Croydon Crown Court – 11 March 2021
A perjuring paedophile priest serving 18 years for historic child sex abuse has been sentenced to an additional 16 months for sexually assaulting a boy in the late 70s.
Philip Temple, 71, molested young girls and boys while working as a social worker at Lambeth and Wandsworth councils between 1971 and 1977.
Temple was a ‘House Father’ at the Shirley Oaks and Rowan House children’s care home until 1977 when he was suspended after allegations of sexual activity with children.
But he was not prosecuted because the police believed they were lying when they cried during two interviews with detectives and social workers.
He was almost allowed to return to Shirley Oaks were it not for the refusal of young social worker Claire Crawley who had first raised the alarm, Croydon Crown Court heard.
The manipulating ‘uncle Phillip,’ would offer his victims money in exchange for sexual favours as part of a light-hearted ‘game’.
He also added false entries into the social services records of his victims to suggest they exhibited sexualised behaviour.
Temple was finally prosecuted in the late 1990s, but the jury could not reach a verdict in 1998 and he was acquitted in 1999.
But he eventually admitted 27 charges of abusing 12 boys and one girl in 2016, as well as two counts of perjury for lying under oath during his previous trials.
Temple was then jailed for a total of 12 years which was raised to 18 years at the Court of Appeal.
Sentencing Temple for gross indecency and indecent assault in respect of a boy under the age of 14, between 1 July 1974 and 18 September 1976. today, Judge Nicholas Ainley said his conduct ‘seemed to have been almost commonplace’.
He added: ‘You were between 24-26 age, [your victim] was probably 9 or 10, at least that sort of age.
‘You were working in children’s homes and as we now know you were already a sexual predator of the young children in your care.
‘You had been in homes since 1971, you had sexually assaulted at least six children, including performing oral sex on them, digit penetration and other forms of touching.
‘During time he was the victim [of the current offences] you were already abusing other children.
‘Ms Crawley actually confronted you, she had spoken to the children and heard their side and realised something dreadful was going on, she was absolutely right.
Police were called, there was some investigation but no criminal proceedings.
‘It’s a tragedy because had they there would not have been future offences.
‘She made plain she was not to have you back because of what she knew about you.
‘You were tried for the abuse of youngsters, lied about it and got off.
‘Not only were you a sexual predator but you were a perjuring priest.’
Judge Ainley said the sentence would have been three to five years at the very least if they were not related to what he is already jailed for.
Outside court the victim said: ‘It’s taken 45 years, it was dropped by the police, it was not accepted by the CPS time after time.
‘It’s taken 45 years, but when he was confronted with it he went straight away guilty.
‘It’s dropped a massive load off my shoulders.
‘Allowing me to get on with my work.
‘He’s a disgusting, vile creature that should never have been allowed to work in children’s homes with children – ever.
‘I can’t understand him and I don’t ever want to.
‘We were just children, you don’t know what’s wrong or right, you wasn’t sure, you just did what you was told and buried it.
‘Buried it further and further when you knew how serious it was.’
The victim was brought into care after his mother suffered from mental health difficulties and was admitted to hospital for a short period.
While there she was asked to sign papers which she later learned had committed her children to a care home.
For several years she fought for his return, but was rejected because the council couldn’t provide a large enough home, the court heard.
Temple moved to France after Shirley Oaks and was ordained into the Catholic Church in 1988.
While working at Christ the King Monastery in Cockfosters he abused two boys, including an altar boy.
Police dismissed his victim’s allegations when reported by a young social worker because they ‘cried’ when questioned by detectives.
Fiona Ryan, prosecuting said: ‘Police were called in but Ms Crawley didn’t feel it was investigated properly by police.
‘She fot feeling believed that Mr Temple was telling truth and they were lying because they cried when interviewed.
‘Mr Temple strenuously denied the allegations.
‘The children were recalled to the police station, [the complainant] was questioned in the presence of other social workers and detectives and broke down and cried again.
‘Police believed the children were lying.
‘Ms Crawley believes it was handled very badly by police and the social services.’
The current allegations were first made in 2011, and a further police statement was made in 2015.
When Temple first heard the allegation he suggested it was because the victim had witnessed abuse of others children.
Before today’s sentence Temple was not eligible for consideration for release before March 2025, with a licence period running until 2035.