Priest jailed for seven years for abuse at orphanage
Linus Gregoriadis Friday 01 May 1998
A CATHOLIC priest who abused children at an orphanage was jailed for seven years yesterday.
Father Eric Taylor, who abused boys as young as six and then stood by as they were beaten by nuns for complaining, was found guilty of 16 charges of indecent assault and two charges of buggery.
During sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Marten Coates told 78- year-old Taylor: "For nearly seven years you were in a position of trust and authority at the home at Coleshill.
"These homes had been set up to rescue the most vulnerable people in our society.
"You told the jury the regime was harsh and boys were beaten in an unlawful manner. Not only did you do nothing about this, but you knew the fear of receiving such punishment meant that the boys were unlikely to complain.
"Those few who did knew their complaints would not be believed and secure in that knowledge you indulged yourself.
"The lifelong damage you inflicted has been seen during the course of this trial. The trust placed in you, you abused on a daily basis."
During the two-week trial the jury heard of a catalogue of offences at the Father Hudson's home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, between 1957 and 1965.
After the verdict, one jury member left the court in tears as it was revealed that Taylor had been previously been fined by magistrates for abusing four boys at his vicarage in Worcestershire in 1975
Taylor, of Aston-by-Stone, Staffordshire, was jailed for seven years on the two counts of buggery and five years, to run concurrently, on the charges of indecent assault.
Now in their forties and fifties, the 16 victims who helped secure a conviction are only the tip of the iceberg, it is believed.
At least two orphans who were at the home during Taylor's reign committed suicide, according to Warwickshire police who have also revealed that 10 more former residents had come forward since the beginning of the trial.
Victims told how Taylor was "like a Pied Piper" who was revered at the orphanage, by nuns who admired his status as a former prisoner of war, and by young boys whom he would reward with cigarettes, money and sweets.
Taylor, who spent four years in a war camp in Austria after being captured while serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, arrived at the home in 1957 after being ordained three years earlier.
He would prey on young boys as they slept in their dormitories, the court heard.
Nuns at the orphanage would beat those who complained with belts, canes, wet rags and straps, it emerged, and people who complained about Taylor's activities would be forced to do chores.
Taylor, who denied all the charges, was found not guilty of two further charges of buggery and one charge of indecent assault.
The Roman Catholic Church last night apologised to the priests' victims. A joint statement issued by the Father Hudson Society and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, read: "We deeply regret the effect of Father Taylor's actions and will offer counselling and ongoing support as appropriate to those concerned."
The Father Hudson Society has not operated residential homes since 1984 but runs a range of services including adoption, fostering, residential and day care for older people and those with disabilities.
Judge Coates told Taylor: "The boys came from all walks of life. You are a disgrace to your cloth and the church you proclaim. Your victims were not only young but they were helpless, you were the nearest thing they had to a father figure."
Police close investigation into child abuse at Warwickshire home
May 10 2009 by Adam Aspinall, Sunday Mercury
POLICE have closed their investigation into abuse at a notorious Midland orphanage.
Scores of men and women have claimed they suffered attacks while at Father Hudson’s Home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Last year, the Sunday Mercury revealed a catalogue of shocking new allegations from 11 people of sexual and physical abuse by priests and nuns at Father Hudson’s.
We passed the details on to Warwickshire Police, and MP Mike O’Brien, whose north Warwickshire constituency contains the care home which shut in 1988, backed demands for police to investigate.
But last night a spokesman for Warwickshire Police said: “We are no longer investigating the allegations into Father Hudson’s Home. The investigation has been closed.”
Only one priest has ever been convicted of abusing children at the home. Eric Taylor was found guilty of sexually abusing boys and girls from 1957 to 1965.
He was arrested when his terrified victims came forward in the 1990s. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1998 but died in jail, at the age of 80, in 2001.
Now, though, Midland legal experts say there is fresh hope for the victims to achieve justice through the civil courts following a landmark High Court ruling last week.
Judges permitted a former Birmingham solicitor to pursue his claim for £5 million damages against the Roman Catholic Church for abuse he says he suffered as a child in Preston, Lancashire.
Patrick Raggett, 50, said he was abused by Jesuit priest Father Michael Spencer at Preston Catholic College, which closed in 1978, and that this had ruined his career.
It is by far the biggest claim of its kind in Britain, and comes despite the fact that 35 years have passed since the abuse ended – and nine years since the priest died.
The college governors argued that the case should not proceed because it was outside the legal time limit.
But Mrs Justice Swift, ruled that the case could go ahead to a full trial, leading legal experts in Britain to speculate that the Roman Catholic Church in the UK could now face a slew of US-style compensation claims over child abuse.
Jonathan Peacock, who specialises in child litigation cases for Irwin Mitchell solicitors in Birmingham, said: “Mr Raggett’s case has not changed the existing law.
“But it does demonstrate that the courts are willing to see justice done and in exceptional circumstances will allow very old cases to go ahead where they can still be dealt with fairly to all concerned.”
The new allegations of abuse at Father Hudson’s home included a 67-year-old man who broke his 50-year silence to claim he was raped by a priest.
Another woman told how she believed her brother drank himself to death because of his painful memories of abuse. Rose Connolly, 53, welcomed Mr Raggett’s success. She said: “This is fantastic news for Mr Raggett and hopefully it means we may now be able to find justice for the years of abuse we suffered in the home.”
