Ex-priest Philip Temple jailed for child sex abuse

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Media captionAlison Holt looks at former priest Philip Temple's trail of sex abuse

A former social worker and Catholic priest has been jailed for 12 years after admitting historical child sex abuse charges dating back to the 1970s.

Philip Temple, 66, 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 against a teenage boy.

Judge Christopher Hehir apologised to the victim at Woolwich Crown Court.

He said: "I am sorry justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999."

The victim, who cannot be named, told the court he self-harmed, became a recluse and even tried to kill himself after the previous trials.

'Robbed of childhood'

He said: "I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape what he did and we can never be free of it."

In a statement read out in court, one victim said: "I feel like I have been robbed of my childhood and sometimes when I see other children in the street I wish I could go back in time and be a child again."

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Media captionVictim: "My trust in the legal system was undermined when he was acquitted"

During sentencing, the judge told Temple: "You of course exploited the opportunities your deceit as to your character had afforded you, not only by sexually abusing children but, as a priest, by lying on oath to deny the truthful accusations brought against you by one of your victims.

"Your actions as a priest demonstrated that in truth you were a wolf in shepherd's clothing."

On Tuesday, Temple admitted seven charges committed in the 1970s. He had already admitted 20 similar charges and two of perjury at Croydon Crown Court in April.

Image copyright Julia Quenzler
Image caption Philip Temple had 'sociopathic qualities' according to one of his victims

Temple abused boys and a girl while working as a social worker in Lambeth and Wandsworth councils between 1971 and 1977.

He became a priest in 1988 and served at Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters, where he abused two children, including an altar boy.

He abused youngsters in children's homes in south London, including the Shirley Oaks complex near Croydon, the court heard.

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."

A Lambeth Council spokesman said it was cooperating fully with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and added: "We hope the outcome provides some solace to the victims of these dreadful crimes."

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in England and Wales said 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.

Timeline of abuse

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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 offences were made
  • Became a monk in the Roman Catholic Church in 1981
  • Ordained a priest in 1987 based at Christ the King Monastery
  • Faced trials in 1998 and 1999 after a teenage boy from the church accused him of sexual abuse
  • 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

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