Boys abused by priest win payout

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The Independent Online

The families of three boys abused by a Catholic priest have won a payout from the church, after threatening to sue on the basis that it allowed him to practise despite knowing he was a paedophile.

The families of three boys abused by a Catholic priest have won a payout from the church, after threatening to sue on the basis that it allowed him to practise despite knowing he was a paedophile.

The undisclosed sum, believed to total thousands of pounds, has been paid to the victims of Father Adrian McLeish, 49, who was jailed five years ago after admitting 12 charges of abusing boys under 14, and six of distributing child pornography. When he was arrested at St Joseph's Church, Gilesgate, Durham, police found a huge collection of child pornography. He was freed after serving two years of a six-year sentence and is now believed to be living in the south of England.

The families' writ alleged that the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle was aware of his crimes and that he had been moved from a parish in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, to his church in Durham in 1991 to cover up his past.

The church denies any such knowledge but has paid out damages in a settlement that protects it from any liability for his actions.

One of his victims said yesterday: "I will never get over what he did to me and no amount of money will make it better. I still have nightmares abut it and all I want is to be able to get on with my life and forget about it. This has taken over the last five years of my life and I'm just glad everything's finished with now and I can start to put my life back together.''

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