Catholic church are quietly paying out compensation for alleged child sex abuse - but refuses to admit liability

Leslie Turner says he was paid £17,000 last year in compensation for the abuse he suffered at the hands of teachers at an Irish Catholic Brothers school in the 1960s

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The Independent Online

The Catholic church has continued to pay out compensation to victims of alleged child sex abuse at its schools - but is still refusing to accept liability. 

Leslie Turner was paid £17,000 in compensation after claiming two members of the Irish Christian Brothers order sexually abused him at a school in Sunderland in the 1960s. 

Mr Turner, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he was abused by teachers there between 1961 and 1967. 

The now 66-year-old said he decided to sue the Church after he was diagnosed with delayed onset post-traumatic stress disorder in 2012. 

He told the Guardian: “After the abuse stopped was actually worse than when the abuse was taking place. 

“I tried to become invisible. It never occurred to me to tell anybody. When the headteacher has been abusing you, who do you tell? I put it into a cupboard in my head and I shut the cupboard door.”

Describing the abuse he suffered at the hands of the now dead men, the retired primary headteacher said it became so frequent it was almost “normal” and it made him feel like he was letting his mother down. 

The numbers in the order have plummeted since they became engulfed in abuse scandals across the UK, the US, Ireland and Australia over the past decade. 

Compensation claims are now administered by the trustees of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. 

When settling Mr Turner's claim, the organisation said it unable to accept liability as it was “quite impossible” to investigate historical allegations when both the perpetrators were dead. 

Mr Turner said he suppressed the memories while he was working as a headteacher and only disclosed the alleged abuse in 2007. 

He reported it to the police in 2010 and was told they knew of one sexual abuse complaint against one of the men and four against the other. 

In a statement to the Guardian, the lawyers for the Congregation said: “In 2012, when Mr Turner first notified the Congregation of his complaint of abuse from around 1961, we apologised. 

“Mr Turner accepted that apology with good grace. We are pleased that we were subsequently able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to his claim at the High Court.”