“Looking In – Some Observations” – Memoirs of Christopher R. Hill.

Copies can be obtained from the author at crhill764@gmail.com, or from One Tree Books in Petersfield, Hampshire.

Christopher R. Hill

“LOOKING IN – SOME OBSERVATIONS” – ‘A BURST OF INDIGNATION’ – PAGES 280-284

I have always been interested in institutions and in recent years mortified by the decline of so many which used to function as social cement in our fissiparous society.

In 2015, I read about the treatment of Bishop George Bell, the Anglican Bishop of Chichester (the Diocese in which I live) from 1929 to 1958, whose memory had been shabbily besmirched by the current Church establishment. He died in office in 1958 [? – Ed].

The, greatly shortened, story is that in 2013 a woman, whose name is protected by law from publication in England, accused the Bishop of having molested her sexually nearly sixty years earlier, when she was a small girl. This seemed very unlikely, but had to be investigated by the diocesan safeguarding ‘team’ who set up what safeguarders call a “core group” (in ordinary language a committee) to look into the allegations. The current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, was invited, but was not the chairman, and only attended one or two of the group’s five meetings.

(The safeguarders are tasked with investigating stories about clergy who have behaved badly towards ‘vulnerable’ people old and young, though in practice usually young. There is a headquarters group at Lambeth Palace, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and teams in the various dioceses. Their power seems to be increasing).

The allegations seemed fantastic to anyone who knew anything about Bishop Bell. He had been highly regarded as a theologian, and during the war of 1939 to 1945 he had kept in touch with German Christians, partly in the hope of contributing to a negotiated peace. It is said that Churchill disapproved so much of these courageous activities that he prevented Bishop Bell from becoming Archbishop of Canterbury.

Opinion in the core group gradually solidified towards the finding that Bell was guilty, which caused uproar, largely among Christians in the diocese, though national interest was aroused by two well-known journalists, Charles Moore (now a Peer) and Peter Hitchens; as it happened I had taught the latter at York.

Meanwhile, Bishop Warner rushed to pay off the complainant (who from the start had very often been designated “the victim”, particularly by the safeguarders) who received £16,800, which I understand is near the bottom of the scale in such cases, while the Church’s costs were £18,000 and the complainant’s £15,000.

A minor mystery is that an anonymous donor gave £20,000 towards the Church’s expenditure, which seems a terrible waste of money compared with subscribing to something practical which would try to promote Christian objectives.

I was enraged by the story and contributed in a very small way to the uproar by writing scathing commentaries in my blog, which I had started when I was eighty-years-old, in an effort to get to grips with modernity: I devoted my very first blog , in January 2016, to the Bell case.

The indignation which I quite unexpectedly felt was, to my own surprise, as profound as that which I had felt in Rhodesia over the whites’ treatment of black people, and I embarked on correspondence with as many as I could of those involved, starting with Bishop Warner, and most of the answers added to my conviction that much was amiss. Feeling such indignation, and acting on it, reminded me of Rhodesia, and made me feel that life was coming full circle, despite the difference in scale of the two connections. That with Rhodesia was full-time while it lasted, whereas that with the Bell scandal was more occasional and less central to my life, yet the feelings and energy generated by the two involvements were of the same order.

Fortunately a friend told me that a body had been set up, called the Bell Group, mostly of Christians and many of them prominent, and was doing exactly what I was doing, finding out facts and applying pressure, but in a much more powerful way. I was glad to join the group, though I only attended two meetings, because they were held in a conference room up forty stairs at Faith House, Westminster.

Slowly, very slowly, the Church came to recognise that its findings must be scrutinised, and Lord Carlile, an eminent lawyer, was commissioned to report on the core group’s procedures, though not on it guilty verdict. His report found that the procedures had been amateurish to the point of being shambolic (though he did not use those words) and he made it clear that there was no serious evidence for the verdict.

This did not mean that the complainant was lying; as a psychiatrist explained to Carlile, she might simply be suffering from false memory, but without corroborating evidence it would be impossible to establish whether or not that was the case. It was clear that the procedures were very unlike those of a court of law. What made so many of us angry was that Bell could not defend himself, and no legal representative was called in to defend him against the investigators’ slipshod methods.

The Church was saved from an awkward discussion at the Church of England synod in February 2018 by the convenient discovery of further complaints, which allowed the church to commission another report, this time from Timothy Briden, a respected ecclesiastical lawyer, and to claim that until he reported the whole matter was sub judice and could not be discussed.

When he did report, the Church caused further delay by engaging a consultant, whose name and terms of reference it would not divulge, to evaluate the report.

The consultant was an ex police Superintendent, Ray Galloway, and I gained a little rather childish satisfaction by being able to publish his hitherto secret details a day or two before they appeared in the press. When the report was published it became clear that the new complaints, some of them ludicrous and some not fit for a family audience, could have been rejected in an hour or two by any sensible person, and that calling in Galloway to evaluate Briden’s report had been unnecessary.

Despite these reports the Church has never recanted. Bishop Warner of Chichester and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, have both refused to acknowledge that Bell’s reputation remains unblemished, and so have damaged their own reputations in the eyes of many devoted church people. There were apologies for the deficient procedures of the “core group” but the Archbishop has refused to withdraw his remark that “a cloud still hangs over Bell’s name”.

The fact that the Bell imbroglio made me as indignant as I had felt in Rhodesia in 1965 and 1966 does not mean that I am comparing the safeguarders to the Rhodesia Front, or the Bishop of Chichester to Ian Smith, but both made me see red. Smith and his cohort were, I believed, defending ownership of what they believed to be rightfully theirs, while the African nationalists were doing their best to recover what they believed to be stolen goods. It was clear that until a new political framework was created, with universal suffrage, there could be no progress towards deciding who owned what. What I disliked about the Rhodesian Government, quite apart from moral considerations, was their obtuseness and arrogance in not seeing that they could not indefinitely get away with suppressing their own black people and defying world opinion.

I thought very much the same about the Church of England . Here was a once-great institution, already turning into a minority sect, whose leaders seemed to have no idea of how to conduct the most basic business. They seemed not to understand that most of the general public, if they were interested at all, would instinctively conclude that Bishop Bell had been badly treated. Prelates seemed not to realise that the actions of their Safeguarding Teams, both in the chaotic conduct of their “core group” and the absence of anything resembling due process, were doing nothing to preserve the Church’s reputation.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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NOVEMBER 26 2020 – THE MACLEAN-DANDO ABUSE COVER-UP [FROM THE BELL SOCIETY ARCHIVES – AUGUST 22 2017]

August 22 2017 – “Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover-Up Found Dead” – News Punch

1 Reply

https://newspunch.com/reporter-bbc-pedophilia-dead/

Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover Up Found Dead

August 20, 2017 Baxter Dmitry NewsUK 68

Liz MacKean, the former British investigative reporter who exposed Jimmy Savile and the culture of pedophile protection at the BBC, has been found dead.

Liz MacKean, the former British investigative reporter who exposed Jimmy Savile and the culture of pedophile protection at the BBC, has been found dead. She was 52.

MacKean worked at the BBC until she quit in 2013 after executives decided to ban her groundbreaking and brave investigation into predatory pedophile Jimmy Savile in order to protect him and other pedophiles.

Dismissed by the establishment as mad and dangerous, MacKean was finally vindicated when the truth about Savile’s pedophilia eventually came out in 2012, a full year after MacKean first tried to bring his notorious crimes to light.

The BBC, who blocked her groundbreaking investigation from airing and spent the next few years attempting to destroy her reputation, are reporting that she died of “complications from a stroke.”

Acknowledging her life was under threat during the time she was investigating Savile and BBC elites, MacKean said her conscience left her no option but to pursue the truth and expose the culture of pedophila. The mother of two children believed it was her duty.

When it became public that BBC News blocked her investigation from airing, she admitted on Panorama: “I was very unhappy the story didn’t run because I felt we’d spoken to people who collectively deserved to be heard. And they weren’t heard.https://www.youtube.com/embed/TaGJCvq-Oec?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

“I thought that that was a failure… I felt we had a responsibility towards them. We got them to talk to us, but above all, we did believe them. And so then, for their stories not to be heard, I felt very bad about that. I felt, very much, that I’d let them down.”

Big name stars

Liz MacKean is the second high profile BBC journalist to die in suspicious circumstances after attempting to expose the truth about the pedophile ring operating in the upper reaches of the establishment. Jill Dando, former Crimewatch host, also tried to alert her bosses to the pedophile ring at the BBC, warning that “big name” stars were implicated.

Jill Dando, who was 37, was shot dead on April 26, 1999 on the doorstep of her West London home in a crime that still remains unsolved.

Before she died, Dando had passed a file to senior management in the mid-1990s, proving that big name BBC stars, including Savile, were involved in a pedophile ring, but senior management chose to cover up the child abuse rather than organize and investigation.

No one wanted to know” when Dando raised concerns about the alleged ring and other sexual abuse claims at the BBC, according to a former colleague and friend.

I don’t recall the names of all the stars now and don’t want to implicate anyone, but Jill said they were surprisingly big names.

 “I think she was quite shocked when told about images of children and that information on how to join this horrible paedophile ring was freely available.

“Jill said others had complained to her about sexual matters and that some female workmates also claimed they had been groped or assaulted.

“Nothing had been done and there seemed to be a policy of turning a blind eye.”

The former colleague said female BBC staff confided in Jill, one of the best-known TV faces of the day after fronting primetime shows including Holiday and the Six O’Clock News as well as Crimewatch.’

The source said: “I think it was in the mid-1990s. She was seen as the face of the BBC and a magnet for women with problems.

Baxter Dmitry

Baxter Dmitry is a writer at News Punch. He covers politics, business and entertainment. Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk, Baxter has travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one. Live without fear.
Email: baxter@newspunch.com
Follow: @baxter_dmitry

FURTHER INFORMATION

Jersey Evening Post

http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/08/21/tributes-paid-to-award-winning-savile-journalist/

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NOVEMBER 22 2020 – “NEW DEAN IN OXFORD COLLEGE FEUD ACCUSED OF STROKING WOMAN’S HAIR” – MAIL ON SUNDAY

Christ Church Oxford

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8974033/D

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8974033/Dean-Oxford-college-feud-accused-stroking-young-womans-hair.htmlean-Oxford-college-feud-accused-stroking-young-womans-hair.html

Dean in long-running Oxford college feud is now accused of stroking a young woman’s hair and making an inappropriate remark towards her

  • The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy is being investigated by church authorities
  • He has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated
  • MoS understands the woman claims Prof Percy, 58, approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning’

By MICHAEL POWELL FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

PUBLISHED: 00:18, 22 November 2020 | UPDATED: 00:19, 22 November 2020

10 View comments

The cleric at the centre of a bitter feud at an Oxford University college is being investigated by church authorities following an allegation that he made an inappropriate remark and gesture towards a young woman.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated. 

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning.’

Prof Percy denies the allegation, but the claims have leached into a long-running battle that he has been having with dons at Christ Church – despite a Church of England source last night insisting that it had nothing to do with the dispute at the university.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (above) has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated+3

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (above) has stepped down as Dean of Christ Church while claims that he stroked the hair of the woman in the cathedral vestry last month are investigated

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: 'I couldn't take my eyes off you this morning.' (File image of Prof Percy)+3

The Mail on Sunday understands that the woman claims Prof Percy approached her after preaching at a Sunday service and said: ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning.’ (File image of Prof Percy)

Friends of Prof Percy, who is a married father-of-two, said he was ‘distraught’ at the claims and the use of them as a ‘weapon’ to renew efforts by his critics to oust him from his job at Christ Church.

One ally said: ‘Martyn is in an impossible position of being unable to defend himself while detailed allegations against him are being leaked all round the place.’

According to a source, the woman was ‘quite shaken up’ by Prof Percy’s alleged conduct on October 4. ‘She says Martyn came in and approached her and started stroking her hair and being inappropriate. She says he told her, ‘I couldn’t take my eyes off you this morning’,’ the source said.

After speaking with friends, the woman complained to a cleric at the cathedral who set in motion a Church Disciplinary Measure inquiry to formally investigate the allegations.

RELATED ARTICLES

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation.

Governors at Christ Church have run up an estimated £2 million legal bill trying to remove Prof Percy.

Two years ago, he was suspended amid claims of ‘behaviour of an immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature’ in a dispute relating to his £90,000 salary. 

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation. (File image of Christ Church college)+3

Governors at Christ Church were informed and it is understood they hired a former police officer to carry out a separate internal investigation. (File image of Christ Church college)

The 58-year-old, who friends say is guilty of nothing more than trying to modernise the 500-year-old institution and improve student safety, refused to resign and a retired High Court judge rejected 27 charges against him after an internal tribunal. Despite being exonerated, Christ Church refused to reimburse his £400,000 legal fees.

The dean is now taking the college to an employment tribunal over claims of disability and religious discrimination. 

Earlier this year, the MoS revealed how a group of Oxford dons opposed to Prof Percy exchanged emails in which they described him as a ‘manipulative little turd’ and as having a ‘personality disorder’.

In one, a don wrote: ‘I’m always ready to think the worst of him. Does anyone know any good poisoners?’

It prompted a colleague to fantasise about ‘the Inspector Morse episode we could make when his wrinkly withered little body’ is found.

Christ Church and the Diocese of Oxford declined to comment

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“DEAR ARCHBISHOP, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO TAKE A SABBATICAL” – KAREN ARMSTRONG – THE GUARDIAN

Archbishop Justin Welby

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO TAKE SUMMER SABBATICAL FOR ‘SPIRITUAL RENEWAL’ IN 2021

Archbishop of Canterbury to take summer sabbatical for ‘spiritual renewal’ in 2021

Between May and September, the Most Rev Justin Welby will take a break for study, reflection and prayer

By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 21 November 2020 • 9:30pm

The Archbishop of Canterbury will take a sabbatical for “spiritual renewal”, The Telegraph can reveal.

The Most Rev Justin Welby, 64, will take a break from his role from May to September next year.

It is understood he will spend some of the time in his six-bedroom house in a remote hamlet in Normandy, France, which he has previously referred to as his “happy place”, and that he will focus on “study, prayer and reflection”.

While it is not unprecedented for the most senior bishop in the Church of England to take an extended break from the role, many will question the timing given the continuing challenges facing society because of the pandemic. 

In 2007, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, took a three-month sabbatical to write a book: Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and ­Fiction. Furthermore, in 1997, Lord Carey also took a two-month sabbatical.

The Archbishop has been leading the Church during an unprecedented period. In the first lockdown, the Church faced criticism for not challenging the Government’s decision to close places of worship. Ahead of the second lockdown, the Archbishop questioned the Government over why communal worship was being banned.

News of the most senior bishop in the Church of England taking a sabbatical from his role as the 105th Archbishop emerged following the Canterbury Diocesan Synod at the weekend.  Every member of the clergy, even archbishops, are entitled to apply for a sabbatical every seven to 10 years.

It is understood the Archbishop had intended to take his sabbatical after the Lambeth Conference, scheduled for summer 2020. However, this was delayed as a result of the pandemic.

There will not be an interim Archbishop of Canterbury while he is on sabbatical, rather the current Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will step in for national duties. The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, will also assist in her role as Dean of the Southern Province.

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking a sabbatical in 2021 for study, reflection and prayer.”

Dear archbishop, now is not the time to take a sabbatical

Karen Armstrong

As the pandemic rages, Justin Welby says he’s going to take time off. How did religion become so self-centred?

Justin Welby arriving at Canterbury Cathedral, April 2019

Justin Welby arriving at Canterbury Cathedral, April 2019 Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PAWed 25 Nov 2020 08.00 GMT

The archbishop of Canterbury has announced that he will shortly be taking a sabbatical for three months to enjoy a period of “spiritual renewal”.

Though his two predecessors took a break of similar length while they were in office, neither was during a time of acute national crisis. So in choosing summer 2021 for his absence, Justin Welby seems to be saying that his personal wellbeing is paramount and that the anxiety, suffering, fear and grief of a country in the grip of a deadly pandemic and an economic crisis is, at best, a secondary concern.

Perhaps it is not surprising that faith is in decline in the UK – only about 8% of the population attend a Christian service regularly – because this attitude strikes at the heart of the religious dynamic.

Religion is extremely demanding, but in the west it has sometimes become indulgent and self-centred. Hindu sages, for example, originally crafted the exacting disciplines of yoga to extirpate egotism, but in the west yoga has become little more than an aerobic exercise, designed to induce calm.Archbishop of Canterbury to take sabbatical for ‘spiritual renewal’Read more

The Buddha devised mindfulness to teach his monks that the self they prized so highly was illusory and must be discarded, but mindfulness is now used to help people feel more at ease and content with themselves.Advertisement

And, in recent years, the stern, demanding Christ of the gospels has become the “personal saviour” of a significant number of Christians, someone who functions rather like a personal trainer in the gym. I am not suggesting that the archbishop has fallen prey to such crass piety, but in putting his spiritual wellbeing before a country in pain, he comes close to it.

John Locke said that religion was a “private search” that could have nothing to do with public life. But the founders of the world religions would not have agreed with him. Jesus, for example, was preaching in Roman-occupied Palestine – a society traumatised by state violence and excessive taxation. Failure to pay was punished by confiscation of land, so peasants were forced into banditry or destitution. The crowds who thronged around him for healing were hungry, desperate and sick, many afflicted with neurological and psychological disorders that they attributed to demons.

Unlike the archbishop, Jesus could not retire to cultivate his personal spirituality because he was perpetually besieged by desperate people. We read that “the whole town came crowding round the door” of his house; they came in such numbers that “he had to stay outside in places where nobody lived”.

To be a follower of Christ cannot, therefore, mean withdrawal from the world – especially in a time of crisis. Jesus may have preached the kingdom of God, but this was not an otherworldly fantasy; it was rather an implicit but clear critique of imperial power. In God’s kingdom, unlike the Roman empire, the poor would be first and the rich last. The Lord’s Prayer was devised for people terrified of falling into debt, and who could hope only for bare subsistence, one day at a time. “Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive those who are in debt to us.” Jesus’s parables were not timeless truths, but reflected the problems of a society split between the very rich and the very poor. People were desperate for loans, heavily indebted, and forced to hire themselves out as day labourers.

And, of course, Jesus was finally put to death by the Roman authorities after staging a provocative procession in Jerusalem at Passover (always a touchy time in Roman-occupied Jerusalem, because it celebrated the ancient Israelites’ liberation from the imperial power of Egypt).Bishop says C of E change of stance on sexuality would spark exodusRead more

The Buddha’s story is especially interesting now. He defined human suffering as “sickness, old age and death”, and historians believe that at this time there may have been a pandemic in the Ganges valley, where the newly founded cities attracted parasites that can flourish only in densely occupied environments.

The Buddha had discovered a method of living creatively with the pain that is endemic in human life, and he is usually depicted sitting in the lotus position, seemingly lost to the world. Indeed, after achieving nirvana, he was tempted for a while – like the archbishop, perhaps – to relish this newfound peace in solitude. But the god Brahma intervened, begging him to “look down at humanity, which is drowning in pain” and “to travel far and wide throughout the world” to help others deal with their suffering.

The Buddha then realised he must “return to the marketplace”, and insisted that his monks do the same. For the next 40 years, the Buddha travelled tirelessly throughout the towns and villages of India, sometimes far from his friends, helping people to deal creatively with the sorrow that is inherent in life.

I sympathise with the archbishop, because I love the solitude and study that is essential to my writing. But if you are engaged with religion, that is part of the job.

• Karen Armstrong is the author of The Lost Art of Scripture

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NOVEMBER 21 2020 – CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF ITS DEAN AND HEAD MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES…WITH HELP FROM THE BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT.

Christ Church Oxford

The Dean of Christ Church Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

Dean and Head of Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford

“UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN” – REPORTEDLY [NEW HEADLINE – FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020]

CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES… [ORIGINAL HEADLINE FROM WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18 2020 REINSTATED ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21 2020 – WITH STEVEN CROFT ADDITION]

Troubled Oxford dean Martyn Percy steps aside in fight with dons as he faces Church of England probe into his behaviour

  • Fresh allegations against the Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy have emerged 
  • In ‘private’ message to students Christ Church said Prof Percy stepped down  
  • It’s the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church college

By JOSH WHITE EDUCATION REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17 November 2020

The controversial dean of an Oxford college stood down last night after the emergence of a fresh allegation against him.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour.

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour+3

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour

It is the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church – where he is head of the college and its cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail.

In response, the dean sought changes to the college’s safeguarding protocols. However, his proposals met with resistance from academics.

There followed moves to oust Professor Percy from his position. He was suspended in 2018 amid allegations of improper misconduct. However, these claims were rejected by an employment tribunal which found in the dean’s favour and against Christ Church. Professor Percy then complained that his £90,900 salary was less than the average earned by the heads of Oxford colleges.

But last night senior Oxford University sources said the fresh allegation meant Professor Percy now had no choice but to be ‘stand back or be suspended’.

In a message to students, college officials in charge of discipline said they could not shed much light on the matter for legal reasons.

But they added that ‘appropriate measures have been put in place whilst inquiries are under way’ and urged any students who needed to support to contact their welfare offices.

Their formal full statement went on to say: ‘The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward (pictured) stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail

‘Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.’

A Church of England source confirmed it was actively investigating Professor Percy’s behaviour but would not be drawn on the substance of the allegation or the progress of its probe.

Allies of the dean defended him last night, saying the claims against him were ‘not grave’ and he was the victim of a sustained witch-hunt.

One said the allegations were ‘being ruthlessly exploited by his enemies who, once again, are proving the culture of the college has become toxic’.In a ¿private and confidential¿ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ¿voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities¿+3

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’

The source added: ‘But they don’t seem to care: they will do anything to force him out.’

Another said: ‘There is no chance of him going soon – and he will probably be reinstated in the new year.’

In February, leaked emails revealed that Oxford dons had described Professor Percy as a ‘little Hitler’ who was ‘nasty’ and had a ‘personality disorder’.

The dean declined to comment. Then in May, the majority of Christ Church’s trustees wrote to the Charity Commission urging it to insist that he should accept a settlement and leave – or be removed.

Christ Church and Oxford University were contacted for comment. Professor Percy could not be reached for comment last night.

Christ Church, founded by Henry VIII in 1546, is one of the richest Oxford colleges with an endowment approaching £600million.

Its alumni include 13 British prime ministers.

FURTHER MEDIA REACTION

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church OxfordDaily update ⋅ November 19, 2020
NEWS
Dean of Oxford college steps aside in long-running disputeThe GuardianThe Very Rev Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, voluntarily withdrew from all his duties after a new, unspecified complaint was made against him.Flag as irrelevant
Martyn Percydean of Oxford’s Christ Church college, steps aside after new complaintThe TimesThe “demise” of the dean of one of Oxford’s oldest colleges has been “exaggerated”, friends said yesterday, as they insisted he would return to work …Flag as irrelevant
Dean of Christ Church Very Rev Martyn Percy steps aside following fresh complaint Oxford Mail The head of an Oxford University college has temporarily stepped aside following a fresh complaint against him. The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean …

THINKING ANGLICANS – NOVEMBER 19 2020

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/a-new-complaint-about-the-dean-of-christ-church/

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

This whole matter stinks – and it is critical the source of the stench is rooted out.

The Church of England fully exonerated the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy of all safeguarding charges three months ago.

Now, an anonymous someone has come forward making a further safeguarding allegation against the Dean.

The media have made much of the fact that Martyn Percy has ‘stepped aside’ pending further investigation – something I would imagine he had no choice but to do because of this new allegation. The Daily Mail waded in, and the Guardian, Times and Telegraph followed. The Church Times has as its headline “Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church Oxford steps back”.

This is an almost identical scenario to what happened in the Bishop Bell scandal. Lord Carlile QC, in his Church-commissioned investigation, was excoriating in his legal analysis of how the Church of England handled the abuse allegations against the wartime Bishop. Then, ‘out-of-the-blue’ came a new allegation. This action delayed justice for George Bell. The allegation was later found to be totally unfounded by another Church-commissioned investigation led by Timothy Briden. But the damage had been done – and the Bishop Bell supporters still await justice

Justice delayed is justice denied..

I sense there is something deeply corrupt within certain corridors of power – and if this is not rooted out quickly, it will quickly spread like a cancer.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft – November 19 2020 – criticising the “supporters” of Christ Church Dean Martyn Percy:

“We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position…The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated”

Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner:- October 22 2015 – criticising the “supporters” of Bishop of Chichester George Bell:

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency”

Martin Sewell

The word “reportedly” in this statement is doing a suspiciously large amount of work.

Luke 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Ephesians 5:11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval Reply to  Martin Sewell

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” – reportedly.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Inquattrogatti

How can all supporters of the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy “belittle” complainants?

That’s rather like saying all supporters of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell “belittle” those complainants of abuse.

Palpable, illogical, dangerous nonsense from the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval 

Church Times editor hastily amends article to restore journalistic balance and integrity [Hat-tip: Simon Sarmiento], but the unbalanced headline remains.

Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, steps back – Church Times

byA STAFF REPORTER19 NOVEMBER 2020DAVID HARTLEY/CHURCH TIMES

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The statement concludes that the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, is in close contact with all concerned.

CHURCH TIMES ARTICLE – HASTILY AMENDED ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020 [BUT ORIGINAL HEADLINE AND DATE REMAINS ON NOVEMBER 21 AT 7AM]

 

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese. The supporters, in turn, have asked why members of the college’s Governing Body have not been criticised.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The diocesan statement, in turn, has been criticised by David Lamming, a friend of Dean Percy and a General Synod member, as a “wholly inappropriate public comment while the current allegation is under investigation”. He objects, in particular, to the reference to “severity”, and asks for information about the authorship of the statement.

Other allies of the Dean have pointed out that the diocesan reprimand is one-sided. It is said that at least one member of the college’s Governing Body was known to have briefed journalists anonymously about the case.

A story in the Daily Mail on Friday partially identifies the complainant in the new case, and resurrects a dispute started by the college in the summer against research funding from the United States for the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, which another Canon of Christ Church, Professor Nigel Biggar, directs (News, 19 June). Professor Biggar has been an outspoken supporter of Dean Percy. 

The Daily Mail writes: “The Mail has learnt that inquiries are also being made over money discovered in college accounts originating with an obscure Michigan-based Christian group.” Far from being obscure, the McDonald Agape Foundation has funded several projects at St Mellitus Theological College, including the McDonald Professorship of Christian Theology, currently held by Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

One friend of Dean Percy said that he had no intention of belittling the new complaint, but he questioned why the diocesan statement did not encompass both the Dean’s supporters and his critic

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT

Diocese of Oxford Home/News/The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

19 November 2020
Following media reports, our statement is updated as follows

We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position. The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.

