Metropolitan Police

Priest 'withdrew £182,000 to run from sex allegations'

Wed 11 Oct 2017
By Premier Journalist

A court has heard that Andrew Soper fled to the Balkans after he was accused of sex abuse.

In an ongoing trial, Andrew Soper (also known as Father Laurence Soper) is being charged with 16 cases of indecent assault against young boys and 19 offences allegedly committed overall. He denies all of them.

The Roman Catholic priest, 74, used to be the head of Ealing Abbey in West London and was a headmaster and senior priest at St Benedict's School there.

The Prosecution say he carried out punishments for "fake reasons", such as "failing to use double margins". He is accused of using caning as "a method to rouse and to gain sexual gratification".

At the Old Bailey, the jury heard how Andrew Soper was summoned for questioning in 2011 from Rome, accused of historical sex abuse in the 1970s and 80s.

A week before he was due to attend a police station in the UK, he withdrew £182,000 from his Vatican bank account and travelled to Kosovo. He claimed he had been paid to study a mystical strand of Islam in the Balkans.

He was extradited and arrested in August 2016.

The trial continues.

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