In the wake of last Tuesday's television documentary, Fr David Myers leader of the Rosminian brethren in the UK has issued the following additional statement.
In response to the BBC documentary programme “Abused: Breaking the Silence” some points should be clarified.
From the very beginning, attempts were made to be open and transparent. Apologies were offered, without reservation on behalf of my brethren to those who suffered. Such abuse was a grievous breach of trust to them and their families. We are appalled by what was done to them. We accept that we have moral and pastoral responsibility to the survivors for the harm done to them.
When these instances of abuse were brought, the police, the hierarchy and Church safeguarding officials in the risk management of the accused were immediately informed. Information came to light in September 2009, of abuse at Grace Dieu dating from 1954 to 1958 and Soni from 1954 to 1974. Representatives of the survivors’ group were invited to a meeting. They said that that they wanted an acknowledgment of what was done to them and an apology, and not publicity.
Regarding the following specific issues raised by the programme:
Fr Bernard Collins. After an extensive and thorough investigation, we have found no evidence in our records that Fr Collins was moved to Soni in the knowledge that he had abused boys at Grace Dieu. Indeed, the records indicate that it was a long planned move.
Fr Kit Cunningham. On 8th February 2010, writing to all those who had contacted me about abuse, the email concluded, saying that if they wanted to issue a press release, it was “their call”.
In response, one of the leaders of the survivors’ group said explicitly that they did not want any press involvement. This position had not changed when Fr Kit Cunningham died in December 2010.
When obituaries were being written about Fr Cunningham I responded truthfully to those journalists who contacted me who had heard the story that he had returned his MBE. I confirmed that he had, and the reasons why.
However, the newspapers concerned chose not to publicise this.
See also our first report on the programme: www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=18467
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