Church response to 'Today programme'

 Following new reports on the Today programme this morning, (see: ) in which it was alleged that an unnamed priest who is still working had admitted abusing a minor, Archbishops House has issued the following statement this afternoon: Earlier this year, an incident which occurred 16 years ago between a 17 year old and a trainee priest, was brought to the attention of the Diocese. Both parties were interviewed within 48 hours by the Diocesan Child Protection Team. The Diocese then reported the matter to the police for investigation, against the wishes of the complainant who preferred not to pursue any complaint. He declined to co-operate with the police. The priest was withdrawn from his parish pending a full risk assessment, as required under the Nolan guidelines. This risk assessment was comprehensive and carried out by independent experts, with the full co-operation of the priest concerned. The recommendations of that assessment were then implemented in full. As required by Nolan this case will be kept under regular review. Any implication or accusation that the Nolan recommendations have not been implemented in full is completely wrong. The relevant paragraph in the Nolan Report is quoted in full below. Despite the fact that the complainant refused to co-operate with the Police the Diocese proceeded in full compliance with the Nolan recommendations. Recommendation 63: After an allegation has been investigated, the case may be dropped or the alleged perpetrator found not guilty. In these cases, a thorough risk assessment should be made. Desirably this assessment will be undertaken with the statutory authorities, or at least with the benefit of relevant evidence collected by them in the course of their investigations. The outcome of this risk assessment should always be acted on so that a person is not placed in any role that might put children at risk.

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