Category Archives: Father Wilfred Johnson

Shefford boys’ home abuse inquiry: Man, 77, arrested


Shefford boys’ home abuse inquiry: Man, 77, arrested

From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-25319640

St Francis Boys Home closed in the mid 1970s and was later converted into flats

St Francis Boys Home closed in the mid 1970s and was later converted into flats

 

A 77-year-old man from Norfolk has been arrested on suspicion of historical physical and sexual abuse after complaints about staff at a former Catholic boys’ home in Bedfordshire.

The man, from Thetford, was interviewed and bailed at part of an investigation into Shefford St Francis Boys Home.

Police said the claims relate to four alleged victims.

The home, which was run by the Northampton diocese of the Catholic church, closed in the mid 1970s.

In May Bedfordshire Police revealed an investigation had started into abuse allegations at the home dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.

Four nuns

But last month police said the case had been closed as officers had been unable to find anyone alive to prosecute.

Earlier this month the BBC revealed detectives had received new information from an ex-resident.

Many of the residents have alleged they were abused by priest Fr John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008

Many of the residents have alleged they were abused by priest Fr John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008

The BBC has talked to former residents of the home who allege they were physically and/or sexually abused at the orphanage.

At the start of November, police said officers had investigated abuse allegations made by 28 ex-residents but had decided to close the case.

Police said the suspects included one priest (believed to be Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s), and four nuns, who “were found to have died”, and two other suspects who could not be located.

Following the closure of the case the BBC sought more information on the investigation but this was refused on the grounds that “further evidence has come to light”.

The Northampton Diocese of the Catholic Church, which ran the home, has said it “deeply regretted” any hurt caused, but has stressed the “claims are not proven”.

St Francis Boys’ Home abuse inquiry: Police identify new suspect


St Francis Boys’ Home abuse inquiry: Police identify new suspect

From the link: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-29510201

Many of the residents have alleged they were abused by priest Fr John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008

Many of the residents have alleged they were abused by priest Fr John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008

The senior investigator looking into claims of physical and sexual abuse at a former Catholic orphanage says a new suspect has been identified.

Retired detective chief inspector Mark Ross has been brought back to head up an inquiry into abuse at the St Francis Boys Home in Shefford, Bedfordshire.

The abuse took place between the late 1940s and the early 1970s.

Mr Ross said 80 “potential victims” had been identified and 35 statements taken in a worldwide investigation.

Police have already interviewed two suspects.

“Each week, we are identifying more victims,” said Mr Ross.

“If they are still alive they should be brought to justice. These victims have been battling for justice for years.

“We have found another suspect and are making inquiries as to whether this person is alive.

“Victims we have already been in contact with are in Australia and America and we have been taking statements.

“We have assigned two of our team to go to Europe to talk to a UK citizen about the potential suspect.”

Father Wilfred Johnson ran the home from 1945 to 1954

Father Wilfred Johnson ran the home from 1945 to 1954

He added: “Obviously we are dealing with some horrendous cases. Certainly both the physical and sexual abuse has been quite horrendous.

“What happened to them as youngsters has affected their entire lives. Some have been incapable of having relationships because of the abuse.”

Mr Ross, who spent 30 years in the force before his retirement, said he was “pleased and honoured” to be leading the inquiry.

The BBC has spoken to former residents of the home who allege they were physically and/or sexually abused at the orphanage, run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton.

Many have said they were abused by priest Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008.

Others say they were abused by Fr Wilfred Johnson, who ran the home between 1945 and 1954 and died in 1994.

The Diocese of Northampton has said it “deeply regrets” any hurt caused but stressed the “claims are not proven”.