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World News

Alleged sex party at Newcastle's Catholic Cathedral investigated by Vatican

by Donna Birrell

The Vatican is investigating rumours of an alleged “sex party” at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

According to the Sunday Times, a number of complaints were made by people in the Catholic diocese of Hexham and Newcastle after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters attached to the cathedral.

They’re said to have complained that the then Dean of the cathedral, Fr Michael McCoy, approached them to attend a party during lockdown – at a time when all gatherings were banned.

Fr Michael who was 57, died by suicide two years ago after learning that police were investigating an allegation of historic child sexual abuse against him.

The claims of an alleged sex party have come to light as part of a Catholic Church investigation into the resignation of the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Rt Rev Robert Byrne in December.

The Archbishop of Liverpool, Most Rev Malcolm McMahon who is leading the investigation, said he had been asked by the Dicastery of Bishops - a Vatican department - to prepare an in-depth report into the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation.

There is no suggestion Bishop Byrne took part in or was present at the alleged sex party – or that he was aware of it.

The Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) has launched an independent, unscheduled safeguarding audit and safeguarding review in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.



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