The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

Statement from the Bishop of Leeds

Today, Fr Patrick Smythe, a retired priest of the Diocese, was convicted, following a trial at Leeds Crown Court, of seven counts of sexual touching of minors occurring in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

As the bishop and shepherd of the Diocese of Leeds, I wish to express my deep shame and sorrow for the crimes committed by Fr Smythe and to express my profound apologies to the survivors, who are now adults, for the abuse they suffered as children and the pain which they have carried over the course of their lives as a consequence of such grave offences. I thank you for the courage which you have shown in coming forward and bringing these crimes to justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families.

The Diocese of Leeds is committed to ensuring the safety and protection of every child, young person and adult at risk. There are robust safeguarding standards, policies and procedures in operation within the Diocese – and indeed throughout the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Abuse of any kind should be reported to the Police, and any abuse reported to the Diocese is referred to the police and other relevant statutory authorities.

If anyone has any concerns at all relating to this case, please get in touch with the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator. She can be contacted on 0113 2618069 or via