Statement from Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

  Following the BBC Today report on the way Cardinal Cormac dealt with a case involving clerical abuse, the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton issued the following statement yesterday: In July 1993, a young woman approached a priest in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and made an allegation about another priest of the diocese. This allegation was communicated to the then Bishop, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who wrote to the woman offering to help in any way he could to deal with the matter. Later that month, the diocese was invited to send a representative to meet with the woman and her clinical psychologist in Somerset. A letter from the Somerset NHS Trust, dated August 1993, refers to the meeting and to the concerns the woman had expressed. The woman made it clear she did not wish to disclose to the police the details which would be needed to pursue the matter further. Therefore, neither the NHS Trust nor the Social Services could take the matter any further. The NHS Trust recommended the diocese pursue the matter with the priest concerned. The woman concerned agreed this course of action at the time. The priest has admitted to one occasion of inappropriate behaviour with the woman after she had completed school. The diocese referred the priest to a clinical psychologist. The psychologist subsequently recommended that the priest should be allowed to return to parish ministry. Subsequent to all the above, an allegation has been made of sustained abuse over a number of years by the same woman. The priest involved strenuously denies any such allegation. Nonetheless, the case is currently being reviewed. The primary concern of the diocese is for the victims of abuse and the suffering which they go through. It is with this in mind that the diocese has implemented its child protection procedures in accordance with the Nolan Recommendations and continues to monitor and review them where appropriate.

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