Thursday, October 21, 2010

Girls' school chaplain investigated

Priest at top Catholic girls' school under investigation
The chaplain of a leading independent Roman Catholic girls’ school has stepped down while a historic allegation made against him is investigated.

By Victoria Ward
Published: 8:00AM BST 21 Oct 2010

Fr Dermot Power, 58, has been chaplain of St Mary’s School, Ascot, for 17 years. Head teacher Mary Breen said the allegation, dating back “many years”, was entirely unconnected with the school and was being dealt with by the Diocese of Westminster.

St Mary’s, where fees reach nearly £30,000 a year, ranked 38th in this year’s A-level league tables with 70.22% of pupils gaining A* or A grades.

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Lives RememberedParents were informed of Fr Dermot’s withdrawal from the school in a letter sent from Mrs Breen at the request of the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols.

They were given contact numbers for the Diocesan Safeguarding Service, Windsor and Maidenhead’s Children’s Services department and Thames Valley Police, should they be concerned.

The letter stated: “We hope this matter will be resolved as soon as possible. Given that this is a Diocesan investigation I am sure you will understand that there is no more we can say at this stage.”

Fr Michael Seed, who is well known to many celebrities, will take Mass at the school in the interim.

Fr Dermot was ordained in 1979. He holds a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and is the Spiritual Director of Allen Hall, where he lectures in Spiritual Theology and the Mystery of Christ.

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