Father Hudson's victims demand meeting with Pope
Sep 12 2010 by Adam Aspinall, Sunday Mercury
FORMER childhood victims of paedophile Catholic priests are demanding a meeting with the Pontiff in Birmingham next weekend.
Pope Benedict XVI flies into the country on Thursday for the first papal visit since 1982 and will host a live Mass in Cofton Park on Sunday.
It has been reported he will meet victims of clerical sex abuse in secret during the four-day tour, in an attempt to defuse the long-running scandal.
Amazingly, Catholic Church officials had apparently struggled to find victims willing to meet the Pope in private.
Rose Connolly, 54, suffered abuse at Father Hudson’s Home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, in the late 1950s and said she would be happy to attend any attempt at conciliation.
“For years all people like me have wanted is an explanation of why we were abused and why were treated so badly,’’ she said.
“I know I wouldn’t be alone in saying that victims of abuse at places like Father Hudson’s Home would love the chance to meet the Pope and discuss it with him.
“Although, the truth is, I don’t think many would be able to hold back their feelings.”
Another victim, who did not want to be named, added: “I think this is just a PR exercise to make the Vatican look better.
“They don’t care about sex abuse now and never have done in the past, otherwise they might have done something about it when the hundredth report of sex abuse was quietly swept under the carpet.”
Scores of men and women have claimed they suffered attacks while at the Father Hudson’s Home from the 1940s to the 1980s.
In 2009 the Sunday Mercury revealed a catalogue of shocking new allegations from 11 people about sexual and physical abuse by priests and nuns. Yet only one priest has ever been convicted of abusing children at the home.
Eric Taylor was found guilty of attacking boys and girls from 1957 to 1965. He was arrested when terrified victims came forward in the 1990s and was sentenced to seven years jail but died in prison in 2000, aged 80.
The Pope has met abuse victims on past overseas trips, but public anger has been stoked in recent months by a series of new revelations of clerical abuse in Ireland and his native Germany. In June, the Pontiff begged for forgiveness from God and victims in a sermon to priests in Rome.
Some campaign groups have said they will attempt a citizen’s arrest of the Pope over the church’s alleged cover-up of abuse, with several human rights lawyers arguing that he should face a trial.
Meanwhile, Irish Catholics appear set to snub Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain with fewer than 1,000 expected to make the pilgrimage across the water. Some 88 per cent of the island’s population is Catholic, but the Pope is not visiting the country.
Up to 65,000 people are expected to attend the Mass in Cofton Park, which will also see the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
FROM FATHER HUDSONS SOCIETY WEBSITE:
Father Hudson’s Society is the Social Care Agency of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, covering the counties of Staffordshire, Worcestershire, West Midlands, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. It’s main offices are in Coleshill, North Warwickshire, but it has projects and offices throughout the diocese. The Society is a registered Charity ( number 512992) and a Company limited by Guarantee (Reg No. 1653388). It is managed by a Board of Trustees (directors), who meet regularly and bring their many and varied talents to bear on the strategic decision making of the Society.
Mission Statement: Father Hudson’s Society, developing as the social care agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, offers services to people in need, in order to improve their quality of life. Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you” underpins our work with children, young people, adults and families, without favour or discrimination.
The Trustees count amongst their number both retired and working Senior Social Work managers, practicing solicitor, retired finance director, retired bank manager, marketing consultant, Catholic priests, youth and education workers . The President of the Society is Archbishop Bernard Longley. The Society is an organisation member of Caritas Social Action Network The day to day management of the Society is carried out by the Chief Executive and the Senior Management team, who between them hold academic and professional qualifications in Management, Social Work, Human Resources, Accountancy, and Health and Safety.
RIGHT, I HAVE A BONE TO GNAW ON ABOUT THIS.
I was attending St Mary's PROTESTANT church in Market Drayton every Sunday, and I told the priest in charge there that I was a survivor of the Staffordshire Pindown child abuse. Now at the time I had no idea that the Catholic Church had any involvement in childcare in Staffordshire, neither did I realise at that time that the clergyman in charge of St Mary's, Rev Michael Hayes was a Jesuit trained at Maynooth.
Hayes was not interested in the abuse I had suffered and offered me zero siupport. Not only that, the wicked man also tried to prevent me from recieving prayer support after the service every week in the little ministry room at the front of the church. Michael Hayes scowled at me and it was very clear that he thought I was a pest. All I wanted was support, prayerful support, which is what the Church members are supposed to offer each other, according to Jesus Christ. I went into that little room every week for prayer, if noone else was in there I just prayed silently by myself, while everyone else was having tea and chatting. I was not making a pest of myself at all. Other people came up to me and wanted to join me in my prayers, and I was so glad of their prayers, I asked the Lord to help the Pindown abuse victims, the secret family court victims and persecuted whistleblowers such as Stuart Syvret. But Michael Hayes tried to stop me doing that. How can a vicar try to stop people asking God to help victims of child abuse and persecution? But thats what he did. When he left the church to go to Yeovil I discovered he was a Jesuit, and I was very angry and wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, also my local bishop of Lichfield and Liverpool as well, none of them replied to my letters.
How disgusted I am that this organisation is still involved in adoption and fostering! How on earth can this be right, with their dreadful track record?
AND WHERE IS THAT APOLOGY I AM STILL WAITING FOR?