Cistercian haven: Caldey Island Monastery

ALLEGATIONS of historic sexual abuse of children on Caldey Island have surfaced following the revelation by a number of women that they had been sexually abused by  Father Thaddeus Kotik, a Cistercian Monk who lived on the island during the 1970’s and 80’s who is now deceased.

The head of Caldey Abbey Daniel van Santvoort has since issued an apology and acknowledged that the allegations of serious sexual abuse should have been passed on to the police.

We contacted Dyfed-Powys Police and asked what the Dyfed-powys Police force is doing in the light of the historical accusations of sexual abuse on Caldey Island and if any interviews of past and present staff will be taking place?

They issued the following statement: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that in 2014 and 2016 it received reports of non-recent sexual abuse that occurred at Caldey Island with the named offender being the deceased Thaddeus Kotik. These reports were recorded as crimes and victims contacted by police.

During the investigation, information was obtained to confirm that the perpetrator was deceased and therefore a prosecution was not possible. Appropriate professional support was offered and the matter was drawn to a close.

Dyfed-Powys Police always encourages anyone who has suffered abuse to come forward and report it by calling 101.

In a statement posted on the island’s Facebook page on Wednesday, The Abbot, Daniel Van Santvoort said:

“It was with great sadness and regret that we heard allegations of historical sexual abuse involving Father Thaddeus who died in 1992. Any allegations of child abuse should be reported to the appropriate authorities and investigated. This clearly did not happen and we apologise.

Historic offences: The claims date back to the 1970’s

“The claimed abuses took place between 1971 and 1987. At this time the present Caldey Abbey Community was not on the island, a fact which exacerbated the difficulties of the claims. When I came to the island in 1990, and then became Abbot in 1999, I knew nothing of any such claims, but was made aware of them in 2014 when one claimant contacted me. I forwarded the matter first to the police and then our solicitors, as due to the complexities, it was a matter which lay outside the realms of my abilities. I acted at every step with compassion and empathy, and expressed my regret and sorrow at any such abuse. I flew to Australia to meet two claimants expressly to apologise.

“I confirm that as a result of the communication between our solicitor and the claimants, Caldey Abbey compensated six people out of court in 2016, some forty years later. I am truly sorry that my predecessors did not report allegations to the Police and I am sorry that as an Abbey, it has taken so long to compensate for these claims.

“Caldey Abbey has worked to ensure this can never be repeated. We now have robust child protection procedures in place on the Island including a child protection co-ordinator.

“We are working with the Children`s Commissioner for Wales who has advised that anybody with concerns should contact the Police or the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, the Truth Project so that allegations can be considered sensitively and with expertise. We will fully co- operate with this Inquiry and any other investigation.

“As Abbot, I very much regret any harm caused to any layperson as a result of the actions of one of my Community, and strive to ensure that every visitor to Caldey enjoys only peace, comfort and the feeling of wellbeing.

If you have any safeguarding concerns to report relating to this statement please contact Morgan Beake Safeguarding Coordinator Tel 01796b 468672, email safeguarding@menevia.org

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