October 2000

Eight years’ jail for sex priest

A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for a total of eight years at Cardiff crown court for a string of sex offences.

Father Joseph Jordan, 42, of Barry, south Wales, pleaded guilty to six charges of indecent assault committed between February 1987 and February 1989.

The attacks happened while Jordan was a teacher in Sutton in Surrey and in Doncaster before he joined the priesthood, the court heard.

Following the trial, there was a call for the Archbishop of Cardiff, Most Rev John Aloysius Ward, to resign by a former south Wales priest, Ambrose Walsh.

Ambrose Walsh stepped down as a canon over the affair and because of the imprisonment of Archbishop Ward’s press officer, Father John Lloyd, for paedophile offences in 1998.

The archbishop, though, said he would not be stepping down.

Father Walsh told the BBC: “I have been very disappointed over many years and eventually at the time of the John Lloyd trial two years ago I consulted various people in and outside the Archdiocese and offered my opinion that the Archbishop should resign.”

Earlier trial revealed

At an earlier hearing, Jordan had previously been sentenced to four and a half years in jail for indecently assaulting two nine-year-old boys.

Because of legal restrictions that trial could not be reported until the second trial was over.

The three-and-a-half-year sentence for the second case will run consecutively with the sentence from the first case, making a total of eight years in jail.

In the earlier trial on 18 September, the court was told that Father Jordan, who was Cardiff City Football Club’s chaplain, kept a hoard of hard core child porn on a personal computer at his presbytery in St Helen’s church, Barry.

He was convicted of four indecent assaults against two boys aged nine and 10, and of one charge of perverting the course of justice and another of possessing indecent computer pictures of children.

Leighton Davies, prosecuting, said Jordan was tipped off to the allegations of abuse by the church a week before he was questioned and arrested.

During that period, he asked his unsuspecting cleaning lady to remove the computer from his living quarters because he knew it would incriminate him.

It was months before the police knew of the computer’s existence.

A specially trained police officer and computer expert found 500 pornographic images of boys which the prosecution said Jordan had saved between January 1996 and 12th July 1999.

‘Totally depraved’ child pornography

He said the boys who had accused him of indecently assaulting him were liars who had conspired to make the allegations.

Judge Peter Jacobs described the pornographic pictures as “totally depraved” and sentenced Jordan to a total of four and a half years jail and ordered him to be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Archbishop’s ‘sorrow and shame’

Jordan was on secondment from St Helen’s church in Barry at St Mary of the Angels in Canton, Cardiff, when he was arrested in July 1999.

After the conclusion of the second trial, Archbishop Ward said: “Steps have been taken to make contact with those Jordan abused as a priest and to offer whatever counselling might be appropriate.

“These sad events damaged the church. I shall do all in my power to repair that damage.”

Bishop warned of priest’s past

Joe Jordan had been a student in the Plymouth diocese.

When he moved to Cardiff, the Bishop of Plymouth wrote to tell Archbishop Ward he was investigating Jordan’s suitability for the ministry due to a sex assault allegation, of which he had been acquitted.

Archbishop Ward said he had not known Fr Jordan was a paedophile when he ordained him, although he had been told of the previous allegation.

“I had no idea at all. The only indication was that about 13 years ago he was acquitted of an allegation, and we were given to understand that he was innocent of that allegation.

Margaret Kennedy, founder of the abuse survivors group, expressed “no surprise” at this latest conviction of a Catholic priest.

“There should have been things that caused alarm bells to ring; I think somebody did not want to hear.”