Ampleworth College

Detective says priest 'delayed' child sex abuse investigation

Tue 05 Dec 2017
By Cara Bentley

In an inquiry into child sexual abuse, a detective has said he didn't trust the Catholic head teacher at a boarding school.

Fr Leo Chamberlain was the head teacher of the Roman Catholic boarding school, Ampleforth College between 1992 and 2003.

He was questioned on Monday on whether he had interfered with the police's investigation into a case of child sexual abuse by speaking to one of the alleged victims at his school before the police did.

He said that he spoke to the parents of a boy, who were abroad, over the phone and that "the child didn't want to speak to anyone".

The independent inquiry heard from Father Chamberlain that the child did not wish to make a statement and that his parents "did not feel a prosecution would serve any beneficial purpose".

It was pointed out that he could be seen as controlling the investigation because he took the matter to social services and not to the police straight away.

Detective Chief Inspector Honeysett, who was involved at the time, was also interviewed.

Honeysett said he did not trust Fr Chamberlain and added: "The issue was largely around the delay in the police becoming involved.

"He didn't accept that there was a problem with the delay. His approach was that they had become aware of the incident through a third party."

He went on to say that he thought it was innappropriate that the staff at Ampleforth College approached the victim and "made inquiries themselves".

The hearing continues.

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