The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) on 20 June 2019 published its report on child sex abuse within the Archdiocese of Birmingham, part of the Roman Catholic Church investigation.

The report examines the church’s response to child sexual abuse by investigating the cases of four priests; James Robinson, Samuel Penney, John Tolkien and an anonymous priest ciphered as RC-F167 and found over 130 allegations had been made of child sexual abuse against 78 individuals associated with the Archdiocese since the 1930s but the true scale of offending is likely to be far higher.

The IICSA heard during six days of public hearings back in 2018 how Robinson, a serial child abuser, was simply moved to another parish after complaints were first made in the 1980s. There was no internal investigation as the Police were never informed.

Similarly, when the Archdiocese was alerted to allegations against Penney, the Vicar General who was in charge of investigating such allegations, instead attempted to help him avoid arrest by getting him to leave the UK. The lack of action by the church in these cases meant that abusers were free to continue committing acts of child sexual abuse where ever they went.

Chair of the Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay said “Victims and survivors’ allegations were mostly ignored for years, while perpetrators avoided prosecution. It is clear that the church could have stopped children being abused if it had not been so determined to protect its own reputation. We hope this report will help ensure that never happens again.”


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