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Ampleforth school stripped of child welfare powers

Ampleforth College (Ampleforth College)

Ampleforth College has lost its safeguarding powers over concerns about its handling of abuse allegations.

Britain’s Charity Commission said on Tuesday that an external organisation would take over major responsibilities for the welfare of students at the private Benedictine school and its prep school.

The Commission said it was acting due to “continued concerns about the extent to which current safeguarding risks to pupils at the schools are being adequately managed”.

The school has educated some of England’s most noteworthy Catholics, including actors Rupert Everett and James Norton, and writer Lord Fellowes, who created Downton Abbey. Ampleforth’s former abbot, Basil Hume, was appointed Archbishop of Westminster in 1976.

However, three monks and two lay teachers have been convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 students from the 1960s to 2010. Allegations have also been made against 40 monks and teachers spanning the past 60 years. The current abbot, Cuthbert Madden, also faced allegations but was later exonerated by police.

The Charity Commission has appointed Emma Moody, a charity lawyer, as an interim manager of the abbey and trust, taking charge of safeguarding. The abbey welcomed her appointment and said it would implement her recommendations.