Abuse of young boys aged 13 by an employee of Southwark Cathedral
Clive McCleester, aged 77, a former verger at Windsor Castle is facing prison after admitting a catalogue of historic sexual abuse of teenage boys.
McCleester preyed on two victims, two young boys aged 13. The first victim was abused between January 1968 and December 1970 while the other victim was abused between 1986 and 1987 while McCleester was working at Southwark Cathedral.
McCleester entered guilty pleas and accepted he carried out multiple instances of abuse. He admitted seven charges of indecently assaulting a male under the age of 16 and three counts of indecency with a child. He denied further counts of indecent assault and a charge of attempted buggery. He is due to be sentenced on the 10 July 2023.
In a statement, Southwark Cathedral apologised and stated his crimes were a ‘grievous breach of trust, which have lifelong effects’, which will have an impact on survivors. They commended those who were brave enough to come forward, which is never easy for those who have been abused. It can be a difficult and distressing situation to put yourself in but as in this case, coming forward helped to identify an abuser who has now been convicted.
Institutions or authorities such as Southwark Cathedral are responsible for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and adults. Clearly, they have failed to do so in this case and a predator like McCleester had the freedom to abuse young boys.
McCleester was also put on trial in 1993 as it was alleged he had indecently assaulted a 13 year old boy in the 1980’s but was cleared by the jury in that case.
A criminal conviction provides a helpful starting position in pursuing a civil claim but is not always necessary. The complainant against McCleester from 1993 may now be feeling vindicated and may now want to consider pursuing a civil claim since they were denied justice in the criminal system.
Often abuse experienced at such a young age can have such a deep impact on an individual that it frequently results in psychiatric injuries. Pursuing a civil claim can lead to the acknowledgement of an individual’s suffering and a way of getting the closure they long awaited.
In our abuse team we have specialists who are very experienced in bringing claims on behalf of clients against institutions.