Church in Wales rocked by child abuse case

 The Catholic church in Wales has been rocked by a second child sex abuse case involving the same priest this week. There have been calls for a radical overhaul in the way men are selected for ordination in the wake of the conviction of Fr Joseph Jordan, 42, of Barry, South Wales. Jordan was jailed for a total of eight years at Cardiff Crown Court in the two cases. On Friday he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for six charges of indecent assault on a 12-year-old boy committed between February 1987 and February 1989. The attacks happened before Jordan became a priest - while he was a teacher in Surrey and in Yorkshire, the court heard. At the earlier hearing, Jordan was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for indecently assaulting two nine-year-old boys, possessing indecent computer pictures of children, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Because of legal restrictions that trial could not be reported until the second trial was over. Catriona Williams, of the organisation Children in Wales, has urged the church to reform its procedure for selecting candidates for the priesthood. Ms Williams said that it was essential for the public to have faith in priests. She said: "An independent review that is transparent would give a lot of reassurance and a method which any organisation might use to put their house in order." Jordan was on secondment from St Helen's church in Barry at St Mary of the Angels in Canton, Cardiff, when he was arrested in July 1999. After the conclusion of the second trial, the Most Rev John Aloysius Ward, Archbishop of Cardiff said: "Steps have been taken to make contact with those Jordan abused as a priest and to offer whatever counselling might be appropriate. "These sad events damaged the church. I shall do all in my power to repair that damage." According to the Daily Telegraph, The Right Reverend Christopher Budd, Bishop of Plymouth, revealed that he had written to The Most Reverend John Aloysius Ward voicing his concern about Father Jordan's suitability for ministry in 1995, three years before he was ordained. It was Bishop Budd who accepted Jordan's application to the Diocese of Plymouth to become a Roman Catholic priest in 1991. He said he knew Jordan had been charged with indecent assault of a boy but, at that time, he thought there was nothing to worry about because Jordan was acquitted of the charges in 1990. Jordan was then sent to the English College in Rome to train. Bishop Budd said he only wrote to the Archbishop of Cardiff about his concerns after learning more about the nature of paedophilia. In June 1994, the Bishops' Conference Committee for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship (which Bishop Budd was chairing) published the extensive document: 'Child Abuse: Pastoral and Procedural Guidelines'. Drawn by a large panel of doctors, child psychiatrists, social workers, religious and lay people, the full text can be seen on Bishop Budd said: "As the bishop who first accepted Joseph Jordan as a candidate for training for the priesthood in 1991, I am very sorry for the deep hurt caused by him and my first thoughts are with those who have suffered as a result of his actions." A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cardiff said the Archbishop would not be resigning over the case. Canon Robert Reardon said: "The Archbishop has no intention of resigning. Based on the knowledge he had he is satisfied that he did what was necessary."

Share this story