Sunday July 20, 08:43 PM

Church settles Tolkien sex abuse claim

LONDON (Reuters)

- The Catholic Church has settled out of court with a former choir boy who claimed he was abused by the priest-son of "Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Father John Tolkien, who died in January aged 85, was accused of sexually abusing Christopher Carrie in the 1950s when he was curate of the Church of the English Martyrs in Birmingham, central England.

British police investigated the claim in 2001, but decided Tolkien -- eldest son of the bestselling author -- was too ill to stand trial.

"We've reached a final settlement of 15,000 pounds without any admission of liability," Peter Jennings, press secretary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, told Reuters.

"Father John Tolkien throughout his life always emphatically denied that he ever abused anyone," he added.

The surviving Tolkien family have remained reclusive despite massive interest in the author after his world of hobbits, orcs and elves was brought to the big screen as "The Fellowship of the Ring" in December 2001.

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