18 November 2020

The Bishop of Oxford has agreed with the Very Revd Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, that Martyn will step back from office, while a complaint is properly considered.

Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean of the Cathedral is also Head of an Oxford College. Christ Church has written to students and staff with the following statement. The statement has also been shared with the Cathedral congregation and those at the Cathedral School.

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Bishop of Oxford is in close contact with all concerned. His prayers, and those of the Diocese, are with everyone at Christ Church.

Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

FROM THE ARCHIVES

“CHURCH CLEARS OXFORD COLLEGE DEAN AFTER BLACK OPS CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT HIM – THE GUARDIAN – SEPTEMBER 8 2020

“VICAR TELLS ABUSE INQUIRY ARCHBISHOPS NOT FIT FOR OFFICE – ITV NEWS – JULY 10 2019

Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

A vicar who says his disclosures about being sexually abused as a teenager were ignored by senior clerics has told an inquiry the archbishops of Canterbury and York are not “fit for office”.

The Rev Matthew Ineson criticised the archbishops as he gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the Anglican Church.

The vicar called for changes to the way the church investigates safeguarding issues and complaints about clerics, describing the current system as “totally unsuitable”.

The witness told the inquiry how he suffered abuse at the hands of priest Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life on the day he was due to appear in court accused of sexual offences against Mr Ineson.

He said he later made disclosures to a number of bishops and archbishops but they were ignored and no further action was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when he made complaints against the clerics.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.Credit: PA

Mr Ineson said bishops abuse their power to protect themselves and force victims of clerical sexual abuse to face further suffering by not acting upon their disclosures.

He told the inquiry: “Bishops sit on thrones.

“They live in fine palaces and houses, they wear the finest robes and garments, they bully people.

“People literally kneel down and kiss the ring on their finger.”

“Enough is enough – I think the victims are far stronger people than the bishops.”

He continued: “I cannot see the face of Jesus in the Archbishop of Canterbury or York. I see hypocrites and I see Pharisees. I see the people that Jesus stood up against.

“I don’t think those people are fit for office.”

Mr Ineson said he met the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at a meeting for survivors of clerical abuse at a General Synod in York.

The witness said: “I’d never seen John Sentamu before and if I ever see him again it will be too soon.

“He came over to me, he came really in my face, too close, he grabbed me by the shoulder and he held me by the shoulder and said, ‘One day me and you will talk’.”

Mr Ineson said he asked the archbishop for an apology for his failure to act on his disclosures but Dr Sentamu replied: “Apologies mean different things to different people.”

He told the inquiry: “He’s arrogant, he’s rude and he’s a bully.”

Mr Ineson, who was ordained in 2000 and practised as a vicar in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, for more than 10 years, said he made his first disclosures between 2012 and 2013 to the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows, the then bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, and the then archdeacon of Rotherham Martyn Snow, but that nothing came of his reports.

He said: “I could not believe it. I could not believe they were doing nothing.”

Mr Ineson went on to make two written disclosures to Mr Croft, now the Bishop of Oxford, and sent copies to the Bishop of Beverley and Dr Sentamu.

He said he wrote in his second letter: “You will never know what it took to tell you but you will also never know of the hurt that you and your suffragan have caused me by doing absolutely nothing about it.”

Mr Ineson told the inquiry that the only person to reply was Dr Sentamu, who wrote: “Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes at this difficult time.”

He said he submitted complaints about the clerics under the clergy discipline measure but was told that the complaints fell outside of the church’s one-year rule.

Mr Ineson appealed but told the inquiry that part of the process was to contact those being complained about to ask for their opinion about whether the one-year rule should be extended in their cases.

He said: “Who in their right mind thinks it’s acceptable to write to a priest who is under investigation by the police for child sexual abuse and give him the opportunity to object to being investigated?”

Mr Ineson described the complaints system as “totally unsuitable”.

He said: “Bishop investigates bishop and they’re all conflicted.”

Mr Ineson said he believed that safeguarding should be taken out of the hands of the church so that complaints are investigated by an independent body and that clerical sexual abuse should be the subject of mandatory reporting.

He said: “I have no desire to damage the church at all or bring the church down. The overriding motive for me is to help prevent abuse from happening again.”

Mr Ineson continued: “The church is not going to change unless they are made to. They can’t be trusted.”

Giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Sentamu said he did not believe he had made personal mistakes in the course of responding to disclosures of clerical abuse.

He said: “Hand on heart, I don’t think so. Where there have been disclosures, I have been willing to apologise to the person, trying to do the best I can to support them.”

When asked about the case of Mr Ineson, Dr Sentamu said he received a copy of the cleric’s letter but assumed the Bishop of Sheffield would deal with it because it was his responsibility.

He said that, if he had behaved at the General Synod in the way described by Mr Ineson, that behaviour would have been “totally inappropriate”.

Dr Sentamu agreed Mr Ineson’s treatment by the Church had been “shabby and shambolic” and said he should have received more support.

He added the police investigation and the complaints issued under the clergy discipline measure meant it took too long to set up an inquiry into his abuse.

“BISHOP OF OXFORD TO FACE POLICE QUESTIONING OVER ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE COVER-UP – DAILY TELEGRAPH – SEPTEMBER 2 2018

Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegations of sex abuse cover-up – Daily Telegraph – September 2 2018

The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation
The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation

2 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 10:00PMFollow 

The Bishop of Oxford will be summoned for questioning by police over claims he failed to pass on allegations of rape against a priest.

The Rt Rev Steven Croft will be interviewed under caution by South Yorkshire Police as part of an investigation over alleged failures to report abuse, sources have told The Telegraph

No arrest is expected and the Diocese of Oxford stressed there was no suggestion of guilt. 

However, a senior lawyer involved in the case said that Bishop Croft is set to be questioned over possible offences of misconduct in public office.

Matt Ineson, who has waived his right to anonymity, says he was raped by a former priest, the Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, in Bradford in the 1980s.I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequateMatt Ineson

Mr Devamanikkam, who later lived in Witney, Oxfordshire, was later charged with child sex offences but committed suicide last year, the day before he was due in court. 

Mr Ineson says he told Mr Croft, then the Bishop of Sheffield, in 2012 and later copied in the Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, in a 2013 letter. 

Neither Bishop Croft, Archbishop Sentamu, nor the three other bishops Mr Ineson says he told reported the matter to the police, it is claimed. 

South Yorkshire Police has now taken a written statement from Mr Ineson and are expected to question Bishop Croft in the coming weeks. If the investigation goes ahead, it is also possible the Archbishop of York could face police questioning.

Bishop Croft is separately facing criticism for reinstating Lord Carey’s permission to preach and lead services amid allegations the former archbishop “colluded” with disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball.

Mr Ineson told The Telegraph: “The failures to deal properly with my disclosures has caused me great pain and anguish.

“I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequate. I must now leave the police and CPS to examine the issues.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, left, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby

Mr Ineson’s lawyer, David Greenwood, the head of the child abuse department at Switalskis Solicitors, said: “I understand Steven Croft is to be investigated for offences of misconduct in a public office. 

“Those in public office are expected to abide by high standards and when their behaviour falls well below a standard to be expected the CPS can prosecute. 

“The type of behaviour to be examined could include ignoring sex crimes against children.”

Mr Greenwood added he was dismayed government ministers had abandoned plans to introduce mandatory reporting which would make it a criminal offence not to pass on suspicions of abuse to the police.

He said if the UK followed the example of some Australian states and introduced mandatory reporting laws then convictions for covering up abuse would be easier. 

The majority of respondents to a government consultation earlier this year urged against new laws on reporting abuse, warning it would put children’s workers at risk of prosecution and divert attention away from important cases. There is currently no legal requirement on those working with children to report either known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford said: “Written records and notes taken at the time give a different picture to the one Mr Ineson is presenting about how his case has been handled. 

“An independent review, commissioned by the National Safeguarding  Team, will investigate the response of the Church of England to matters relating to the late Trevor Devamanikkam. 

“The review will further explore the facts of the case and establish any lessons learned. We look forward to the findings of the review.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said official guidelines meant they could neither confirm nor deny the identity of anyone who may or may not be under investigation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BISHOP STEVEN CROFT

“NOW DEAN IN OXFORD COLLEGE FEUD ACCUSED OF STROKING WOMAN’S HAIR” – MAIL ON SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 22 2020 – PAGE 26

I’m not someone who uses the word ‘evil’ lightly, but after reading the Mail on Sunday [MoS] article, a shiver of that word was felt…….

After calming down and reading the MoS article again – after being in a state of shock, anger and disbelief – I believe a police investigation of all Christ Church Board of Governors should now take place without delay.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Featured post

NOVEMBER 13 2020 – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD

Safeguarding Complaint against Archbishop Welby dismissed – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

Today, two documents have appeared in connection with the formal complaint made about the Archbishop of Canterbury by the complainant known as Graham. One is a press release from Lambeth Palace giving notice of the dismissal of the complaint

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/update-safeguarding-complaint-against-archbishop-canterbury

and the other is a press release from the complainant. 

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pressrelease.pdf 

The background to this complaint was described in my last blog post connected with John Smyth. I mentioned the way that the Archbishop of Canterbury had become aware of serious accusations made against the former chairman of the Titus Trustees in 2013. This was a year after one of his victims, Graham, had made a disclosure to a senior clergyman in Cambridge involved with the Titus Trust.

We have already made reference to the fact that Archbishop Welby knew John Smyth personally.  He has admitted visiting his house on one occasion. It has never been claimed that they were close friends, but Welby’s own conversion and background within the Christian faith owed much to the evangelical Christian networks in Cambridge in the 1970s.  Here Smyth also had many links. The network that is now known as ReNew was very strong in Cambridge. Mark Ruston and Jonathan Fletcher both exercised an influential ministry among undergraduates in that city through the Round Church. Many of the officers who worked at the Iwerne camps were undergraduates in Cambridge at that time, including the young Justin Welby and Nicky Gumbel. Networking is something that the REFORM/ReNew network have always done very successfully. The conservative evangelical world which originally nurtured Welby always strongly sustained a sense of camaraderie.  Archbishop Welby, although later broadening out in his churchmanship sympathies, did not appear to lose these connections and friendships with those in the world of conservative Anglicanism.

The 2013 complaint about John Smyth should have been a alarm call for Archbishop Welby. As I indicated in a previous blog on this topic, he certainly knew many people in Smyth’s network to ring up and ask what the story  was all about. I mentioned before an extraordinary lack of curiosity on Welby’s part. Do we perhaps detect an attitude of fear and the desire not to know what was being revealed?  Anyone who lived, as Welby did, on the periphery of the world of Jonathan Fletcher and John Smyth must have had some inkling that they were personalities which were at the very least controversial and possibly dangerous.

While we can take Welby’s claim that he did not know John Smyth well, we would have expected that, as a newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, he would have wanted to investigate how far the scandal might go.  One of the principles of safeguarding, and well established as good practice by 2013, is to establish whether an individual poses any kind of risk. Although Smyth was a long way away in South Africa, he was still a potential risk in safeguarding terms. What did Welby do? He asked the Bishop of Ely to look into the matter.  A letter was written in 2013 by the Bishop of Ely to the Bishop of Table Bay outlining the risks posed by Smyth.    No reply was ever received. No follow-up was made, either by Welby or the Bishop of Ely. Neither was there another letter written, as far as we know.

On a television programme in 2019, Welby claimed to have sent another letter at the same time to the Archbishop of Cape Town. In spite of enquiries, no copy of this later letter has ever been produced to confirm this claim. Smyth was active in legal circles in South Africa to within months of his death in 2018, and there was no attempt by him to hide from either the Church or the civil authorities in South Africa.

The complainant, Graham, has two major issues with the core group who examined his complaint against Archbishop Welby. In the first place he, as the complainant, was never formally interviewed to establish the facts from his perspective.  Both as a survivor and a safeguarding complainant he felt that he should have been properly heard.  It was as though the core group had no interest in establishing facts. In the second place it was stated today in the Lambeth statement that the complaint was simply about safeguarding practice.  From Graham’s perspective, the complaint was much wider than this. Archbishop Welby was in a position to stop John Smyth from having access to young people at any point between first hearing the about his misbehaviour in 2013 right down to the moment when the whole story came fully into the public domain in February 2017.

Graham was also critical of the way that the chief of staff at Lambeth Palace, David Porter, approached him directly in an apparent attempt to interfere with the complaint process. This approach appeared to have the authority of the chairman of the Welby Core Group., Zena Marshall.  She is also the Deputy Director of the National Safeguarding Team. Graham has made this effort to subvert the process the topic of a further complaint.

As an outsider, I write my commentary based on the written documents before me.  I do not have the face to face interviews with the parties concerned.  With the evidence before me, I confess feeling considerable unease about what I see. Even when stripping out all the details of who knew what and when they knew it, something deeply dysfunctional is being revealed in these two documents. In 2013 (or possibly a year earlier) a huge destructive scandal came to the attention of the most senior leaders of the Church of England. This was not just about a vicar at the other end of the country committing some criminal offence. This was a complaint about an individual who was (or had been) influential and widely known to considerable numbers of clergy in the Church of England. Worse than Smyth’s original offences, which have never been contested, was the fact that these crimes were covered up for 30 years. A young man in Zimbabwe died at one of Smyth’s camps and there were some attempted suicides as well as many ruined lives.  It is hard to understand how a person with enormous influence in the Church, as Welby had, did not see this as a matter of extreme priority and deal with it decisively. For a core group later to say that there had been no safeguarding concerns about his actions in 2013 and later seems rather feeble. This weak lack of response suggests that there may have been, as with recent scandals in the Catholic Church, a desire to bury wrongdoing in the hope that it would just go away. I, for one, am deeply disappointed in the way that these documents reveal a lack of transparency, candour and honesty in facing up to the appalling abuse legacies of the past. There are, I believe, at least 22 victims of John Smyth who will all be re-abused by reading these documents and the institutional failures they will see in them.   Graham’s complaint against the processes set up by the NST has not been to all appearances properly answered. For all of these survivors this day, 12 November 2020, will be a day which they will remember forever as a moment when the Church of England has failed them once again.  It did this by not providing anything in the way of justice or a proper path to healing.

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen is a retired Anglican priest living at present in Cumbria. He has taken a special interest in the issues around health and healing in the Church but also when the Church is a place of harm and abuse. He has published books on both these issues and is at present particularly interested in understanding how power works at every level in the Church. He is always interested in making contact with others who are concerned with these issues.

5 thoughts on “Safeguarding Complaint against Archbishop Welby dismissed”

  1. Rowland Wateridge Martin Sewell has contributed relevant information about this today on ‘Thinking Anglicans’. I expect Stephen will provide the link in the usual way.A few days ago I posted on the earlier thread a video of Smyth appearing on South African public television in late 2014, or possibly 2015, on the subject of the then contemporary Pistorius murder trial (which, coincidentally, is back in the public eye as a result of the documentary currently being shown by the BBC). Significant matters are the date: post-2013, Smyth’s cool self-confidence, and the considerable deference shown to him by the television interviewer. As I said last time, anyone who has suffered at Smyth’s hands may prefer not to view this. I believe it provides an insight into Smyth’s character: a consummate double-act, one might say. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdek
  2. Pingback: NOVEMBER 13 2020 – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY NOW FIRMLY ‘UNDER A CLOUD’ – A VERY SIGNIFICANT CLOUD | The Bell Society
  3. Janet Fife We have, sadly, become inured to the dishonesty and lack of compassion in the Church’s dealing with safeguarding complaints. What I can’t understand is the sheer stupidity of this kind of process and statement. Did they really think anyone would be convinced this was a good, thorough, and fair process? Did they think it would genuinely make either the Church or Abp. Welby look good – or even less bad? Maybe they feel so safe from repercussions that they just don’t care. But that’s dangerous – for them. Because institutions that lose their credibility eventually die; and because the individuals involved will one day have to give account to God.
  4. Stephen Parsons The rhetoric about putting survivors at the heart of safeguarding practice seems not to be followed through, ever. From the moment Lambeth knew about Smyth in 2013 up till today, everything that has been done at the centre has been seemingly about institutional reputation and protecting individuals from the accusations of culpable blame. I wish that there had been a moment when we saw the institution and its leaders moving a little towards survivors with real compassion and a desire for justice. I am not aware of a single occasion when such a thing happened. Individuals in the system may have shown Christ-like humanity but this has never been shared across the board.

FURTHER INFORMATION

WHITEWASH

NOVEMBER 12 2020 – “I HOPE LAMBETH GOT DISCOUNT FOR THE AMOUNT OF WHITEWASH USED!” ~ JOHN WALLACE ON THE ARCHBISHOP-QC SCANDAL –

Update on safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury

on Thursday, 12 November 2020 at 11.11 am by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

The following statement has been issued by Lambeth Palace this morning.

Update on safeguarding complaint against the Archbishop of Canterbury
12/11/2020

The abuse carried out by the late John Smyth was horrific and support continues to be offered to survivors. The Makin review is currently looking at the Church’s handling of allegations about his abuse, including the response of other organisations involved.

A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated. The complaint referred to Lambeth’s response to allegations which first came to attention in 2013 and information relating to the specific issues raised has been reviewed. Information relating to a further complaint sent to the NST in August, about wider issues, has now also been reviewed and no safeguarding concerns have been identified. All the information reviewed will now be sent to the Makin Review, due to publish next year, for further scrutiny.

Archbishop Justin is deeply sorry for the abuse that was carried out by John Smyth. The Archbishop has committed himself to leading the change needed in the Church of England relating to safeguarding and is personally keen to listen to survivors and striving to keep developing and learning in his own ministry.

Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. Support can be offered to victims through the National Safeguarding Team’s survivor engagement worker Emily Denne, who can be contacted at emily.denne@churchofengland.org or do contact Keith Makin, the independent reviewer, direct at keith.makin@independentreviews.live. Subscribe 

guest
Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 

“A formal complaint made to the National Safeguarding Team, NST, in June, that the Archbishop of Canterbury did not follow correct safeguarding procedure when responding to an allegation against Smyth, has not been substantiated”

A Church of England Core Group has decided the complaint against Archbishop Welby “has not been substantiated”.

Does the Church hierarchy honestly think anyone – especially a ‘Thinking Anglican’ – takes seriously any decisions by a Church Core Group – especially in the light of the George Bell, George Carey and Martyn Percy moral and legal disgraces?!

As Richard Scorer, a solicitor at the law firm Slater and Gordon who represents abuse survivors, said this week [regarding Roman Catholic Church abuses paralleling that of the Church of England]:

“This is an absolutely damning report. It highlights the shocking scale of abuse, the disgraceful slowness of the church’s response, the abject failures of leadership by Cardinal Nichols, and the Vatican’s appalling refusal to cooperate properly with the inquiry. Cardinal Nichols needs to resign right away – in any other walk of life he would be gone immediately. This is a church that cannot be trusted to protect children. The only way forward now is a mandatory reporting law, so that abuse cannot be covered up, and independent external oversight of church safeguarding. The church cannot be relied on to put its own house in order, and so without these changes, children will continue to be at risk”

John Wallace

John Wallace Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

So agree with this, Richard. I hope Lambeth got discount for the amount of whitewash used! 

Simon Sarmiento

Admin Simon Sarmiento 

The complainant in this matter has issued a press release in reply:
https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pressrelease.pdf

Fr. Dean Henley 

As ever the Church comes out of this looking so grubby. The list of things the Archbishop ought to have resigned over gets ever longer but it’s clear that he’s determined to cling onto his office come hell or high water. He was a dormitory officer at the Iwerne holiday camps he must surely have been aware of the children’s scars.

Martin Sewell to  Fr. Dean Henley

I have been closely involved in this story for some time and am not afraid to make straight criticism where that is justified. I have not heard anyone who knows the facts seriously suggest that ++ Justin knew of the abuse at the time it was happening. I do not believe it. If that were to change I would be content to say so. I do not expect to do so. The problems lie elsewhere. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Martin Sewell

Martin, you say: “I have not heard anyone who knows the facts seriously suggest that ++ Justin knew of the abuse at the time it was happening”

I don’t think it relevant whether Archbishop Welby knew of John Smyth’s abuse “at the time it was happening” or not. Probably not, but that’s not the point.

I don’t like repeating myself [Opinion – 31 October 2020], but in this instance I will because I don’t think “the problems lie elsewhere”.

‘Let me be very specific about Archbishop Welby’s safeguarding failure regarding Smyth – which needs to be addressed now [not by the Makin Review next year]:
It was for the Archbishop of Canterbury to contact the Archbishop of Cape Town, after the Bishop of Ely had brought the matter to Lambeth’s attention.
“The Bishop of Ely wrote to the Archbishop of Cape Town to tell him, in some detail, the issues around Smyth [2013? – Ed]. The letter I have seen made it easy to find him by enclosing his current South African address. The idea that Smyth was uncontactable was patently absurd since he was an active figure in South African legal circles, working for the Justice Alliance of South Africa.  The Bishop of Ely received no replies and in May 2015 the DSA wrote to Graham to say that he ‘had no power to compel agencies in South Africa to respond to my concerns.’ This somewhat feeble response was the best that Ely could come up with in spite of seven letters from Graham between May 2014 and August 2015 to get the Church to take the whole issue seriously. The Titus Trust, although they knew that Smyth was entering Britain regularly on visits, refused to accept that they had any moral or legal obligations over his behaviour. From that point until the Channel 4 programme in Feb 2017, the story was like a ‘pass the parcel’ game. Nobody wanted to accept responsibility for enquiring too deeply into the abusive legacy of this man or the danger that he potentially posed for the church in the future’..

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: I’m not defending the Archbishop or speculating about what he may or may not have known, but just pointing out that although primus inter pares in the Anglican Communion, he has absolutely no jurisdiction outside England. If, as you say, the letter was sent to South Africa and there was no response from that end, then any culpability must rest there. You are absolutely correct that Smyth continued to hold a position of considerable public respect in South Africa after 2013. I have posted a very significant video of him on the ‘Surviving Church’ blog which illustrates this. He was a supreme ‘double-act’.

I think that everyone who has contributed so far on this thread ought to consider Martin Sewell’s post. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

Another whitewashed safeguarding failure which should lie heavy on the conscience of Archbishop Welby is the case of 96-year-old Barbara Whitley – Bishop Bell’s only-surviving niece up until five weeks ago [Oct 9 2020].

In 2017, Mrs Whitley said “I’m determined to clear his name before I die”.

Her dying wish was not granted by the Archbishop who maintained – even after the Church-commissioned Carlile and Briden reports proved the abuse allegations “unfounded” – that a “significant cloud” still hangs over the wartime Bishop of Chichester.

If any “cloud” exists, it now hangs heavy over the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Rowland Wateridge  Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: I have always been with you on the subject of Bishop Bell. My comment, inevitably, is based on what little we know about the present complaints which have been dismissed.

Some of the other comments on this thread have been highly speculative. Everyone should wait for the Makin report which will contain both a chronology and an executive summary. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

RW, I do not agree with you that we should wait for the Church-commissioned Makin Report which, it seems to me, will simply be a “chronology and executive summary” of what we clearly already know.

Also, I have a built-in scepticism of Church-commissioned reports – borne of 5 years bitter experience of Church PR/Propaganda – which can be published/delayed at the whim of whoever is ‘pulling the strings’ at the time.

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Richard: This is not a place for making bets, but I shall be amazed if Mr Makin’s report runs to less than 300 pages! I suspect it could be many more. He has faced a daunting task from the outset, and ‘developments’ on the way have added greatly to it. I don’t understand why you aren’t prepared to grant Mr Makin’s report the same status as Lord Carlile’s and Mr Biden’s. Both of those reports were commissioned by the Church. Can we leave it there? I understand your strength of feeling, particularly about Bishop Bell, which, to repeat, I share. 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

RW, of course I will grant the Makin report the same status as that of Carlile’s and Briden’s. It’s just that I don’t think the Makin report will fundamentally change anything within the Church hierarchy, just as the Carlile and Briden reports have not fundamentally changed anything within the Church hierarchy – especially relating to Bishop Bell.

Kate

Kate Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

We do know though that IICSA recommended dioceses needed a DSA instead of a DSO – ie someone independent of the diocesan bishop. The spirit of that recommendation has not been kept here as those who led the handling of this complaint don’t appear to be independent of Lambeth Palace, especially as Lambeth Palace published the outcome. Irrespective of whether there was any underlying wrongdoing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the process seems to flout the IICSA recommendations and IS a whitewash.

There were two options for proper governance
a) ask someone independent to review the complaints – ABC is a member of the House of Lords so maybe the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards could have helped
b) Justin Welby could have been suspended for a few months

So, in summary, we don’t know whether the complaints should have been upheld but I believe we do know that the process by which they were dismissed was inadequate.

The House of Lords Commissioner for Standards normally only considers complaints relating to Parliamentary duties but, almost uniquely, the Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio a member of the House of Lords. I think it is therefore possible to argue that anything connected with the performance of his office by which he became and automatically remains a member of the House of Lords is within scope. Do those here with a legal background feel that is a sufficient nexus to get a complaint reviewed by the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards? Indeed, if the Archbishop of Canterbury, or others on his behalf, have argued that communications with Cape Town lie outside his authority as Archbishop of Canterbury, that would strengthen an alternative argument that he had instead been approached in the matter as a Lord Spiritual. It seems to me that if the Dean of Christ Church was supposed to follow Church of England rules when approached with a safeguarding issue even in an academic context, that equally any safeguarding issue (because it involves possible criminality by the alleged perpetrator) which reaches the Lord Spiritual his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury should be handled under the standards of the House of Lords (as well as those of the Church of England) and that therefore a complaint to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards by those who know the facts might be in order?

Kate

Kate 

IICSA tells us that as a generality there have been serious problems relating to the handling of safeguarding complaints within the Church of England. The investigation published all the information it considered.
.

Set against that truly independent background, an investigator (presumably) appointed and paid for by the Church of England concludes in a particular case there is “nothing to see here” but publishes no information to support that conclusion.
.

Can the Church of England really not see that an independent observer might struggle to believe a carefully worded denial without evidence when set against the culture identified by IICSA?

Janet Fife Reply to  Kate

Kate, the complainant has asked me to post this reply to you: “It was not given to an independent investigator, but was looked at by NST themselves, under the Chair of Zena Marshall. It appears that Zena tried to undermine the process by condoning an approach by the Archbishops Chief of Staff direct to the complainant, presumably to persuade him to call off the dogs. There was no independent investigation. In fact, NST were at pains to point out there WAS no investigation”

Kate Reply to  Janet Fife

Janet, that is even worse then. It is impossible to see this as anything other than a whitewash.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife Reply to  Kate

You’re right. Industrial quantities of whitewash. 

