Died in prison Sept 2001

Febuary 2001

Church expels paedophile priest

A Catholic priest who was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing young boys in his care has been removed from the priesthood.

Eric Taylor, 80, was convicted at Warwick Crown Court in 1998 of 18 sexual offences against boys.

The offences took place between 1957 and 1965 at the Father Hudson Society home in Coleshill, Warwickshire.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham confirmed on Monday that the Decree of Laicisation, which removes all of Taylor’s rights as a Catholic priest, had been sanctioned by Pope John Paul II.

He said: “On February 1, 2001, Eric Taylor received and accepted the decision of Pope John Paul II by which he is returned to the lay state within the Catholic Church.

“From that moment, he is no longer a Catholic priest.

“The request for dispensation was made jointly by the Archdiocese of Birmingham and Eric Taylor himself.

“It was made and has been granted for the good of the Church.”

Archbishop Nichols told a news conference: “This is a moment of profound sadness for it underlines publicly failure in the life of a priest, the deep distress suffered by those who were abused by him and the sense of shame and sorrow carried by many Catholics, both people and priests.

“I again express my sorrow and regret for the events that took place those years ago. I assure all concerned that I will do everything I can to bring about reconciliation and a new start.”

He stressed that changes had been implemented to protect youngsters from rogue priests to prevent the situation happening again.

“The atmosphere has changed very considerably in the last 10 years. There is now a keen awareness to provide safe environments for all children in the care of the Church whether it’s for a few hours or many years.

“Procedures are in place. We are taking this very seriously.”

Following Taylor’s conviction in 1998, it emerged that he had a previous criminal conviction for indecent assault on boys in 1975 before he was sent to the children’s home.

April 1998

Paedophile priest jailed

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing boys at an orphanage.

The offences took place at the Father Hudson Society’s home in Warwickshire, between 1957 and 1965. Some of the boys were as young as six.

Father Eric Taylor, 78, was convicted at Warwick Crown Court on 16 charges of indecent assault and two more serious charges on boys at the Father Hudson’s home in Coleshill, Warwickshire.

The court was told Taylor, now of Aston-By-Stone, Staffordshire, abused boys and then stood by as they were beaten by nuns for complaining about their ordeals.

Taylor, who denied all the charges, was found not guilty of a further three charges.

He was jailed for seven years on the two most serious offences and five years for indecent assault. The sentences will run alongside each other.

After the jury returned their verdicts, the court was told how Taylor had previous convictions for indecent assault.

Taylor had abused four boys at his vicarage in Worcestershire in 1975.

One of the jurors broke down as the priest was convicted, the judge telling him he was a disgrace to his cloth and the church he proclaimed.

“Your victims were not only young but they were helpless, you were the nearest thing they had to a father figure,” he added.

Throughout his trial, middle-aged men gave graphic evidence of what Taylor had done to them.

Some likened the regime to a concentration camp in which they were known by number rather than name.

One said: “This is a victory for justice. The forces of good will always catch up with him.”

Another told the BBC about a reign of terror at the home, which he called Taylor’s “harem”.

However, some were not around to see Taylor sent down, having committed suicide because they could not live with what the priest had done to them.