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  1. ITV Report

130 allegations of sexual abuse made against people linked to Archdiocese of Birmingham

Inquiry sign Credit: ITV News

A report has found more than 130 allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against 78 individuals associated with the Archdiocese of Birmingham since the 1930s.

The report investigates four priests and examines the church’s response to child sexual abuse .

The four priests are, James Robinson, Samuel Penney, John Tolkien and an anonymous priest.

It also considers whether previous reports, produced in 2001 and 2007 respectively, succeeded in bringing about major reforms.

James Robinson Credit: ITV News Central

The Inquiry heard how Robinson, a serial child abuser, was moved to another parish after complaints were first made in the 1980s.

The police were not informed and there was no internal investigation.

Robinson continued to receive financial support from the Archdiocese for seven years after he fled to the US in 1985 following confrontation from a victim who recorded their conversation.

In 2003, makers of a television documentary tracked down Robinson to a caravan park in California and confronted him.

The then Archbishop of Birmingham, Vincent Nichols - now a Cardinal and the highest-ranking Catholic in the UK - issued a press release complaining about the programme and accusing the BBC of anti-Catholic bias.

This report found Cardinal Nichols’ response was “misplaced and missed the point”, by choosing to defend the reputation of the church rather than fully acknowledge the possibility of its shortcomings.

I am truly shocked by the scale of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. The number of perpetrators and abused children is likely to be far higher than the figures suggest.

Victims and survivors’ allegations were mostly ignored for years, while perpetrators avoided prosecution. It is clear that the church could have stopped children being abused if it had not been so determined to protect its own reputation. We hope this report will help ensure that never happens again.

– Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry