UK & World News

  • 7 December 2013, 14:25

Former Priest Questioned In Child Sex Probe

A retired Catholic priest has been questioned by detectives over the alleged sexual abuse of three schoolgirls between 1980 and 2000.

Canon Mortimer Stanley, 82, has been interviewed under caution by Greater Manchester Police following complaints from three women now aged 41, 35 and 21.

Canon Stanley is a former parish priest at St Vincent de Paul RC Church in Norden, Rochdale.

Police say the women were aged between eight and 10 when the alleged offences occurred between 1980 and 2000.

The women were schoolgirls at St Vincent's Primary School in Rochdaleat the time of the alleged incidents.

However, police have confirmed that the offences did not occur at the school, but at an adjacent presbytery.

Detective Constable Christian Chivers, from Greater Manchester Police's Public Protection Investigation Unit, said the alleged incidents related to historical offences.

"I want to reassure local residents, and more importantly parents of children currently at St Vincent's, that these are historical incidents," he said.

"While we do not believe there is any reason for current pupils or their families to be unduly concerned, this is extremely serious and upsetting for the victims in this case, who we are continuing to provide specialist support to.

"The safeguarding of pupils is without doubt a top priority for us, the school and Salford Diocese and we are working together as part of this investigation.

"I am appealing to former pupils who may have information about the offences under investigation or who may want to speak to us about similar matters to come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestopperson 0800 555 111.

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