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Jury out on man accused of Christian school sex abuse
A jury at the Old Bailey in central London has retired to consider its verdicts in the case of a former abbot accused of sexually abusing boys at a Catholic school in west London.
Andrew Soper, who worked as headmaster and senior priest at the fee-paying St Benedicts School in Ealing, denies 19 offences of indecent assault and buggery against boys during the 1970s and 1980s.
The 74 year old, who was also head of Ealing Abbey between 1991 and 2000, is accused of sexual touching and using a cane to beat youngsters.
Prosecutors claimed he meted out sadistic punishments for false reasons, such as failing to use double margins or using the incorrect staircase.
Soper, who was ordained as a priest in 1970, claimed the use of discipline had been interpreted in a "sexual way" amid a "tsunami of media attention as I am named fairly frequently".
He was extradited to England over the allegations, after fleeing Rome for Kosovo during a police investigation in Britain in 2011.
Soper later blamed "stupidity and cowardice" for fleeing, and claimed the allegations had "ruined" his life.
The jury retired after the trial which has lasted slightly less than two months.
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