Knowl View: Abuse ‘beyond horror’ says Tony Blair’s priest

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‘The level of child sexual abuse at the Knowl View school in Rochdale was “beyond horror”, a former pupil who became Tony Blair’s chaplain has said.

Father Michael Seed, 57, started at the school in 1970 and said he was abused by the one person from the school to be jailed for abuse.

The priest said he was interviewed by police about the school in the 1990s.

He has also been asked to provide evidence for Rochdale Council’s internal investigation into the school.

“As a priest I have to forgive what happened but justice also needs to be done,” he said.

Fr Seed, who was raised by his adoptive grandmother following the death of his adopted parents, was aged 13 when he entered the school.

“What happened there is preposterous,” he said. “It is beyond horror.”

Boys at the school were sexually molested by teacher David Higgins, whose common method involved offering to “bathe” them after they got muddy.

Rent boys:

Higgins was jailed in 2002 after admitting indecently assaulting boys at the school and also gross indecency.

Fr Seed said the teacher was a “strange man” and described another teacher at the school as being like a “neo Nazi” in the way he treated pupils.

He believes he was spared further abuse because an art project kept him out of the way.

Knowl view

(Knowl View School in Rochdale closed in the 1990s)

The priest spoke of the culture of the school which saw older boys going into Rochdale to work as rent boys and using the money to buy items such as designer shirts.

Greater Manchester Police is looking at claims of abuse from 24 former pupils at the school as well as allegations of a cover-up of abuse committed by the former MP Sir Cyril Smith.

Earlier it emerged 21 men have been interviewed under caution about allegations relating to sexual and physical abuse from 1969 to 1995.

The Crown Prosecution Service is also investigating criminal allegations of a cover-up.

The BBC has also found that two children from one family were sexually abused in separate paedophile scandals in Rochdale.

A boy was sexually assaulted at Knowl View School and a decade later his sister was groomed for sex by a gang of Asian men in the town.’

Report by the BBC

Niamh Harris
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