In a very interesting article on the Guardian website, Esther Addley tells the story of Sister Frances Dominca, the nun who founded a children’s hospice called Helen House in 1982.
In 2013 two women made allegations of historic sexual abuse against her. Ultimately the CPS informed her that there would be no trial as there was deemed to be insufficient evidence. This left Sister Frances in limbo; she had been temporarily suspended pending the investigation. Without a trial to prove her innocence, there could be no lifting of that ban.
And so, after conducting a lengthy confidential risk assessment, the trustees of Helen and Douglas House announced in July 2015 they would be making her temporary ban from the hospices permanent. They said in a statement that though “no conclusions about the allegations could be made”, the safeguarding standards of their regulator, the Care Quality Commission, obliged them to continue to bar her permanently from the premises.
It’s a situation we see often. The case of Andrew Adams, featured recently on this website, tells how the Government has repeatedly been able to deny Adams compensation because he hasn’t been able to prove his innocence. He hasn’t been found guilty – his conviction was quashed – but he still spent 17 years in prison for murder, and with no appetite for a retrial he is stuck in the same position as Sister Frances; cast adrift, accused and neither innocent or guilty.