Marise Hargreaves

Marise Hargreaves 

This is why the church cannot be allowed to continue investigating and judging its own. This has not been a fair, balanced, independent process given the reply by the complainant who again is sidelined as an inconvenient truth. It is an exercise in face saving and preservation of the hierarchy yet again. The only lessons learned is how to put together yet another statement which has a lot of words but no substance. Reply

Michael O’Sullivan

Michael O’Sullivan

How is it that the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be going about suspending people left right and centre for things they may or may not have done – I’m thinking his illustrious predecessor Lord Carey and, for example, the Bishop of Lincoln- when he’s clearly up to his ears in it himself? Reply

Stanley Monkhouse

Stanley Monkhouse 

I wonder how Private Eye was able to print this over a week ago. Lambeth Leaks?

David Lamming Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

As an exemplar of a comprehensive chronology, see pages 7-19 of the Pearl Review on Bishop Hubert Whitsey, A Betrayal of Trust (currently “taken down temporarily [from the website] because a legal issue concerning the report has been raised which needs to be considered carefully”: see the note dated 11/11/2020 on the News and Media pages of the C of E website. Rather like shutting the door after the horse has bolted since many people will doubtless have already downloaded the full report.) 

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 2 hours ago Reply to  David Lamming

I know it sounds blasé, but such detailed chronologies are bread and butter routine for lawyers handling complex child and vulnerable adult abuse cases. This, to my mind, is the principal criticism of the Church’s hopeless bungling of the Bishop Bell case by trying to handle something in-house which was entirely beyond their capabilities. It should have been outsourced, or someone with the necessary experience brought in. There was, and is, no shortage of such expertise. I don’t want to labour the point, but there are comments on this thread about the present complaint which fall as the chronology is… 

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Anthony Archer

Second reply: As late as 2015, possibly later, Smyth was living a publicly ‘respectable’ life in South Africa. He is known to have visited the UK in those years. This video of him appearing on South African public television in late 2014, possibly 2015, is revealing: full of aplomb and self-confident, and the deference of the TV interviewer to Smyth is striking:

htpps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdekLast edited 11 hours ago by Rowland Wateridge Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

The link does not appear to work, so this is a second attempt. I urge people to watch this video – it’s very revealing indeed. Smyth does mention his legal colleagues back in England as though nothing at all had happened as late as 2015. It’s significant that he himself had survived a charge of manslaughter in Zimbabwe years earlier. He left Harare in 2008.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-huJL5tdek 

Matthew Ineson

Matthew Ineson 

Of course Welby was cleared. Why? Because once again the CofE is marking its own homework, the investigation was conducted by the CofE. There is no way they will find him guilty of anything…because reputation is much more important than victims. Always has been, always will be.
Why wasn’t the investigation conducted by someone outside of, and totally independent of, the church? Because the church wouldnt dare allow it in case the truth wer
e exposed.

Rowland Wateridge 

May I, as my final contribution, add here something which I have posted on the corresponding ‘Surviving Church thread:

I’m going to boldly assert that people might have got hold of the wrong end of the stick about this latest ‘investigation’. I may be wrong, but my understanding is that it relates to past events and not current or future safeguarding failures. Smyth’s death in 2017 put an end to the latter, so a complaint made on those grounds in 2020 would not succeed.
 
Past misdemeanours can be misconduct and a matter for a CDM, but I don’t think the complaint was made in that way. There are, unsurprisingly, quite high hurdles (‘a proper interest in making the complaint’) in a CDM brought against an archbishop.
 
Much of the problem for the public at large, clergy and laity alike, is that we are never told any details other than a bald ‘guilty’ or ‘not ‘guilty’ outcome. People can, and I fear do, sometimes make wrong assumptions. If I have done so in this post, I will be happy to be corrected.

Janet Fife

Janet Fife 1 hour ago Reply to  Rowland Wateridge

Rowland, the complainant has asked me to reply as follows:

“Part of the complaint did refer to past behaviour, particularly Welby’s failures to investigate or stop Smyth in his tracks, and bring him to justice. I have been told that past behaviour cannot be looked at under the current Practice Guidelines. The “wider issues” relate to the fourteen untruths ( er……lies ?) that Welby said on the Channel 4 interview. Again, I was told, this is not a safeguarding matter. However, I argued that his failures and cover up of Smyth was not a one-off in 2013, but was repeated with cover up and failure to investigate his friend Jonathan Fletcher in 2016. This is a pattern of behaviour. Would he repeat it ? The Core Group was not prepared to address this, boldly asserting he is not currently a safeguarding risk. With regard to his inability to tell the truth, I asked whether he would tell the truth in the future. I was told this was not a safeguarding issue, but would be subject to “learnings” in the future ( and I think the Lambeth statement makes a nod to this with the phrase “striving to keep developing and learning in his own ministry”). Yes, so in one sense you are absolutely right: the Core Group would not look at the past, they just addressed “is the Archbishop currently a safeguarding risk ?” And decided not. However, they were not prepared to address the issue of “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour” and deemed his failure to give a full, frank disclosure of his knowledge and actions over Smyth as of no concern to them. I will add a PS: three NST people asked why I had not taken out a CDM, as that would have been more effective. I have been offered help filling out the forms. I may do so”

‘Gilo’

A telling sign when the CEO of a professional safeguarding organisation (dependent on CofE for much of its work) calls out CofE structure for dishonesty and injustice.

Tweet by CEO thirtyone:eight

In a structure with almost no accountablity (variable and ineffective at best) how does this vital component become part of necessary culture change? As part of my submission to the Interim Support Scheme I am calling for published apologies from a raft of senior figures for their cruelty and dishonesty, and their complicity with the dissembling by the Church’s agents, and for frankly rotten sets of behaviour.

This may be one of the ways forward – a procession of apologies across much of the senior layer published in Church Times. Survivors gradually bringing accountability to a structure – to hopefully shift the chaos, dysfunctionality and quiet corruption which we see yet again in the car crash of the Welby core group. And which so many of us are familiar with. These infamous core groups operate like a kind of Star Chamber with foregone conclusions. But I suspect the latest attempt to shield Archbishop Welby from questions might now be considered a home goal by Lambeth Palace advisors who have made an omnishambles of this cul-de-sac situation.

We have to find a way to hold individuals who consciously hide behind dysfunctional processes to account. Bishops are clearly not going to hold themselves voluntarily to account, and Lead Bishops are not able to tackle the problem. Complaints are a waste of time. The NST, unfit for purpose, protects the hierarchy within a fortress of bewildering confusion, and perhaps hope that bishops will address their own culture. So survivors must take the lead. As burnt out and exhausted as many of us are – we will have to do the necessary work of continuing to fight through the fog and corruption, until the bishops’ house becomes the culture it should already have been.

As example, a letter was signed by 7 of us about one senior figure, and sent to the Lead Bishops, Chair of the NSP, and Director of Safeguarding. Further letters were sent in connection with this complaint by two others. Those supplementary letters were if anything written in stronger tones than the original. Response? A ‘holding’ acknowledgement sent four months ago – and nothing since. This kind of protection enables senior figures to hide behind a cordon sanitaire.

My own view is that change is unlikely until figures across the top of the Church resign. There has been too much lack of integrity, too much investment in reputation management, and too much wilful reliance on bad process – over and above basic decency and honesty.

Richard W. Symonds to  Gilo

The words of ‘Gilo’ remind me of what Revd Graham Sawyer said at the IICSA in July 2018:

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

Richard W. Symonds to  Gilo

“As part of my submission to the Interim Support Scheme, I am calling for published apologies from a raft of senior figures for their cruelty and dishonesty, and their complicity with the dissembling by the Church’s agents, and for frankly rotten sets of behaviour. This may be one of the ways forward – a procession of apologies across much of the senior layer published in Church Times” ~ ‘Gilo’

I call upon all ‘Lords Spiritual’ [active Bishops and Archbishops] to offer their resignations en masse to the Supreme Head of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen – just as the Bishops of Chile offered their resignations en masse to the Pope in 2018:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/may-18-2018-chiles-bishops-offer-to-resign-en-masse-over-sex-abuse-cover-up-los-angeles-times/

FURTHER INFORMATION

PRIVATE EYE

UNDER A CLOUD

Matthew Ineson
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NOVEMBER 11 2020 – RICHARD SCORER – SOLICITOR AT SLATER AND GORDON – “THE ONLY WAY FORWARD NOW IS A MANDATORY REPORTING LAW, SO THAT ABUSE CANNOT BE COVERED UP, AND INDEPENDENT EXTERNAL OVERSIGHT OF CHURCH SAFEGUARDING. THE CHURCH CANNOT BE RELIED ON TO PUT ITS OWN HOUSE IN ORDER, AND SO WITHOUT THESE CHANGES, CHILDREN WILL CONTINUE TO BE AT RISK”

Catholic Church ‘turned blind eye’ to child sexual abuse and prioritised reputation, Inquiry finds

Between 1970 and 2015 there were more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse

By Gabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR 10 November 2020 • 1:33pm

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales CREDIT: Scavuzzo/AGF/REX/Shutterstock /Copyright (c) 2016 Rex Features. No use without permission. 

The Pope’s representative in England and Wales failed to show “personal responsibility and compassion” for child sex abuse victims and instead focussed on Church reputation, an Inquiry has concluded. 

In its final review of the Catholic Church, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that it “betrayed” its moral purpose by proriotising its reputation above children who had been sexually abused by priests. 

“Child sexual abuse,” the damning 162-page report concluded, “was swept under the carpet”, as authorities “turned a blind eye and failed to take action against perpetrators”.

However the IICSA also found Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, to be personally responsible for the damage. 

“There was no acknowledgement of any personal responsibility to lead or influence change,” the report said. “Nor did he demonstrate compassion towards victims in the recent cases which we examined.

“His acknowledgement that ‘there is plenty for us to achieve’ applies as much to him as it does to everyone else in the church. 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, leaves after giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, as part of the IICSA investigation of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Monday February 13, 2017.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, leaves after giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in London, as part of the IICSA investigation of the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Monday February 13, 2017. CREDIT: Kirsty O’Connor /PA 

“He did not always exercise the leadership expected of a senior member of the church, at times preferring to protect the reputation of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales and in Rome.”

“As the most senior Catholic leader in England and Wales, Cardinal Nichols should be leading by example”, the report added. “However, when he apologised for the Catholic Church’s failings in our 2018 hearing, he did not acknowledge any personal responsibility or show compassion for victims in the recent cases we examined.

“At times, the report finds, Cardinal Nichols has shown he cares more about the impact of child sexual abuse on the Catholic Church’s reputation than on victims and survivors.”

Between 1970 and 2015, the church received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of child sexual abuse against more than 900 individuals, including priests, monks and volunteers. 

Over that period, there were 177 prosecutions resulting in 133 convictions. Civil claims against dioceses and religious institutes have resulted in millions of pounds being paid in compensation.

Since 2016, there have been more than 100 reported allegations each year. 

However the Inquiry said that the true scale of abuse over the last 50 years is likely to have been far higher.

The report also found that the Catholic Church repeatedly failed to support victims and survivors, while taking positive action to protect alleged perpetrators, including moving them to different parishes. 

Victims described the profound and lifelong effects of abuse, including depression, anxiety, self-harming and trust issues.

Furthermore, The Holy See and the Apostolic Nuncio, its ambassador to the UK, did not provide a witness statement to this Inquiry despite repeated requests. 

They had been asked about the Apostolic Nuncio’s involvement in handling child sexual abuse allegations at Ealing Abbey, as well as other issues. The Inquiry said it “could not understand their lack of cooperation”.

The IICSA report made seven recommendations to better protect children in future, focusing on key issues including leadership, training and external auditing.

Professor Alexis Jay OBE, Chair of the Inquiry, said:“For decades, the Catholic Church’s failure to tackle child sexual abuse consigned many more children to the same fate.

“It is clear that the Church’s reputation was valued above the welfare of victims, with allegations ignored and perpetrators protected.

“Even today, the responses of the Holy See appear at odds with the Pope’s promise to take action on this hugely important problem.

“While some progress has been made, there still needs to be lasting change to culture and attitudes to avoid repeating the failures of the past.

One victim who gave evidence, identified by the inquiry only as A711, said the report sheds “light on the abysmal failings of the church in its dealings with victims and survivors of abuse”. 

“This must not be written off as a historic issue. It continues to this day.

“The church needs a seismic shift in culture, especially at the top. If there is any hope at all of real change it will require a relinquishing of power, and a will to treat survivors as human beings.”

She added: “I have experienced an ongoing struggle to retrieve material that the Diocese holds about me. When I asked the Diocese for information I was met with the full force of its legal team. 

“Yet again, the Church has fought to protect its reputation, and silence the voice of victims and survivors. It could not get much worse. 

“In my own case, thousands of pounds have been spent by the Diocese of Westminster in employing lawyers to keep me at arm’s length.” 

Richard Scorer, a solicitor at the law firm Slater and Gordon who represented 32 survivors, said: “This is an absolutely damning report. It highlights the shocking scale of abuse, the disgraceful slowness of the church’s response, the abject failures of leadership by Cardinal Nichols, and the Vatican’s appalling refusal to cooperate properly with the inquiry.

“Cardinal Nichols needs to resign right away – in any other walk of life he would be gone immediately. This is a church that cannot be trusted to protect children. 

“The only way forward now is a mandatory reporting law, so that abuse cannot be covered up, and independent external oversight of church safeguarding. The church cannot be relied on to put its own house in order, and so without these changes, children will continue to be at risk”

Despite facing calls to resign from victims following the publication of the damning report, Cardinal Nichols said he will continue in his role as Archbishop of Westminster.

He said he recently offered his resignation to the Pope because of his age, but that the offer was turned down.

“I was 75 very recently, a few weeks ago as according to the law of the Church, I sent my resignation into Pope Francis and I have received a very unequivocal reply, and that is that he tells me to stay in office here,” he said.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis CREDIT: REMO CASILLI /REUTERS 

“So that is what I will do, that is where my orders come from. I’m staying.”

He said his resignation was offered on the basis of his age and not to do with anything contained within the report “which has already been in the public domain”.

Asked if he was the right person to lead the Catholic Church in England and Wales despite the report, he added: “I do what I’m told. The Holy Father put me here and he tells me to stay here – that’s enough for me.”

He said: “I’m not here to defend myself … I am here to say we accept this report, we are grateful to IICSA for bringing the light and giving public space to those who have been abused, we are deeply sorry this happened.

“Together as a body we are really sorry – really sorry – for all that has happened over these years and I want to assure everyone we are here to learn and improve, and to keep that steady improving response going.

“Today is more about me saying again, on behalf of everybody in the Catholic Church, how deeply, deeply regretful and sorry I am that anybody suffered, and that so many suffered is a terrible shame with which I must live and from which I must learn.”

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NOVEMBER 9 2020 – BARBARA WHITLEY (1924-2020) – RIP – FROM THE ARCHIVES [DECEMBER 15 2019 – “DOES ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S PRIDE MATTER MORE THAN AN ELDERLY LADY’S PAIN?”]

BARBARA WHITLEY [1924-2020] – RIP

Dec 15 2019 – “Does Archbishop Welby’s pride matter more than an elderly lady’s pain?” – Peter Hitchens – Denton Daily

George-Bell-niece-Barbara-Whitley-2

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Mrs Barbara Whitley

PETER HITCHENS: Does Archbishop Welby‘s pride matter more than an elderly lady‘s pain? 

https://dentondaily.com/peter-hitchens-does-archbishop-welbys-pride-matter-more-than-an-elderly-ladys-pain/embed/#?secret=tZzpXikvE8

PETER HITCHENS: Does Archbishop Welby‘s pride matter more than an elderly lady‘s pain? 

by Denton Staff Contributor — December 15, 2019

This Christmas I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury 

This I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley. More than three years ago, the Church of England publicly accused her beloved long-dead uncle of the filthy crime of child sex abuse.

The charge was based on the word of a single accuser, more than half a century after the supposed offence. The Church had presumed his guilt and made no serious effort to discover the truth. Key living witnesses were neither sought, found nor interviewed. A senior bishop admitted soon afterwards that they were actually not convinced the claim was true. Yet by some mysterious process, a number of newspapers and stations, all on the same day, felt safe in confidently pronouncing that Barbara’s uncle had been a disgusting paedophile. No ifs or buts. Who told them?

A later inquiry would show that this miserable episode was based on nothing more than a chaotic, sloppy kangaroo court. One of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, Lord Carlile, tore the case against Barbara’s uncle to shreds. He said there would have been no chance of a conviction on the evidence available, and made mincemeat of the shambolic committee that had published the original allegation.

After delaying the release of this inquiry for weeks, Justin Welby’s church eventually published it. But did it admit its mistake and restore the reputation of Barbara Whitley’s wrongly defamed uncle?

Nope. Mr Welby, in defiance of all the rules of British justice, sulkily insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over the name of Barbara’s uncle. Thus, just as she might have been able to rejoice that her relative’s name had at last been cleared, the Head of the Established Church made it his personal business to prevent this.

And then, a few weeks later, another supposed allegation against her uncle was said to have been made. Why then? What was it? Who had made it? Nobody would say, but it served to stifle potential criticism of Mr Welby at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was about to begin. Details of the second allegation remain a secret. After nearly a year, Mr Welby’s church (which has a bad record of sitting on reports that it doesn’t like) still hasn’t come up with its conclusions. Yet Sussex Police, given the same information, dropped their investigations into the matter after a few short weeks.

It all looks a bit as if someone is trying to save someone’s face. But the cruelty to Barbara Whitley, who was 91 when this horrible saga began, is appalling. Who cares about some prelate’s pride (a sin in any case) when Mrs Whitley could be spared any more pain?

Because the cruelty to Mrs Whitley seems to me to be so shocking in a supposedly Christian organisation, I have deliberately left till last that the object of these accusations is the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell. Bell was, as people who knew him have told me, a kind, scrupulously honest, courageous man. He was, most notably, a beloved friend of the German Christians who fought against Hitler and a brave critic of the cruelty of war. I sometimes wonder if modern bishops and archbishops are afraid of being compared with him. They have reason to be. In the meantime, Mr Welby’s church should end Mrs Whitley’s agony.

Does anyone really doubt that, if the archbishop wanted to, he could end the whole business today?

BARBARA WHITLEY CALLS FOR ARCHBISHOP WELBY’S RESIGNATION – 2017

BBC
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42415659

TELEGRAPH
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/21/bishop-bells-niece-determined-clear-name-death/

The Argus – February 3 2016

FEBRUARY 3 2016: “HE TOLD ME IT WAS OUR LITTLE SECRET BECAUSE GOD LOVED ME” – ARGUS FRONT PAGE + PAGE 4 – “MY STRONGEST MEMORY IS SEEING THIS FIGURE ALL IN BLACK STANDING ON A STAIR, WAITING” + PAGE 10 – EDITORIAL COMMENT

“There is no doubt ‘Carol’ was abused as a child in Chichester – but it wasn’t Bishop Bell” ~ Richard W. SymondsThe Bell Society

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NOVEMBER 5 2020 – ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY AND JOHN SMYTH: “CHURCH NEWS – SILENT TREATMENT” – PRIVATE EYE [NO. 1534 – 6 NOVEMBER-19 NOV 2020 – PAGE 41]

Private Eye

“CHURCH NEWS – SILENT TREATMENT” – PRIVATE EYE [NO. 1534 – 6 NOVEMBER-19 NOV 2020 – PAGE 41]

IN August we reported that the Church of England was dealing with a complaint against Archbishop Justin Welby (Eye 1529). The complaint alleged that Welby had failed to act on information he received in 2013 about abuse by his friend John Smyth QC.

A victim of Smyth had disclosed his abuse to the church in 2012, and the information was passed to Welby in August 2013 by the Bishop of Ely. The details arrived at Lambeth Palace via Welby’s chaplain, along with a note pointing out that Smyth was an old camping buddy of the archbishop.

Welby chose not to report the abuse to the police or social services, leaving it to Ely to eventually do the job. So confident was he that the right thing to do was to do nothing that he didn’t consult his safeguarding advisers, or even pick up the phone to his old friend Smyth to ask what was it all about.

The complaint also raised the question of, er, mis-statements that Welby has made about the case in the past couple of years, such as his assertion to Channel 4 News that Smyth was not an Anglican at all [he was], and that Welby had written to the Archbishop of Cape Townto warn him of the abuser on his patch [he hadn’t].

Saints be praised, the Eye learns that the complaint against Welby has now been dismissed. The core group of church staff formed to adjudicate on their boss decided that whatever he had done or left undone in 2013 is not a safeguarding matter and so doesn’t need to be investigated. Nor does the question of his untrue statements on the case. The only thing that matters is whether Welby is likely to cause harm today, and they concluded that he currently poses as much risk as a damp flannel.

Whatever one’s views on whether archbishops should tell the truth, it’s hard to see why Welby’s failure to act on a report of abuse by an old friend doesn’t constitute a safeguarding risk – especially since that 72-year-old friend was continuing to induce young men to share naked showers with him and swap masturbatory tips.

Smyth had managed to evade justice in the UK and then in Zimbabwe, where he is thought to have abused as many as 90 children.

By the time of his death in 2018, Hampshire Police had asked Smyth to return to the UK for questioning. In the five years between Welby’s documented knowledge of the abuse and his friend’s death, Smyth had made at least two visits to the UK, in March 2014 and December 2016, during which he could presumably have been arrested and his abuse stopped.

If Welby was not at fault for failing to act on what he knew about Smyth, presumably he will now feel no need to fess up to what he knows about other abusive friends, such as Revd Jonathan Fletcher (Eye 1499).

He clearly disagrees with the witness who told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) last year:

“Nobody can say ‘it is not my fault’. It is so absurd. To say ‘I have heard about a problem but it was someone else’s job to report it’ – that is not an acceptable human response, yet alone a leadership response”

That witness was Archbishop Justin Welby.

Archbishop Justin Welby

“the core group, specially chosen [they say ‘formed’] from Archbishop Welby’s staff, decided to try to bury it!” – CH

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OCTOBER 31 2020 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY UNDER PRESSURE TO ADMIT HIS SAFEGUARDING FAILURES

Archbishop Justin Welby

ARCHBISHOP WELBY UNDER PRESSURE TO ADMIT HIS SAFEGUARDING FAILURES

Four months ago, there was a formal complaint by ‘Graham’ against the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [June 12 2020].

Three months ago, Paul Handley – Church Times Editor – wrote an article ”NST considers safeguarding complaint against Welby [CT, July 28], and quoted the NST [National Safeguarding Team]: “Since a formal complaint has now been received by the NST, it is reviewing the information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.” A core group had been set up, according to the Church Times report, which also quoted ‘Graham’ as saying “there is no evidence that Archbishop Welby took steps to ensure that the allegations [against John Smyth] were known to the authorities in South Africa”. Lambeth Palace was contacted about the allegations against Smyth in 2013 – five years before his death in 2018.

“The key person who seems missing in action is…Justin Welby” ~ Stephen Parsons

This raises serious safeguarding concerns:

(a) ‘Safeguarding’ is the responsibility of all – including Archbishops.

(b) John Smyth was left to abuse others in South Africa for a further five years.

(c) Public interest in the outcome of a serious complaint against a Church of England Archbishop.

NB Archbishop Welby has not been suspended for these safeguarding failures, whereas the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson was suspended, and the Permission To Officiate [PTO] of former Archbishop George Carey revoked.

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ ANALYSIS 1 – NOV 2020

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’ ANALYSIS II – JULY 2020

MORE ARTICLES

2020

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/archbishop-canterbury-abuse-summer-camp-church-england-a9641601.html

2019

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/18-april/news/uk/smyth-abuse-survivors-dispute-welby-claim


2019

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/13/justin-welby-church-scrutiny-sadistic-christian-camp


2017

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/02/justin-welby-church-england-john-smyth-abuse-claims

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OCTOBER 26 2020 – WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEAR-CRIMINAL CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL FIVE YEARS AGO THIS MONTH – OCTOBER 22 2015 – RESULTING IN A MEDIA FRENZY WHICH FALSELY CONDEMNED HIM A PAEDOPHILE?

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEAR-CRIMINAL CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL FIVE YEARS AGO THIS MONTH – OCTOBER 22 2015 – RESULTING IN A MEDIA FRENZY WHICH FALSELY CONDEMNED HIM A PAEDOPHILE?

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Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883 -1958

22/10/2015

The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his “deep sorrow” acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church.”

Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency.”

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:

“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light.  While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013.  That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life.  For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything.  How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse?  However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology.  What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester.”

The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995. Bishop Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the matter further. It was not until contact with Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.

In his letter to the survivor Bishop Warner acknowledges that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the survivor first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then.”

In accordance with the recommendations of the Church Commissaries’ report into the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 the settlement does not impose any form of “confidentiality agreement” restriction regarding public disclosure upon the individual. In this case the survivor has expressed the desire to remain anonymous.

Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.

A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.

The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.

Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A copy of this statement can be found on the Church of England website and the Diocese of Chichester website.

For further information contact Lisa Williamson at the Diocese of Chichester Communications office on 01273 425791 or The Revd Dr Rob Marshall +44 (0) 7766 952113

The Rt. Revd. Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham in the Diocese of Chichester is available for interview today. Please use the above numbers or contact his office on 01403 211139

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS AFTER CHURCH STATEMENT ON BISHOP BELL

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Chichester (Martin Warner) Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell [1883-1958] 

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….” – Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Oct 22 2015 – “I would be grateful…if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine [to Cathedral Guides]

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Oct 22 2015 – Statement on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958)” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 22 2015 – “Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood

Oct 22 2015 – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop of Chichester George Bell sex abuse victim gets compensation” – BBC News – Sussex

Oct 22 2015 – “Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child” – Chichester Observer

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation” – Chichester Observer

“The grandson was asked the reason why his school building, dedicated to Bishop George Bell, had been re-named. The answer came straight back, ‘Because he was a paedophile’” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 23 2015 – “Bishop revealed to have sexually abused child” / “The dark secret of a respected peacemaker” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

Oct 23 2015 – “Conservative Government Threatened By Sex Scandals” – Aangirfan

Oct 24 2015 – “Former bishop’s despicable fall from grace will prompt much soul-searching from the Church” / “Abuse victim hits out over ‘systematic behaviour’” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 27 2015 – Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences – BBC News

Oct 28 2015 – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 28 2015 – “Church in third sex abuse scandal as ex-vicar is convicted” / “Where did it go wrong for the Diocese of Chichester?” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 29 2015 – “Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks” – BBC News

Nov 4 2015 – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 7 2015 – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Nov 9 2015 – “The tragedy of former bishop who committed terrible acts” – Tony Greenstein – Opinion – The Argus

Nov 9 2015 – “Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Nov 13 2015 – “The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell” – The Church Times – Letter – Alan Pardoe QC

Nov 20 2015 – “Church of England media statement on Bishop Bell – further comment” – The Church Times – Letter – Dr Brian Hanson

Nov 22 2015 – “My defence of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 5 2015 – A Background to “The Jersey Way” – Photopol

Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane

Dec 31 2015 – “Peter Ball: letters of support released” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Winter 2015 – Chichester Cathedral Newsletter – Stephen Waine, Dean on Bishop Bell

Excerpt from the IPSO complaint against the Argus newspaper – October 2020

‘…Indeed, the subsequent report (published in December 2017) by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, who was commissioned by the Church of England to “conduct a Review into the way the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop Bell,” said (critically) of the press statement of 22 October 2015, announcing the settlement and apology, that “it provided the following conclusions:

(i) The allegations had been investigated, and a proper process followed.

