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Catholic priest admits child porn charges.

A Catholic priest and former teacher at one of Britain's leading schools has admitted downloading child pornography from the internet.

Desmond O'Keefe (39), formerly of Downside Abbey, Stratton-on-theFosse, Radstock, Somerset, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to 16 counts of making indecent photographs of children and two of making indecent pseudo photographs of children between 1997 and 2004. O'Keefe, a Benedictine monk, wore glasses and a suit at the hearing. He used to teach at Downside School more than six years ago and is still a member of the monastic community that founded the education establishment.

The abbey teaches boys and girls between the ages of nine and 18 and charges more than pounds 6,000 per term for boarders. O'Keefe was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and given unconditional bail until sentencing on September 3. A pre-sentence report has been requested.

In a statement Richard Yeo, the Abbot of Downside said: 'On behalf of the monastic community of Downside Abbey, I want to express the sorrow we all feel that this offence should have been committed and our deep regret at the scandal that has been caused. I am not aware of any allegation of an offence being committed against a pupil at Downside School. Nevertheless, this charge raises concerns about the safety of children.

'The welfare of children is a vital concern for all of us at Downside, and we have a responsibility to ensure that children who come to us are safe. Together with the rest of the Church, we have in recent years developed detailed rules and procedures to protect children.

'In applying the rules in this particular case, we have been guided by the Child Protection Service of the Diocese of Clifton.'

Though still a member of the monastic community at Downside, Abbot Yeo said O'Keefe, known in the community as Father Dunstan, is not currently living at Downside.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 7, 2004
Words:316
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