Catholic priest jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing 13 children

Source: The Guardian


Religion correspondent

A Catholic priest and former children’s home worker has been jailed for 12 years after admitting the sexual abuse of 13 children dating back to the 1970s.

Philip Temple, 66, was sentenced at Woolwich crown court after pleading guilty to 20 charges of sexual assault in April and a further seven charges this week.

Temple twice stood trial in the late 1990s. In the first case the jury was unable to reach a verdict and Temple was acquitted in a retrial.

Before passing sentence on Wednesday, the judge, Christopher Hehir, apologised to one of Temple’s victims that “justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999”.

The court heard that the victim had become a self-harming recluse and had attempted suicide following the trials.

“I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape from what he did and we can never be free of it,” the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court. Temple was “an extremely skilled liar and manipulator with sociopathic qualities”, the victim added.

The judge said there had been another missed opportunity to bring Temple to justice when the youngest known victim, who was six or seven when abused by Temple when he worked for Wandsworth council in south London, began civil proceedings against the council in 1991.

According to Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, the civil case “appeared to be settled with no payment” and police did not investigate when the victim reported the alleged abuse four years later.

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