(ii) The allegations had been proved; therefore

(iii) There was no doubt that Bishop Bell had abused Carol.”  (Carlile Review, para 237.)

Lord Carlile’s report, which condemned that statement, is not even mentioned in the Argus article.  By contrast, even though Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not ask him “to determine the truthfulness of Carol, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell” he stated clearly (para 171) “Had the evidence my review has obtained without any particular difficulty… been available to the Church and the CPS, I doubt that the test for a prosecution would have been passed.”

“REMEMBER THAT WORDS HAVE CONSEQUENCES” – LORD MACDONALD

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OCTOBER 26 2020 – ON HYPOCRITES AND HYPOCRISY

Hypocrisy, like hate, knows no national boundary as a WhatsApp forward from US confirms

“For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit,” said Noam Chomsky. But hypocrisy is all-pervasive and can be found everywhere. Acknowledgment and an apology might just help

Samir Nazareth – National Herald India

Published: 25 Oct 2020, 5:30 PM

I recently received a WhatsApp forward of an American Catholic priest using his sermon to speak out against presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice-presidential candidate.

His argument was based on their ‘un-Christianness’ which includes their pro-choice stance, support for trans people and gay marriage and their alleged bent towards socialism. He also blames them for the unrest in the US. There are two levels of hypocrisy here. The obvious one is that he is blind to Trump’s ‘un-Christianness’ – his infidelity, his many marriages, his disrespect of others, his dodging of taxes, his lies that put millions of lives in danger, to name just a few. The second level of hypocrisy is ignoring the fact that Jesus Christ was the first socialist and his teachings are in effect the fundamentals of socialism. He gathered the poor, the weak and the oppressed and gave them hope and said all are equal in God’s eyes.

It’s a wonder that this priest doesn’t see the ‘tithe’ (portion of the produce or earning given to support the religion and the clergy) as socialism in practice. One wonders who will bear the cost of this priest’s hypocrisy. The fact of the matter is that hypocrisy is the grease that makes the world go round. As a corollary, the bigger the hypocrite, the greater the individual’s social capital. There is a reason for this. People do not call out hypocrites and make the person accountable because they themselves have something to hide or lose – tangible or intangible. When a leader or his political party’s actions are called out, the counter charge of hypocrisy I used, becomes both an offensive and defensive weapon. For example, whenever the Congress party questions the BJP on riots, corruption, nepotism etc, the BJP points a mirror at them and to their track record. It ultimately leads to a status quo or stalemate that draws attention away from the original issue.

At a personal level, to not use various forms of hypocrisy in everyday life would mean either living as a saint or not participating in society. As social animals we deal with a variety of people, attitudes, and opinions. Thus, to function within a certain milieu, it becomes necessary to look beyond things that may not fit our framework. If there is damage, then it is limited to the self, but the choice is an individual one.

However, what happens when an entire section of society chooses hypocrisy? Take the example of a survey conducted by the polling firm YouGov. It found that 72% of Indian Americans are going to vote for Biden-Harris. This means that they espouse the liberal ideals of the Democratic party. Their liberal ideals do not extend to the land of their ancestors though. Why wouldn’t those enjoying and protecting liberalism in America want the same for their folks back home in India? The support from this section of American society for the Indian Prime Minister has strengthened his image and hold over the country.

The ramifications of such sanctimony are far more egregious because of the consequences for those at the receiving end.

What happens when institutions that are supposed to be pillars of society choose to be hypocrites? The fallouts are manifold – citizens lose faith in them, they opt for alternatives which range from fake news to taking the law into their hands to either mete out justice or exact justice. In the process the country becomes a nation of hypocritical lawbreakers. Of course, such an extreme will not be reached because either the laws would be changed in time or the courts will set the guilty free. These actions will find resonance in the media.

It is not easy for a society to not transact in hypocrisy when it has become the lifeblood and a valuable currency. But this must be done if we are to come out into the light. I would suggest a four-step process. Acknowledgement, Restitution, Remediation and finally Prevention.

Acknowledgement does not accomplish much if there is no restitution and remediation. Restitution and remediation can include not interfering in the investigative and judicial process. These steps can neutralise the charge of hypocrisy. It may also inspire people to look at their own actions and inspire citizens to speak truth to power. More importantly democratic institutions and those who administer them will regain the trust of the people they are supposed to serve.

I am sure you will say these are the suggestions of an idealist and therefore a pipedream. Given how deeply hypocrisy is entrenched as an administrative and political ethic, it won’t of course be easy, but there are instances from history. Post the Salem Witch trials not only was an apology tendered to the victims but restitution offered.

President Lincoln established Thanksgiving to repent to god for ‘our national perverseness and disobedience’ during the Civil War. Pandit Nehru apologised to foreign missions attacked by rioters in Delhi. Arkansas Governor offered apologies after African-Americans were refused service at a café. Pope Francis apologises and seeks forgiveness from victims abused by priests. Manmohan Singh apologised for the anti-Sikh riots. Though one can argue that these had nothing to do with combating hypocrisy, the fact of the matter is that apologising is not new. What will be different are the next steps and eventual outcomes.

Hypocrisy in society and in the functioning of institutions is corrosive as it ultimately negates what can be the best in us as a society and country. It is far more important to come out of its servitude because then we will be able to deal with so called 1200 years of slavery.

Full Disclosure – I am a hypocrite on the path to recovery.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.

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OCTOBER 25 2020 – WILLIAM NYE – “SHADOWY FIGURE” BEHIND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BEYOND [PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1533 – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020]

WILLIAM NYE – “SHADOWY FIGURE” BEHIND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND BEYOND [PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1533 – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020]

“CHURCH NEWS” AND WILLIAM NYE [+ CHRISTCHURCH + JOHN SENTAMU] – PRIVATE EYE – NO. 1533 – 23 OCTOBER – 5 NOV 2020

CHURCH NEWS

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report on the Church of England tow weeks ago, sending a chill wind up many a cassock.

It found that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable”.

The church duly pre-emptied the report with a flurry of announcements designed to, er, protect its reputation. Besides establishing a fund to help survivors , it launched a “Safe Spaces” helpline to counsel victims – which was first promised in 2014, has been endlessly delayed ever since but was somehow magically ready for lift-off in the very week the IICSA report was published (Eye 1511).

Alas, the course of true reputation management never did run smooth. The survivors’ support fund was agreed under the name Pilot Interim Survivors Support, until someone pointed out the unfortunate acronym. It was also announced before there were any mechanisms or criteria for claiming – and before any actual funds were available to draw on.

The Safe Spaces helpline, which is only funded for another 18 months anyway, went live this month with broken links, untrained staff and an answerphone message saying that the service would be up and running in September. Some calls to the live phoneline on the launch day went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Justin Welby reacted to the IICSA report by issuing the customary press release saying he was even more appalled/ashamed/determined to do better than he had been the last time he was appalled/ashamed/determined to do better, and the time before that.

But although it is Welby who fronts the apologies, behind the scenes the ecclesiocrats in Church House are directed by a shadowy figure unknown to most church members and even most clergy – William Nye, who became secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council in 2015 after four years as Prince Brian’s PPS [Principal Private Secretary to Prince Charles – Ed]

William Nye in 2013

The publicity-shy ex-courtier, who used to run the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office, now earns north of £170,000 plus bonuses, well over twice Welby’s wad, though staff say he would struggle to organise a consecration in a cathedral .

The church’s management of safeguarding has descended into chaos, but spending on it has ballooned from £50,000 to around £20m, without a single penny of redress being delivered to survivors of abuse.

Nye recently survived a complaint about the leadership of the church’s safeguarding, but there is pressure for a full review of its governance.

The Archbishops’ Council, which he leads, is currently being investigated by the regulatory compliance division of the Charity Commission

Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford, has written to alumni and supporters pleading for contributions to its Covid-19 Student Support Fund. The College needs to raise £90,000, “at a time when there is enormous demand on the institution’s finances…Should you be able to help support our students during this very challenging time, we encourage you to help make a difference now.

How reassuring to know that student welfare during the pandemic is such a high priority, but heartbreaking to realise that the college can’t afford £90,000 and so has to pass round the begging bowl.

Clearly, this can’t be the same Christ Church, Oxford, that has funds of more than half a billion quid stashed away (£588m in 2018/19, up by £23m from the previous year) – and that has so far spent £2m on legal bills in a failed attempt to sack its dean (Eyes passim)

Former archbishop of York John Sentamu

BASHING BISHOPS

“‘Snubbed’ archbishop WILL get his peerage…Downing Street had apparently always intended to ennoble former archbishop of York John Sentamu. A source added: ‘Everyone recognises his great contribution, and the peerage was never in doubt.’ It will allow Dr Sentamu to continue sitting in the House of Lords following his retirement in June.” – Daily Mail outraged by idea senior clergy should be denied voice in politics, page 24, 19 October

“With congregations shrinking and churches struggling for survival, you’d think Anglican archbishops would be concentrating firmly on their day job. Instead, they appear to have formed an anti-government lobby group…Regardless of the merits of the Internal Market Bill, what on earth does it have to do with the Church? If these clerics want to be politicians, they should stand for election.” – Daily Mail outraged by idea senior clergy should be allowed voice in politics, page 16, 19 October

FURTHER INFORMATION

VIRTUE ONLINE

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OCTOBER 20 2020 – “GIBBS: INDEPENDENT BODY WILL SUPERVISE CHURCH’S SAFEGUARDING” – CHURCH TIMES – HATTIE WILLIAMS

“Gibbs: independent body will supervise Church’s safeguarding” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

INDEPENDENT trustees will hold the National Safeguarding Team of the C of E to account, the lead bishop of safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has confirmed. In addition, an independent panel will be set up to approve support packages for survivors. “Whatever it costs, the money will be found,” he said.
Dr Gibbs, who is also the Bishop of Huddersfield, was speaking on Monday after the House of Bishops unanimously endorsed a motion to accept the investigation report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), and “unreservedly apologise” to victims and survivors for the harm done by the Church. The House also committed itself to “urgently implementing” the Inquiry’s recommendations.
One of these recommendations was to upgrade the post of diocesan safeguarding adviser (DSA) to diocesan safeguarding officer (DSO) in order to allow them to be able to take the lead on safeguarding matters, including reporting serious incidents and commissioning investigations and risk-assessments.
To do this, the House agreed unanimously to establish an independent safeguarding structure, with a new trustee body, to take over responsibility from the Archbishops’ Council. The Bishops also agreed that an interim arrangement be put in place for additional independent oversight of safeguarding before the new trustee body is established.
Dr Gibbs explained after the meeting: “The key thing is that we are all agreed that safeguarding needs to be independent: we can’t have bishops, diocesan secretaries, making decisions about safeguarding for two reasons: because they are not professionally qualified in safeguarding, and because there is an element of structural conflict of interest. They have a diocese to look after and to run, so there is always a potential conflict.”
He reported full support among the Bishops for the independence of diocesan safeguarding advisers. The Bishops were “very happy to explore changing their name and status to diocesan safeguarding officers, but really in order to be affective that needs to be picked up in terms of how we structure the whole question of independence. . . and accountability.”
He clarified that under current guidance, DSAs are already able to report safeguarding issues without seeking permission; “but the reality is that they are employed within the diocese and line-managed by diocesan secretaries and bishops, and we need to cut that.”
It was an issue of balance, Dr Gibbs said. “You need people to have a proper degree of independence; but, on the other hand, they need to be rooted and integrated in the diocese if they are really going to bring about culture change.”
The new trustee body would oversee the National Safeguarding Team and hold it to account, rather than the Archbishops’ Council, as at present. Whether or not the independent trustees would have any relationship to the Church was “still to be worked out”, he said. “It has to be credible, partly that they are not answerable to and being line-managed by the National Church Institutions.”
The Church Times understands that the body would be established, and members appointed by an independent body, such as the Charity Commission.
Dr Gibbs said that both Archbishops were keen to implement this “very soon”. There would be a management board with an independent chair and the equivalent of non-executive directors. “You then have to think who represents the Church on that; some have suggested the lead bishop; but there clearly needs to be a majority of independent members on that board who are holding the NST to account on their safeguarding work.”
The NST has been criticised recently for its handling of safeguarding cases, particularly in relation to core groups, as in the case of the Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy (News, 11 September). Dr Gibbs said that a full review and consultation on the core group process was “imminent”.
“The [2017] guidelines were written for someone who had been alleged to have abused someone; the complicated cases we have been dealing with recently are whether this senior church person has properly handled the process: that is a different issue. . . We certainly need to clarify at what stage and how are people represented; what are the procedures for making sure that things are being done properly; what is the process for appealing.” There was “a lot to do”.
Asked about the interim redress scheme for survivors to provide immediate financial and pastoral need, Dr Gibbs said: “We are aware of particular cases where there is urgent financial need and for other kinds of support . . . counselling, therapy, life coaching, debt advice. . . We recognise that we have a lot to learn about how we do this, which is why it is a pilot scheme.”
He described a system designed to repair the damage caused not by the original abuse but by how complaints were handled subsequently. “We are not revisiting at this stage the original claim; that may come later in the [full] redress scheme. What we are looking at is what has happened to [survivors] since they have first disclosed: in particular how has the Church responded to them?
“Sadly, some survivors have found that the whole process of disclosure — and how that has been handled by the Church and its representatives, i.e. insurance companies and lawyers — has left them in a worse place than before they disclosed. That is deeply shocking.”
A “package of support” would be decided upon and offered by an independent panel, which is currently being convened so that decisions about the case are not made by the lead bishops or by members of the NST.
“That would include an independent chair who has worked with survivors, a survivor voice in the panel, and someone with expertise in understanding trauma: a psychologist background.”
There was a fund to get this started, and the Church Commissioners had been approached to work out when and how redress might be costed, Dr Gibbs said. “Even in the interim phase, we need access to serious money to do this job. The needs of survivors will be funded to the extent that they need to be funded; this is about compassion, justice, and, dare I say it, generosity.
“Whatever it costs, the money will be found. That is a matter of honour as far as I am concerned. We have failed people dreadfully in the past.”
A new “more demanding” suite of training had also been developed to change attitudes to safeguarding on the ground. It brought people face-to-face with the kind of clericalism and deference highlighted in recent television documentaries, he said, which were also used in training. Recruitments processes were also being revised.
What was significant at the meeting on Monday, Dr Gibbs said, “was the fact that we had 100-per-cent support from the bishops — to recognise not only the need for cultural change, but their role in helping to drive and lead cultural change.”
Dr Gibbs, who has two more years as lead safeguarding bishop, said that there was “a small window of opportunity” to listen to survivors in order to bring about cultural change and establish training and independence. He did not want to waste it.
“We are starting from a very low base of trust. I am well aware that there is a well of frustration, anger, hurt, about the way that survivors have been treated in the past. I am very grateful for their willingness to work with us at all. I am very conscious that we have a very small window of opportunity to take this forward.”
While his role is primarily strategic, he said, “my contacts with individuals also massively influences my whole perspective.”
The House of Bishops is due to release a full response to the IICSA report in the coming weeks.

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OCTOBER 16 2020 – APPEAL AGAINST IPSO RULING AWAITED ON MONSTROUS ‘BISHOP BELL’ ARTICLE IN THE BRIGHTON ARGUS

IPSO RULING AWAITED ON MONSTROUS ‘BISHOP BELL’ ARTICLE IN BRIGHTON ARGUS

“RECOGNISE THAT WORDS HAVE CONSEQUENCES” – LORD MACDONALD

“If Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner had been unequivocal in clearing the name of Bishop George Bell, such articles would never have been written” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

I agree with you that Aidan Barlow’s [Argus] report is sloppy.  It is more than that: it is reprehensible and Bishop Bell would have grounds to sue the Argus for damages for defamation were he still alive – David Lamming

“Argus Crime Reporter Aidan Barlow really should have done his homework much, much better. As a trained journalist, I know about looking into all the facts, before setting anything down” ~ Sandra Saer

“It is wicked of the Argus to lump George Bell together with Peter Ball – one convicted and the other cleared. They obviously knew they would be giving a false impression” ~ Christopher Hoare

“The tone of the “response” to your very valid complaint is shamelessly insulting and patronising. Its awful syntax and obfuscating abuse of the English language is a disgrace. These people must be perfectly aware of what they are doing. Anything rather admit they’ve made a dreadful mistake. And they even imply that as the saintly bishop’s 95 year old niece hasn’t complained they need to do nothing” ~ Lindsay

“I have not had any contact with Barbara Whitley since Timothy Briden’s ruling that Alison’s allegations against Bell were unfounded…IPSO is not the appropriate body to investigate Carol’s allegations even assuming that Carol consented as well as the Bell descendants…Bell is in any event entitled to the presumption of innocence, particularly after the demolition by Lord Carlile of the conclusions of the Diocesan Core Group concerning Carol and by Mr Briden concerning Alison…I do not share the Bell Society’s position…that there is no doubt Carol was abused” ~ ‘B’

RWS Note: Sadly, Barbara Whitley died two weeks ago – October 9 2020.

Our reference: 28452-20(The Argus (Brighton) (Newsquest Media Group)


Dear Mr Symonds,

I write further to our earlier email regarding your complaint about an article headlined “Church’s child sex abuse shame”, published by The Argus on 8 October 2018.

When IPSO receives a complaint, the Executive staff review it first to decide whether the complaint falls within our remit, and whether it raises a possible breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

We have read your complaint carefully, and have decided that it does not raise a possible breach of the Editors’ Code.

You said that the article breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) because, by stating that “[a] an independent inquiry into child sex abuse within the Church looked at the conduct of former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and former Bishop of Chichester George Bell”, the article gave the misleading impression that George Bell, like Peter Ball, had been found guilty of child sex offences. The report released by the inquiry in question did mention George Bell by name, and so we found that it was no inaccurate nor misleading for the article to state that the inquiry had “looked at” George Bell’s conduct, where the article did not state that Mr Bell had been convicted of any offence in relation to the allegations against him. For this reason, we found no possible breach of Clause 1 on this point.

You also said that the article breached Clause 1 because you consider that it misrepresented the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse’s (IICSA) report, as the report “was thorough and wide-ranging with detailed recommendations, finding that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation, was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable” and the article instead chose to focus on the mention of George Bell within the report.

Newspapers have the right to choose which pieces of information they publish, as long as this does not lead to a breach of the Code.

In this case, failing to mention recommendations made by the report did not make the article inaccurate or misleading, where you did not dispute that the report was critical of the Church of England and that George Bell had been named in the report. Where these pieces of information were included in the report, the publication was entitled to focus on them and so we found that your complaint on this point did not raise any possible breach of Clause 1.

You said that the article as a whole breached Clause 1, as you consider that it gave the impression that Mr Bell was guilty of the crimes for which he was alleged to have committed, for instance by referring to ‘Carol’ as a “victim.” In this case, we decided that the alleged inaccuracy related directly to George Bell. In order to make a decision on whether the Code was breached, it appears IPSO may need to make findings on the allegations against Mr Bell. Any ruling by IPSO on this matter would result in the publication of information about Mr Bell and ‘Carol’, which might not be appropriate without their consent. In these circumstances, we considered that it would not be appropriate to investigate and publicly rule on your complaint without the consent of Mr Bell’s surviving family, or a representative of his estate. Because of this, we declined to consider this point of complaint further.We noted that you also expressed concerns regarding the accuracy of an article, also published by The Argus, headlined “Police handed fresh material in George Bell case.” While we understand that you raised this point of concern because the online version of the article under complaint contained a hyperlink to the earlier article, we cannot take forward complaints about online material that was first published over a year ago. As such, we were unable to consider this point of complaint further.

You are entitled to request that the Executive’s decision to reject your complaint be reviewed by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. To do so you will need to write to us in the next seven days, setting out the reasons why you believe the decision should be reviewed. Please note that we are unable to accept requests for review made seven days after the date of this email.

We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider the points you have raised, and have shared this correspondence with the newspaper to make it aware of your concerns.

Best wishes,

Emily Houlston-Jones

Cc The Argus (Brighton)

Emily Houlston-Jones
Complaints Officer
IPSO
Gate House
1 Farringdon Street
London
EC4M 7LG
Tel: 0300 123 2220
Website: www.ipso.co.uk

We have read your complaint carefully.

You are entitled to request that the Executive’s decision to reject your complaint be reviewed by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. To do so you will need to write to us in the next seven days, setting out the reasons why you believe the decision should be reviewed.

Dear IPSO Complaints Committee

I request that the Executive’s decision to reject my complaint be reviewed, and set out below seven reasons why:

1 You have dismissed my complaint without reading it carefully enough.

2 Your reasons for rejecting it are beyond weak.

3 The article is, therefore, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code.

1 You said that the article breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) because, by stating that “an independent inquiry into child sex abuse within the Church looked at the conduct of former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and former Bishop of Chichester George Bell”, the article gave the misleading impression that George Bell, like Peter Ball, had been found guilty of child sex offences.

The report released by the inquiry in question did mention George Bell by name, and so we found that it was no inaccurate nor misleading for the article to state that the inquiry had “looked at” George Bell’s conduct, where the article did not state that Mr Bell had been convicted of any offence in relation to the allegations against him. For this reason, we found no possible breach of Clause 1 on this point.

2 You also said that the article breached Clause 1 because you consider that it misrepresented the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse’s (IICSA) report, as the report “was thorough and wide-ranging with detailed recommendations, finding that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation, was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable” and the article instead chose to focus on the mention of George Bell within the report.

Newspapers have the right to choose which pieces of information they publish, as long as this does not lead to a breach of the Code. In this case, failing to mention recommendations made by the report did not make the article inaccurate or misleading, where you did not dispute that the report was critical of the Church of England and that George Bell had been named in the report. Where these pieces of information were included in the report, the publication was entitled to focus on them and so we found that your complaint on this point did not raise any possible breach of Clause 1.

3. You said that the article as a whole breached Clause 1, as you consider that it gave the impression that Mr Bell was guilty of the crimes for which he was alleged to have committed, for instance by referring to ‘Carol’ as a “victim.”

In this case, we decided that the alleged inaccuracy related directly to George Bell. In order to make a decision on whether the Code was breached, it appears IPSO may need to make findings on the allegations against Mr Bell. Any ruling by IPSO on this matter would result in the publication of information about Mr Bell and ‘Carol’, which might not be appropriate without their consent. In these circumstances, we considered that it would not be appropriate to investigate and publicly rule on your complaint without the consent of Mr Bell’s surviving family, or a representative of his estate. Because of this, we declined to consider this point of complaint further.

4 We noted that you also expressed concerns regarding the accuracy of an article, also published by The Argus, headlined “Police handed fresh material in George Bell case.”

While we understand that you raised this point of concern because the online version of the article under complaint contained a hyperlink to the earlier article, we cannot take forward complaints about online material that was first published over a year ago. As such, we were unable to consider this point of complaint further.

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“CHURCH OF ENGLAND FORGIVING PEDOPHILES EN MASSE ALLOWED THEM TO CONTINUE WORKING WITH CHILDREN, INQUIRY FINDS” – RT NEWS

“CHURCH OF ENGLAND FORGIVING PEDOPHILES EN MASSE ALLOWED THEM TO CONTINUE WORKING WITH CHILDREN, INQUIRY FINDS” – RT NEWS

Church of England forgave pedophiles en masse, allowed them to continue working with children, inquiry finds

6 Oct, 2020 11:57 / Updated 4 days agoGet short URL

Church of England forgave pedophiles en masse, allowed them to continue working with children, inquiry finds

© PickPik/ file photo

A shocking new inquiry has found that, not only did the Church of England forgive some 400 pedophiles, but it allowed them to continue working with children.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) found that between 1940 and 2018, some 390 people employed by the church, as clergymen or in trusted positions, were convicted of child sex abuse. 

They were ‘forgiven’ for their crimes by the church and allowed to continue their duties, often in close proximity to children, the IICSA found. 

“The culture of the Church of England facilitated it becoming a place where abusers could hide,” the report reads. 

The inquiry found the church repeatedly failed to respond in a consistent manner to victims and survivors of abuse, compounding their trauma over a period of decades.

In 2018 alone, there were some 2,504 concerns raised about possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, including 449 allegations of recent sexual abuse. 

“Over many decades, the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual abusers, instead facilitating a culture where perpetrators could hide and victims faced barriers to disclosure that many could not overcome,” chair of the inquiry, professor Alexis Jay said.

The IICSA lambasted the church for regarding forgiveness “as the appropriate response to any admission of wrongdoing.”

One such case highlighted is that of Timothy Storey, a man who was permitted to continue working with children after apologising “for everything he had done wrong.” Storey is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence for multiple offences against young girls, including rape. ALSO ON RT.COM‘I’m ashamed of our history’: Church of England is ‘still deeply institutionally racist’ says Archbishop of Canterbury

As part of the findings announced Tuesday in the damning report, the panel found that record-keeping of abuse claims was “almost non-existent.”

The panel decried the church’s willingness to pervert the course of legal justice by meting out its own ‘forgiveness,’ precluding sex offenders from being held responsible for their crimes and prevented from re-offending.

The church was also blasted for its handling of the reverend Ian hughes scandal, in which he was convicted in 2014 of downloading 8,000 child porn images, including 800 in the most serious category. 

At the time, Bishop Peter Forster claimed Hughes had been “misled into viewing child pornography”.

The report further condemned what it dubbed as “tribalism” within the church, which placed loyalty to its own over the safety and wellbeing of children. It cited a “culture of fear and secrecy within the Church about sexuality” which then facilitated a climate of sex abuse.

