Vatican launches extraordinary probe into cathedral ‘lockdown sex party’ as part of wider probe

The Vatican is launching an extraordinary probe into the ‘lockdown sex party’ at the cathedral as part of a wider probe into a former bishop’s tenure

The Vatican has launched an extraordinary investigation into an alleged lockdown sex party at a northern England cathedral.

The Roman Catholic Church is due to investigate the alleged incident as part of its inquiry into Robert Byrne’s resignation as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in December.

The Archbishop of Liverpool, who is leading the inquiry, has been asked to “produce a detailed account of the events leading up to Bishop Byrne’s resignation,” reported the Sunday Times.

There is no indication that Bishop Byrne was at the alleged party or was aware of it.

The Roman Catholic Church is investigating the resignation of Robert Byrne (pictured) as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in December

The Roman Catholic Church is investigating the resignation of Robert Byrne (pictured) as Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle in December

During the lockdown, Father Michael McCoy (above), who was Dean at the time, reportedly asked several believers if they would like to attend a

During the lockdown, Father Michael McCoy (above), who was Dean at the time, reportedly asked several believers if they would like to attend a “sex party”.

During the lockdown, Father Michael McCoy, who was Dean at the time, reportedly asked several believers if they would like to attend a “sex party” at a property next to St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle.

“A number of complaints have been made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests’ living quarters next to Newcastle Cathedral,” a source told the newspaper.

Another added: “The cathedral had become a laughing stock.”

A spokesman for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle said: “The review is now underway. Prior to Bishop Byrne’s resignation in mid-December, Trustees worked with the Charity Commission after referring themselves to that organization.’

Canon McCoy, 57, was found dead at his Newcastle home in April 2019.

Days after learning that the police were investigating him over a “historic allegation,” he took his own life.

Mr McCoy was visited by officials on April 6, who were told that a historic allegation had been made against him and that he would be invited for a voluntary interview at some point.

Pictured: St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne

Pictured: St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne

Canon McCoy, 57, was found dead at his Newcastle home in April 2019

Canon McCoy, 57, was found dead at his Newcastle home in April 2019

Detective Sergeant Julie Beattie, of Northumbria Police’s Child and Adult Protection Unit, said Mr McCoy was “upset” but said he would seek his own support from friends and colleagues and no concerns were raised about his welfare.

Mr McCoy voluntarily retired from his service at the cathedral and moved into an Airbnb.

On April 10, a man visited Mr McCoy’s home “as part of his support” and became concerned when he received no response.

Concierge service helped him gain access to the apartment where Mr. McCoy was found dead.

Mr McCoy had left no note and his mobile phone and tablet had been factory reset and nothing could be retrieved from them.

A professional-standard inquiry by Northumbria Police into Mr McCoy’s death “has revealed no concerns and no missed opportunities to continue protecting him”.

An investigation by the diocese also concluded that there was nothing that could or should have been done differently to prevent Mr McCoy’s death and there were no concerns at the time that he posed a risk to himself .

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Bradford Betz

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