Money donated in paedophile Wimbledon priest's memory refunded after complaints
A mother whose son was abused by a paedophile priest is among those who have condemned donations to a children’s charity, supported by the mayor of Merton, in his memory.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and an anonymous reader, said they were horrified, disgusted and sickened to see four donations totalling £300 made to the HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust in memory of Anthony Laundy who was convicted of abusing boys while a priest at Sacred Heart Church in Edge Hill, Wimbledon, and later at St Winefride’s in Kew Gardens.
He died in April this year.
After being contacted by the Wimbledon Guardian a spokesman from the charity, which offers holidays to disabled and disadvantaged children to Lourdes in the south of France, confirmed it would be refunding all the donations and it abhorred the abuse of vulnerable adults and children.
The charity is supported by the mayor of Merton, Councillor Agatha Akyigina, who said they do fantastic work.
One of the donations, on the charity’s Justgiving page reads: ‘In memory of Anthony Laundy and his much valued time at St. Winefride's, Kew. May he rest in peace.’
This newspaper was contacted by the mother of one of Laundy’s victims who said: "As you can imagine I am horrified and sickened reading this.
"It is beyond comprehension that a priest who was convicted of sexual abuse and served a prison sentence and who was subsequently 'defrocked' by the Catholic Church is still revered by members of the parish where he was a priest."
A reader of the Wimbledon Guardian got in touch to share his disgust at the donations.
He said: "I felt compelled to write and share my pain and disgust about the news surrounding support for Anthony Laundy by the Catholic Church over his funeral.
"But more so when I then Googled and found a link to this site where donations had been made in his name."
St Winefride’s and Sacred Heart churches attracted criticism in May when Laundy’s funeral was advertised in the newsletter.
HCPT chief executive Phil Sparke said the donations were made around the time of the funeral and were in memory of Laundy.
Mr Sparke said: "We reserve the right to decide which funds we accept.
"We are currently refunding the money to the people who donated."
One of the donations was £50 made by a woman.
The victim’s mother added: "I would like to talk to the person who made this donation in the name of Anthony Laundy and give them a clear understanding of the 'sentence' he gave to those he abused.
"I assume that she disregards the court judgements in relation to Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Max Clifford as well."
The charity spokesman said they had been unaware of the donation until the Wimbledon Guardian had got in touch.
The spokesman said: "HCPT abhors all forms of abuse of children and vulnerable adults. We are therefore in the process of refunding the donations received."
The mayor of Merton, Coun Akyigyina, said: "HCPT do fantastic work offering pilgrimages for disabled people across the UK which is why during my time as mayor I will be supporting events they hold and have a one-off event to raise money for the charity."