RC Church seeks sex abuse cover
Sunday 30 May 1993
Church leaders are concerned that they could soon face financially crippling civil lawsuits.
This follows the increase in abuse cases involving members of the Church in Britain, and the growth of compensation actions in the United States and Canada which have cost millions.
A working party headed by the Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt Rev Mgr Christopher Budd, is examining the problem of child sexual abuse by priests and drawing up recommendations on insurance and compensation. Three Catholic priests have been convicted of sexual abuse in the last year and two more are awaiting trial.
The potential problem of compensation was highlighted last week in the BBC's Everyman programme, which revealed that the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Maurice Couve de Murville, is being sued by the parents of two children who were sexually abused by a priest.
The priest, Fr Samuel Penney, was convicted in March and jailed for seven years. The parents claim the archbishop was told about the abuse several years before police were called in.
The working party, which met for the first time this month, includes representatives from the police and social services. Experts on insurance will also be consulted. The findings, which will include recommendations on all aspects of child abuse, will be presented to the annual bishops' conference in November.
Bishop Budd said: 'With the higher profile child abuse now has, I think people who were abused in the past may come forward. It seems likely that we will get families taking out legal proceedings and suing - we need to be ready for this scenario.
'Statistically only a very small minority of people within the Church have been involved in abuse, but it must be dealt with.'
A confidential briefing document called 'Child Sexual Abuse By Priests' compiled for the group said: 'Advice should be sought on the future likelihood and patterns of civil compensation.'
It also recommended: 'Advice should be sought on questions of insurance policies to cover possible liabilities.'
The report warns: 'Given the estimate that about 10 per cent of people are thought to have suffered some degree of abuse as children, and the incidence of priestly abuse in cultures not vastly dissimilar (USA, Canada) it is reasonable to assume that the present troubles are not just a passing phase . . . New episodes are bound to continue to occur since preventative measures are likely to be slow in their effect.'
At least 20 US priests have been imprisoned on child abuse charges in the past six years. Between 1983 and 1987, some 200 US priests or brothers were publicly accused of molesting youngsters. An estimated dollars 400m has been spent in legal and medical fees and settlement payments. Thomas Mrozka was one of the most successful US litigants. Twelve years after he was first sexually abused by a parish priest, a jury awarded him dollars 1.2m and fined the Catholic Church dollars 2.5m.
TV review, page 20
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nelson Bunker Hunt dead: Former world’s richest man dies in 'modest circumstances' in US after losing his fortune
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...
£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...
£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...