The church issued an apology and expressed shame after the inquiry’s findings were released. “The report makes shocking reading and while apologies will never take away the effects of abuse on victims and survivors, we today want to express our shame about the events that have made those apologies necessary,” said the Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs.

“The whole Church must learn lessons from this Inquiry. Our main focus in response must be recognising the distress caused to victims and survivors by the Church’s failures in safeguarding,” Gibbs added.

The inquiry held public hearings in July 2019, which led in part to the findings of the report. 

The panel made eight recommendations, including an improved complaints process for victims of abuse, the reintroduction of immediate expulsion from the church for anyone convicted of child sex offences and improved funding and support for victims and survivors.

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OCTOBER 9 2020 – “RESIGNATIONS, DYSFUNCTIONALITY AND THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS” – VIAMEDIA NEWS – JAYNE OZANNE

Resignations, Dysfunctionality and the House of Bishops

Posted on October 9, 2020by Jayne Ozanne

by Jayne Ozanne, Editor of ViaMedia, Director of the Ozanne Foundation and Member of General Synod

I resigned from my Bishop’s Council this week.

The decision has been a long time coming – I’ve felt I’ve been hitting my head against a brick wall over our failure to prioritise the poor and disadvantaged, especially given we are such a rich diocese, for years. In fact, I’ve been banging the drum since I got onto Council five years ago. Interestingly, even though we constantly rated serving the poor in our diocese as a “the top priority” during our discussions, it rarely seemed to make the cut into any paperwork . In virtually every meeting I can remember I have had to remind those in authority of the commitments we had agreed as a Council.

I realised things would never change when after one Diocesan Synod meeting I was told, when the priority yet again failed to be mentioned to those gathered, that it was because it was too long to fit on the slide! All rather ironic given that we’d just had a report that emphasised the real issue in our diocese was that of “hidden poverty”!

In truth, I know I was as tired of banging my drum as Council members were of hearing it.

So, eventually, it got to the point where I felt that the best way for them to hear me was by my absence. You see, sometimes leaving is the only way left for people to be heard….

Since I resigned, I’ve been reflecting on why it is so difficult for those in the central Church or Diocesan structures to hear what those outside or on the fringes of the Church see as completely obvious. It came into sharp focus again this week with the IICSA report which stated what so many of us have been saying for some time now – that we need a completely independent safeguarding system in the Church in order for it to be fully functional.

I have decided that the real problem is that our boards and councils are populated by mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle class and mostly middle aged (and that’s being kind) people who all hold virtually the same world view – and who are incapable of recognising that there is legitimacy to any other view other than their own. Because they all end up endorsing each other, they confirm their own legitimacy, and nothing therefore ever changes.

That’s why we find it difficult to embrace those from other backgrounds – those that are different to the monochrome “norm” that the Church of England has built into the warp and weft of its very foundations. You just have to look at the make up of General Synod to see what I mean.

It is why we’ve an appalling record on nearly every measure of diversity – we are seen by those “on the outside and margins” as racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic. We are outrageously bad at dealing with people with differing abilities too. Although it’s “not good show” of course for us to admit this in public.

And what does this “monochrome” system result in? Well, I won’t be popular in saying this, but I believe this ultimately results in the single most critical problem for us as a Church. It’s the real root of most of our problems, which few are prepared to admit let alone publicly name – it is that we have a leadership structure that is, I’m afraid to say, deeply dysfunctional. It seems our House of Bishops operates like a boys public school, with prefects and head boys who whip the younger boys (and they are of course mostly boys!) into line. It may seem like the body that so many aspire to, but once you’re there you get sucked into colluding with a system that few feel able to break free from. Although thankfully, there are some brave individuals who do.

It is interesting to question why so few have called this out publicly over all these years?

Especially given that to many of us on the outside and fringes this dysfunction is plain to see. We have bishops leading double lives, which no one seems to bother about or challenge. We have bishops preaching one thing and practicing another, particularly when it comes to the way in which they treat LGBT+ clergy in their midst. We have bishops who lament safeguarding failures, but whose own record is pretty poor. It all leads to a postcode lottery, which everyone knows about but no one does anything about because they (we?) have all got too much to lose…or worse, that they don’t think that somehow anyone will notice.

But we do, and we all know. The charade was up a long time ago.

It’s just like my own experience with Bishop’s Council – no one can be bothered to bang the drum any more. We are resigned to letting it all continue, with no one rocking the boat.

But time is running out. Many are tiring of this game. And they’re leaving.

So much so that soon the primary problem won’t be the fear of people rocking the boat, but rather the fear of ensuring that there are still people who are prepared to sail in it!

So reform is needed – and it needs to start at the top.

The House of Bishops is about to release resources for the Church of England to engage with over sexuality. What they seem to have failed to see (again!) is that the vast majority of people in the pews made up their minds about LGBT issues long ago….what they’re waiting for is for the House of Bishops to finally do so themselves. And to do so in a way that has some credibility.

So it’s time the House of Bishops had an OFSTED inspection. They need to turn the mirror on themselves and take a long hard look at what they see. They need to be honest about their dysfunctionality, their divisions and their double standards.

Miracles can happen – and with God’s grace this might just be one of them. Goodness knows we need it!

8 Responses to Resignations, Dysfunctionality and the House of Bishops

  1. Roy Clements says: October 9, 2020 at 8:20 am You have fought the good fight, Jayne. But at last you have realised that the real problem with the C of E is its unreformed ecclesiology. There is no biblical warrant for the kind of centralised authoritarian episcopacy it perpetuates. Baptists, congregationalists and other independents have their faults, but they can CHANGE!
  2. Kim James says: October 9, 2020 at 8:37 am Kicking issues into the long grass is quite a speciality in many organisations that are embarrassed by their own failures. The CofE is very good at it at all levels of the hierarchy – from PCC subcommittees all the way up to Synod and the archbishops.
  3. Susan Paterson says: October 9, 2020 at 11:20 am Absolutely nailed it – well done. We need a Reformed Anglican Church – though sadly the initials are already taken!
  4. Philip Feakin says: October 9, 2020 at 11:34 am Excellent. It is a great pity that you have had to resign. The Church needs more people to be speaking out about the Church’s very evident shortcomings.
  5. Jan Dean says: October 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm And that pattern repeats all the way down to parish level where the skin of my teeth is finally giving up.
  6. James Normand says: October 9, 2020 at 6:16 pm Speaking as a white, middle class, late middle-aged man, not (yet) on General Synod, I think your assumption that we ‘all hold virtually the same world view – and .. are incapable of recognising that there is legitimacy to any .. view other than [our] own’ is far too much a generalisation and simply not true.
    That is not to say that I’m critical of your decision to resign from the Bishop of Oxford’s Council. I fully appreciate that ‘there comes a time’ and I’m very sorry that that time has come for you – who have done so much to open the eyes of old fogeys like me.
    Keep battling on, Jayne, in the forums which you continue to inhabit – and, in particular, through your Foundation and Via Media.
    • Jayne Ozanne says: October 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm All generalisations are, by their very nature, that – generalisations. But given the exceptionally large number of people who have today agreed with this caricature of Church of England Boards and Councils I think those who fit this description need to reflect on how diverse their groups actually are…
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OCTOBER 9 2020 – LIST OF ‘RESIGNATION’ SIGNATORIES – OCTOBER 2020 LETTER

Dear Editor


Following the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse [IICSA] investigations, we call upon Justin Welby to consider his position as Archbishop of Canterbury.


The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said on October 2:“As we await IICSA’s report…we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed”.

Archbishop Welby has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell [whose 62nd Anniversary fell on October 3], and will continue to do so until there is a full exoneration by the Archbishop, calling on him to withdraw his “significant cloud…great wickedness” remarks, and for 4 Canon Lane in Chichester to be renamed back to George Bell House.


Justin Welby still appears to believe there is ‘no smoke without fire’, even though the IICSA and two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – both commissioned by the Church – have shown there is ‘no smoke and no fire’.


The Archbishop has been given every opportunity to right this wrong against Bishop Bell, but still refuses to use his power to heal the very serious divisions caused by this miscarriage of justice.


Our endeavour is to right this wrong.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Revd. Forrest William

BOYS, Geoffrey

CHARMLEY, Professor John

DONALD, Revd. Steve

GOMES, Dr. Jules

INESON, Revd. Matthew

MARTIN, Terry

MORGAN, Dr. Gerald

MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter

OSBORNE, Noel

RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles

ROBINSON, Dr. Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYMONDS, Richard W.

SYKES, Bishop Nicholas

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this letter and its signatories, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

West Sussex RH11 0NN

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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OCTOBER 8 2020 – “CHURCH OF ENGLAND CHILD SEX ABUSE: SUSSEX FAILINGS FOUND” / “CHURCH ‘FAILED TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ABUSERS, INQUIRY FINDS” – THE BRIGHTON ARGUS – OCTOBER 8 2020

Church of England child sex abuse: Sussex failings found / “Church ‘failed to protect children from abusers’, inquiry finds”

By Aidan Barlow  @ArgusAidan Crime Reporter

Professor Alexis Jay has chaired an inquiry into child sex abuse in the Church of England, including against former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

THE Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abusers in Sussex, an inquiry has found.

An independent inquiry into child sex abuse within the Church looked at the conduct of former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and former Bishop of Chichester George Bell.

It found the Church fostered a culture where sexual predators could “hide” – and got more support than victims of sexual abuse.

The inquiry found that 390 clergy have been convicted since 1940.

Last year there were 2,500 safeguarding concerns raised and 449 allegations reported.

Photo: Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

It had investigated claims against figures in Sussex, which is part of the Diocese of Chichester.

Victim Philip Johnson, from Eastbourne, was a victim of Bishop Peter Ball in 1978.

Ball admitted abusing 18 young men between 1977 and 1992 and was jailed in 2015. He died last year aged 87.

Mr Johnson previously agreed to waive his right to anonymity and said the inquiry has taken a step in the right direction.

He said there is a need for more independent oversight and safeguarding and a need for more thorough support for victims and survivors.

Photo: Philip Johnson has spoken out about the abuse

In 2015, following Ball’s conviction, the then Detective Chief Inspector Carywn Hughes described how Bishop Ball had abused 12 victims at his home in Litlington near Lewes over many years.

The DCI said: “It became clear that under the guise of his status as a Bishop, Ball had systematically abused the trust of the victims, many of whom were aspiring priests, while others were simply seeking to explore their spirituality.

“He abused that trust and used religion, through his Give A Year For Christ scheme, as a cloak behind which to carry out his grooming activity, the principal aim of which was to satisfy his sexual interest in and desire for young men.”

Ball was guilty of misconduct in a public office and sexual assault.

He admitted misusing his position in authority between 1977 and 1992 “to manipulate and prevail upon others for his own sexual gratification” in relation to 16 young men.

He also admitted indecently assaulting two men in their late teens between 1980 and 1983 and between 1990 and 1991.

Ball was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until his resignation the following year.

Read more on this story:

The inquiry found that public support was often given to clergy like Ball by the Church of England, regardless of the evidence against them.

Bishop George Bell was the wartime Bishop of Chichester.

A victim, who The Argus previously referred to as Carol to protect her identity, said she was five years old when he molested her.

She also explained she had informed the Church of the abuse in 1995, and again in 2012, and again in 2013 – at which time Archbishop Justin Welby saw to it her complaint was fully investigated.

In October 2015, the Church issued a £16,000 payout and an apology for the way the complaint had been dealt with.

Inquiry chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay said: “Over many decades, the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual abusers, instead facilitating a culture where perpetrators could hide and victims faced barriers to disclosure that many could not overcome.

Photo: Professor Alexis Jay chaired the inquiry

“To ensure the right action is taken in future, it’s essential that the importance of protecting children from abhorrent sexual abuse is continuously reinforced.

“If real and lasting changes are to be made, it’s vital that the Church improves the way it responds to allegations from victims and survivors, and provides proper support for those victims over time.

“The panel and I hope that this report and its recommendations will support these changes to ensure these failures never happen again.”

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologised for church failings and said he felt “ashamed”.

He said the failings revealed were “profoundly and deeply shocking”.

LETTER TO THE ARGUS – OCTOBER 8 2020

Dear Aidan Barlow

As the Argus crime reporter, would you please maintain your journalistic integrity by amending your surprisingly sloppy piece of journalism [“Church ‘failed to protect children from abusers’, inquiry found”, Argus, Oct 8].

There is a distortion of facts, and therefore truth, if the case of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell is confused – deliberately or otherwise – with the case of ex-Bishop Peter Ball.

Peter Ball was found guilty in a criminal court of law. 

George Bell was found not guilty by two separate investigations by Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – both commissioned by the Church.
I would urge you to amend your article accordingly.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages Ifield Street, Ifield Village Crawley, West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only – Very deaf] Email: richardsy5@aol.com

RWS COMMENT

Here is an example of sloppy journalism which damages truth and justice for those victims and survivors of abuse, and those victims and survivors falsely accused of abuse.

When reading the Argus article, be aware that ex-Bishop Peter Ball was found guilty in a criminal court of law, while wartime Bishop of Chichester was found not guilty by two separate investigations by Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – both commissioned by the Church.

I look forward to the Church of England Comms correcting this media sloppiness – just as I look forward to flying pigs getting landing rights here at Gatwick.

Dear Richard, 

I agree with you that Aidan Barlow’s report is sloppy.  It is more than that: it is reprehensible and Bishop Bell would have grounds to sue the Argus for damages for defamation were he still alive. 

The report does not say in terms that Bell was guilty of abusing ‘Carol’, but that is the clear inference from referring to her as a ‘victim’ (rather than as complainant or claimant) and the £16,000 ‘payout’ by the Church, without making any reference to the subsequent investigation and Review by Lord Carlile.  

The article contains a link (Read more on this story: Fresh material given to police in Bishop of Chichester George Bell case) to the report by Joel Adams in the Argus on 31 January 2018 referring to the ‘information’ received following publication of the Carlile Review in December 2017.  At least that report includes an accurate summary of the conclusions of Lord Carlile QC (though wrongly elevating his status by calling him a ‘Law Lord’!) and refers to Carol as ‘the alleged victim’ (emphasis added), but this does little to correct the position when there is no reference in the current report to the subsequent Sussex police statement (in March 2018) “The matter is now closed as far as Sussex Police are concerned and the Church of England have been informed of this” (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/22/bishop-george-bell-abuse-investigation-dropped-sussex-police/amp/https://virtueonline.org/uk-bishop-george-bell-investigation-dropped-sussex-police) nor to the Briden report, dated 17 January 2019, finding the new allegations to be “unfounded”: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/1-february/news/uk/archbishop-welby-apologises-for-mistakes-in-case-of-george-bell.  

The IICSA report published on 6 October 2020 does refer to the Bell case on pages 70-71, but (I would suggest) in a disingenuous way, leaving the innuendo that Bell might have been guilty of the abuse alleged. 

First, on page 70, it records criticisms of Lord Carlile’s report voiced in evidence by Ecclesiastical (EIO) claims director David Bonehill (a witness who had to be recalled on 12 July 2019 to correct misleading evidence given earlier).  The report makes no comment on those criticisms and, so far as I am aware, Lord Carlile was not asked for his response to them.  

Second, at page 71, para 39, the IICSA report states simply in respect of ‘the second George Bell case’: “Mr Briden concluded that no further allegations were proven on the balance of probabilities.”  The footnote reference (footnote 578) is not a reference to Mr Briden’s report but to inquiry document ACE027643_138-142. |This is pages 138 to 142 of Graham Tilby’s witness statement dated 14 June 2019 in which (at para 348) he purports to summarise Timothy Briden’s conclusions.  His first bullet point states simply, “Alison’s complaint was not considered to be proved on the balance of probabilities”, omitting Mr Briden’s reason, namely “her evidence being unverified by independent sources and her account unreliable.”  Likewise, Mr Tilby’s second bullet point states “The incident described by witness K was not considered proved on the balance of probabilities”, omitting Mr Briden’s reason, “the hearsay account being inherently unconvincing and without corroboration.” (See Appendix III).  Further, Mr Tilby makes no reference to Mr Briden’s overarching conclusion at his para 43: “Concentrating exclusively on the allegations remitted to me, I have decided that they are unfounded.” (emphasis added). 

I should add, for the sake of accuracy, that Lord Carlile did not find Bishop Bell ‘not guilty’ of the abuse alleged by Carol as his terms of reference precluded him from doing so (see paras 9, 10 and 258 of his Review), but reading between the lines of his criticisms of the flawed core group investigation, it is pretty clear that that is his (unstated) view. 

In view of what I have set out above, I am copying this e-mail, inter alios, to Alex Carlile. 

Kind regards, 

David.  

David Lamming – General Synod member

RWS NOTE

General Synod member David Lamming has called this sloppy piece of journalism by the Brighton Argus as “reprehensible” – but it represents a part of the media which is beyond ignorant – and dangerously distorts the truth – deliberately or otherwise.

There needs to be pastoral care and support, not just for the victims and survivors of abuse, but also the victims and survivors of those falsely accused of abuse.

COMPLAINT TO ARRON HENDY – ARGUS EDITOR

Dear Arron Hendy
Please register this as a formal complaint – one of accuracy [lack of] due to poor research by a professional journalist.
If this complaint is not dealt with by the end of today (Friday October 9 2020), I will formally complain to IPSO.

1. Accuracy

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published.

Yours sincerely 

Richard W. Symonds
2 Lychgate Cottages Ifield Street Ifield Village Crawley West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only please) Email: richardsy5@aol.com

IPSO COMPLAINT

IPSO

5 Review

We will process the data you provide in this form in accordance with our Fair Privacy Notice which you can view at www.ipso.co.uk/data-privacy-notice
We need to be able to contact you in writing by email or post. Any contact information provided will be included on your complaints form, a copy of which may be sent to the publication, even if we decide that your complaint does not raise a possible breach of the Code. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us on 0300 123 22 20.

Complaint

Material published in print and/or online settings Edit

Complaint details

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The Argus (Brighton) (Newsquest Media Group)

“Church’s child sex abuse shame” [Hard Copy] + Church of England child sex abuse: Sussex failings found / “Church ‘failed to protect children from abusers’, inquiry finds” [Online], date of article 08/10/2020

Publication contacted

URL

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/october-8-2020-church-of-england-child-sex-abuse-sussex-failings-found-the-argus-october-8-2020/

Clause(s) breached:

1 Accuracy

The integrity of the professional journalist concerned is questioned with an inaccurate, poorly researched and sloppy piece of journalism.
There is a distortion of facts, and therefore truth and justice, if the case of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell is confused – deliberately or otherwise – with the case of ex-Bishop Peter Ball.
Peter Ball was found guilty in a criminal court of law. George Bell was found not guilty by two separate investigations by Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – both commissioned by the Church.

Your details

Your personal information: settings Edit

Mr

Richard W. Symonds

richardsy5@aol.com

2 LYCHGATE
IFIELD STREET
CRAWLEY
RH11 0NN

07540309592 [Text only – Very deaf]

IPSO/ARGUS COMPLAINT

Reference: 28452-20 (The Argus (Brighton) (Newsquest Media Group)

“…clarify whether you believe the article has inaccurately presented this report, and if so, how”.[submitted within the 7 day period].
1. “Clarify whether you believe the article has inaccurately presented this report”
I believe the article has inaccurately presented this report and is in breach of the Editors’ Code 1. Accuracy.
2. “Clarify how you believe the article has inaccurately presented this report”
i) The article was written carelessly, inaccurately and misleadingly:Below the headline “Church of England child sex abuse: Sussex failings”, the crime reporter writes: “An independent inquiry into child sex abuse within the Church looked at the conduct of former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and former Bishop of Chichester George Bell”. This clearly implies the sex abusers were Peter Ball AND Bishop Bell, and the reader will presume the criminal guilt of both.

ii) The crime reporter provides a link to a January 2018 article – “Fresh material given to police in Bishop of Chichester George Bell case” – which again seriously misleads the reader, and is also a gross distortion of the facts relating to the George Bell case. If the reporter had done his research, he would have discovered that, after a full legal investigation, this “fresh material” was found to be totally bogus.It’s almost as if there is a presumption of guilt on the newspaper’s part, and selects an out-of-date article to justify that presumption.

iii) The IICSA report was thorough and wide-ranging with detailed recommendations, finding that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation, was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable”. The crime reporter inaccurately presents these critically-important IICSA findings by a careless, inaccurate and misleading article about a wartime Bishop of Chichester whose name has been cleared by two independent legal investigations.

ADDENDUM
I also consider that the Argus article (regardless of whether it accurately represented the IICSA Report) was seriously misleading in the way it linked the cases of Peter Ball (former Bishop of Lewes, sentenced to 32 months imprisonment, in October 2015, having admitted sexual abuse of young men and misconduct in public office) and George Bell (Bishop of Chichester from 1929 to 1958) against whom a single posthumous allegation of child sexual abuse was first made by a woman (known as ‘Carol’) in 1995 (35 years after the bishop’s death), in respect of whom nothing has been proved, with the ‘presumption of innocence’ remaining applicable.  By calling Carol ‘a victim’ (rather than ‘An alleged victim’ or ‘A complainant’),  the article clearly conveys to the average reader that Bell was guilty of the abuse she alleged against him when she was five years old—an allegation that has been seriously discredited, regardless of the presumption of innocence.
The fact that the Argus article states, “In October 2015, the Church issued a £16,000 payout and an apology for the way the complaint had been dealt with” does nothing to disabuse the reader of this understanding.  Indeed, the subsequent report (published in December 2017) by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, who was commissioned by the Church of England to “conduct a Review into the way the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop Bell,” said (critically) of the press statement of 22 October 2015, announcing the settlement and apology, that “it provided the following conclusions:  (i) The allegations had been investigated, and a proper process followed. (ii) The allegations had been proved; therefore (iii) There was no doubt that Bishop Bell had abused Carol.”  (Carlile Review, para 237.) Lord Carlile’s report, which condemned that statement, is not even mentioned in the Argus article.  By contrast, even though Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not ask him “to determine the truthfulness of Carol, nor the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell” he stated clearly (para 171) “Had the evidence my review has obtained without any particular difficulty… been available to the Church and the CPS, I doubt that the test for a prosecution would have been passed.”
Further, as Mr David Lamming (a member of the House of Laity of General Synod) has noted:
‘The article contains a link (Read more on this story: Fresh material given to police in Bishop of Chichester George Bell case) to the report by Joel Adams in the Argus on 31 January 2018 referring to the ‘information’ received following publication of the Carlile Review in December 2017.  At least that report includes an accurate summary of the conclusions of Lord Carlile QC (though wrongly elevating his status by calling him a ‘Law Lord’!) and refers to Carol as ‘the alleged victim’ (emphasis added), but this does little to correct the position when there is no reference in the current report to the subsequent Sussex police statement (in March 2018) “The matter is now closed as far as Sussex Police are concerned and the Church of England have been informed of this”(https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/22/bishop-george-bell-abuse-investigation-dropped-sussex-police/amp/https://virtueonline.org/uk-bishop-george-bell-investigation-dropped-sussex-police
nor to the Briden report, dated 17 January 2019, finding the new allegations to be “unfounded”:https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/1-february/news/uk/archbishop-welby-apologises-for-mistakes-in-case-of-george-bell.
In any event, the article should be accurate and not misleading as a ‘stand alone’ report, without the need to look at ‘read more of’ links – not, of course, immediately available to readers of the ‘print’ copy of the paper.”

Victims call for the Archbishop of Canterbury to quit as he says findings of ‘shameful and disgraceful’ CofE child assault inquiry are a ‘big wake-up call’

  • Archbishop of Canterbury resisted calls to resign, insisting ‘I’ve got to do better’
  • Justin Welby’s position was question after a bombshell report into church abuse 
  • It recommended that bishops lose their responsibility to keep children safe
  • They said alleged paedophiles were being given more support than victims 

By DAN SALES FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 09:45, 7 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24, 7 October 2020

47 View comments

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has refused calls to resign over a damning Church of England child sex assault inquiry’s ‘shameful and disgraceful’ findings.

The religious leader, 64, admitted he understood why victims may be asking for him to step down, but he insisted he was better staying in the role to continue his work.

It came after a 60-year-old abuse survivor – known only as Gilo – said such failings in any other sector of life would have left their jobs.

Archbishop Welby said: ‘I know that since I came into this job I have worked as hard as I could to move the church to a different place. I understand his anger. I’ve got to do better.

‘The whole system has been broken. It needs to move towards much more independent oversight of safeguarding

‘I am confident now that whenever we know about something we deal with it straightaway

‘I had a disclosure of safeguarding as late as yesterday, around this time as it happens, in an hour it was reported to our safeguarding people and it was in their hands.

‘I think we have been poor with dealing with redress and in dealing with the victims and survivors.’The Archbishop of Canterbury said it had received a new safeguarding report yesterday+3

The Archbishop of Canterbury said it had received a new safeguarding report yesterday

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said the church put its own reputation above protecting them. 

It recommended that bishops lose their responsibility to keep children safe because alleged paedophiles were given more support than victims.

The IICSA said reports of recent abuse have continued – with 449 in 2018. 

Hundreds of paedophiles have been harboured by the Church over almost 70 years, the report found, undermining its ‘moral purpose’ as a Christian institution. 

It said the CofE has been guilty of ‘neglecting the wellbeing of children in favour of protecting its own reputation’. 

From the 1940s to 2018, 390 clergy or people in positions of trust associated with the Church have been convicted of sexual offences against children. 

The damning report was released yesterday and painted a terrifying picture of abuse+3

The damning report was released yesterday and painted a terrifying picture of abuseChild abuse inquiry: Anglican Church failed to protect children.

Archbishop Welby added to Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It’s shameful and disgraceful and reveals exactly what they said, a culture in which there was cover-up and hiding and it’s deeply shaming.

‘It didn’t come as a surprise because we’ve been working on this, as the report said later on, we’ve begun a journey of changing that and now certainly over the last few years it is a very serious matter, a disciplinary matter, for anyone to cover up any abuse at all and we’ve strengthened that and multiplied the amount of money for example that we’ve spent on safeguarding ten-fold, but it wasn’t a surprise because I’ve lived that for the seven-and-a-half years I’ve been in post and we’ve been working hard to change it and the report says we’ve begun a journey and quite rightly says we’ve not gone quick enough or far enough yet. 

‘I didn’t wonder, I knew. I was shocked by the level when I came into this job by the extent to which it was happening but one was aware that we had a history that was not so good, we knew about Peter Ball, I was ordained in 1992 which I think was about the year where he resigned as the Bishop of Gloucester so one knew about that from that moment onward.

