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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Church settles Tolkien abuse claim
JRR Tolkien
The priest was the son of the Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien
The Catholic Church has reached an out-of-court settlement with a former boy scout who claimed he was sexually abused by the son of author JRR Tolkien.

It was revealed on Sunday that the Archdiocese of Birmingham has awarded Christopher Carrie 15,000 in compensation.

The 57-year-old, from Solihull, West Midlands, claimed he was assaulted by Father John Tolkien in a Birmingham church more than 40 years ago.

He sued the archdiocese, saying it had breached its duty of care towards him.

No charges

A police investigation launched into the allegations of sexual abuse in 2001 was discontinued after the Crown Prosecution Service decided that Father Tolkien was too ill to be charged, Mr Carrie said.

The 85-year-old priest, who denied the allegations, died in January this year before a civil lawsuit launched by Mr Carrie against the church could be completed.

(The settlement) was a modest five-figure sum of 15,000 agreed without any admission of liability
Peter Jennings
RC Archdiocese of Birmingham

Mr Carrie said: "Although Father John Tolkien is now dead, and cannot harm any more children, that does not exempt the church from responsibility or liability.

"I am satisfied that the settlement is substantial enough to recompense me for some of the wrongs committed.

"More importantly, I hope the coverage given to the case may encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward."

Mr Carrie, a father-of-two, said the abuse took place while Father Tolkien was curate at the Church of English Martyrs in Sparkhill.

He said he was assaulted by the priest on three occasions after joining the 159th English Martyrs Scout group, where Father Tolkien was scoutmaster.

Peter Jennings, press secretary for the RC Archdiocese of Birmingham, said: "I can confirm that the Archdiocese of Birmingham has reached a full and final settlement with Mr Christopher Carrie.

"It was in fact a modest five-figure sum of 15,000 agreed without any admission of liability.

"As far as the Archdiocese of Birmingham is concerned, the matter is now closed and we have nothing further to add."


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