Eric Taylor – Coleshill
Church expels paedophile priest
A Catholic priest who was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing young boys in his care has been removed from the priesthood.
Eric Taylor, 80, was convicted at Warwick Crown Court in 1998 of 18 sexual offences against boys.
The offences took place between 1957 and 1965 at the Father Hudson Society home in Coleshill, Warwickshire.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham confirmed on Monday that the Decree of Laicisation, which removes all of Taylor’s rights as a Catholic priest, had been sanctioned by Pope John Paul II.
He said: “On February 1, 2001, Eric Taylor received and accepted the decision of Pope John Paul II by which he is returned to the lay state within the Catholic Church.
“From that moment, he is no longer a Catholic priest.
“The request for dispensation was made jointly by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and Eric Taylor himself.
“It was made and has been granted for the good of the Church.”
Archbishop Nichols told a news conference: “This is a moment of profound sadness for it underlines publicly failure in the life of a priest, the deep distress suffered by those who were abused by him and the sense of shame and sorrow carried by many Catholics, both people and priests.
“I again express my sorrow and regret for the events that took place those years ago. I assure all concerned that I will do everything I can to bring about reconciliation and a new start.”
He stressed that changes had been implemented to protect youngsters from rogue priests to prevent the situation happening again.
“The atmosphere has changed very considerably in the last 10 years. There is now a keen awareness to provide safe environments for all children in the care of the Church whether it’s for a few hours or many years.
“Procedures are in place. We are taking this very seriously.”
Following Taylor’s conviction in 1998, it emerged that he had a previous criminal conviction for indecent assault on boys in 1975 before he was sent to the children’s home.
James Robinson – coventry/Walsall/Foleshill
Former priest jailed for ‘wicked’ sex abuse of boys
An “unimaginably wicked” former priest has been given a prison sentence of 21 years for sexually abusing boys in the West Midlands.
Former Coventry Catholic Priest James Robinson, 73, was found guilty of 21 charges relating to offences against boys, all aged under 16, between 1959 and 1983.
Robinson worked as a priest in several parishes across the Midlands, including St Elizabeth’s Church in Foleshill during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
One victim told Birmingham Crown Court he had “carried” Mr Robinson’s face with him ever since being assaulted.
Robinson, who was brought up in Brownhills, near Walsall, had denied all the offences, which were committed between 1959 and 1983. Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Thomas QC, described the defendant as devious and manipulative.
The former colliery blacksmith, whose full name is Richard John James Robinson, moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children, including two altar boys.
Jurors were told that the paedophile used his status as a priest to gain “unfettered and unlimited” access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.
Robinson was extradited from the US in August last year.
He had worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry until the mid-1980s, when he moved to California.
Sentencing him, Judge Patrick Thomas QC said Robinson was “devious and manipulative”.
“The offences you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting – we can only hope not permanent – damage to the six victims.
“You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities that you moved to and from.”
Judge Thomas said of Robinson’s targeting of the boys: “You enjoyed doing your best to habituate them, to groom them into accepting what you did to them.
“You were, and are, sufficiently devious, manipulative and bold to have got away with a highly risky sequence of sexual encounters over a period of 25 years.”
He also criticised Robinson for refusing to return to the UK to face his accusers, saying he believed he was beyond the reach of the law.
“Fortunately, the law does not forget, your victims would not forget and you have been brought to justice.”
The court had also heard Robinson was paid £800 a month by the Archdiocese of Birmingham until December 2001, after officials had been made aware of the allegations.
Robinson had said in court he was unable to afford to return to Britain, even though the Church had sent him a cheque for £8,400.
Judge Thomas said it was not for him to judge the Catholic Church’s role in proceedings.
“Others may take the view that a full investigation and full disclosure of the results of that investigation is due to the members of that church and Robinson’s victims.”
The court heard prosecutor John Atwood say Robinson had “something of a knack for spotting the quiet child of the family”.
He told the court Robinson was sexually attracted to young boys and used the trust and respect that came with his position to prey on vulnerable children for his own sexual gratification.
The court also heard he used his status as a priest to gain “unfettered and unlimited” access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.
Robinson did not face charges relating to two of the six victims who gave evidence, because they contacted the police after he was extradited.
However, they were allowed to give evidence in support of the other four victims.
The court heard Robinson’s behaviour did not appear suspicious to his victims’ families because “it was a different world back then”.
Robinson took the boys to football matches and rock concerts and some of them stayed overnight at the house he shared with his mother.
The prosecutor said the abuse had left some of the men emotionally damaged and needing counselling as adults.
He said the boys did not speak out at the time because they were bewildered, ashamed and felt they would not be believed.
Charges against Robinson included serious sexual assault, indecent assault and indecency against a child.
BBC journalist Paul Kenyon tracked Robinson down in the US and confronted him about the allegations for a documentary in 2003.
Speaking after the case, Det Ch Insp Steve Bimson said the sentence reflected the serious nature of the offences.
“For each of his victims, Robinson engaged in a course of behaviour that we would recognise today as a grooming process.
“He would become a trusted friend of the family able to mix freely in the family home, becoming liked and admired by the victims’ parents, before engaging the victim in his sexual activity.”
The Archdiocese of Birmingham said in a statement it sincerely regretted James Robinson’s “serious betrayal of the trust placed in him”.
The Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, said: “We hope that today’s outcome will enable the victims and their families to bring the process of healing and ultimately bring some peace of mind.”
He said the archdiocese had co-operated with police throughout the inquiry and had “robust safeguarding policies” as part of its commitment to the safety and protection of children and vulnerable people
Solihull priest Ted Simpson arrested over child sex accusations
Father Ted Simpson, of Olton Friary in Solihull, has been arrested and quizzed by police over child sex allegations
By Mike Lockley 7 Mar 2013 13:58
A Midland priest and school governor has been arrested by police investigating historic child sex allegations.
Father Ted Simpson, based at Olton Friary in Solihull, was arrested on January 25 on suspicion of sexual activity with a minor.
West Midlands Police said he was currently on bail while inquiries continued.
Staff at the church seemed unaware of the police investigation. One told the Birmingham Mail: “He has not retired yet, but he may do. I should leave things alone for the moment.”
The 83-year-old has close links with Olton voluntary-aided catholic primary school, Our Lady of Compassion.
Its website said: “We are most fortunate to have the wise counsel and constant support of Father Ted Simpson who regularly comes in to say mass and is a long-standing member of the governing body.”
Olton Friary was built by Fransiscan Friars in 1929.
The church was badly damaged by a fire in July, 1970, but re-opened 15 months later.
The friars left in January 1981, and the Sacred Heart Fathers and Brothers of Betharram took over the running of the parish, with Father Simpson as parish priest.
A secretary at the Friary yesterday refused to allow a Mail reporter to speak to Father Simpson and referred all calls to a press officer.
A spokesman for the catholic church in Birmingham confirmed Father Simpson had been spoken to by police, but refused to go into detail.
Peter Jennings, press secretary to the Archdiocese of Birmingham, said: “Father Ted Simpson of Olton Friary was interviewed by the police during January 2013. We have nothing further to say about this matter at the present time.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman confirmed: “On January 25, an 83-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a child.
“He is currently on police bail while inquiries continue.”