The headmaster of a Somerset school hit by allegations of historical sexual offences has acknowledged the school’s reputation has been damaged. But Father Leo Maidlow Davis, head of Downside Abbey, said he was now “satisfied that we have our child protection issues right”.

Richard David White, 66, a monk who taught there, was jailed for five years for child sex offences. White, of Hyde, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, was sentenced on 3 January. The offences took place in the 1980s when White taught at the school in Stratton-on-the-Fosse.

Father Leo Maidlow Davis, head of Downside Abbey, said: “The reputation – the damage I’m sure has been very considerable because it’s raised a lot of concern about Catholic education. Benedictine schools and I would be very foolish to underestimate the damage that that could do to the school.”

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