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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 20:20 GMT 21:20 UK
Sex abuse priest given four years
Gregory Carroll
Gregory Carroll abused boys over an eight-year period
A Catholic priest who taught at the prestigious Ampleforth public school in North Yorkshire has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing boys.

Gregory Carroll, 66, abused 10 youngsters over an eight-year period at the school in the early 1990s.

Jailing Carroll Judge Paul Hoffman said the offences were part of a grooming process involving the young pupils.

York Crown Court heard Carroll, who pleaded guilty to 14 indecent assaults, was revolted by what he had done.

The priest confessed to the headteacher at Ampleforth that he had sexual contact with a boy in 1987. He was suspended and moved to a parish in Cumbria.

He has expressed his revulsion towards his behaviour and has described it as grotesque
Nicola Gatto, defending

But 12 years later he returned to the school and admitted his abuse had been more widespread.

The court heard the school called in psychologist Dr Elizabeth Mann to carry out a risk assessment, but it was never completed because papers held by the abbey about Carroll's history of sexual abuse were withheld from Dr Mann.

Judge Hoffman told Carroll it was perhaps ironic that the refusal to hand over papers in order to protect him had resulted in Dr Mann referring the case to the authorities.

'Weird experience'

Prosecutor Jeremy Goss QC said some of the victims had been left distressed and confused by what had happened to them.

One had been chased around a room by Carroll after being abused and described it as "a weird experience".

Defending, Nicola Gatto said Carroll did not have his first sexual experience until the age of 34. He was, she said, "naive and unworldly".

"He has expressed his revulsion towards his behaviour and has described it as grotesque," she said.

Judge Hoffman ordered Carroll to sign the sex offenders' register on his release and banned him from working with children for life.

'Deep regret'

After the sentencing Father Cuthbert Madden, Abbot of Ampleforth, apologised to the victims.

He said: "Father Gregory has been reflecting on the offences he has admitted.

"While they took place more than 20 years ago, he regrets deeply the hurt he caused to the young men involved and to their families.

"His fall from the high standards expected of a man committed to a life of service to God is in no way diminished by the interval of two or three decades.

"As a community we continue to pray for and to care for our brother but our first concerns now are for the victims of his abuse of trust, who were boys in our care at the time.

"We publicly offer them our unreserved apology and deep regret."

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