Mirfield priests at centre of latest sex abuse claims

POLICE are investigating claims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Mirfield dating back more than 50 years.

Several men hope to bring a case against the Verona Fathers over alleged incidents which occured from 1960 to 1980.

The sect ran St Peter’s Junior Seminary, where the abuse is said to have happened, at Roe Head off Far Common Road until 1984.

Roe Head is now the site of the Hollybank Trust.

Allegations of abuse by members of the Verona Fathers have been made on several websites over the last year.

Some of the victims are preparing a civil case against the order while a formal complaint has now been made to West Yorkshire Police.

The Verona Fathers are now known as the Comboni Missionaries. They have bases in London, Berkshire and Glasgow.

One victim wrote: “I thought a priest could do no wrong – and so I let him just do what he did.

“It was years later that I realised I was being sexually abused.”

Another posted: “I was at Mirfield in the early 60s. My whole time there was a non-stop series of mental, emotional, physical and, on two occasions, sexual abuse by the priests, coupled with total neglect of all the boys, who were left to their own devices to cope with the problems produced by the abuse.”

A third person wrote: “How is it that the abuse was allowed to take place at Mirfield – and more importantly why was it allowed to carry on?”

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church Insurance Association, acting for the Verona Fathers, vowed to co-operate with the investigation.

She said: “We are concerned and very dismayed to hear of the alleged incidents of sexual and physical abuse.

“If the police contact the Verona Fathers, we will certainly extend their full support and co-operation to the investigation.”

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