School faces abuse suits

London: Ampleforth College, the U.K.'s most celebrated Roman Catholic elite boarding school, is facing a series of lawsuits after it emerged that dozens of boys were sexually abused there over a 30-year period. A number of former pupils who were abused by monks who taught at the college are preparing to take action. Ampleforth is at the centre of the most serious child sex scandal that the Roman Catholic church has faced in England and Wales, after police discovered that Cardinal Basil Hume failed to alert them to abuse, both while he was Abbot of Ampleforth and after he became Archbishop of Westminster. Police say they discovered clear evidence that Cardinal Hume became aware of abuse as early as 1975, but chose not to contact them or social services. They believe that the subsequent two decades of assaults on pupils at Ampleforth and its prep school might have been avoided if he had alerted the statutory authorities. Three monks have now admitted sexual assaults upon pupils at the college and its prep school between the mid-60s and mid-90s, while a fourth has been removed from his post.

— © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004