Ex-Catholic priest admits seven charges of child sex abuse

Philip Temple Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Philip Temple was a former social worker and Catholic priest

A former children's home worker and Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to a string of historical child sex abuse charges.

Philip Temple, 66, admitted seven charges committed in the 1970s when he appeared at Woolwich Crown Court.

He pleaded to 20 similar charges and two of perjury at Croydon Crown Court in April.

In all, he admitted abusing 12 boys and one girl while working in south London care homes and a north London church.

He also admitted lying on oath in the 1990s when he was cleared of child sex abuse charges following accusations by a teenage boy from his church.

Timeline of abuse

Image copyright Google
Image caption Christ the King Church, site of the monastery in Enfield
  • In the 1970s, Temple worked as a social worker at three south London children's home. He abused children in each of the homes but gained successive promotions
  • Eventually made a "housefather" of Rowan House in the Shirley Oaks complex near Croydon
  • Suspended in 1977 after allegations of sexual offending were made
  • Became a monk in the Roman Catholic Church in 1981
  • Ordained a priest in 1987 based at Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters, north London
  • Faced trials in 1998 and 1999 after a teenage boy from the church accused him of sexual abuse
  • The first trial ended without a verdict and the second with an acquittal
  • Following the trial in 1999, the diocese wanted to have Temple removed. His order set up an internal commission of inquiry
  • In 2002 the diocese was reassured by the order Temple was not in the UK and would not be returning
  • In 2015 Temple was arrested and questioned in London after the Metropolitan Police launched a new investigation
  • At first he denied sexual abuse, but during further police interviews he admitted many of the offences and volunteered the names of more boys he had abused.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales said that when concerns were raised it was limited in the measures it could take because as a monk he was answerable to the head of his order in Italy rather than the archdiocese here.

But the church said it believes he worked in Christ the King parish between 1999 and 2002 while the commission of inquiry was ongoing, meaning he would have had continued access to children.

The BBC has been told that in recent years Temple spent time at monasteries in Italy and France.

Raymond Stephenson of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association said: "If Temple had been caught at Shirley Oaks he would not have been able to abuse anyone else."

The BBC is still awaiting comment from Lambeth Council which had responsibility for Shirley Oaks.

The BBC understands the Temple case will now be investigated by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, currently without a chair after the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard.

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