Abuse claims in Mirfield

ROE HEAD: The building where the junior seminary ran until 1984.

ROE HEAD: The building where the junior seminary ran until 1984.

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A religious order has paid out £120,000 to men who claim they were abused in a Mirfield seminary as children.

The men were pupils at St Peter’s seminary in Roe Head, Far Common Road during the 1960s and 70s.

They said they were sexually abused by priests who were members of the Verona Fathers, the order that ran the seminary until it closed in 1984. The order settled their claims out of court and paid a total of £120,000 to the 11 claimants – but it has not accepted any liability for the abuse.

Another claim is subject to legal proceedings.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church Insurance Association said: “It was with great sadness and regret that the Verona Fathers learned of these allegations.

“Given the passage of almost half a century since the alleged abuse, and particularly the deaths of the two alleged abusers named on 10 claims, we will never know the truth about what happened at St Peter’s. The Verona Fathers absolutely do not accept that claims from 12 individuals demonstrate a culture of abuse at the seminary.”

One alleged victim, who attended the seminary from 1966-71, spoke of being abused by a priest who said he was giving him a medical examination. He told the Reporter: “I have suffered from depression, and have been in and out of psychiatric units throughout my life.

“I do not blame all of my problems on what went on at St Peter’s, but they have had a devastating effect on me.”