Vatican investigating sex abuse claims at UK abbey

October 25, 2011 - 2:35 PM

LONDON (AP) — The Vatican says it has ordered an inquiry into decades of sexual abuse by clerics at a Benedictine abbey and school in London.

Roman Catholic officials in Britain confirmed Tuesday that Bishop John Arnold and the Right Rev. Richard Yeo, president of the English Benedictine Congregation, had visited Ealing Abbey and its affiliated St. Benedict's School as part of the investigation, known as an apostolic visitation.

They are preparing a report for the Vatican.

The school's former headmaster, Father David Pearce, was jailed in 2009 for abusing pupils over a 35-year period.

A former Ealing abbot, Father Laurence Soper, was arrested last year on suspicion of sexual assault. He is the subject of an international manhunt after jumping bail in March.