FRESH calls for a public inquiry into historic sexual abuse by a paedophile monk on Caldey Island have been made as a new victim from Ceredigion has come forward.

Kevin O’Connell recently revisited the island for the first time since he says he was abused there as an 11-year-old by monk Thaddeus Kotik.

Going back to the island was difficult for Kevin, who has suffered with lifelong anxiety and depression.

“I’ve been wanting to come here for a long time to help my nightmares. In the ruins, I see now what I’ve been seeing in my nightmares. I won’t have closure until the truth comes out then maybe I can start living again,” he said.

He contacted S4C’s current affairs programme, Y Byd ar Bedwar at the beginning of the year, and invited them to follow his emotional journey back to where he was abused 47 years ago.

Kevin says he first met Kotik on a family holiday to the island when he was six and began spending time alone with him.

"Father Thaddeus became very special to me, and he gave me the love I didn’t get at home from my dad,” said Kevin.

Kotik, a former soldier who fought for the Free Polish army during the Second World War, moved to the island in 1947 and joined the strict Cistercian Order.

The monk was ordained a priest in 1956 and lived on the island until his death in 1992.

It appears he was never questioned by police, who were not informed of allegations against him until 2014.

After the holiday, Kotik kept in touch with Kevin and sent him photos of Caldey Island in the post.

He went on several more holidays to Caldey Island but never told his parents what Kotik did to him.

In the programme, Kevin went to a derelict building on the island and found a large rectangular stone where he said Kotik abused him while other monks watched.

In 2017, it came to light that the island had a long history of child sexual abuse after six women received compensation from Caldey Abbey in an out-of-court settlement. but it was too late to bring criminal charges against Kotik as he had died in 1992.

Twenty-one victims have come forward to Dyfed-Powys Police, with cases going back to the 1960s.

The abbey was told by a victim about the abuse in the 1980s but did not report it until 2014. Instead the abbott at the time, Robert O’Brian, asked the victim for forgiveness.

ITV Wales asked the current abbot, Brother Daniel van Santvoort for his response to the latest evidence that Kevin O’Connell was also abused on the island. Despite contacting the Brother several times, he never responded.

The Diocese of Menevia in Swansea was also contacted as it has been advising the Abbey on their safeguarding policies and practices for the last 18 months.

The Bishop Tom Burns said: "The Abbey has insisted on retaining its oversight of any specific cases, past, present, or in the future.”

Mr O’Connell is now determined to find the truth and is calling for a public inquiry into historic child sexual abuse on Caldey Island.

Assembly Member Darren Millar called for a public inquiry in the Senedd in 2017.

“We need answers as to who knew what, when, and why the abbey didn't report things to the police when they ought to have done when things were brought to their attention,” said Mr Millar.

He’s now repeated his call on the Welsh Government to launch a public inquiry.

“This stinks of an awful cover-up, we need answers, who knows what, when and why.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our position is the same as set out in our response in 2017. We will of course reconsider the matter were new information to come to light.”

David Greenwood is a lawyer specialising in the child sexual abuse cases and has worked on several high profile cases involving the Catholic Church.

“It’s a massive systemic problem with the Church. The internal rules and the way in which they defend their reputation has created this space in which paedophiles can get away with it.

“The church are covering things up and have been for a long time. There are still lots of cover-ups that I’m sure haven’t come to light. Their organisations, the way they are set up, their rules, are a danger to children.”

Y Byd ar Bedwar will be broadcast tonight (Tuesday, May 14) at 9.30pm on S4C. English subtitles are available.

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