Bishop in sex case vanishes

Author: Patrick Bishop
Date Published: 06/08/2001

A BRITISH bishop in the Russian Orthodox Church, who is facing paedophilia charges in France, has gone into hiding abroad.

Mgr Paul, who was born Peter Alderson, resigned from the diocese of Nice after being accused of sexually assaulting a boy of 11. He claims he is the victim of a plot by a faction which wants to return the Nice congregation to the authority of Moscow, from which it broke in favour of the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the 1917 revolution.

Mgr Paul, 58, a widower, is being investigated after a complaint by the boy, whom he met on a trip to London and invited to Nice. On his return to Britain, the boy claimed that the bishop fondled him.

Mgr Paul admitted washing the boy’s back while visiting him at his grandmother’s home in London. But he claimed that the boy had misinterpreted his actions, saying he suffered trembling fits because of Parkinson’s disease.

The Nice diocese is a rich prize. As well as the cathedral of St Nicholas, its congregation has been boosted by wealthy Russians.