London

Abbey 'should lose control' of Ealing sex abuse school

Father Lawrence Soper
Image caption Father Lawrence Soper skipped bail and is wanted in connection with child abuse allegations

The running of a religious school hit by repeated sex allegations should be taken out of the hands of monks, a report is expected to recommend.

There have been six sex allegations against former teachers and monks at St Benedict's School in Ealing.

The west London school, run by Ealing Abbey, asked Lord Carlile to carry out an inquiry into the claims.

It is understood the report's central recommendation will be that the running of the school is taken from the abbey.

In 2009 Father David Pearce, the former head of St Benedict's School in Ealing, was jailed for eight years for abusing five students.

Father Lawrence Soper, 68, former Abbot of Ealing Abbey, failed to answer bail in March 2011 following arrest on suspicion of abuse and inquiries are being made to find him.

Vatican inquiry

Another former employee faces a Crown Court trial over sex abuse charges.

The Vatican has already ordered an inquiry into the school.

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Carlile is due to publish the findings of his own review on Wednesday.

It is understood Lord Carlile will recommend an independent charity trust - staffed mainly by lay people - should now take over running of the school.

Jonathan West, the parent of a former pupil, welcomed the suggestion, adding that the school should not be allowed to investigate allegations itself.

He said: "If the school tries to investigate itself they know the people concerned, and so they'll have preconceptions.

"'Mr X was such a nice bloke, he'd never do such a thing'.

"That's why it's vitally important all allegations get passed to the local authority so they can be investigated independently."

Parents of pupils at the school will be given copies of the report at 19:30 GMT.

The school is expected to give its response on Wednesday.

St Benedict's School admits pupils aged four to 18 and has a mixed sixth form.

Famous alumni include chairman of the BBC Trust Lord Patten and comedian Julian Clary.

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