Assaults alleged

A Catholic boys' school is reeling from allegations that two of its pupils were sexually abused by teachers.

The revelations come after a former pupil at St Benedict's School in Eaton Rise, Ealing, won damages against Father David Pearce and Ealing Abbey in the High Court last week.

The pupil alleged that Fr Pearce abused him in the early 1990s while a teacher at the school. A criminal charge against the priest was dropped but the victim was awarded civil damages.

It has also emerged that a second priest from the Ealing Abbey monastery which runs the school, Father Gerald Stanislaus Hobbs, 75, has been charged with indecent assault on a male under the age of 13, which allegedly occurred with a pupil in 1984.

He will appear at Ealing Magistrates Court on May 10.

In a statement written to parishioners and obtained by the Ealing Times, Abbot Martin Shipperlee from Ealing Abbey said: "A High Court judgement was given against Fr David Pearce and Ealing Abbey, and damages awarded to a former pupil of our school.

"In addition, allegations relating to 1984 have been made against Fr Stanislaus Hobbs, and he has now been charged with an indecent assault."

He added the Abbey "deeply regrets" anything which could have led to such allegations being made, and said the incidents were being investigated in "full co-operation" with the diocese and police in accordance with the recommendations of Lord Nolan's report on the protection of children in the church.

Both Fr Pearce and Fr Hobbs have been relieved of any ministry and are currently away from the monastery.

Run by the Benedictine monks at Ealing Abbey since 1902, the school teaches about 600 pupils in the senior school and 230 boys in the junior school.

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