An inquiry into the Order of Malta in Britain has been launched and their leadership suspended following concerns over the handling of a sacristan convicted of child pornography offences.
The Grand Master of the order, Fra' Matthew Festing, has announced that a "Magistral Delegate" will take charge of the British Association of the Order following concerns over the handling of the case of a sacristan who had been convicted of child pornography offences.
Vernon Quaintance, 68, served at the knights' weekly Masses and last month was convicted of possessing videos that showed children being abused.
In a separate police investigation, he has been arrested for seven allegations of indecent assault against children dating between 1970 and 2011.
Four senior knights had heard of concerns but not reported them to relevant authorities.
The president, Charles Weld, and his governing council have been suspended for the duration of the inquiry.