Anthony John Macallen 24 Nov 1993 Court of Appeal (Church)

The several appeals posted today are all relevant to the Christian Church. See a list of all of them here at the end of the day – Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

This appeal was by a Roman Catholic Priest Anthony John McCallen, Chaplain of St Anthony’s, Beverley Road, Kingston upon Hull. Indecent assaults and indecent images.


Some court reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance –  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims details, there may also be “assault redaction” across most of the spectrum of abuse. The assaults are left in the charges, but mainly redacted when repeated with reference to the individual. I have also redacted unnecessary detail of assaults.

Redaction may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, institutions where assaults occurred, the actual charges the perpetrators faced, and dates – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

Some transcripts may have been subject to automatic reading software and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.  Common mistakes in reprinting here are that quotation marks are sometimes not correct, replaced by odd symbols.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

This appeal is unredacted by cathy fox blog

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

[1993] EWCA Crim J1124-6

No. 93/3502/X3

Royal Courts of Justice
The Strand
London WC2

Wednesday 24 November 1993
Before: The Lord Chief Justice of England (Lord Taylor of Gosforth) Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Latham

Anthony John McCallen

MR CARTWRIGHT appeared on behalf of THE APPELLANT

Computer Aided Transcription by John Larking, Chancery House, Chancery Lane, London WC2 Telephone 071–404 7464 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

JUDGMENT (As Approved) Wednesday 24 November 1993
THE LORD CHIEF JUSTICE: Mr Justice Latham will give the judgment of the Court.
MR JUSTICE LATHAM: After pleading not guilty at the plea and directions hearing on 25 January 1993 the appellant pleaded guilty on 18 March 1993 to one offence of being knowingly concerned in the importation of an indecent video; six offences of taking indecent photographs of young boys; and finally, two offences of indecent assault. So far as the importation of the video was concerned he was sentenced to six months imprisonment; for the indecent photographs he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment concurrent with each other and concurrent with the six months imposed for the video offence; and for the offences of indecent assault he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment concurrently on each of those two counts and concurrently with the other sentences, making a total of three-and-a-half-years imprisonment. It is against that sentence that he now appeals with the leave of the Single Judge.

The appellant is 47 years of age and is a Roman Catholic priest. At the time he was the Chaplain of St Anthony’s, Beverley Road, Kingston upon Hull. The offences came to light in the following circumstances. Customs and Excise investigators followed an indecent video which had been imported from Germany. It was collected by the appellant. Although he sought in the first instance to deny it was for him, he was subsequently constrained to admit it.

A search warrant was obtained for the presbytery in Kingston upon Hull in which he lived, and a house, 4 Paradise Road on Holy Island, Northumberland. The latter was an address to which the appellant would take parties of young boys from his parish for holiday weekends, or even weeks. Investigators found in those addresses “literally thousands of photographs and articles of an indecent nature”, together with video tapes and drawings. It was clear that the appellant was obsessed by young boys. Amongst the material seized were narratives written by him of a highly explicit nature involving sexual activity with young boys.

So far as the video is concerned it is right to say that it was an indecent video; it was not a pornographic video and it did not display any sexual activity. The majority of the indecent photographs were of young boys who had come with him to 4 Paradise Road. They were of the boys in the shower at that address. He had so arranged things that from outside the door he could surreptitiously photograph the boys in the bathroom.

The photographs in question appear in the main to be simple nude photographs, but there are a few in which it appears that the boy is masturbating. The indecent assault charges also arise out of photographs. The evidence upon which the two counts were laid consisted of the photographs.

The first is of a boy standing naked against the appellant, who is dressed in a track suit, and who has his hand on the bare cheeks of the boy’s backside. The second is a photograph showing the appellant on a bed in a state of undress, with a boy wearing nothing but underpants lying across him. Neither photograph shows any act of gross indecency.

Only one statement from one of the boys was referred to by the prosecution in the opening of the facts to the Court below. In that statement it was said:

“Father McCallen (that is the appellant) always encouraged us to be ourselves. This included swearing and engaging in pranks with Father McCallen. Father McCallen would put his hand down my trousers and feel my naked backside, putting his hands in the crevice of my anus. I did not see anything wrong in this at the time as I trusted Father McCallen as a friend and I considered such actions to be part of playing around. Father McCallen also rubbed his beard on my backside and face, and also smacked my backside. Again I saw nothing wrong with this.”

Although there was no sexual activity between the appellant and any of the boys, the evidence suggests that the way in which the appellant behaved towards them has led at least one boy to be confused as to the real nature of the indecency that was being perpetrated.

In these circumstances it was inevitable that the judge would conclude —and rightly —that what happened was a very serious abuse. It was an abuse of the trust of both boys and their parents, bearing in mind the position that the appellant held in relation to them as their priest. It is clear that what he did has led to, at the very least, some concern as to the extent to which the boys have developed a proper sense of what is right and wrong in the area of indecency.

It is undoubtedly sad that the appellant should come before the Court in these circumstances, because it would appear that until these matters came to light he was a well-respected man who had served his community well. But the dark side of his nature, which emerged in the form of this erotic obsession, is one which has clearly caused great anguish to those parishioners with whom he lived and worked.

We have before us reports from Dr Spencer, a psychiatrist from Oxfordshire, a Dr Livingstone, a psychiatrist working at the therapeutic rehabilitation centre run by the Catholic church; and a pre-sentence report from Miss Carey. All those reports make it clear that the appellant is in fact a deeply disturbed man and requires substantial help if he is to overcome his obsession. It is worrying to see that certainly at one time he was seeking to minimise his part by to some extent blaming the boys.

One can see that from the reports. On the other hand, it is right to say that Dr Spencer’s report makes it clear that treatment is not only necessary but has some prospect of success. He has stated that the appropriate treatment is unlikely to be available in prison and he asserts —and counsel on behalf of the appellant seeks to support this assertion —that the right course is to make an order today which will allow that treatment to take place forthwith.

However, there are other considerations to which we have already referred. The abuse of trust rendered this a most serious case. In the circumstances there is no alternative but to say that a prison sentence was inevitable. However, although this was persistent behaviour over a substantial period of time, there was no more in terms of incident assault than touching. There was no gross indecency.

In those circumstances we consider that a sentence of three-and-a-half years imprisonment for these indecent assaults was too long, and we propose to reduce that sentence to one of two years imprisonment. As far as the taking of the indecent photographs is concerned, we again consider that the sentence of 18 months imprisonment was too long and should be reduced to 12.

All those sentences will remain, as they were in the first instance, concurrent sentences, so that the total will be one of two years imprisonment. We wish to say this. We clearly accept that this man needs help. There is no reason why he should not obtain some help in prison, but more importantly there is no reason why he should not seek and obtain help appropriate to his problems once he is released from prison. We encourage him to do so. To the extent we have indicated this appeal is allowed.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal” [N]


About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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2 Responses to Anthony John Macallen 24 Nov 1993 Court of Appeal (Church)

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court and Court of Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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