Church of England pays damages over abuse claims

Image caption,
Teresa Cooper claims she faced physical and sexual abuse

The Church of England has paid substantial damages to a woman who claims she was forcibly drugged and sexually abused whilst in the care of a church-run children's home.

Teresa Cooper, 43, has spent the past 18 years trying to expose what she said happened in the home in the 1980s.

Ms Cooper said her time in the church-run Kendal House children's home in Gravesend, Kent, was a "nightmare".

In agreeing an out-of-court settlement the Church has not accepted liability.

Ms Cooper arrived when she was 14 and over the next three years says she faced physical and sexual abuse, as well as being forcibly medicated with high doses of drugs.

'Move forward'

A BBC investigation last year examined her detailed notes and found over 32 months she was given drugs on more than 1,200 occasions. They included major tranquilisers, anti-depressants and drugs to counteract side-effects.

The home closed in 1986.

The Diocese of Rochester said there was no admission of liability, but it hoped the settlement would help Ms Cooper move forward.

In a statement it said: "In reaching the settlement, no admissions of liability were made.

"It is our fervent hope that the terms of the settlement agreed will assist Teresa Cooper move forward with her life."

Despite the out-of-court settlement, the woman still wants an investigation into why she and 18 other girls who she believes were also drugged at the home, have had children with birth defects.

She said: "I want to make sure the Church of England understands and publicly acknowledges what happened to me and dozens of other girls at Kendal House and I would like to see a genuine Christian will to help others who suffered like me.

"Anything less will be seen as an attempt to brush the scandal under the carpet in a cynical damage limitation exercise."

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