Anthony McSweeney case: Abuse priest failings found

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Anthony McSweeney case: Abuse priest failings found

Anthony McSweeneyImage copyright
PA

Image caption

Fr Anthony McSweeney was jailed for sexually abusing a teenage boy

Concerns raised about a Catholic priest later jailed for sexual assault were not acted upon or taken seriously by the Church, a review has found.

Anthony McSweeney, 70, was jailed for three years in 2015 for abusing a boy at a west London care home.

In the wake of the case an independent review was commissioned by the Dioceses of Brentwood and East Anglia.

The review said McSweeney was found with videos of adolescent boys in 1998 but this was not reported to police.

The review revealed how McSweeney was moved in 1999 from the Diocese of Brentwood, where he served at Saint Luke's in Harlow and at Saint Peter's in Eastwood, to St George's Parish, Norwich, which is part of the Diocese of East Anglia, after the tapes were discovered.

McSweeney's abuse conviction related to indecent assault and making indecent images of children between 1979 and 1981.

He was investigated as part of a police probe into allegations of a paedophile ring at the Grafton Close Children's Home in Hounslow.

In 1984, McSweeney was ordained at Ilford.

Key review findings

Image copyright
Met Police

  • The Church should have taken more robust action following the discovery of video tapes in 1998 and should have ensured that the matter was reported to the police so that a full investigation could have taken place
  • Local priests and parishioners were not adequately supported, their concerns were not taken sufficiently seriously nor acted upon diligently
  • McSweeney's transfer to East Anglia was poorly managed, lacked insight and was not adequately documented

In a joint statement, the Dioceses of Brentwood and East Anglia said: "At the time of these events awareness of the need for child protection was in its infancy.

"Now over 95% of parishes have at least one safeguarding representative whose task it is to ensure that the concerns of the local clergy and parishioners are taken seriously, and to refer those concerns to the diocesan safeguarding coordinator."

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