Four monks in Somerset have been investigated over alleged sexual incidents.
One has been arrested, but no charges have been brought.
The four are monks at Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-the-Fosse. The allegations in some cases involve former pupils at Downside School, which the abbey runs.
Dom Antony Sutch has resigned as a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought For The Day and withdrawn from his parish after a complaint about his conduct while he was the headmaster of a top Catholic independent school.
The Benedictine monk, who was a spiritual mentor to the late Princess Diana and who preached at the marriage of the daughter of the Duchess of Cornwall, is now said to have returned to his community next to Downside School in Somerset.
According to Avon and Somerset police sources, an investigation was launched over allegations that he had indecently touched a young person aged over 16. The incident is said to have happened 14 years ago when he was head of the school, which charges boarders more than £25,000 a year.
Clearly, I cannot talk for all who went through the same schoool I did. But equally clearly, if that sort of sexual molestation is going on one would, with 5 years in the place, get some inkling of it. Even if it\’s only \”don\’t let that monk do the one on one tutoring\”.
A couple of us who were at the place, for example myself and Peter Briffa of blog fame, swapped emails when the news broke of the kiddy fiddling at Ampleforth (that story where Laurence Dallaglio indicated he had been a victim). No, we didn\’t recall anything like that going on at all. The culture at Ampleforth must have been significantly different from that of Downside (at A they were talking about groping on the junior dorms: no, that is something which we would all have known about).
Now I do indeed remember sexual scandals while I was there: there was the school prefect found to be shagging one of the housemaids: but that\’s heterosexual and adult on adult. Or the monk who set up house with the Maths teacher\’s wife: but she\’d had , what, 10 kids by then? Mutual prayer might be a relief at that point. And there was always great gossip about the monk who had been, before he was a monk, engaged to Joanna Lumley.
Anthony Sutch was there when I was….as a monk when I was a pupil, given our age differences.
But kiddies? Monks on boys? Can\’t say I ever saw it, heard about it or even in the vaguest sense thought it was happening.
BTW, perhaps we could really get the Daily Mail interested: Emma Rees Mogg (yes, daughter of, sister of Jacob who was sent to Eton as the first son) was Assistant to the Head Boy the same year I was the other assistant to the head boy….that head boy having gone on to be a pillar of Lloyd\’s.
Can we get a month or two\’s mortgage payments out of this story?