Prosecutors drop sex assault case of archbishop

Published May 1, 1999

London Prosecuting authorities have decided not to bring a case against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, John Ward, who was arrested in January over a claim that he sexually abused a young girl more than 30 years ago. Archbishop Ward, one of the most senior figures in Britain’s Roman Catholic hierarchy, said in a statement: “I welcome the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service. I am pleased that the allegations are seen to be without foundation. “I was never charged with any offence and I have always vigorously protested my innocence.” The abuse claim was aired in the News of the World, a Sunday tabloid newspaper which frequently carries sensationalized reports of the private lives of prominent people. The report referred to the period in the 1960s when Ward was a parish priest in south London. At the time of his arrest, which was widely reported, the archbishop complained vigorously that police leaks to the news media compromised the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Archbishop Ward was freed on police bail after his arrest. He was scheduled to resume major public duties April 1. A Fransiscan friar, Archbishop Ward has been Archbishop of Cardiff since 1983.


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