Fr Kit Cunningham's paedophile past: heads should roll after the Rosminian order's disgraceful cover-up
By DAMIAN THOMPSON - DAILY TELEGRAPH
Added: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 05:56:06 UTC
BBC1 will tonight screen a documentary, Abused: Breaking the Silence, that establishes beyond doubt that Fr Kit Cunningham, the jovial parish priest of St Ethedreda’s church and for many years unofficial padre to Fleet Street, committed the most disgusting paedophile crimes as a young missionary in Africa. Fr Kit died last year – but he confessed his guilt shortly before his death, in a letter to one of his victims, and also returned his MBE to Buckingham Palace in a feeble gesture of repentance.
If you want to learn full details of his crimes, and those of other members of the Rosminian order, watch the programme. But, just in case there are any members of the Fr Kit fan club who suspect that he has been posthumously stitched up, let me insist that this is not the case. He sexually assaulted prep school boys at the order’s school in Soli, Tanzania, and in at least one case forced a boy to perform a sex act on him.
Fr Cunningham received warm obituaries when he died last December aged 79. That’s not a surprise: many a party was enlivened by his benevolent, boozy personality and he set high standards of liturgy at Ely Place. I myself have been the recipient of his kindness; when vague rumours of unspecified misbehaviour began to circulate immediately after his death, I advised the Catholic Herald that he should not be judged guilty without evidence. The paper scaled down its planned tribute to this “legendary” priest while it tried to find out what the fuss was about; it contacted the Provincial of the Rosminians in England, Fr David Myers – but he said not a word about any paedophile offences and, as a result, neither did the Herald or the rest of the media. We were quite deliberately kept in the dark.
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