Former Abbot Laurence Soper convicted of sexually abusing boys at Catholic school06 December 2017 | by Rose Gamble
'Soper abused his position as a teacher and as a priest to abuse children for his own sexual gratification'
The former Abbot of Ealing Abbey, Laurence Soper, has been convicted of abusing 10 boys at a Catholic-run school in the 1970s and 80s.
Andrew Soper, 74, was found guilty on Wednesday afternoon of 19 individual rape and sexual offences of offences after a trial at London’s Old Bailey.
Soper sexually abused 10 boys while he was a teacher at St Benedict’s School, Ealing. He would abuse them after hitting them with a cane, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
His first victim came forward in 2004, after Soper had left his role as Abbot and moved to the Benedictine headquarters in Rome. He was initially told by police there was insufficient evidence.
Soper was interviewed by appointment by Police at Heathrow airport in 2010, but he fled to Kosovo while on police bail in 2011.
He was arrested at Luton Airport in August 2016 after he was deported by the Kosovan authorities.
"Soper abused his position as a teacher and as a priest to abuse children for his own sexual gratification,” London CPS lawyer, Tetteh Turkson, said.
“He compounded this by trying to evade justice and fleeing to Kosovo in order to go into hiding. The victims’ bravery in coming forward and giving evidence has seen him convicted of these serious offences.”
Ealing Abbey released a statement on 7 December which said that Soper has "finally been brought to justice".
"We apologise to everyone who is affected by the crimes Soper committed while he was a monk of Ealing and a teacher at St Benedict’s School in the 1970s and 1980s," continued the statement.
"The prosecution of non-recent sexual offences is an important element in ensuring that, so far as possible, such events do not occur in future."
Ealing Abbey and St Benedict's School have "robust and approved safeguarding principles in place," it continued.
Soper will be sentenced at a later date.
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