JOSEPH Quigley is paedophile priest who was sent to the US for ‘therapy’ before being reinstated as a minister at a time when Cardinal Vincent Nichols was Archbishop of Birmingham.
Nichols is now Archbishop of Westminster, the most senior Catholic in England and Wales – and claims to be deeply troubled over abuse in his church.
According to this report, Quigley was sentenced today (Friday) at Warwick Crown Court to eleven and a half years in prison and ordered to sign the sex offenders register. The judge described him as a “sexual sadist and voyeur”.
In December, Quigley was found guilty of engaging in sexual activity with a child, two counts of sexual assault, one count of child cruelty and two counts of false imprisonment.
The former national education adviser for Roman Catholic schools sexually and physically abused a boy and locked him in a church crypt.
Following Quigley’s sentencing, Richard Scorer, above, acting on behalf of an abuse survivor, said:
Quigley abused his position within the church to inflict physical and sexual abuse on his victims. He clearly felt that he was above the law – fortunately, the verdict of the jury and the sentence passed today show that he isn’t.
Following discussions with my client I am very concerned that the church knew about the risks posed by Quigley for longer than they have admitted. The Archdiocese of Birmingham ought to come clean about what really happened here, how long they knew about Quigley’s behaviour, and why the police weren’t involved earlier.
Quigley, who held various prestigious roles within the Catholic Church, was known as “Father Joe” at the time of the abuse, jurors heard. The court was told that the offences took place while he was the parish priest in a Warwickshire church in the early 2000s.
In 2008, when a complaint was made by a third party about Quigley’s relationship with a sixth form student, he was “removed from high priesting” and sent to an institute in the US for six months. Following his return to the UK after “therapy”, he was allowed to carry out school inspections and perform Mass for children.
Adrian Langdale QC, prosecuting, said:
After six months of therapy, he was returned to the UK and put on restricted duties. It would seem the Catholic Church believed that by doing so it had met its duties.
He said the police had not informed of the priest’s crimes.
At Quigley’s trial in December, Langdale said:
This case involves allegations of historic abuse at the hands of this defendant … He was a Catholic priest, in a position of power and trust over the complainant.
The abuse took two forms. First that it was overtly sexual by nature, such as touching and massaging the legs of the young complainant up to and around the groin area.
There were other acts which were more like punishment of a sado-masochistic nature, such as caning or hitting boys with hurling sticks or shutting boys in the crypt of the church.
It will seem extraordinary that a person’s religious beliefs could make them blind to what was wrong, but this is why Father Joe, as he was known, was able to get away with the abuse for so long.
A victim of Quigley said:
Myself, my partner and my family would like to say a huge thank you to Warwickshire Police, specifically Detective Sergeant Abigail Simpson for her amazing efforts and incredible support.
To anyone who has experience abuse, please speak out and get the support you deserve. As scary as it may seem, living in your own head reliving the abuse is far scarier.
I am glad that I have finally seen Quigley put behind bars and justice has been done – but for me the sentence is a life-long one.
Simpson, the investigating officer , said:
I welcome today’s sentence. I hope this sends strong a message to other perpetrators of child sexual abuse that we will always thoroughly investigate sexual offences against children and do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice, regardless of when the offences took place.
Thankfully, Quigley is now behind bars paying the price for his reprehensible crimes committed against a vulnerable child. The victim in this case has demonstrated immense bravery in disclosing what happened to him, and I hope today’s sentence offers some comfort and closure.
I would urge anyone who may have been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report this to us, regardless of when the abuse happened. We will always investigate offences of this nature and are committed to ensuring victims have the necessary support in place to help them.
Last November Nichols said he was committed to overseeing a major overhaul of safeguarding procedures in England and Wales following an independent report that sharply criticised his handling of abuse cases.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales announced sweeping changes to its child protection system on November 20, 10 days after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) issued a scathing report on the Church.
In a personal statement shared with journalists at a press conference, the cardinal said that the report had:
Brought together a picture of abuse inflicted in the Catholic Church over a period of 50 years. It is a terrible picture. I remain shocked and ashamed. It is a reality that hangs like a dark cloud over my heart and mind.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Birmingham said the crimes for which Quigley had been sentenced:
Are deplorable and unacceptable. There is no excuse for any kind of abuse, and the Archdiocese apologises for the suffering he has caused. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those who have suffered, and we again acknowledge their courage in coming forward to provide evidence during the trial.
In light of this case, the Archdiocese has commissioned Barnardo’s to undertake an independent review of its actions.
We cannot change the past, but if there have been failings we must identify them and learn from them so that they do not happen ever again. Joseph Quigley will now face church disciplinary processes that will address the seriousness of his offences.