Church in Wales Compensates Congregant After Sex Abuse

Sex Abuse

The Church in Wales recently paid about £60,000 in compensation to a congregant, who was sexually abused by a pedophile vicar, making it the largest amount ever to be made by any Anglican church. Officials at the church admitted to having failed in properly supervising Stephen Brooks, who reportedly carried out 19 such assaults on children over a period of seven years.

Brooks (62 years old) was jailed in 1994 after admitting to having raped young boys in Sketty, Swansea, through the 80s and 90s. One of Brooks’ victims was too traumatized to testify against him despite having informed the police about his abuse at St. Paul’s Church.

However, his solicitors insisted on launching a civil case against the former vicar, 22 years after he was first jailed, claiming the church was partly responsible for Brooks’ action.

Solicitor Dino Nocivelli said, “It was clear to me that Brooks had used his position as a priest to obtain access to my client before manipulating him and then sexually abusing him. I felt the church were therefore equally responsible for the abuse as they had failed to supervise Brooks even though they knew he had frequent interaction with young children as a direct result of his employment.”

The church settled the lawsuit out of court after agreeing to pay the victim as much as £58,500 in compensation for the abuse he suffered.

Nocivelli added, “This was a significant case for my client who not only finally felt the church had acknowledged the abuse but had also listened and tried to appreciate how the abuse impacted his life. Survivors of child abuse should no longer have to suffer in silence and this case proved to be very important to my client’s aim to finally obtain closure and justice.”

The victim, whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, said the abuse ruined most of his life experiences since he was left questioning his faith after the church failed to reach out to him following Brook’s trial.

“It has had a huge impact on my life and has caused me to have low self-confidence and self-esteem. This has caused me to have difficulties in personal relationships and I have never disclosed the abuse to a partner apart from my current partner. But even she does not know the true extent of the abuse. The abuse ruined so much of my life and I feel the church has also let me down as it should have stepped forward to apologise when Brooks was convicted for sexually assaulting us. The abuse has definitely dented my faith,” he said.

Prosecutor Patrick Griffiths said Brooks was a popular vicar held in high regard because of his undying charisma. His integrity was left unquestioned even after his trial because children still found him approachable and friendly.

When he was sentenced to four years in jail at Swansea Crown Court in 1994, Judge Martin Stephens told Brooks, “You were destined for the highest position in the Church but you have caused immense harm and anguish.”

To which the vicar replied saying, “I deeply regret and apologize for the harm that I caused. I moved far away from the people I hurt and I have spent 20 years trying to do good and no harm.”

Eight of Brooks’ victims have suffered mental breakdowns, struggling with alcoholism and attempting suicide on several occasions. Still, Brooks went on to become regional director of education, healthcare and communities at Santander Bank, London, in 2013 after resigning from the post of vicar following his expose as a convicted sex offender.

A spokesperson for the Church in Wales said, “The Church in Wales regrets that, for reasons of confidentiality, it cannot comment on any particular legal case. However, we stress that we deplore all abuse of children and vulnerable adults and we take safeguarding very seriously. We have robust procedures in place to deal with any allegations and have conducted a review of historic cases. Furthermore, we urge anyone with concerns to contact us either directly on 02920 348200 or through a member of our safeguarding team.”

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