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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2006, 19:12 GMT
Monk jailed for assaulting boys
Ampleforth Abbey
North Yorkshire Police investigated activities at Ampleforth Abbey
A monk has been jailed for two years after admitting 20 counts of indecent assault on young schoolboys.

Father Piers Grant-Ferris, 71, taught at Gilling Castle Preparatory School, a feeder for Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire, in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Benedictine monk was arrested after a police investigation into Ampleforth Abbey, which is linked to the college.

Sentencing him at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday, judge Ian Dobkin said his crimes were "dire in many respects".

He ordered Grant-Ferris to be registered on the sex offenders register for 10 years and banned him from working with children until further notice.

'Terrifying' assaults

The court heard that Grant-Ferris punished the boys by smacking and fondling them and some of his young victims thought there were occasions when he gained sexual gratification from the punishments.

One boy described the assaults as "terrifying and humiliating" while another said the defendant had "wrecked his life".

The judge said Grant-Ferris had done "nothing but good" in the 30 years since committing the offences but asked him: "Can somebody be fundamentally good that can do the things that you have done?"

He said ethics and school punishments were different at the time of the offences to now, but added: "What you did remains as serious now as it was then."

Patrick Cosgrove QC, defending, said the defendant had suffered "severe emotional deprivation" in his early years and was indecently assaulted in the same way as he indecently assaulted the boys under his supervision.

Father Cuthbert Madden, Abbot of Ampleforth, said: "The offences for which Father Piers has been sentenced were a serious betrayal of his responsibilities as a monk, as a teacher and as an adult member of society."

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