on the Welsh government to launch an investigation into Caldey Island.
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