‘In each place where I was working from my parish onwards we tightened up on safeguarding very sharply’

Last night on the radio station’s PM programme survivor Gilo – whose abuser is dead – told them top management should look at their own positions.

Ball, a friend of the Prince of Wales, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades, had been allowed to continue unchecked+3

Ball, a friend of the Prince of Wales, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades, had been allowed to continue unchecked

He added: ‘Senior figures, including Archbishop Welby should seriously question themselves about whether they should be resigning.

‘In any other sphere of live, you know if look at Government department’s, ministers, etc, you would see failure marked by resignation.

‘I think it’s very clear from this report that the church has failed and continue to fail despite being aware of its failings.’ 

The findings of the inquiry, set up by Theresa May in 2014 following the Jimmy Savile scandal, amount to a wholesale condemnation of the attitude to sex abuse of both bishops and more junior clergy.

It said Bishop Peter Ball, a friend of the Prince of Wales, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys carried out over three decades, had been allowed to continue unchecked after being first caught in 1993 because of the leniency of a former Archbishop of Canterbury.

It said Lord Carey ‘simply could not believe the allegations against Ball or acknowledge the seriousness of them regardless of evidence, and was outspoken in his support of his bishop’, adding: ‘He seemingly wanted the whole business to go away.’ 

It concluded: ‘Many of these cases demonstrate the Church of England’s failure to take the abuse seriously, creating a culture where abusers were able to hide. 

‘Alleged perpetrators were given more support than victims, who often faced barriers to reporting they simply couldn’t overcome.’   

Paedophile dean silenced accusers

One of the Church of England’s most highly-placed paedophiles used the seal of the confessional to protect himself from exposure and disgrace, the report said. 

The Very Reverend Robert Waddington, who was Dean of Manchester cathedral in the 1980s and 1990s, was responsible for repeated sexual abuse of boys in Australia and England over five decades and his case was covered up at the highest level. 

The young man whose complaints finally exposed Waddington in 2013 – six years after his death – had been told he must keep quiet to avoid breaking a sacred trust. 

One of the Church of England's most highly-placed paedophiles, Robert Waddington (pictured), who was the Dean of Manchester Cathedral, used the seal of the confessional to protect himself from exposure and disgrace, the report said
Waddington was exposed after former chorister Eli Ward, pictured, came forward in 2013

One of the Church of England’s most highly-placed paedophiles, Robert Waddington (left), who was the Dean of Manchester Cathedral, used the seal of the confessional to protect himself from exposure and disgrace, the report said. Waddington was exposed after former chorister Eli Ward (right) came forward in 2013

The man said ‘Waddington had told him – falsely – that he could not disclose the abuse, as Waddington had been “absolved of sinful child abuse in the context of the sacramental ministry of reconciliation”.’ 

The Church has never acknowledged that the scandal was central to its internal debate over the confessional. 

Waddington was exposed after former chorister Eli Ward came forward in 2013 to speak publicly about how from the age of 11 he was groomed and then sexually abused by him. 

Mr Ward, now 47, said he was sleeping in the dean’s bed by the time he was 13.

THE VERY PUBLIC EXCORIATION OF AN ARCHBISHOP ENTANGLED IN A VERY ENGLISH WEB OF CORRUPTION AND DECEIT LYING DEEP WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

Featured post

OCTOBER 6 2020 – THE PUBLIC EXCORIATION OF AN ARCHBISHOP ENTANGLED IN A VERY ENGLISH WEB OF CORRUPTION AND DECEIT LYING DEEP WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

THE IICSA REPORT – OCTOBER 6 2020 – A VERY PUBLIC EXCORIATION OF AN ARCHBISHOP ENTANGLED IN A VERY ENGLISH WEB OF CORRUPTION AND DECEIT LYING DEEP WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

LETTER SUBMISSION ON THE EVE OF INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE [IICSA] REPORT – OCTOBER 6 2020

Dear Editor


Following the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse [IICSA] investigations, we call upon Justin Welby to consider his position as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said on October 2:

“As we await IICSA’s report…we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed”

Archbishop Welby has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell [whose 62nd Anniversary fell on October 3], and will continue to do so until there is a full exoneration by the Archbishop, calling on him to withdraw his “significant cloud…great wickedness” remarks, and for 4 Canon Lane in Chichester to be renamed back to George Bell House.
Justin Welby still appears to believe there is ‘no smoke without fire’, even though the IICSA and two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – both commissioned by the Church – have shown there is ‘no smoke and no fire’.
The Archbishop has been given every opportunity to right this wrong against Bishop Bell, but still refuses to use his power to heal the very serious divisions caused by this miscarriage of justice.
Our endeavour is to right this wrong.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Revd. Forrest William

BOYS, Geoffrey

CHARMLEY, Professor John

DONALD, Revd. Steve

GOMES, Dr. Jules

INESON, Revd. Matthew

MARTIN, Terry

MORGAN, Dr. Gerald

MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter

OSBORNE, Noel

RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles

ROBINSON, Dr. Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYMONDS, Richard W.

SYKES, Bishop Nicholas

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this letter and its signatories, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

West Sussex RH11 0NN

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

IICSA KEY FINDINGS

  1. The Anglican Church Investigation Report
  2. Part B: The Church of England
  3. B.4: Civil claims and redress in the Church of England
  4. B.4.5: Allegations against deceased individuals

B.4.5: Allegations against deceased individuals

29. The Church does not keep records about the number of allegations made against deceased individuals.[1]

30. If a claim relates to an individual for whom there would have been a valid insurance policy were they alive, it is dealt with by the EIO and the principles and procedures set out above would apply. If the claim relates to a deceased bishop – such as Victor Whitsey, Peter Ball or George Bell – it is managed by the Church Commissioners, whose role is to ensure proper investigation before taking decisions about settlement.[2]

31. The Church Commissioners (who are responsible for payment of compensation in claims which are not insured) are considering introducing mediation as part of their process for redress.[3]

The first George Bell case and the Carlile review

32. A complainant known as Carol alleged in 1995 and again in 2013 that she was abused by the late George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. When Carol sued the Church for damages in 2014, a core group was convened. The Church settled Carol’s claim, apologised and issued a public statement.

33. Lord Carlile of Berriew was instructed by the Church to consider its response to the allegations. In his report (dated December 2017), he was critical of the Church’s actions, particularly in making a public statement about the allegations and the settlement reached. In the Chichester/Peter Ball Investigation Report, the Inquiry expressed concern about a number of Lord Carlile’s conclusions. These included that:

  • a confidentiality clause should have been included in the settlement;
  • considerable weight” should have been given to the “high esteem” in which George Bell was held; and
  • the core group was criticised for relying on the evidence of “a single complainant”.[4]

34. Lord Carlile’s recommendations only apply to a small minority of claims, those that are uninsured or where no claim is issued.[5] There may also be claims where there was no insurance policy in place.

35. In Mr Bonehill’s view, the process suggested by Lord Carlile was not consistent with the approach that an insurer would take in insured cases, and that it was “something that certainly we would not be able to support”.[6]

35.1. Lord Carlile recommended the assistance of advice from a lawyer with practical knowledge of criminal law and procedure. Although civil claims are judged on the balance of probabilities, Lord Carlile stated that “the examination of a case of this kind against the criminal standard is a useful and instructive exercise”.[7] Mr Bonehill said that this would not be considered relevant to an insured claim because the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.[8]

35.2. Lord Carlile stated that the core group was wrong to dismiss the defence of limitation.[9] Mr Bonehill did not agree and repeated the EIO’s position that limitation should be used very sparingly.[10]

35.3. Lord Carlile considered that where a claim was settled without admission of liability the settlement should generally include a confidentiality provision. The EIO does not and never has insisted on confidentiality provisions unless they are sought by the complainant, but there is no distinction between claims settled with liability and without.[11] In Mr Bonehill’s view:

serious consideration would need to be given to enforcing such a clause. In reality, it is difficult to imagine a situation where it would be considered ethically proper for an organisation to seek to claw back a damages and costs payment from an individual who, potentially, has been a victim/survivor of abuse”.[12]

The second George Bell case

36. Following the publication of Lord Carlile’s report, a further allegation of abuse by Bishop George Bell was made by an individual known as Alison. This second George Bell case is the most recent example of how the Church of England manages an uninsured allegation against a deceased individual.

37. The National Safeguarding Team convened a core group to oversee and manage the response to the allegation, to comply with Lord Carlile’s recommendations.[13]

38. A former detective superintendent, Raymond Galloway, was appointed to undertake an investigation. His investigation was thorough and included as many witnesses as possible.[14] An independent consultant was also appointed to represent the interests of Bishop Bell’s family, with an independent sexual and domestic violence adviser to ensure that Alison’s viewpoint was heard.[15] Both were subsequently represented by counsel during the process. A senior ecclesiastical judge, Timothy Briden, was appointed as the decision-maker in relation to the complaint.[16]

39. The core group concluded that no reasonable tribunal could find that the allegations were proven on the balance of probabilities. Mr Briden concluded that no further allegations were proven on the balance of probabilities.[17]

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Comments

Richard W. Symonds 

Marion Owen:
“So this is why the Church of England was holding back from any fundamental reforms to its safeguarding policies in advance of the IICSA report: hedging its bets to see what it could get away with in terms of retaining control of its processes. Long term, this is not going to lead to a thoroughly victim and survivor focused enterprise. Doubtless, Ecclesiastical Insurance and Luther Pendragon will continue to be key players.
As a retired bishop recently remarked, when a church has to employ reputational management consultants, you know the game’s over and the emperor has no clothes”

IICSA Report – The George Bell Case – Lord Carlile QC and Mr Bonehill – Ecclesiastical Insurance Office [EIO]

33. Lord Carlile of Berriew was instructed by the Church to consider its response to the allegations. In his report (dated December 2017), he was critical of the Church’s actions…
35. In Mr Bonehill’s view, the process suggested by Lord Carlile was not consistent with the approach that an insurer would take in insured cases, and that it was “something that certainly we would not be able to support”.[6]
35.1. Lord Carlile recommended the assistance of advice from a lawyer with practical knowledge of criminal law and procedure. Although civil claims are judged on the balance of probabilities, Lord Carlile stated that “the examination of a case of this kind against the criminal standard is a useful and instructive exercise”.[7] Mr Bonehill said that this would not be considered relevant to an insured claim because the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities.[8]

39. The core group concluded that no reasonable tribunal could find that the allegations were proven on the balance of probabilities. Mr Briden concluded that no further allegations were proven on the balance of probabilities.[17]

FURTHER COVERAGE [Hat-Tip: ‘Thinking Anglicans’]

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its long-awaited report on the Church of England and the Church in Wales. The report totals 154 pages.

Here is a link to the Recommendations section of the report. And here is a link to the Executive Summary.

Press releases:

Initial media coverage:

THINKING ANGLICANS

Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Statement

on Tuesday, 6 October 2020 at 5.45 pm by Simon Kershaw
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued the following personal statement following the publication of the IICSA report:

To fail on safeguarding casts a profound stain across every good thing we do. I have said this before and I continue to stand by it. But I am acutely aware as we come towards the end of this year that while there is a genuine commitment for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to be the highest priority of all parts of the Church, it is evident we still have not got it right.

The report published today is a stark and shocking reminder of how so many times we have failed – and continue to fail – survivors. Apologies are vital, but they are not enough. We have to listen. We have to learn. And we have to act.

In calling for the enquiry, through a letter to the then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2014, I was aware that although it would be something that survivors had demanded it would also be a deeply painful process to tell their stories. I am very grateful to them for their courage. We cannot and will not make excuses and I must again offer my sincere apologies to those to have been abused, and to their families, friends and colleagues.

There is clearly much to respond to and an in-depth consideration of today’s report is vital. IICSA has shone a light on the past and present to help us better inform our future safeguarding work. They are owed our thanks which we give wholeheartedly. I pray this report and its recommendations will result in the changes needed to make our Church a safer place for all now and for future generations.

 

Richard W. Symonds

The Archbishop’s all-too-familiar apologies and platitudes don’t wash with me, I’m afraid. He should consider his position as the one ‘in charge’ of his Bishops who have been stripped of their responsibility for safeguarding. This has been on his ‘watch’. Reply

Fr. Dean Henley

Fr. Dean Henley 

The Archbishop should be making an appointment with Her Majesty to offer his resignation. Reply

Jeremy Pemberton

Jeremy Pemberton 

I agree with these comments. His words come too glibly – and he has a list of people he has promised to meet and listen to and he has not done anything about it. His own knowledge of John Smythe and Jonathan Fletcher has not been fully explained and he has done all he can to avoid straight answers about the importance Iwerne had for him. There has been a very significant conspiracy of silence around evangelical misdoings, and unless he comes out with much more honesty around all of that I don’t think he is credible any more. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Jeremy Pemberton

IICSA – a government-ordered inquiry – concludes that the Church of England “facilitates a culture where abusers can hide”.

The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is Her Majesty The Queen.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby must now do the honourable thing and offer his resignation to Her Majesty. Reply

Helen King

Helen King 

Is it true that, as the Archbishop suggests here, he was responsible for ‘calling for this enquiry’? Reply

Nigel LLoyd

Nigel LLoyd Reply to  Helen King

I am not sure that the ABC did call for the IICSA enquiry to be set up. But I do remember that, when the enquiry was being set up, the ABC asked, as a matter of urgency, that the CofE should be at the front of the queue for investigation. Reply

Helen King

Helen King Reply to  Nigel LLoyd

Thanks for that clarification. That makes sense. Reply

Matthew Ineson

Matthew Ineson 

Justin Welby should resign immediately along with all who have ignored abuse, ignored disclosures of abuse, covered up for those who have done the above and treat victims badly. He cannot have all the privilege he has and not take responsibility. He has persistently taken ‘no action’ in complaints in order to protect bishops, refused to personally apologise on behalf of the church to victims who have suffered horrific abuse. This is on his watch. He repeatedly says he has no power, only influence. This is blatantly untrue. He has power to discipline bishops, suspend bishops and impose penalties for… Read more » Reply

Colin Coward

Colin Coward 

Why does the Church of England have a culture in which abuse is systemic?

Why is no one asking the question: What action has the church taken and is the church now taking to change the abusive institutional elements in Christian teaching and practice that are integral to the culture of abuse? Reply

Dave

Dave

If there is a “genuine commitment for the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to be the highest priority of all parts of the Church” why are diocesan websites, and twitter feeds silent? Take Manchester, for example, (and there will be many other examples) where a former Dean of the Cathedral was investigated. The website makes no mention whatsoever of the report, no request for prayer, no statement. The Bishop says via Twitter of all things (!) that the report was ‘pretty shameful’ (what an insensitive understatement) and then actually goes on to say as long as abusers exist, nobody… Read more » Reply

Janet Fife

Janet Fife Reply to  Dave

The Bishop of Manchester’s statement on Ch 4 news last night was awful: no compassion or concern for survivors; saying how much the Church has improved; praising Justin Welby for the great job he’s doing. Clearly. David Walker has learned absolutely nothing from the IICSA Report, and therefore his diocese can’t look for much improvement. He too should resign. Reply

Bill Broadhead

Bill Broadhead Reply to  Janet Fife

The script had probably been written for him, Janet, by EIO, Luther Pendragon and the legal office at Church House, Westminster. Bishops cannot say what they really want to say in case it ends up costing money. And don’t forget Manchester Diocese only collected 40% of parish share last year, so he won’t want to upset the Commissioners and those doling out the Strategic Development Fund money. Reply

Marise Hargreaves

Marise Hargreaves 

Less than a root and branch reform will achieve nothing. Accountability, transparency and all things safeguarding out of the hands of the church would be a start. Resignations need to happen from the top down and a recognition the institution as it now exists cannot continue. More words upon words achieve nothing. Actions speak louder and so far the actions are less than impressive. Reply

Fr John Harris-White

Fr John Harris-White 

A sad day indeed for the Anglican church. But an opportunity to turn round and face the future in the strength of the forgiveness of Our Lord. But it needs changes at the top of the Church of England, and in particularly the resignation of Archbishop Welby. I would be willing to sign such a petition, calling him to be a man, and resign. his position.

Fr John Emlyn Reply

Just Sayin'

Just Sayin’ 

All too often it seems Archbishop Justin offers himself as innocent observer. He has had plenty of opportunity to influence the culture of the C of E and the House of Bishops in his time yet has chosen not to do so.

From comments on this site and elsewhere he has, as they say ‘lost the dressing room’. If he has any shred of self worth or conscience he really should go. Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds

‘Virtue-signalling’ Archbishop refuses to stand down after scathing abuse report:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8813903/Victims-call-Archbishop-Canterbury-quit-shameful-disgraceful-CofE-report.html

LETTER SUBMISSION – OCTOBER 7 2020

Dear Editor
All serving Anglican bishops should offer their resignations en masse to the Supreme Governor of the Church of England Her Majesty The Queen [“C of E bishops should lose responsibility for safeguarding children, says inquiry”, Guardian, Oct 7], just as all Catholic bishops in Chile offered their resignations en masse to the Pope in 2018:
They should re-apply for their jobs, be asked at interview what they would do to put things right, and have their jobs and stipends back only if they satisfy the interviewing panel. Their expressions of regret, apology, and promises they will learn lessons, might then have some credibility.


Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

West Sussex RH11 0NN

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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OCTOBER 5 2020 – IICSA REPORT TO EXPOSE “A VERY ENGLISH FORM OF CORRUPTION“ LYING DEEP WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

IICSA REPORT EXPOSES “A VERY ENGLISH FORM OF CORRUPTION“ LYING DEEP WITHIN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

Looking ahead to IICSA report day on Tuesday

Stephen’s Blog Stephen Parsons

by Gilo

By no means a comprehensive list. Just a brief visit across a number of things we may probably see further comment upon after the Inquiry makes its final Anglican report.

Mandatory Reporting

It’s possible that any expecting to see the much needed recommendation for Mandatory Reporting as part of the statutory framework – will be disappointed. It is long overdue.

The argument is won.

And this presents an ideal moment as the Church has come round to acceptance of MR after a rather circuitous route of yes we do, no we don’t. Many of us suspect the Inquiry want to hold on to this as a ‘big ticket’ recommendation for the final report at the end of 2021. Why wait until then? Current policies across many institutions in regulated activities have been called “bags of bits” by Mandate Now; labyrinthine policy jungles which would become largely redundant with MR. Culture change will happen in a single weekend with its eventual introduction. But I think we have to wait until the Inquiry gets the last train home.

Independence

The Archbishops Council statement was notably vague on this. That the Church is keen to put this theme out just before the final Anglican report suggests that the Inquiry will call serious question to the Church’s fitness for self-governance. There is an overwhelming need for the National Safeguarding Team to be given independent oversight, well away from the control of Archbishops’ Council secretariat. The current NST is almost an entirely new team, but part of the difficulty facing Melissa Caslake and her newbies is picking their way through the considerable wreckage of the previous era which has left many survivors deeply suspicious of the NST.

Many disaster sites might have been avoided, or reached quicker resolution, if the NST hadn’t been shaped by the culture of Church House, its comms and lawyers and managers, and at times, the Church’s own dodgy reputation launderers.

The Christ Church core group debacle would in all likelihood have been avoided. I am told the probable outcome of this independence will be the formation of a new NCI (National Church Institution) – called Safeguarding – with independent members alongside Church appointees in an oversight committee to beef up scrutiny. We will have to wait and see how and when this happens.

Archbishops and Bishops

Many of us expect to see Archbishop Justin Welby and former Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, criticised. Both their hearings were embarrassing. When each had an opportunity to apologise to a survivor sat directly behind them, they failed to do so despite being invited by the Inquiry. Those watching sensed that the Inquiry took a dim view. The wider existential crisis of the bishops – how many senior figures and their dioceses have responded, or failed to respond – is likely to come under heavy fire.

The walls of silence to major questions that so many of us have experienced as a pattern across the bishops is something we hope the Inquiry will highlight.

I know that Bishop Jonathan Gibbs is keen to see more vigorous accountability injected into the structure. At present it is at best variable, at worst: absent.

Some bishops are thrown under the bus. Others get away with run-for-the-hills behaviour and hope the fallout from their denial and distancing will not follow them.

The National Safeguarding Steering Group, the church’s current overarching board of governance, to many of us seems to resemble a shielding for senior figures who should be facing critical questions. It includes bishops who have managed to hide within the structure behind dysfunctional processes and a culture of protection.

Ecclesiastical Insurance

Many of us expect to see the church’s insurer take a substantial hit following the recall to IICSA when Ecclesiastical Insurance tried to pull the wool over a government inquiry.

It’s worth pointing out that Carl Beech is serving 18 years in prison for perverting the course of justice and lying under oath to the police. But Ecclesiastical, a big corporate, have managed so far to get away with apparent dissembling in front of a government inquiry – under oath!

It’s also notable that their lawyer, top QC Rory Phillips, had only one client at the Inquiry and a very small handful of statements to be across. What a mess he made. I don’t think anyone assumes he knew his client was being dishonest. But to be candid, he could have done an hour’s easy homework – and realised he was representing a client who was being considerably less than ‘sufficiently full and frank’ in their testimony. It took the Inquiry less than 45 mins to devastate their testimony on three significant counts. Now, much more is emerging about malevolent psychiatric reports used against survivors, ‘genetic predisposition’ defences, desk-topping, and other strategies deployed by EIG and their lawyer – much of this reflecting dubious ethics.

But I doubt these will be visited in the report as some of these have only recently started to emerge, despite being brought to the attention of senior church figures over the years. But I would expect to see the Church criticised for its duplicity in some aspects of its relationship to the insurer.

It has sought to protect a corrupted nexus, from whom it derives substantial income through the owner of the insurer, AllChurches Trust. It has been, as one cleric put it, “a very English form of corruption”.

Interim Support Scheme

This is not part of the Inquiry. But it’s definitely worth comment – as the Church announced this flagship scheme last week perhaps as an attempt to plea-bargain with the Inquiry, and certainly to address widespread concern at the lack of compassion towards survivors. My understanding is that this scheme will help up to ten people initially (to help create the structure) and then quickly scale up. Quickly being the operative word.

If it fails to do this, or rows back on its promises, and becomes another smoke and mirror delaying tactic – then it will raise much more ire.

The proof will be in the extent to which it is prepared to rescue economies of those left in wreckage as result of reporting and re-abuse. And not just the initial ten or so. But fifty, then a hundred, and so on. This is not the redress scheme and should not be confused with it. It is the interim support prior to redress. My understanding is that there is no figure attached to this scheme – instead the lead bishops have argued for an open credit line – which I think is the right approach. The final redress scheme will cost a great deal more. The figure that has been talked about in the longer term has been £200million. But many of us think this will not be sufficient.

What happens after?

Will the Church go back to sleep after the Inquiry? My sense is that the current lead bishops are keen to use this opportunity to bring about as much culture change as they can and I think they recognise that this is required across the top of their Church.

My own view is that a Truth & Reconciliation initiative may be needed, in which bishops end the long procession of crafted apology statements, and apologise for real. But that has to go hand in hand with real justice and genuine repair of lives.

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen is a retired Anglican priest living at present in Cumbria. He has taken a special interest in the issues around health and healing in the Church but also when the Church is a place of harm and abuse. He has published books on both these issues and is at present particularly interested in understanding the psychological aspects of leadership and follower-ship in the Church. He is always interested in making contact with others who are concerned with these issues. View all posts by Stephen Parsons →

← Is the Church of England ready for new moves in Safeguarding?

2 thoughts on “Looking ahead to IICSA report day on Tuesday”

  1. Gilo BBC Radio Sunday. 25mins in. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000n4vyReply
  2. Jane Chevous Thank you Gilo, your predictions sound spot on and give us some hope that things will change. I know that you and others are working behind the scenes to do this and am very grateful for all you do.
    I do hope the report calls for independent scrutiny & that this results in a total reform of the core group process, because this is where the real canker is. It’s unfit for purpose and often reabusive. And as you say, fails to hold abusers and especially bishops who do nothing, to account. Nothing is happening to either of the bishops who failed (refused) to respond to my report of clergy rape.
    A redress scheme doesn’t bring justice. I hope the idea of a restorative justice process, including a Truth & Reconciliation commission, does gain traction. Counselling and compensation alone do not bring justice, or repair the rupture of abuse
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OCTOBER 3 2020 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES TO PUBLICLY CLEAR BISHOP BELL, REFUSES TO RETRACT “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” REMARKS AND REFUSES TO WITHDRAW “GREAT WICKEDNESS” COMMENTS – DAILY TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 24 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

FROM THE ARCHIVES – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES TO PUBLICLY CLEAR BISHOP BELL, REFUSES TO RETRACT “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” REMARKS AND REFUSES TO WITHDRAW “GREAT WICKEDNESS” COMMENTS – DAILY TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 24 2019

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises ‘unreservedly’ for CoE’s ‘mistakes’ in handling Bishop Bell allegations

Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured) apologises 'unreservedly' for CoE's 'mistakes' in handling Bishop Bell allegations
Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured) apologises ‘unreservedly’ for CoE’s ‘mistakes’ in handling Bishop Bell allegations

24 JANUARY 2019 • 2:51PMFollow 

The Archbishop of Canterbury was accused yesterday of persisting with a “malign” attack on Bishop George Bell after he refused to exonerate him following a “copycat” allegation of historic child sex abuse.

An official report published yesterday concluded that a 70-year-old allegation against Bishop Bell was unfounded. It found that the evidence of the complainant – a woman named only as “Alison” – was “unreliable” and “inconsistent”.

Alison had written to the Church of England, claiming she had been sexually assaulted by the bishop in 1949 when she was aged nine.

The letter was sent a week after the Church of England was found to have wrongly besmirched Bishop Bell in its handling of a previous complaint brought by a woman known only as “Carol”.

The latest report suggested that Carol’s allegation had “prompted a false recollection in Alison’s mind”.

Yesterday, the Most Rev Justin Welby “apologised unreservedly for the mistakes” in the handling of the complaint made by Carol. But he declined to publicly clear the former Bishop of Chichester of any wrongdoing or retract a statement that he had a “significant cloud … over his name” and that he had been accused of “great wickedness”.

In a private letter, however, sent to Bishop Bell’s closest surviving relative, his niece Barbara Whitley, he wrote: “Once again I offer my sincerest apologies both personally and on behalf of the Church. We did wrong to you and before God.”

Bishop Bell, one of the towering figures of the Church in the 20th century, has been unable to defend himself, having died in 1958. But his supporters urged the Church to restore his reputation after two reports exonerated him.

Ms Whitley, 94, said yesterday: “I would like to see my uncle’s name cleared before I die.”

