English Church leader under fire over handling of abuse cases

THE leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales was under renewed pressure yesterday after new claims emerged over his handling of allegations of paedophilia against priests.

The BBC Radio 4 Today programme has said it has been told of more allegations relating to eight priests who were working under Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor when he was bishop of Arundel and Brighton.

These allegations have been revealed after Fr Michael Hill, 68, pleaded guilty on Monday at the Old Bailey to six charges of indecent assault on three boys aged between 10 and 14 years.

Hill was jailed for five years in 1997 for a string of sex offences against boys. He was freed in 2000 on parole.

His conviction in 1997 led to criticism of the cardinal who had given Hill a job at Gatwick Airport when Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, despite being aware of allegations against him. The cardinal, whose family is from Glounthane, Co Cork has admitted he had made a mistake in making the appointment.

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