Three former pupils of revered Manchester Catholic school are to sue the Salford bishopric over allegations of a severe sexual abuse cover-up.
The claims date back to the 1950s, when St Bede’s College in Whalley Range, now a mixed-gender independent school, operated as a boys-only institution.
Waiving anonymity to raise awareness of the case, the group of ex-students are taking legal action against Salford Diocese. The allegations involve the conduct of three senior clergymen, Father Vincent Hamilton, Monsignor Thomas Duggan and Father Charles Mulholland.
The three priests, who are all now deceased, were said to have exploited their position of trust to grope and rape the vulnerable students, who were between the ages of 11 and 15 at the time.
One victim, Michael Sweeney, said the group’s reluctance to speak out over the years was due to shame of the experience, as well as the priest’s highly respected position in the Church, making them seem “untouchable”.
St Bede’s claims it has always cherished: “academic excellence, civilised standards of behaviour and an awareness of traditional family values underpinned by the message…of the Catholic Church.”, though this is not the first scandal they have been involved in.
The terrible actions of the clerics have had a lasting mental impact on the men, and are yet another disturbing account of covert sexual misconduct within the Catholic Church.
The forthcoming weeks of trial will determine the responsibility of the Diocese of Salford in the case.
TNT News James Skipper