Desmond Browne QC, a leading barrister who acted for the bishop’s family and who was christened by him in 1949, said: “What is now clear is that the investigations by two experienced lawyers [have established] George Bell’s innocence. But not once [has] the Archbishop of Canterbury offered Bell the presumption of innocence.”

Alison had alleged that Bell, the former bishop of Chichester, had sat her on his lap and “fondled her”.

But the report by Timothy Briden, an ecclesiastical lawyer and vicar general of Canterbury, concluded that in her oral evidence “her attempts to repeat what had been written in the letter displayed, however, a disturbing degree of inconsistency”.

Alison had alleged in the letter the abuse had taken place indoors in front of her mother but in oral testimony thought she had been assaulted outdoors. He concluded that her claim was “unfounded”.

The existence of Alison’s complaint made in December 2017 was made public by the Church of England at a time when it was facing increasing criticism for its handling of the earlier allegation by Carol. Alison’s claim was passed in January 2018 to police, who then dropped the case.

Bishop George Bell pictured at home in 1943
Bishop George Bell pictured at home in 1943 CREDIT: HULTON ARCHIVE/TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY

Mr Briden also investigated a separate complaint made by an 80-year-old witness – known only as K in the report – that his mother had told him that she had seen Bishop Bell “carrying out a sexual act with a man over his Rolls-Royce” in 1967. 

Bishop Bell died in 1958 and did not have a Rolls-Royce. The report said: “The longer that the statement from K’s mother is analysed, the more implausible it appears.”

Lord Carlile, the QC who carried out the damning inquiry into the handling of Carol’s claim, was scathing of the Church of England’s decision to make public the police inquiry into Alison’s complaint.

Lord Carlile said: “I am astonished that the Church [made] public the further complaint against Bishop Bell and the error has been proved by the conclusion of this latest inquiry.”

Prof Andrew Chandler, Bishop Bell’s biographer and spokesman for the George Bell Group, said “the claim by Alison appeared a copycat of Carol’s complaint”. Carol was paid £15,000 compensation in a legal settlement in October 2015.

In his statement yesterday, Archbishop Welby described Bishop Bell as a “remarkable role model”, adding: “I apologise unreservedly for the mistakes made in the process surrounding the handling of the original allegation against Bishop George Bell.” 

But he went on: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation … and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet.”

The current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, also declined yesterday to exonerate his predecessor. But he accepted that a public statement he made signifying Bishop Bell’s guilt and released in 2015 after Carol’s claim was settled was probably now an error. 

“Knowing what we now do [we] would want to re-examine that and I don’t think we would [make that statement].”

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OCTOBER 3 2020 – BISHOP BELL PORTRAIT BY WILLIAM COLDSTREAM AT THE PALLANT GALLERY IN CHICHESTER [IN STORAGE]

Bishop George Bell [1883-1958]

GEORGE BELL DAY – ALL SAINTS CHURCH SIDLEY, BEXHILL CELEBRATES THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER GEORGE BELL [1883-1958] – THE 62ND ANNIVERSARY

Featured post

OCTOBER 3 2020 – BISHOP BELL DAY [OCT 3] – ALL SAINTS CHURCH, SIDLEY, BEXHILL CELEBRATES THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER GEORGE BELL [1883-1958] – 62ND ANNIVERSARY

All SAINTS CHURCH, SIDLEY, BEXHILL, EAST SUSSEX

Bishop Bell Day [October 3]

“Today, on Bishop Bell Day [Oct 3], I shall be celebrating the Eucharist at All Saints’, Sidley and giving thanks for our great former bishop and his courageous witness, and confidence that he prays with us and for us in the Kingdom of Heaven. And let’s hope that the much awaited statue of Bishop Bell to be placed on the west front of Canterbury Cathedral (where he served as Dean before coming to Chichester) will soon be erected”The Rt Revd Nicholas Reade

The Rt Revd Nicholas Reade – Bishop of Blackburn [2004-2012]

UPDATES AND INFORMATION

BISHOP BELL DAY 1 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – 50TH ANNIVERSARY ADDRESS BY ARCHBISHOP ROWAN WILLIAMS AT CHICHESTER CATHEDRAL – OCTOBER 3 2008

BISHOP BELL DAY 2 – FROM THE ARCHIVES – A SPECIAL SERVICE AT ST MICHAEL’S CORNHILL, CITY OF LONDON – OCTOBER 3 2016

BISHOP BELL PORTRAIT 1 [BY WILLIAM COLDSTREAM] AT THE PALLANT HOUSE GALLERY IN CHICHESTER [IN STORAGE]

BISHOP BELL PORTRAIT 2 [+ PLAQUE] AT THE CATHEDRAL LIBRARY IN CHICHESTER [IN STORAGE]

WARTIME BISHOP OF CHICHESTER GEORGE BELL – “PEACEMAKER”

GEORGE BELL STATUE 1 – CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

GEORGE BELL STATUE 2 – CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

THE BELL CHRONOLOGY

‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

FROM THE ARCHIVES 1 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES TO PUBLICLY CLEAR BISHOP BELL, REFUSES TO RETRACT “SIGNIFICANT CLOUD” REMARKS AND REFUSES TO WITHDRAW “GREAT WICKEDNESS” COMMENTS – DAILY TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 24 2019

FROM THE ARCHIVES 2 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES… TELEGRAPH – JANUARY 22 2018

FROM THE ARCHIVES 3 – ARCHBISHOP WELBY REFUSES…GUARDIAN – JANUARY 22 2018

Bishop George Bell [1883-1958]

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SEPTEMBER 30 2020 – “CHURCH HAS FAILED BISHOP BELL. PUBLIC RETRACTION SOUGHT” – ‘VIRTUE ONLINE’

https://virtueonline.org/church-has-failed-bishop-bell-public-retraction-sought

Home

Home»News»The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

The Church has failed Bishop Bell. Public Retraction Sought

By Richard W. Symonds
September 28, 2020

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York stated last week [“New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors”, Church Times, Sept 25]:
“As we await IICSA’s report…we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed”

The Church has failed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, and will continue to do so until there is a public retraction of the “significant cloud” remark by Archbishop Justin Welby, and the name of George Bell House is restored by the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner.

Archbishop Welby and Bishop Warner still appear to believe there is ‘no smoke without fire’ regarding the Bishop Bell abuse allegations, even though the two separate investigations by Lord Carlile QC and Timothy Briden – commissioned by the Church – have clearly shown there is ‘no smoke and no fire’.

Both have the power to heal serious divisions within a Cathedral community – and beyond it.

It is also within their power to commission another investigation into ‘mistaken identity’. ‘Carol’ was clearly abused when she was 8 years old — and she should be fully believed and supported — but there is now clear evidence her abuser was not Bishop Bell.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley – Gatwick
West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

Below is the Church Times article.

New scheme ‘marks turning point’ in Church’s treatment of survivors

By PAUL HANDLEY
The Church Times
26 SEPTEMBER 2020

THE Archbishops’ Council has approved an interim pilot scheme for survivors of abuse in the C of E, as part of what the Archbishops of Canterbury and York describe as “a turning point” in the Church’s treatment of survivors.

The sum available has not been disclosed, but is believed to be in six figures. Survivors campaigning for redress had argued in the past that anything less than £250,000 would not be worth offering.

The announcement of the fund on Friday was accompanied by a commitment by the Archbishops’ Council “to urgently pursue the principle of independent safeguarding recognising the need for greater independence and transparency of safeguarding”.

The Church’s hierarchy has long accepted the need to address the question of redress for survivors of church-based sexual abuse, but survivors have been frustrated by the time it has taken to come up with a scheme.

The issue has gained fresh impetus with the appointment of the Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, as the Church’s lead bishop of safeguarding, and the imminence of the final report on the Church of England from the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), due to be published on 6 October.

Five weeks ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury released emergency funds for “VB”, whose business was in danger of going under because of a severe bout of depression linked with his abuse (News, 21 August). It is understood that VB has been offered further sums from the new pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme is geared to those survivors’ cases which are already known to the Church, “where the survivor is known to be in seriously distressed circumstances, and the Church has a heightened responsibility because of the way the survivor was responded to following disclosure”, a statement said on Friday.

Lessons learnt from the pilot will inform the creation of a full redress scheme.

A statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, joint chairs of the Archbishops’ Council, spoke of “a long, honest, and soberingly frank discussion. . .

“The issue of independence is something we have taken a personal lead on and are very committed to. We are glad that the Church is now going to make this happen. Along with providing redress for victims and survivors, this is the next step we must take.

“Today’s meeting and these decisions feel like a turning point. As we await IICSA’s report into the Church of England, we continue to pray for survivors and all those the Church has failed. We are profoundly sorry for our failings, but today our words of sorrow are matched by actions that we believe will lead to real change. We hope that this will provide some hope for the future.”

Dr Gibbs described the move as “an endorsement by the Archbishops’ Council of General Synod’s unanimous vote in February for a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress”.

The interim scheme is expected to help between five and ten survivors initially, although any survivor of church-based abuse “who is in dire straits” can request help. This can be at any stage of their case management, even if they have already accepted a settlement with an insurer.

If it is a recent case, the diocese would be expected to support the application, but a survivor unwilling to engage with the diocese can apply direct. The presumption is that the survivor’s present difficulties are wholly or partially a consequence of past abuse “and/or the re-abuse through the Church’s actions in response to their report of abuse”.

The scheme will be able to offer cash sums, but the emphasis will be on funding support such as financial/debt counselling, therapeutic support, seed funding to help with employment. Help with housing is also a possibility, but is expected to be offered rarely.

Andrew Graystone, who has worked as advocate for victims of abuse, said on Friday: “It is good that the Council seems to have acknowledged — I think for the first time — that the Church cannot deal with safeguarding failures in-house.

“Victims have said for a long time that independent scrutiny and management of safeguarding is the only way to make the church safer. I’m glad that the Archbishops are both now committed to this. I fully expect that IICSA will demand nothing less.”

He said that survivors remained sceptical that a full redress system would be in place in 12 to 15 months, a suggestion from the safeguarding bishops. The interim pilot support scheme was therefore welcome.

He warned, though, that it had to be properly funded. “If the fund runs out in three months, victims will be further damaged.”

And he reminded the Church of the severity of the need. “The Church shouldn’t look at this as an act of generosity, but as the very beginnings of paying its debt to survivors of abuse. The lead bishops know that this fund will do nothing more than rescue a few survivors from the cliff edge. It’s not a repair fund, but a suicide-prevention budget.”

In the view of survivors, the Church should restore them to the place they were when they disclosed their abuse. “No one should be worse off because they have disclosed what was done to them,” Mr Graystone said.

“Beyond that, the needs of survivors are very varied and lifelong. They may include housing, counselling, information, and apology, as well as financial support for lost income. It’s never just a matter of writing a cheque to make things better. I’m glad that the Lead Bishops recognise this, and are committed to designing bespoke packages for individual survivors.”

END

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SEPTEMBER 25 2020 – MARTYN PERCY AND CHRIST CHURCH – CHURCH TIMES LETTER [MARTIN SEWELL AND DAVID LAMMING]

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford

CHURCH TIMES LETTERS – SEPTEMBER 25 2020

From Messrs David Lamming and Martin Sewell

Sir, — The further attempt by malcontents on the Governing Body at Christ Church, Oxford, to oust the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy from his position as Dean of the college has spectacularly failed, as an investigation by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) found that he acted “entirely appropriately” in respect of four instances when he received confidential information from former students of the college, all competent adults (News, 11 September).

The statement by the lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, does not just report a finding that Dr Percy is “not guilty” of the baseless allegations: it is a positive affirmation that the Dean acted wholly properly.

Accordingly, the college’s announcement on its website, stating that it “will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities”, is graceless: it ought to celebrate the reassurance that the Dean understands safeguarding practice better than his accusers, who should now consider their own positions on the Governing Body.

But there is also a lesson for the Church. We are the “two supporters” of the Dean who wrote to General Synod members in June stating that the NST was being “used” by the malcontents (effectively as a cat’s paw) to further their vendetta against the Dean, having lost a costly 11-day tribunal hearing in 2019 chaired by a retired High Court judge (News, 19 June).

As we pointed out, “No person, survivor of abuse, or vulnerable adult has made any complaint, ever, against Dean Percy.” The NST announcement on 8 September vindicates our assessment.

While the outcome for the Dean is indeed welcome, there must now be an investigation into the way in which the Church came to be so embroiled. As the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, has commented (on the Thinking Anglicans blog), “a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters and into the procedures the NST employ must now take place.”

On 14 August, you reported the letter sent to the Charity Commission by many survivors, lawyers, academics, and Synod members, urging the Commission to intervene in the light of the Archbishops’ Council’s failure to call to account those with operational responsibility for the Church’s safeguarding practice. That letter was acknowledged on 11 September, a senior specialist case manager noting the “serious concerns” that the letter raises.

The Archbishops’ Council should now state how it intends to respond.

DAVID LAMMING
Boxford

MARTIN SEWELL
Gravesend


(General Synod members)

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SEPTEMBER 13 2020 – NO SMOKE NO FIRE – SILENCED VOICES OF THE FALSELY ACCUSED

NO SMOKE NO FIRE – SILENCED VOICES OF THE FALSELY ACCUSED

OIP (26)
download

FACEBOOK PAGE

NO SMOKE NO FIRE – SILENCED VOICES OF THE FALSELY ACCUSED

MAKING A CASE FOR THE INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING SERVICE

BOOKS AND OTHER RESOURCES

Burnett, Dr Ross – “Wrongful Allegations of Sexual Child Abuse” [OUP 2016]

F.A.C.T. – Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers

Jones, Dave – “No Smoke No Fire” [2009]

McCarthy, William – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” [Bloomington 2010]

Pierre, David F – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” [Mattapoisett USA 2012]

Price, David R & McDonald, James J – “The Problem of False Claims of Clergy Sexual Abuse” [Risk Management. January 2003]

https://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-96502054/the-problem-of-false-claims-of-clergy-sexual-abuse

RABINOWITZ, Dorothy – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness and Other Terrors of our Times…” – Wall Street Journal Books – 2003

Sipe, Richard – Clergy Sexual Abuse – Selected Sources [2006]

“Spotlight” Film – [2015]

THE BELL SOCIETY CHRONOLOGY

June 3 2018 – U.S. Catholic Sex Abuse, “Spotlight” and “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” Revisited.

June 6 2018 – “NOT ME” launched  [A Resource for Clergy Wrongfully Accused]

June 8 2018 – “The Dallas Charter” Revisited

June 8 2018 – Rights of  Accused Priests

June 9 2018 – Opus Bono

“Ruining the name of clergy is unfortunately rather easy and is even easier once the person is deceased.  Once the press picks it up and if it is outside the statute of limitations, at least in the USA, anyone can say anything.  The best way to counteract the attacks is to make sure your voice is heard and try to make it louder than the negative.  BUT the raw truth is once it starts and if it gets legs, then damage is done and cannot be undone” – PF

“Who controls the voices and the volume?” – Richard W. Symonds

June 9 2018 – From The Archives [July 20 2015 – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail]

June 9 2018 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” by Monsignor William McCarthy [iUniverse 2010]

“Monsignor William McCarthy paints a picture embracing a situation that is almost impossible to comprehend. Had I not stood by him throughout the years of pure hell he experienced, I would not have believed the outright calumny by a detective, and how the subsequent action of his bishop and diocesan staff could have occurred. Child abuse is a terrible thing, but equally horrible is when innocent priests are unjustly condemned and destroyed by the hierarchy of their church.”

~ Arthur N. Hoagland, M.D. [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

“This book is a must read for any…who loves their Church but is concerned about its often self-destructive response to the tragedy of clerical pedophilia. It is a story about tragedy and triumph. The tragedy of the Church that Monsignor McCarthy loves deeply, and into which he has selflessly devoted his entire life, but is sometimes governed by people who have lost all sense of justice. It is a Church that betrayed him. In its attempt to protect the victims of child abuse, it established a new category of victims: its faithful priests. The triumph of Monsignor McCarthy is his faith and love of Jesus, which saw him through his terrible ordeal in spite of the evil that was perpetuated against him.”H

~ Deacon Joseph Keenan [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

Justice demands that the guilty pay, but it also demands that the innocent not suffer. On June 15-18 [2011], the bishops will meet in Seattle, and one of the items they are expected to address is the issue of accused priests and fairness in dealing with them.”

Epilogue – Chapter 79 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” – Monsignor William McCarthy

I wrote to the former Vicar General of the diocese, requesting an interview. I wanted to go face-to-face with the person who was directly responsible for my destruction … I was told he had strongly advised my former bishop to proceed with my censure.

On March 3, 2009, we both sat down in his office facing each other. I began by opening my Bible to John 7 : 51, and read: “Nicodemus spoke out, ‘Does our law condemn a person without first hearing him and knowing the facts?’”

I then asked him point blank: “Why did you condemn me without hearing me and knowing the facts?”

He replied, “Bill, we were following the system.”

“What system?” I pressed.

“Orders from Dallas,” he said, “when they hastily put together that charter.”

I looked him squarely in the eyes and stated, “That’s what they said at the Nuremberg Trials – ‘We were only following orders.’”

When he didn’t respond, I continued: “They were all convicted of crimes against humanity. In 2003, the diocese also committed a crime against humanity – me in particular. They did not lift a finger to help me. The diocese, particularly you as Vicar General, was reckless and impetuous in censuring me, and calling for my execution as a priest. You behaved badly! Instead of prudently investigating the accusation you rushed to judgement and as a result, you caused me extraordinary damage. You were reckless!”

Again he didn’t respond…

I asked him why I was not brought before the Board that was established for that very reason – why was I not given a chance to present my side of the story?

“One: You never spoke to the detective. Two: You never spoke to my accusers. Three: You never spoke to me, the accused. However, you proceeded in concert with the bishop and the promoter of justice to censure me. You put blind faith in the detective’s report…and accepted it as infallible…

“Bill,” the former Vicar General interrrupted, “we were acting in good faith.”

At that point I almost lost it…”How hypocritical!! You then published in the diocesan newspaper, over the entire front page, the whole sordid story which ruined my health, my reputation, my life. I suffered the humilation of being a censured priest for five long years until finally, through the conclusion of an ecclesiastical trial, I was unanimously declared innocent.”…

I asked the former Vicar General how he could justify his behavior.

Once again, he had no answer, except to meekly offer, “Sorry, Bill, we made a mistake.”

“I forgive you,” I said evenly, “but I will never forget. My life is irreversibly tarnished. I suffer from chronic flashbacks and panic attacks.

“So that my suffering will not be in vain, I want you to go public with an apology to the Press – and further, that you write to the apostolic delegate in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Sambi, and demand that he make a concerted effort to revise that weapon of mass destruction of our priests – that instrument known as the Dallas Charter.

The former Vicar General promised me he would do his best. I must give him credit for his calm demeanor and humility. I got the impression he was not just paying me lip service; and that he would indeed at least make the effort to correct the wrong that he had done. He not only acted like he knew he was guilty; he accepted the blame, which made me think deep down, he was doing what Jesus would want him to do.

June 11 2018 – “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests’ by James Valladares [iUniverse 2012]

“The Caiaphas Principle” – ‘Bishops, who are supposed to be fathers, brothers, and friends to their priests, have instead become mere managers with institutional damage control as their top priority’ (Foreword p. xiv – Rev Michael P. Orsi)

June 11 2018 – From The Archives [July 9 2010 – “False Accusations” by John Landry http://www.catholicity.com – Quoted in “Hope Springs Internal in the Priestly Breast – A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests” by Fr. James Valladares – Page 200 – “Where is Justice for Falsely Accused Priests?”]

June 15 2018 – “These Stone Walls” – ‘Musings Of A Priest Falsely Accused’ – Father Gordon MacRae

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [Dec 10 1948 – “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” ~ Article 11, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly of the United Nations]

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [Sept 2001 – Nolan Report published ]

‘Guilty until proven innocent’ [Source: “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study for Procedural Justice for Priests’ by Fr. James Valladares – iUniverse 2012 – Page 160-161]

In a very interesting article entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent,” Fr. Austen Ivereigh, MA, DPhil, of Heythorpe College, Oxford, informs us of the Cumberlege Commission review of the Church’s child-protection policy [Nolan Report – Ed]. And this is his initial observation: “While treatment of the abused has improved, disturbing evidence has emerged that priests who have been accused and not charged are left in limbo, suspicion still hanging over them” [Ref 345: Austin Ivereigh, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Ever since a dithering Caiaphas [See ‘The Caiaphas Principle’ – June 11 2018 – Ed] succumbed to public pressure and maintained that the destruction of an innocent man was justified to save a nation, the law of Christian countries has consistently upheld the presumption of innocence, and the need for definite and incontrovertible evidence, before an accused can be convicted . In the Church’s legal tradition, this is known as ‘favor rei’ – the accused enjoys the benefit of the law and is deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. Said Pope John Paul II in 1979: “Due process and individual rights should never be sacrificed for the sake of the social order”.

In the wake of the explosive revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy in 2002 (exposed by the Boston Globe and highlighted in the ‘Spotlight’ film – Ed), the bishops of the world reacted with drastic measures to repair the scandal and restore justice through penal sanctions. Quasi-judicial bodies were established and duly authorised to implement their policies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there was COPCA (the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults), the child-protection agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, set up at Lord Nolan’s report on abuse in 2001.

Fr. Austen Ivereigh frankly confesses that Nolan was well aware of the possibility of false or malicious allegations, and the haunting danger of reputations being irreparably destroyed. Yet, continues Fr. Ivereigh, “COPCA’s policies have ridden roughshod over these qualms. ‘Nolan would be turning in his grave,’ more than one canonist has told me.” So there is a pressing need for a level playing field [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, the bishop in charge of COPCA, candidly acknowledged last year that an accused priest is unlikely ever to be reinstated. Of the 40 clergy in England and Wales who had been accused by 2005, only two had been restored to ministry; four were dismissed. Of the 41 reports made in 2006, 24 resulted in no further action by the police, while 14 are still being investigated. Ivereigh adds, “And what is the fate of those whose cases have been dropped by the police? Many of them live in limbo, their reputations and vocations cast to the wolves. All too often, they leave the priesthood”. ‘So a priest is guilty until proven innocent – and this is the deplorable stance of the very ones who brazenly preach about justice in season and out of season’.

Fr. Paul Bruxby, the Brentwood canonist who defends accused priests, informs us that most of the 20 priests he is defending have been assessed as ‘low risk’; yet, five or six years later, they are unable to return to their parishes. “They feel shunned by their bishops and describe themselves as lepers. They feel hopeless, and sometimes imagine committing suicide” [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10]

June 11 2018 – “Clergy Suicides in Sussex 1918-2018 – An Investigation by Richard W. Symonds [currently in progress]

June 23 2018 – ITN Solicitors [for the Falsely Accused]

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SEPTEMBER 11 2020 – “HEAR NO EVIL…” – PRIVATE EYE

“Hear no evil” – Private Eye – 11 Sept – 24 Sept 2020 [No 1530]

“The church could have launched an inquiry in August 2013, when a full account of the abuse [by John Smyth QC] arrived on Archbishop Justin Welby’s desk. Instead it waited another five years, then failed to appoint a reviewer for a further year”

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SEPTEMBER 10 2020 – MAKING A CASE FOR THE INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING SERVICE

MAKING A CASE FOR THE INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING SERVICE

CASE 1 – GEORGE BELL – BISHOP OF CHICHESTER

CASE 2 – MARTYN PERCY – DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH

CASE 3 – GEORGE CAREY – FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

CASE 4 – REVD CHRISTOPHER LOVELESS

CASE 5 – REVD DEREK SPENCER

Featured post

SEPTEMBER 8 2020 – “CHURCH CLEARS OXFORD COLLEGE DEAN AFTER ‘BLACK OPS’ CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT HIM” – THE GUARDIAN

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church

on Tuesday, 8 September 2020 at 10.57 am by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Church of EnglandSafeguarding

DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH CLEARED OF ALL ALLEGATIONS‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Dean of Christ Church cleared of all safeguarding accusations

Updated again Wednesday morning

The Church of England has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford:

Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “An independent investigation into allegations that the Dean, Martyn Percy, failed to fulfil his safeguarding responsibilities has concluded the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The National Safeguarding Team, NST, followed the House of Bishops guidance when the four separate allegations were referred earlier in the year relating to the Dean, a senior office holder. At no point was there any allegation or evidence that the Dean presented a direct risk to any child or vulnerable adult.

I am aware this has been a very difficult time for all parties, particularly Martyn and his family, and I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation. There will of course be lessons to learn about the processes, as there are with any safeguarding case, and that is an essential part of our guidance to make the Church a safer place for all. We welcome the Dean’s commitment to taking part in this. Now the investigation has concluded and the Dean has been exonerated of these safeguarding allegations, the NST’s involvement has come to an end. I continue to pray for his ministry and the life of the Cathedral and its mission in the diocese and wider Church.

As I have said before, the NST has no view about, and is not involved in, the wider issues relating to the College and the Dean at Christ Church, Oxford and this remains the case.

The Diocese of Oxford has issued this Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy
Statement on Christ Church, Oxford from the Bishop of Oxford
8 September 2020

In March this year it was alleged that the Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy, a senior member of the clergy and Dean of Christ Church Oxford, had not fulfilled his safeguarding responsibilities. The National Safeguarding Team (NST) duly appointed an independent safeguarding person, who was asked to investigate and report back. The report has concluded that the Dean acted entirely appropriately in each case. The Bishop of Oxford has issued the following statement:

“I welcome the news that the investigation by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) has concluded and that Martyn is exonerated. The investigation process was not without pain, and could have been concluded more quickly, but it is entirely right that allegations against clergy and church officers are properly investigated when they are made. This investigation brings full closure to the matter put before the NST, though these continue to be testing times for all at Christ Church. My prayers remain with Martyn and Emma, the Chapter and wider College at the start of this new academic year.”

The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

The Church Times has published this news report: Dean Percy exonerated over safeguarding charges. This rehearses a good deal of the background.

Update 1:
Christ Church has now issued this: Statement from Christ Church on Church of England Safeguarding Investigation.

8 September 2020

“The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has announced the outcome of its independent investigation into the handling of four disclosures to the Dean of Christ Church, made by survivors of sexual assault. The NST has now informed Christ Church that its report concludes there has been no breach of the Church of England’s protocols.

“Safeguarding is of the utmost importance at Christ Church, and it is our obligation to report such concerns appropriately. After a query from a national newspaper regarding a serious sexual assault, an independent QC advised that a referral should be made to the Church of England as the handling of such disclosures fell within its jurisdiction. It is vital that everyone has the confidence to report safeguarding concerns. We will be reviewing the NST’s findings with regard to Christ Church’s safeguarding responsibilities.

