Former residential care worker and priest admits 27 sexual assaults against children

A former children’s home worker and Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to sexual assaults against children in the 1970s.

Philip Temple, 66, admitted 27 counts of non-recent sexual assault committed against children in his care and two counts of perjury, according to the Metropolitan Police.

The force said Temple, of no fixed address, appeared at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to seven counts of non-recent sexual assault.

He appeared at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday April 6 where he pleaded guilty to 20 counts of non-recent sexual assault and two counts of perjury.

Police added that he pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault.

He is due to be sentenced on Wednesday at Woolwich Crown Court.

Scotland Yard said Temple was employed by Wandsworth Borough Council where he worked at Woking Close and Hertfield House between 1972 and 1974.

He was also employed by Lambeth Borough Council between 1974 and 1977 where he worked at Rowan House in Shirley Oaks, Croydon.

Over a five-year period, between those dates, Temple carried out the offences against male and female victims living at the care homes.

According to the Met, he then changed career to become a priest and served at Christ the King Monastery, Vita Et Pax in Cockfosters, where he abused two altar boys.

One of those victims made allegations that led to two trials during which Temple perjured himself by maintaining his innocence. Temple has since pleaded guilty to perjury.

An investigation was launched by detectives from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse (SOECA) Command after information was received by officers that implicated Temple in multiple offences.

He was arrested on July 6 last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Wingrave, of SOECA, said: “Temple was employed to care for the vulnerable children whose trust he betrayed by subjecting them to abuse.

“We take very seriously any allegations of sexual abuse reported to us. If anyone believes they have been a victim I would urge them to contact the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command on 020 8217 6582.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: “This was a terrible betrayal of trust over a number of years by a priest who preyed on the vulnerable children he should have been caring for.

“Temple compounded his heinous crimes by then lying about the string of offences, so increasing the agony for his victims.

“Hopefully he will receive the punishment his appalling behaviour deserves – and his victims get the help and support they need.”

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