Historical sex abuse inquiry at college in Altrincham

Reports of historical sex abuse at a Catholic college in Greater Manchester are being investigated by police.

The alleged offences involved staff at boys-only St Ambrose RC College in Altrincham from the 1960s to 1980s.

A man, 63, from Trafford was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and possession of indecent images in November and released on bail.

Police said current students should not be concerned, but asked former pupils with information to come forward.

The 63-year-old man was arrested over allegations of an incident in the early 1980s when the victim was a 17-year-old pupil.

'Extremely upsetting'

The Diocese of Shrewsbury confirmed a complaint had been received concerning a member of the clergy. The college, which is based in the diocese, is run by the Christian Brothers religious order.

A spokesman said the diocese was "co-operating fully with the statutory agencies involved and the appropriate safeguarding procedures are being followed".

Following the arrest, Greater Manchester Police said it had received further reports of historical abuse at the school, some of which allegedly took place on school premises and some outside.

College officials said they were "deeply concerned" by the allegations and were co-operating with the police inquiry.

A spokesman added: "The police have confirmed that no current teachers are involved and parents should have no undue concern.

"We have contemporary and rigorous child safeguarding policies which we adhere to strictly and take extremely seriously.

"Our thoughts are with those who have made allegations."

'Further reports'

Police urged anyone who wanted to report similar incidents or offences to contact local officers.

Det Insp Jed Pidd said: "First and foremost I want to stress that we are looking at historical incidents.

"The safeguarding of pupils is without doubt a top priority for the school and I don't want current pupils or their families to be unduly concerned.

"That said, this is an extremely serious and upsetting incident for the victims in this case."

He added: "As part of this investigation we have received further reports of potential historical incidents.

"Unfortunately some of these have come to us third hand and we really need to speak to anyone who was a pupil at the school who may have information to assist our inquiry."

The college was founded in 1802 as a school for "poor boys" by Edmund Rice, founder of the Irish Christian Brothers & Edmund Rice Schools.

On its website, the school is described as "a Christian Brothers' Roman Catholic boys' grammar school with a selective intake via a competitive entrance examination".

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