Downside Abbey and School Child Abuse

Independant Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse  was set up in the wake of some serious high profile instances of non-recent child sexual abuse and because the government had some very grave concerns that some organisations were failing and were continuing to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.

Many organisations are being investigated. Downside School and Ampleforth are two Catholic Schools involved.

Live questioning of leading witnesses was carried out in the first two weeks of December 2017 and these interviews were time delayed broadcast (5 Minutes delay) at the time.

One of the major incidents investigated was the case of Father Dunstan O'Keefe who was Housemaster at the school in 1997 and who also acted as a priest in the community. I was Head of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) at the time and I was instumental in uncovering Father Dunstan's involvement.

I had not been called to give evidence to the Inquiry, but during live statements from two former Abbots I was wrongly accused of destroying a computer and discs used by Father Dunstan, implying that I had been involved in the cover-up. I was incensed and set about digging through my own records for evidence that I have kept from that time. I then compiled a report which I sent to the Inquiry and which gave much new information of the events that Downside had not submitted. My report forms much of the section on Father Dunstan O'Keefe found in the Inquiry's Report published on 9th August 2018. The Inquiry Report totally vindicates my actions in that it is now accepted, including by Father Charles Fitzgerald Lombard, that I destroyed nothing.

Father Dunstan O'Keefe left his position as Housemaster at Downside, but shamefully false information was issued as to the reasons and no recognition was made that he must have been a risk to pupils in the school. He was also a practising priest in the local community, again dealing with children.

I publish this firstly to clear my name, but secondly so that residents of Stratton on the Fosse may have knowledge of things which were going on at Downside and involving monks who were also acting as priests. I believe that some carried on as priests long after the events investigated.

You may find the full report here.

 

Malcolm Daniels, 10th August 2018