An investigation has been launched into an alleged lockdown sex party at a Newcastle City Centre cathedral.

The Vatican is reportedly probing the claims as part of an inquiry into former Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Robert Byrne’s resignation in December.

It’s alleged that during lockdown Father Michael McCoy, who was the dean at the time, allegedly asked worshippers if they would like to attend a ‘sex party’ in a property adjoining St Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle City Centre.

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There is no suggestion that former Bishop Byrne was at, or aware of, the alleged gathering.

According to reports in today’s Sunday Times, The Archdeacon of Liverpool, who is leading the investigation has been asked to prepare an 'an in-depth report into the events leading up to Bishop Byrne's resignation’.

A source told the Times on Sunday (January 22) that 'a number of complaints were made by individuals within the diocese after information came to light about a sex party taking place in the priests' living quarters attached to Newcastle cathedral,'

Father McCoy was found dead at his apartment in Newcastle on April 10, 2021.

The Northern Echo: Father Michael McCoy, who was found dead in April 2021.Father Michael McCoy, who was found dead in April 2021.

The priest took his own life days after learning that police were investigation a “historic allegation” against him, a coroner ruled in May last year.

He had been visited by officers on April 6 when he was told about the allegation, and that he would be invited for a voluntary interview.

During the inquest it was told that concerns had been raised about Mr McCoy in 2007 and 2010 but the nature of these was not revealed.

He had factory reset his mobile phone and tablet before his death, and nothing could be retrieved from them, the inquest heard.

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A professional standards investigation by Northumbria Police after Mr McCoy's death 'found no concerns and no missed opportunities to safeguard him further'.

A Hexham and Newcastle diocese spokesman said: "The Diocese had previously invited the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) to conduct a review following the resignation of Bishop Byrne in December 2022.

"Diocesan Trustees have met and have had contact with the chief executive and representatives of the CSSA this week.

"They have discussed how the review, originally scheduled to happen in May 2023, will be undertaken and how the findings will be published. The review is now underway.

"Prior to Bishop Byrne’s resignation in mid-December, Trustees were working with the Charity Commission, following their self-referral to that organisation.

"The Diocese will continue to work productively and swiftly with both organisations, learning where it needs to, not from rumours and misinformation, but from the facts and evidence provided.

"The Diocese remains fully committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and the ministry of the Church, and to providing assurance that its safeguarding procedures are appropriate and as they need to be.”

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