Monday, January 18, 2021



These two headlines highlighting “Bishops’ Accountability, Abuse Tracker, on one paper’s reporting perpetuate the lie that the person incarcerated for sexual abuse in England is a priest. No he wasn’t! He was a Baptist youth leader at a Baptist Church there.

Why would there be such misleading headlines? Of course, as in the USA, there are in England both Catholic and Anglican (Episcopal) priests. Even with that,, the distinctions are not made.

But these headlines are clearly and think, intentionally misleading:

Priest, 63, who tricked boys into sex acts using a card game is jailed for five years

Daily Mail

January 16, 2021

By Luke May

-- Stephen Hardwicke abused boys as young as 10 on trips in the 1970s and 1980s
-- He groomed his victims at a youth group connected to Stanmore Baptist Church
-- Hardwicke, 63, was found guilty of five counts of historic indecent assault

A former priest who sexually abused three boys as young as 10 on church youth club trips in the 1970s and 80s has been jailed for five years. 

Stephen Hardwicke, 63, tricked boys aged between 10 and 15 to perform sex acts by using a card game, Harrow Crown Court heard.

The abuse took place when Hardwicke was a leader and helped at the Way In church youth group, which was connected to Stanmore Baptist Church in Harrow, London. 

A court heard how some of the abuse happened on overnight trips to Wales or Hertfordshire.

The abuse happened before Hardwicke became a priest at St Laurence Cowley Church in Uxbridge - he was suspended once a police investigation was opened. 

Ex-priest jailed for grooming and sexually abused three boys in 70s and 80s

Yahoo News

January 16, 2021

By Rebecca Speare-Cole

A former priest who ran a church youth club has been jailed for grooming and sexually abusing three boys - one as young as 10-years-old.

Stephen Hardwicke, 63, from Uxbridge in London, was sentenced to five years in prison for five counts of indecent assault at Harrow Crown Court on Friday.

The ex-parish reverend targeted the three boys aged between 10 and 18 over five years during the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

Hardwicke was a leader and helper at the Way In church youth group connected to Stanmore Baptist Church in Harrow, northwest London at the time.


Anonymous said...

Father, speaking as a friend (hopefully) and long-time follower: What the heck prompted this post?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The accused according to the headline is named as a priest thus perpetuating the meme only priests do this. But in fact the person is a Baptist youth minister. I am complains about the headline and also the reporting of the story which describes him as a priest.

Rick said...

Other articles note that the abuse happened when the perpetrator was working in a Baptist Church. Later, the abuser became an Anglican and later still a priest. He was arrested at an Anglican rectory for crimes committed before becoming an Anglican or a priest.

Anonymous said...

Baptists would be horrified that any of their clergy would be called "priests", maybe in part because they only admit to the sacrifice at Calvary and deny that the Eucharist is in any way a sacrifice. To them, it is just a memorial meal to be done only occasionally, maybe just once a season,

Anonymous said...

There are lobbying groups that are against Church teaching. Their tactic of using derogatory stories against priests is a way to get people to turn away from the Church. It is the same tactic as portraying all Trump supporters, and therefore all Republicans, as angry white supremacists that need to be stopped at all costs. The ends justify the means. I recall 45-50 years ago collegiates would harass smokers because it was for their own good. The logic was if you cant change the law, go after the offender. The tactic has been used with great success for every leftward leaning progressive agenda. The most recent are BLM (a group with LBGTQ/Marxist leadership) and Antifa, further back are the environmental terrorists that spiked trees. The two largest groups that are targeted for sexual abuse claims are The priests of the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts.Catholic schools also frequently make front page news. One rarely sees the progressive Public School system targeted.

Coach K said...

In the UK, the average reader would not assume that "priest" is Catholic; in fact, 90 percent of the priests there are Anglican. It's no more a "diabolic attempt to deceive" than Father McDonald's occasional typos, flubs and conspiracy theories.

Anonymous said...

Coach K,

No more diabolical than you masquerading as a Catholic priest!

UK-Priest said...

Very few in the UK would take much notice of the Daily Mail - it’s a right wing tabloid noted for its scurrilous and scaremongering stories.

Anonymous said...

Bishop Lessard has been complicit in hiding at least one accused, then convicted, now deceased priest child predator.

Anonymous said...

But I bet a lot of people who patronize 2604 Washington Road in Augusta were taking notice today as to whether they would make the cut for Masters tickets this year---the (unspecified) "limited" number of tickets. And a lot doubtless were disappointed. I wonder if they could play to a full house if they delayed the tournament to the fall---with the added benefit the Masters would not then coincide with Easter (as it is scheduled to do this April for the first time in years). Legend has it that in the early years of the Masters, local ministers were upset about playing golf on Easter, and Clifford Roberts, who was chairman there for over 40 years, is reported to have said "well, why don't they change the date of Easter?"

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Coach K, what I post is from the Abuse Tracker, here in the USA and their headline is theirs that then goes to the UK Tabloid. In the USA it is very important to distinguish between a Catholic priest, an Episcopal priest and an Orthodox Priest, the latter two normally married, as well as to make clear what denomination of Protestant minister. Protestant ministers are not called priests except in the Episcopal Church, except for the low Episcopal Church.

I would suspect that religious people in England would like to know which kind of priest too, Anglican, Catholic or Orthodox and when they aren’t priests to be clear they aren’t.

John Nolan said...

Actually, the knee-jerk antipathy to the Daily Mail on the part of lefties like 'UK-Priest' is not because 'very few' people take notice of it, but because it is popular, with a circulation of 1.1 million and a large female readership. It's middle-market as opposed to tabloid or broadsheet and tends to reflect the views of 'middle England'.

One man's scurrility is another man's investigative journalism. Like any other paper, the Daily Mail is only as good as the people who contribute articles to it. These include former Labour ministers as well as present Conservative ones.

Anonymous said...

Regarding this story, and all of the other priest-abuse story’s that made the front page (even though the allegations occurred decades ago) and the protests in Catholic Churches on Pentecost Sunday (decades ago) and so many of the summer’s leftist protests and riots. Here is another story of political payback. It follows a similar thread: