A former Catholic priest and children’s home worker who committed 27 sex crimes against 13 children across parts of London has been jailed for 12 years.
Philip Temple, 66, sexually assaulted a number of boys and one girl in his care between 1971 and 1977 when he worked for Lambeth and Wandsworth councils.
He then became a priest and served at Christ the King Monastery, Vita Et Pax in Cockfosters, where he abused two children, including an altar boy.
The abuse took place in Temple’s bedrooms at three care homes and in children’s bedrooms, dormitories and bathrooms after he became ordained, the court heard.
Temple ordered several children to keep quiet about the abuse, telling one victim he was “special” and another that it was “our little secret”, the court heard.
He bribed at least one boy, described by a social worker as “Philip’s favourite”, with sweets for his silence.
In a statement read out in court, one victim said: “I feel like I have been robbed of my childhood and sometimes when I see other children in the street I wish I could go back in time and be a child again.”
Mitigating, Lee Sergent said Temple was aware “all the apologies in the world won’t make things right”.
Temple, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to 20 counts of non-recent sexual assault at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday, April 6 and admitted seven further counts at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.
He also admitted two counts of perjury during two trials in 1998 and 1999 which resulted in his acquittal at the Croydon hearing.
Judge Christopher Hehir branded Temple “a wolf in shepherd’s clothing” as he jailed him for 12 years at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.
He also said he viewed Temple’s move to become ordained as an “aggravating factor” in his crimes.
Judge Hehir said the offences spanned “two distinct phases” of Temple’s life: when he worked at three care homes from 1971 and 1977, and between 1993 and 1999, after he was ordained.
Temple did not react as the judge ordered officers to “send him down”.
Judge Hehir personally apologised to a victim who was abused as a teenager when Temple was a priest.
He told the victim he was “sorry justice was not done” during previous trials in 1998 and 1999.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he smoked, drank heavily, self-harmed, rarely ate and became a recluse after the previous trials, culminating in a suicide attempt.
He said he had seen Temple as a father figure and had even given him a Father’s Day card one year.
Britain appointed a new head to lead a national inquiry into decades of child sex abuse yesterday, naming social care expert Alexis Jay to lead an investigation that has been dogged by leadership problems.
The inquiry was set up in July 2014 after a series of child sex abuse scandals dating back to the 1970s, some involving celebrities and politicians.
Jay, who led a separate 2014 investigation into child sexual abuse in the northern English town of Rotherham, becomes the fourth person to lead the wide-ranging inquiry after its former chair, New Zealand high court judge Lowell Goddard, quit last week.
“Together with my fellow panel members, we will fearlessly examine institutional failures, past and present, and make recommendations so that the children of England and Wales are better protected now and in the future,” Jay said in a statement.
Described by the government as a “a child protection expert with over 30 years’ experience”, Jay had already been working as a member of the panel investigating allegations from victims who say politicians, the Catholic and Anglican Churches, councils and schools have failed to deal with abuse.
In a number of cases, victims said institutions had actively covered up cases at the behest of powerful establishment figures including senior lawmakers, spies and police officers
Two other chairwomen previously quit the inquiry amid criticism over conflicts of interest relating to their ties to the political establishment.
“Let there be no doubt; our commitment to this inquiry is undiminished,” interior minister Amber Rudd said, announcing the appointment.
“We owe it to victims and survivors to confront the appalling reality of how children were let down by the very people who were charged to protect them and to learn from the mistakes of the past.”
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