Wales

Caldey Island monk abuser film 'makes my skin crawl'

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Media captionEdited extracts of the footage, showing Thaddeus Kotik at locations in Pembrokeshire

A victim of child abuse by a monk on Caldey Island 50 years ago has revealed he was given home movie footage of his abuser to remember him by.

The victim has shown BBC Wales the 8mm film given to him by Thaddeus Kotik in the late 1960s and said it now "makes my skin crawl".

It shows the monk - who died in 1992 - sight-seeing in Pembrokeshire.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has now said Caldey could form part of its probe.

BBC Wales revealed on Friday that Dyfed-Powys Police are now investigating claims by 20 victims.

Mark - the name we are using to protect his identity - was the first male victim to come forward earlier this year.

Previously, the victims who had come forward had been girls.

Now in his early 60s, he was given the film when he was 10 or 11.

"[Kotik] told me: 'This is if you ever want to remind yourself of me in the cold winter months'.

"It makes my skin crawl thinking about it now."

Mark's father had been befriended by Kotik when the family visited the island, off the coast of Tenby, on holiday and they used to return, while his father would do odd jobs.

He said Kotik spent years grooming him and abused him on several occasions from the age of eight.

The film had been in a box in his attic for decades.

Mark found it around two months ago and watched it again on an old projector as he, as well as his lawyer, wanted to give it to BBC Wales to help with his legal case against the abbey.

Mark said watching it again was difficult.

"It was mind numbing and contained a number of triggers," he said.

"I had to look away at times, it's not good for me. But, I wanted to check it was appropriate to give to others and so I watched it again.

"I'm trying to put things right - I thought the film might help others remember and come forward with their stories. I'm climbing a mountain and I guess this is part of that."

Mark has already described to us how he just "froze still" during one of the assaults, and being "frightened and upset."

He is now taking legal action against the abbey and has also backed calls for a public inquiry.

Last year, six women received compensation in an out of court settlement and the abbot of Caldey Abbey apologised after it emerged that complaints about Kotik were not passed to the police by his predecessor in 1990.

BBC Wales has made repeated attempts to contact the current abbot on Caldey for comment.

Meanwhile, IICSA, which this week reported a cover-up of "appalling" abuse at two Catholic schools in North Yorkshire and Somerset, said the allegations about Caldey were relevant to its continuing investigations into abuse in the wider Catholic church in the coming months.

"As the investigation progresses the inquiry will give thought to whether it can consider the allegations relating to Caldey Island as part of that slightly longer term programme of work," a spokesman added.

Dr Mair Edwards, a clinical psychologist, said: "I think it is important to look into historic abuse so that we can learn lessons.

"There is a need to look at what has happened to people in our society in order to make sure that it doesn't happen to others."

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