Investigation into the death of a Catholic priest sex offender

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AN INQUIRY has been heard into the death of a disgraced former Roman Catholic priest.

Michael Feben, of Medina Avenue, Newport, was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to six indecent assault offenses in the 1960s and 1970s on three boys aged 10 to 15.

He was sentenced to Reading Crown Court, after 30 years of working as a priest in Bournemouth and a stint in Windsor in the 1960s.

One of the offenses was an indecent assault on a man in 1966 at a residential address on the Isle of Wight.

At the time of his conviction, investigating officer, Detective Constable Francesca Worley of the Thames Valley Police Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: “Feben was a priest and in his twenties. at the time of these offenses and continued to commit offenses for decades.

“It was a blatant abuse of his position of trust, as he took advantage of the young boys who attended his parish.

“These victims are now men, who have waited a long time for justice for the abuses they suffered.”

When he was released from prison, Feben was living in Medina Avenue. He had grown up in Newport and had gone to Sandown Grammar School.

Feben was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on October 25, 1964, with his mother, brother and 20 parishioners from St Thomas Church of Canterbury in Newport completing the feast.

He died of cardiac arrest at his home on December 9, 2020, but an autopsy also found asbestos exposure to be a secondary cause of death.

An inquest was opened by Isle of Wight Coroner Caroline Sumeray in April and was heard yesterday (Thursday).

The inquest heard that Feben had been exposed to asbestos at some point in his life, and although there was no evidence of mesothelioma, Ms Sumeray concluded that he had died from the effects of l ‘exposure.


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