Monday 23 January 2023


Anonymous -

Vatican investigates ‘lockdown sex party in British cathedral’

The resignation of a bishop, and a child abuse allegation against the dean he appointed, prompted the Pope’s advisers to step in

“In a highly unusual move, the Vatican has ordered an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Robert Byrne’s resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in December …

“A diocese source said: ‘A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle cathedral’ …

“A few months after [Robert Byrne] was made bishop in 2019, he surprised worshippers by replacing Father Dermott Donnelly … with another priest, Father Michael McCoy.

“[McCoy] is said to have approached several worshippers within the diocese asking them if they would like to attend ‘a party’ at the cathedral …

“McCoy, 57, took his own life in April 2021, just four days after finding out he was being investigated by Northumbria police’s child and adult protection department after a historical child sex abuse allegation was made against him.

“A separate investigation, by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) will focus on another figure, the convicted sex offender Father Tim Gardner, and his relationship with the diocese. In 2014, a judge described him as ‘depraved’.

“Gardner, a Catholic friar and former religious education adviser … was caught with more than 500 pictures of children and more than 5,000 prohibited images downloaded on to his computer …

“[Gardner] who was teaching religious education at a Catholic school in north London, also pleaded guilty to ten counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possession of prohibited images. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years.

“Gardner is alleged to have been offered the chance to stay at church-owned accommodation within the Newcastle diocese after his conviction. Senior figures at the diocese stepped in to block it, it is alleged …”


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