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School Sex Abuse Priest Fled Inquiry

A CHAPLAIN Who had underage sex with a boarder at one of Adelaide's most prestigious private schools left the country before he could be interviewed by police.
The Anglican Church has confirmed the priest returned to Britain following admissions he had a sexual relationship with a senior student at St Peter's College.
Adelaide Archbishop lan George said yesterday the school notified the police and the Family and Community Services Department about the incident in 1992.
Reverend John Mountford had developed a relationship with the student during his first year at St Peter's as its chaplain which became common knowledge at the school. He left early in 1992 when he was confronted over the claims by the school's then deputy principal, Ray Stanley.
Details of the incident have surfaced following the appearance in court of an Anglican priest who faces jail after twice being caught sexually molesting boys in two separate parishes.
Archbishop George, who was the chairman of the St Peter's council of governors, said counselling was provided by the school to the student and his family.
The family had not wanted to press criminal charges against Reverend Mountford for having sex with a male under 18.
"I was advised of it (the allegations) because I was chairman of the school council at the time and also because he (Mountford) was a priest licensed in this diocese and it was obviously of concern to me," Archbishop George said.
"But (he left) and that was the end of it as far as we were concerned."
Archbishop George said it was Reverend Mountford's decision to return lo England.
He rejected suggestions a senior staff member had driven him to Adelaide Airport and put him on a plane to London.
"What I understand is that the police and FACS were informed and everything was done according to Hoyle (the rules) and he decided to return to England, which was his choice really," he said.
Archbishop George said he later received a request from an English bishop seeking a reference on Reverend Mountford after he applied for a priest's licence in the United Kingdom.
"I said this should not be done and gave him an outline of the circumstances here," he said.
"I haven't heard any more of it and I have no idea of what has happened to him since he left Adelaide."
The Advertiser has determined Reverend Mountford is now working at an overseas school in Bangkok, Thailand, operated by the prestigious English private school, Harrow.

Adelaide Advertiser(29-3-2002)
Colin James

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