Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Thursday, February 7, 2013
A Norfolk priest who was arrested by detectives probing allegations of child sex abuse centring on a guesthouse and a children’s home has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
The priest, Father Tony McSweeney, 66, from St George’s Church in the north of Norwich, and another man, aged 70, from East Sussex were arrested on Wednesday morning on suspicion of sexual offences.
Fr McSweeney, who has been a priest for 29 years, was appointed a director at Notre Dame High School in Norwich in April last year but resigned today.
He also took a service for Norwich City FC in 2004 after they were promoted to the Premiership.
Today the club said: “In 2004, Father McSweeney wrote to joint majority shareholder Delia Smith suggesting he would like to become a Norwich City Chaplain.
“Subsequently the club did agree he could help to hold a one-off multi-denominational service to celebrate their return to the Barclays Premier League. That service was duly held after our opening Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace on August 14, 2004.
“There was no prior connection between Delia Smith and Father McSweeney before he wrote to suggest joining the club and he was never employed by the club as a chaplain.”
The 66-year-old trained at St John’s Seminary, near Guildford, and was the priest of St George’s Catholic Church on Sprowston Road, but yesterday withdrew from his ministry work.
The allegations, dating from the early 1980s, are linked to the former Elm Guest House and the now closed Grafton Close children’s home in Barnes, south west London.
Fr McSweeney also officiated at the wedding of boxer Frank Bruno in 1990 in Essex.