Conservatives call for independent inquiry into “shocking” Caldey Island abuse

Welsh Conservatives have called on the Welsh Government to instigate an independent investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse on Caldey Island in Pembrokeshire.

It follows a Topical Question from Welsh Conservative Darren Millar AM – Shadow Secretary for Children – during today’s Plenary in the National Assembly for Wales.

Mr Millar asked the Welsh Labour Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, what consideration he’d given to commissioning an independent inquiry into claims by 11 women that they were abused by a monk connected to an abbey on the island.

An unnamed second man is now understood to be connected to these allegations.

The alleged abuse is said to have happened in the 1970s and 1980s when the women were children.

Darren Millar AM said:

“The allegations of sexual abuse on Caldey Island are absolutely shocking.

“Too many questions remain unanswered as to the extent of the abuse, who knew of what was going on at the time, and why the Abbey didn’t report these crimes to the police.

“It is only through an independent inquiry that we can arrive at answers to these questions, and move towards some degree of justice and closure for the victims.

Angela Burns, the Welsh Conservative AM for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, echoed Mr Millar’s calls:

"I was absolutely appalled to learn of the allegations against Father Thaddeus Kotik, and am further concerned to learn that allegations are now surfacing against others connected with Caldey Island.

“Why was Father Kotik not reported to the Police at the time the abuse occurred so a proper investigation could be carried out? Neither he nor the Church should be above the law and by not doing so were more children put in harm’s way?

“The whole situation smacks of a cover-up and there must now be a full investigation by an independent body in order to find out whether Father Kotik operated alone or whether others were involved. We also need to understand why the Church thought it appropriate to deal with the allegations internally; did they not recognise that a crime had been committed? And we need to know if there is a cover-up, and if these attitudes are systemic and prevalent today.

“I have written to the Abbot voicing my concerns."