RC Church seeks sex abuse cover

THE ROMAN Catholic Church in Britain is considering insurance against compensation claims by families whose children have been sexually abused by priests.

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

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher

£90 - £145 per day + travel expenses: Randstad Education Newcastle: Primary Su...

Service Delivery Manager - Software Company

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager Kingston Up...

Year 3 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 Primary Teacher in HullA f...

Drama Teacher - Hull and Grimsby

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: The JobRandstad are currently in need of ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments