Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Priest arrested over abuse claim

Priest arrested over abuse claim
Fr Paul Symonds was relieved of public ministry during the inquiry
A Catholic priest has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

The accusation against Father Paul Symonds, a curate in the parish of Kirkinriola, Ballymena, dates back to the 1970s when he worked in England.

The 65-year-old was arrested by the Metropolitan Police on Monday on suspicion of indecent assault.

Fr Symonds was given bail and will return to a London police station in February. He has been relieved of public ministry, pending the outcome.

At the weekend, Dr Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, said the diocese and Fr Symonds were cooperating fully with the investigation.

Dr Treanor added that the welfare of children was the "paramount concern for the diocese".

"Fr Symonds of course continues to enjoy the natural right of every person to the presumption of innocence," the statement continued

"In accordance with the Diocesan Policy of Safeguarding, all concerned are offered appropriate support."

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