The BBC reports that children at private Catholic schools could be “at risk” of sexual abuse despite years of efforts to root out predators, an inquiry has heard.
Ampleforth School in North Yorkshire and Downside in Somerset are currently under scrutiny. Representatives from both schools told the inquiry they apologised for past failings.
The inquiry is due to hear three weeks of evidence looking at the two institutions. The inquiry heard child protection failures may remain, despite numerous inquiries and convictions.
The Roman Catholic Church is one of 13 public organisations being scrutinised.
Counsel to the inquiry Riel Karmy-Jones said evidence suggested safeguarding problems were still ongoing and children may “inevitably” remain at risk.
She said in many instances, church officials chose to keep abuse quiet while families were pressured not to report assaults, offenders were shifted to different establishments unpunished, and complaints were simply ignored.
Previous inquiries into Catholic Church schools such as Ampleforth have revealed behaviour ranging from rape to voyeuristic beatings over many years, and resulted in convictions.
Matthias Kelly, representing Ampleforth, offered a “sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who has suffered abuse whilst in our care”.
He added: “All students, past and present and future, are entitled to expect that they will be safe and cared for by us – I am deeply sorry that this was not always the case.”
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