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Catholic monk charged with string of child sex offences against five victims

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A Catholic monk has appeared in court charged with a string of historical child sex offences against five victims.

Father Laurence Soper is accused of assaulting the boys, one under 14 at the time, over a period from 1971 to 1983.

The nine charges include offences of buggery, gross indecency and indecent assault.

They are all said to have taken place in Ealing, west London.

Following a five-year police hunt, the 72-year-old was arrested as he arrived at Luton Airport from Kosovo on Sunday by officers from Scotland Yard's Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.

Soper appeared at Ealing Magistrates' Court on Monday and gave his name as Andrew Charles Kingston Soper - Laurence being the name he took when he was formally ordained as a priest.

Four of the charges, including two of buggery and one of indecent assault, relate to a single alleged victim and date from September 9 1971 to July 31 1974.

The boy was under the age of 14 when Soper allegedly carried out an act of gross indecency against him.

Two charges of indecent assault relate to a second boy aged under 16 alleged to have occurred between September 1979 and July 1981.

Soper faces charges of indecent assault against three further boys under 16, alleged to have taken place between September 1980 and July 1983.

Wearing a black bomber jacket, the bespectacled former abbot of Ealing Abbey, strained to hear proceedings, but nodded in understanding as his case was sent to Isleworth Crown Court.

The ex-headmaster of St Benedict's School is due to appear in that court on September 19.