Vatican investigating allegations of lockdown 'sex party' at UK cathedral
“A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters."
The Vatican is investigating allegations of a lockdown "sex party" at a UK cathedral, according to reports.
The Sunday Times states that - as part of a probe into the circumstances of Robert Byrne's resignation as the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle - the Roman Catholic Church is examining claims that Father Michael McCoy invited people to a private party inside a property adjoining St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle.
“A number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to Newcastle Cathedral," a diocese source told the outlet.
There is no suggestion that Byrne attended the alleged party or was aware of it.
Dean of Newcastle Cathedral during lockdown, McCoy died by suicide in April 2021.
This was reportedly just days after the 57-year-old discovered he was being investigated by Northumbria Police’s child and adult protection department for child sexual abuse.
The Sunday Times reports that it has seen a letter in which Archbishop of Liverpool Malcolm McMahon - who is leading the investigation into Byrne's resignation - says he has been asked by Pope Francis' advisers to prepare “an in-depth report into the events leading up" to Byrne stepping down last December.
Last week, meanwhile, the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) confirmed that it has started an "official, independent, unscheduled safeguarding audit and safeguarding review" in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.
“Our job is to audit and review safeguarding in Catholic Church bodies. We are now active in a Safeguarding Review in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle," chair of the CSSA Nazir Afzal said in a statement.
"The Review is fully supported by the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon (Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle and Archbishop of Liverpool) and we appreciate his commitment to safeguarding.
“Naturally, we cannot yet speak to the detail of investigatory work which is ongoing, but there should be no doubt that we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to keeping people safe, and this includes investigating the safeguarding culture in Hexham and Newcastle.”