The victim of a priest sentenced to serve more than a decade in jail for child sexual abuse has attacked the Archdiocese of Birmingham for trying to dissuade him from reporting the assaults to police.
Last week, Fr Joseph Quigley was jailed for 11 years and six months for sexually and physically abusing a young man. At one stage he locked him in the crypt of a church as a punishment for supposed wrongdoing.
The priest, who was once a national education adviser to the Catholic bishops, groomed the boy during tutoring sessions in his presbytery which eventually led to assaults, involving sexual touching. The judge described the priest as a sexual sadist. During the trial, Warwick Crown Court heard the abuse took place in the 2000s when Quigley was serving at a parish in Warwickshire within the Archdiocese of Birmingham. The victim eventually told his mother in 2009.
In an exclusive interview after Quigley was sentenced, the victim described how he and his mother approached the archdiocese and spoke to its then safeguarding officer, Jane Jones. Prior to this, the diocese had learnt of a previous assault by Quigley on another teenage boy and in 2008 had sent him for assessment in the UK and then to the US for treatment.
The victim recalled that he and his mother saw Jones together who told them the archdiocese would ensure Quigley would not be around children. But, said the victim: “She said he had been told not to go into our local shopping centre and not to wear his dog collar – but twice I saw him wearing it. When we met the safeguarding officer for the third time, she told me: ‘I would strongly recommend you don’t go to the police. You won’t win.’” Both the victim and his mother have reported this conversation to his lawyer, Richard Scorer, now acting for him as he sues Quigley and the Archdiocese of Birmingham for compensation.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) criticised Birmingham’s track record on safeguarding in its 2019 report and said that “Jane Jones did not modernise the safeguarding team and manage her numerous responsibilities effectively”.
After the meeting with Jones, the victim decided against reporting the matter to the police.
“At the time I had no reason not to believe her,” he said, “so out of fear of not being believed I didn’t go to the police. I know now that there had been other allegations made against him by another victim. The Church hid it and brushed it under the carpet.”
Leading lawyer Richard Scorer argues that it is now time for mandatory reporting to be introduced, with legal sanctions for failing to do so.
The matter was reported to the police by the victim’s counsellor. The victim is furious with the way Birmingham archdiocese handled the Quigley case, during the time that Cardinal Vincent Nichols was its archbishop and during Arch- bishop Longley’s tenure. He says they should both be dismissed.
He said: “To me the Church dismissing them would mean they are holding their hands up and wanting to do better and no longer protect child abusers – but allowing a resignation means nothing. They failed me and so many others and ignored everything they supposedly stand for.
“The years of emotional and physical abuse that Quigley put me through have and will continue to have such an impact on my day-to-day life. I am reminded of what happened all the time – and will suffer post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of my life. Quigley stole part of my child- hood as well as the many years after, as I suffered with nightly flashbacks as well as a lack of self-belief and confidence.”
The Archdiocese of Birmingham said that Quigley’s crimes “are deplorable and unacceptable... There is no excuse for any kind of abuse and the archdiocese apologises for the suffering he has caused. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those who have suffered and we again acknowledge their courage in coming forward to pro- vide evidence during the trial.”
In August 2019, the archdiocese appointed the children’s charity Barnado’s to scrutinise its safeguarding. It has now asked Barnado’s to review its handling of the Quigley case.
Asked about Jones’ remarks to the victim the archdiocese said: “As evidenced in court, the allegations which led to conviction were made to diocesan staff in 2012. It is never appropriate to dissuade or attempt to dissuade anyone from reporting allegations to the police or statutory agencies. The matter was reported to the police and LADOs [Local Authority Designated Officers] by the diocese in 2012. The diocese’s response to this case is subject to the independent review.”