Leading abuse lawyer Paul Durkin has welcomed the guilty plea of a catholic priest from Kent. Father Frederick McLennan pleaded guilty to a sex assault against a man from the north east of England when he was just a boy of 13. Mr Durkin is representing the father of two in his claim for compensation against the Catholic Church, which employed Father McLennan in the 1980s.
The abuse took place at St Simon’s StockChurch, Chatham in Kent, in 1988 when the 13 year old was an altar boy. It continued until the boy reported it to another priest within the church. The abuse was never reported to the authorities, and Father McLennan went on to other posts within the church.
The 69 year old priest has already served a prison sentence after being jailed in 2009 for molesting other young boys almost 25 years before. At the trial in 2009, the trained medical nurse admitted three indecent assaults on boys dating back to the mid 1980s when he was working as an assistant priest at St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Tunbridge Wells.
Paul Durkin, whose firm Simpson Millar has represented a number of victims abused by the church, said: “We are tired of the litigious attitude of the Catholic Church in compensation claims. It’s time the church stood up and took responsibility for the actions of their priests. Along with my colleagues, I am calling for the Catholic Church to stop the concealment of evidence of child abusing priests, which only serves to prolong the inevitable suffering the victims have to endure. My client is understandably relieved that his abuser has pleaded guilty and that he has finally been believed. ”
In 2012 the firm of solicitors called for a public inquiry into alleged abuse within church organisations in England and Wales, when along with other abuse solicitors nationwide, they criticised both the Catholic Church and the Church of England for their ‘lack of transparency’ and their ‘culture of cover-up.’ The campaign continues and has received nationwide support from survivor groups such as Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors (MACSAS).
McLennan had convictions for gross indecency in 1973, 1977 and 1989, involving offences in public lavatories with men, but escaped jail. He awaits sentencing.