“Our thoughts are with all survivors of abuse. If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.

Update 2
Martin Sewell
 has written at Archbishop CranmerChurch of England clears Martyn Percy of all safeguarding allegations.

“Lest anyone urge us to swiftly move on, suggesting that a good outcome is sufficient closure, let us remind ourselves that a man and his family have been put through the most awful experience by powerful, well-resourced bullies using other people’s money to pursue their own grievances and protect their own vanities. That they failed is good, but both the University of Oxford and the Church of England have a moral duty to look carefully into how this happened, and to ensure it cannot not happen again” ~ Martin Sewell

Harriet Sherwood writes in the GuardianChurch clears Oxford college dean after ‘black ops campaign to discredit him’.
Headline later changed to Church clears Oxford college dean over alleged safeguarding failures.

Tim Wyatt at Religion Media Centre has Oxford dean cleared by abuse investigation and Christ Church Oxford timeline.

Update 3
The Times Dean of Christ Church Oxford cleared of safeguarding failures

Telegraph Oxford University dean finally exonerated after safeguarding dispute

Daily Mail Dean of Oxford’s Christ Church college is cleared of all safeguarding allegations in abuse row

Cherwell Christ Church dean exonerated after safeguarding allegations Subscribe 

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3000{}[+]30 COMMENTSOldest 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago

Next stop: full exoneration for Bishop George Bell? 

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Just imagine Archbishop Welby now saying there is still a “significant cloud” over Martyn Percy?!

If you can imagine it, then perhaps you can better understand how the Bishop Bell advocates feel. 

John Wallace

John Wallace 1 day ago

Really great news and an answer to the prayers of many. I do hope and pray that his accusers will consider their positions as well as make a full public apology. Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 1 day ago Reply to  John Wallace

The signs aren’t promising when the public statement concludes “If anyone affected by this news requires support, they should contact the police or the relevant safeguarding authority.” (My italics.) Reply

Sam Norton

Sam Norton 1 day ago

That Christ Church statement reads like it was written by someone chewing on a wasp.

Mark Beach

Mark Beach 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Norton

Thank you, my thoughts entirely, but put in a very much more poetic way. Its hardly a ringing endorsement….

Can one hope for new beginnings at Christ Church? Reply

Toby Forward

Toby Forward 1 day ago

Mealy-mouthed and mendacious statement by Christ Church. There now needs to be some form of reform of the governing body. Reply

David Lamming

David Lamming 1 day ago Reply to  Toby Forward

A number of questions need to be answered by Christ Church: (i) who was responsible for and/or authorised the above statement on the College website? (ii) will the remainder of the Governing Body now disown the censors who made the wholly misconceived complaint about the Dean to the NST? (iii) who was the ‘independent QC’ who advised referral of the matter to the Church of England and will the College publish his/her advice and the instructions setting out the basis on which it was sought? (iv) what has been the cost to the College (legal fees and those of the… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 22 hours ago Reply to  David Lamming

I am baffled by the final sentence of the Christ Church statement quoted above. Who, in these circumstances, would require ‘support’ – for which they are told they should contact the police and ‘relevant’ safeguarding authority? Is this further mischief-making or just incompetence – using a ‘standard’ wording irrespective of the circumstances – I wonder? Reply

Sam Jones

Sam Jones 1 day ago

It is good that Martyn Percy has been cleared, but his position is untenable if the governing body have no confidence in him. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

Isn’t it senior members of the Governing Body who past and potential benefactors will wish to see held to account for the millions of unnecessary expenditure? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

The position of those in the governing body is untenable – there is no confidence in them.

Froghole

Froghole 1 day ago Reply to  Sam Jones

I think this is right. I am an alumnus of Christ Church, and deplore what has happened. I agree with many of the pro-Percy comments (notably that of Interested Observer). However, the relationship between dean and governing body has become so bitter, so envenomed and so visceral that it is difficult to see how Dr Percy can be an effective leader of the ‘college’. Other heads of house have resigned, and in far milder contexts, when they have lost the confidence of their respective governing bodies. Whilst Dr Percy may be entitled to a feeling of victory, he might lose… Read more » Reply

Fr Gustavo

Fr Gustavo 1 day ago

Perhaps this has been already answered, but, with all that it is going on, would not a Visitation be in order? Reply

Richard

Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

A quote from the Financial Times: (less than 30 words, so permissible according to their copyright rules)

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.” Reply

Froghole

Froghole 13 hours ago Reply to  Richard

Many thanks. I really don’t think that anyone believes that the sovereign would be involved personally. What is more likely to happen is that the private secretary to the sovereign, or perhaps also (and more probably) the privy council, would be petitioned about a possible formal visitation or the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism (there is also an outside chance that they might act of their own motion after taking ‘soundings’). Then, following receipt of that petition and/or consultations, the sovereign (i.e., the prime minister) would secure appointment of a deputy, who will probably be a retired senior judge.… Read more » Reply

Rowland Wateridge

Rowland Wateridge 11 hours ago Reply to  Froghole

I don’t know how many times I have dealt with these points on earlier TA threads! The procedure for Visitations is all set out in Statute XXXVI (at pages 37-39 of the Christ Church Statutes), and far too long to repeat here. It provides for both a ‘routine’ Visitation every ten years (at Her Majesty’s option) or by intervention. I’m unsure about the machinery for appointing Her Majesty’s Commissary. A retired senior judge seems a likely appointee. There has always been a direct right of appeal to the Crown, which I quote again below, but for whatever reason it has… Read more » Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Richard

“In another unfortunate piece of heritage, the Visitor is the Queen, whom nobody wants to involve.”

Why not?

Her Majesty is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England!

Dominic Barrington

Dominic Barrington 20 hours ago Reply to  Fr Gustavo

I think you are making a false assumption about the powers of the bishop in relation to this unique (and utterly dysfunctional) cathedral. Reply

Interested Observer

Interested Observer 1 day ago

It isn’t actually Confucius, although often credited to him (or James Bond, either will do): “before setting off on revenge, first dig two graves”. It strikes me that there is no way that this ends well for either Christ Church corporately or for Martin Percy’s persecutors. Even “victory” is hollow (Tacitus actually did write “ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant”), if their definition of “victory” is Martyn Percy’s departure; the resulting employment tribunal looks increasingly difficult and the attempt to use CofE safeguarding as a weapon can only backfire in both the short and long term. The loss of credibility for… Read more » Reply

Pete Broadbent

Pete Broadbent 1 day ago

Martyn Percy cleared of all [trumped up] “charges” This is very good news! But it can’t end there – a full interrogation of how the NST became the patsy of the CC Oxford dons/plotters & into the procedures the NST employ must now take place. Reply

Kate

Kate 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Yes Reply

Paul Roberts

Paul Roberts 1 day ago Reply to  Pete Broadbent

Indeed. Reply

dr.primrose

dr.primrose 1 day ago

There’s an issue of the waste of money for legal proceedings on behalf on the college, which raises the issue of whether the complaints should be required to repay that amount. There’s also an issue of the fees that Percy incurred. I haven’t read anything about that. Is the college liable for those? Reply

Richard

Richard 23 hours ago Reply to  dr.primrose

I recall that previous articles about this have said that Percy is liable. There was a campaign underway to assist him financially. Does anyone know differently? Reply

Kate

Kate 17 hours ago

Does anyone know what standard of proof Core Groups work to? Is it “beyond reasonable doubt”, “balance of probabilities” or something unique to the Church of England? Reply

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds 12 hours ago Reply to  Kate

Something unique to the Church of England: faithful belief in its own infallibility. 

Kate

Kate 3 hours ago Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

That’s something which needs to be fixed. Reply

Bill Broadhead

Bill Broadhead 12 hours ago

“An independent investigation into allegations…” Come on, it was hardly that, was it – and since when has the NST been in any way “independent”? Was the Bishop at Lambeth and Ecclesiastical Insurance in the room? While I share the widespread delight that this aspect of the burden Martyn Percy and those closest to him are carrying, if there had not been a significant challenge to the way the NST Core Group for this complaint was set up, there could have been a catastrophic miscarriage of justice. So, to my mind, nil points for the C of E over this… Read more » Reply

Father Ron Smith

Father Ron Smith 12 hours ago

This is very welcome news- especially to those of us who have witnessed with growing amazement the chutzpah of Dean Martyn Percy’s accusers. One hopes they will do the right thing now and meet all of Martyn’s legal expenses. They should also be responsible for some substantial monetary compensation for what Martyn and his family have suffered during this unfortunate breach of common justice. Reply

Featured post

JUNE 11 2018 – “POPE ACCEPTS CHILEAN BISHOPS’ RESIGNATION OVER ABUSE SCANDAL” – BBC NEWS

 

Pope accepts Chilean bishops’ resignation over abuse scandal

Published 11 June 2018

Bishop Juan Barros (C) attends his first religious service as people protest against him at the Osorno cathedral, south of Santiago, Chile, 21 March 2015IMAGE COPYRIGHT REUTERS Bishop Juan Barros has been accused of covering up child sexual abuse, which he denies
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including the controversial Juan Barros, in the wake of a child sexual abuse scandal.
Bishop Barros was accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in the 1980s and 1990s.
Pope Francis has said that he made “grave mistakes” by originally defending Bishop Barros.
All of Chile’s 34 Roman Catholic bishops had offered their resignations.
The decision by the Pope to accept the resignation of three of the 34 was announced in a statement issued by the Vatican on Monday.
Apart from Bishop Barros of Osorno, Archbishop Cristián Caro Cordero of Puerto Montt and Bishop Gonzalo Duarte García de Cortázar of Valparaíso will now be replaced.
It was not clear if the move meant that the remaining 31 resignations would not be accepted.
Pope Francis became involved in the scandal surrounding Juan Barros when he defended the bishop during his visit to Chile in January. At the time he said that allegations against the bishop amounted to “slander”.
“The day I see proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk. There is not a single piece of evidence against him. It is all slander. Is that clear?” the Pope had said at the time.
In this file photo taken on May 02, 2018 Chilean sexual abuse victims Jose Andres Murillo (R), James Hamilton (C) and Juan Carlos Cruz (L) pose at the end of a press conference at the Foreign Press Association in Rome on May 2, 2018.IMAGE COPYRIGHTAFP image caption Victims of sexual abuse Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo have spoken out in public about what happened to them
He later apologised to victims, saying: “I apologise to them if I hurt them without realising it, but it was a wound that I inflicted without meaning to.”
The installation of Juan Barros as bishop of the southern city of Osorno in 2015 met with stiff resistance.
More than 1,000 people wrote to Pope Francis asking him to review the appointment and hundreds showed up at the bishop’s installation ceremony in protest.
They accused Bishop Barros of using his position in the Church to cover up the actions of his mentor, Fr Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing children.
Victims of Fernando Karadima said Juan Barros had been present when the priest had abused them. Bishop Barros denies any wrongdoing.
One of the victims, Juan Carlos Cruz, told Chilean radio that by accepting the resignations, Pope Francis had “sent a message to the world that this culture of abuse and cover-up won’t be tolerated any longer”.
The Pope’s move comes after he received two groups of victims of Fernando Karadima at the Vatican.
About 80 Roman Catholic priests have been reported to authorities in Chile for alleged sexual abuse over the past 18 years.
Under Pope Francis, a Vatican committee has been set up to fight sexual abuse and help victims.

More on this story

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MAY 18 2018 – “CHILE’S BISHOPS OFFER TO RESIGN EN MASSE OVER SEX ABUSE COVER-UP” – LOS ANGELES TIMES

Pope_Francis_with_all_of_Chile_bishops_in_Rome__May_17__2018_1024_512_75_s_c1

“CHILE’S BISHOPS OFFER TO RESIGN EN MASSE OVER SEX ABUSE COVER-UP” – LOS ANGELES TIMES

 

All 33 Roman Catholic bishops in Chile offered to resign Friday after meeting with Pope Francis in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Latin American country.

The unprecedented offer by the Chilean church’s top hierarchy came after a week of tense meetings with Francis in the Vatican to discuss the harsh conclusions of a report on the Chilean scandal prepared by Malta Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna that accused church leaders of a coverup.

“We want to announce that all bishops present in Rome, in writing, have placed our positions in the Holy Father’s hands so that he may freely decide regarding each one of us,” Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez said in a news conference Friday in Rome.

It was unclear whether Francis would accept any or all of the resignations. Thirty-one of the 33 bishops attended the Vatican meetings, and the two who did not attend added their names to the resignation letter.

“I assume with responsibility, in communion with the rest of the church, this need to support the Holy Father,” Bishop Carlos Pellegrin said after arriving Friday at the Santiago airport.

After visiting Chile in February to investigate the alleged abuses of an unspecified number of victims that included minors and adults, laymen and clerics, Scicluna filed a report that slammed a coverup by church leaders of sex crimes committed by Father Fernando Karadima during his tenure at a parish in Santiago, the capital.

The report blamed, among others, Karadima’s superior Bishop Juan Barros, who attended the Vatican meetings. Karadima, now 87, was condemned by a special canonical court to a lifetime of penance and prayer, but he faced no criminal charges because of the statute of limitations.

In his five years as pontiff, Francis has been praised for his attention to social issues and the poor but accused of failing to punish clergy who abused children. Such criticisms intensified during the pope’s visit to Chile in January, when he labeled the accusations against Barros as “calumny.”

The pope’s words were widely criticized, even by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, a key Vatican advisor on clergy abuse.

Francis later apologized and asked Scicluna to investigate the matter. The pontiff also had emotionally charged meetings with three men who said they were abused by Karadima. Those meetings prompted him to write a letter to the Chilean bishops last month, saying that he felt “pain and shame” over the men’s accounts and that he wanted to “apologize to all those I have offended.”

One of the men who met with the pope, Juan Carlos Cruz, described their discussions as “raw.” Cruz said he had “never seen someone so contrite. He was truly sorry, and I felt he was hurting.”

The night before the Chilean bishops sent Francis their offer of resignation, he sent them a letter. According to the Vatican news service, it referenced his meetings with the bishops and said, in part: “In light of these painful incidents which concern abuse — of minors, power, and conscience — we exchanged views on their seriousness as well as on their tragic consequences, particularly for the victims. For each of them I have wholeheartedly asked for forgiveness, an action to which all of you have united in one will and with the firm intention of repairing the damage done.”

Scicluna’s 2,300-page report enumerated “a series of absolutely reprehensible acts that have occurred in the Chilean church in relation to those unacceptable abuses of power, of conscience and sexual abuse that have resulted in the lessening of the prophetic vigor,” Auxiliary Bishop Fernando Ramos of Santiago said at the Friday news conference.

Karadima served as spiritual guide to more than 40 priests and four of the current bishops whose future is now at stake — Barros, Horacio Valenzuela, Tomislav Koljatic and Andrés Arteaga. They all have denied covering up abuses. Barros was perhaps closest to Karadima, having been trained by him as a junior priest

“The fame of Father Karadima was extraordinary at that time; he even had a reputation of being a saint,” Emeritus Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz testified at a civil court hearing in 2015, explaining why he didn’t believe the accusations against Karadima in the early 2000s.

Triggering the crisis was Francis’ appointment of Barros in 2015 as head of the Osorno Diocese in Southern Chile. Up to then, Barros had a low profile as Chilean armed forces bishop, but his alleged role in the Karadima coverup was widely known by then and many parishioners protested the appointment.

On Friday in Santiago, another of the whistleblowers who exposed Karadima said Francis needed to get rid of the bishops.

“I hope the pope accepts the resignation of all the bishops, because none of them was willing to side with the victims,” Jose Andres Murillo said at a news conference. “The church must transform itself from a refuge of abusers to a refuge for the victims.”

Poblete is a special correspondent. Special correspondent Chris Kraul in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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AUGUST 29 2020 – “TO ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN” – LETTER SUBMISSION – VIRTUEONLINE

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George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

LETTER SUBMISSION – ‘TO AN ARCHBISHOP AND BISHOP: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN’

LETTER SUBMISSION – ‘TO AN ARCHBISHOP AND BISHOP: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN’

August 29, 2020

Dear Editor,

Following this week’s Private Eye article and Church Times letter, we the undersigned again call upon Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner to consider their positions.

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer [Lord Carlile recently judged the 30 Church of England Core Groups as “the most incompetent and unjust form of investigation I have ever seen.”]

It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” hangs over Bishop Bell’s head — it hangs elsewhere. Bishop Bell’s name has now been fully vindicated, so there is no good reason why an apology should not be forthcoming and the name of George Bell House restored.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”.

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” — a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ — especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester.

Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner — especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester].

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, the only surviving relative and in her 90’s, and the Rev Peter Mullen and Andrew Morse have already called for resignations.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, now call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Forrest William
BOYS, Geoffrey
CHARMLEY, Professor John
DONALD, Revd. Steve
GOMES, Dr. Jules
INESON, Revd. Matthew
MARTIN, Terry
MORGAN, Dr. Gerald
MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter
OSBORNE, Noel
RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles
ROBINSON, Dr. Steven
SIMS, Kevin
SYMONDS, Richard W.
VIRTUE, David W. DD
WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Letter and its Signatories, please contact:
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley — Gatwick
Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only — Very deaf]
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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AUGUST 29 2020 – RESIGNATIONS EN-MASSE TO THE SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN ?

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RESIGNATIONS EN-MASSE TO THE SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN?

‘Gilo’ concludes his Surviving Church article:

“At what point will someone cry out on the floor of the House of Bishops: Enough of all our broken pretence. We must apologise collectively, publicly and authentically for our failure to treat so many survivors honestly; for our insistence on distancing from their stories, our disclosure denials and “no recollections”, our reliance on dysfunctional processes; and in too many instances for our behaviour worse than denial – gaslighting and really cowardly and mean behaviour. Enough. We must do real penance, seek truth and reconciliation, and must reform our episcopal culture and reform our structures right to their bones”

The Catholic Bishops of Chile did just that two years ago – May 2018 – offering their resignations en-masse to Pope Francis:

“We have put our positions in the hands of the Holy Father and will leave it to him to decide freely for each of us,” they said. “We want to ask forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, to the pope, to God’s people and to our country for the serious errors and omissions we have committed”

Something of the same magnitude must happen here – Bishops and Archbishops – by offering their resignations to Her Majesty The Queen – The Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

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Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

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AUGUST 29 2020 – SISTER FRANCES DOMINICA WRITES IN THE CHURCH TIMES…….”SUPPORT FOR THE ACCUSED”

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Sister Frances Dominica

SISTER FRANCES DOMINICA WRITES IN THE CHURCH TIMES…….”SUPPORT FOR THE ACCUSED”

Support for the accused – Church Times – Letters – August 28 2020

 

From Sister Frances Dominica ASSP

Sir, — Greater support from the Church for victims of abuse is to be welcomed (News, 21 August). How long will it take for the Church to recognise the need of support for those wrongly accused of abuse, with the consequent loss of career, home, income, and reputation?

FRANCES DOMINICA
President of FACT (Falsely Accused Carers, Teachers and other professionals)
All Saints Sisters of the Poor
Oxford

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AUGUST 29 2020 – ‘CORE BLIMEY’ – PRIVATE EYE ON CORE GROUPS WITHIN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – “THE MOST INCOMPETENT AND UNJUST FORM OF INVESTIGATION I HAVE EVER SEEN” – LORD ALEX CARLILE QC

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“Core Blimey” – Private Eye No 1529 – 28 August – 10 September 2020

PRIVATE EYE – CHURCH NEWS – “CORE BLIMEY”

FOLLOWING our report in Eye 1527 that there are currently 27 national “core groups” investigating safeguarding concerns about bishops and deans in the Church of England, the church’s lead bishop on safeguarding, Rt. Revd Jonathan Gibbs, quickly put out a correction.

There are in fact 30 such groups, three more having been created since the last count in mid-July. He added that “about three-quarters of current national cases are about senior clergy failing to act appropriately rather than a direct allegation of abuse.”

This isn’t as reassuring as he seems to think: it implies that seven or eight of the most senior figures in the Church of England are being investigated over allegations of first-order abuse.

Some of these may be retired, but as far as we know only two – former Archbishop George Carey and current Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson – are currently barred from acting as bishops, and their cases don’t involve any “direct allegation of abuse”.

Lord Carlile QC said two weeks ago that the C of E’s core group system is “the most incompetent and unjust form of investigation I have ever seen.”

Carlile led the 2017 review of how the church mishandled claims against the late Bishop George Bell. He concluded that its George Bell core group had been “unmethodical, confused and unstructured”, with the membership and chair changing from meeting to meeting. The whole process was predicated on Bell’s guilt and resulted in “catastrophic damage” to his posthumous reputation. (The mistaken allegation that Bell was a paedophile was reported as fact in the Daily Telegraph by religious-affairs editor John Bingham – who was subsequently punished for his error by being appointed the C of E’s head of media.)

Carlile is among 65 lawyers, clerics and abuse survivors who signed a letter to the Charity Commission this month, asking it to challenge the C of E over “the continuing flow of cases of injustice”. The signatories accuse core groups of acting “in ways reminiscent of the Star Chamber, synonymous with the selective use of arbitrary unaccountable power”.

Last month, for example, a victim of John Smyth QC made a formal complaint against Archbishop Justin Welby for failing to act on information about his old friend’s violently abusive behaviour, and was duly told that an investigation would be held. But he now learns that Welby has already been the subject of a secret investigation into the claim in 2017 – in which the complainant was not even consulted. The new inquiry is nothing more than an internal review of that process – which could be tricky since no-one will say who conducted the investigation or what it discovered.

Ultimately, the judgement on whether Welby should be disciplined rests with the new Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, who has himself been recently investigated by a core group; and the judgement on whether Archbishop Cottrell should be disciplined for his safeguarding failure rests with Archbishop Welby.

What could be fairer than that?

 

___________________________________________________________________________-

 

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AUGUST 22 2020 – DAVID VIRTUE DD, IN HIS EXCORIATING JUDGEMENT OF THE VIOLATIONS OF LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, JOINS GROWING NUMBER CALLING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY JUSTIN WELBY

The Church of England has admitted that there are about 30 separate safeguarding inquiries under way into senior clergy — bishops or cathedral deans and some retired clergy. There are only 104 active bishops in the whole Church of England and 42 deans. This raises serious questions about the depth of spiritual depravity found in the Church that will not soon go away. It is not just an Anglo Catholic like Bishop Ball and two evangelical leaders, John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher, but massive cover ups of sexual abuse that is ringing alarm bells and causing such harm that it is emptying churches.

It is now very apparent that The Archbishop of Canterbury is a sniveling, groveling managerial fop, and the Church of England has become so incredibly embarrassing that GAFCON bishops will have nothing to do with it or him. I have blamed Welby, as I have done on occasion, for being a thin-skinned, theologically lightweight chancer who should never have been given the keys to Lambeth Palace. He now faces a safeguarding inquiry himself; he has publicly endorsed and embraced the most corrupt archbishops and bishops in the Church of South India; he has privately flailed against George Carey and he has betrayed his own evangelical roots. He has caused brilliant evangelical minds like Melvin Tinker, Peter Sanlon and Gavin Ashenden to leave the Church of England. You can read my entire article here: https://virtueonline.org/why-global-south-anglicans-will-have-re-evangelize-west

***

The Church of England’s clergy discipline scandal is symptomatic of a deeper problem. A new report which has branded the Church of England’s disciplinary system “toxic” will come as no surprise to everyone who has been following the story.

The paper by Dr. Sarah Horsman, warden of Sheldon — a retreat center and clergy support organization — described the C of E’s Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) as symptomatic of a wider “toxic management culture”. It also called for any replacement system “to be much more distinctively Christian, wiser, more transparent and… simply kinder”.

The report’s findings included the shocking facts that more than a third of clergy undergoing a CDM, considered suicide; only 18 per cent felt they were treated as innocent until proved guilty; and just about half “strongly disagreed” with the statement “I felt supported by the diocese through the process”. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/cofes-clergy-discipline-scandal-symptomatic-deeper-problem

***

Abuse by two prominent British evangelicals – Jonathan Fletcher and John Smyth (since deceased) – is raising eyebrows in England, coming as it is from two prominent evangelical priests who were formerly in the CofE but have now left.

A much-anticipated ‘lessons-learnt’ review into the activities of former church minister, Jonathan Fletcher, will be published in September. The independent Christian safeguarding charity, Thirtyone:eight, has been carrying out the review.

Fletcher, an influential evangelical, was last year said to have been involved in physical beatings, massages and other activities which he called ‘light-hearted forfeits’ — a claim dismissed by other evangelicals, including Melvin Tinker and Pete Sanlon, Justin Humphreys, chief executive of Thirtyone:eight, has now withdrawn as a speaker at the Anglican evangelical ReNew Conference on 14 September, saying it would cause victims further distress.

Meanwhile the Church of England is also investigating the Archbishop of Canterbury’s handling of allegations of abuse by the late John Smyth QC, who was well-known to Fletcher. All three were involved in the Iwerne Camps for top public schoolboys.

An “outrageousness of the silence” by senior evangelicals over Fletcher and Smyth are claims made by Melvin Tinker and Peter Sanlon respond to Evangelicals Now’s report on the Jonathan Fletcher affair. You can read more here: https://virtueonline.org/fletcher-findings-way

***

For another eminent piece on Feeding the Flock and Fighting the Wolves, I would point you to a brilliant piece by Melvin Tinker. Here is a sample paragraph: “The solemn task of the pastor to promote the kindness of orthodoxy and counter the cruelty of heresy is an onerous one. It requires diligent study and careful communication. It will draw opprobrium in a culture where ‘it is forbidden to forbid’ and the unholy trinity of pluralism, relativism and subjectivism hold sway so that truth, like beauty, is considered to be in the eye of the beholder. It will almost certainly be a barrier to ‘preferment’ in the established church.” You can read more here:
https://virtueonline.org/genuine-ministry-feeding-flock-and-fighting-wolves

***

 

APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN

 

OPEN LETTER – To Be Released August 2020

Dear Editor

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer . It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” hangs over Bishop Bell’s head – it hangs elsewhere.

Bishop Bell’s name has now been fully vindicated, so there is no good reason why an apology should not be forthcoming and the name of George Bell House restored.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”.

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” – a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ – especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester. Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester].

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, the only surviving relative and in her 90’s, and the Rev Peter Mullen and Andrew Morse have already called for resignation.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, now call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Forrest William

BOYS, Geoffrey

CHARMLEY, Professor John

DONALD, Revd. Steve

GOMES, Dr. Jules

INESON, Revd. Matthew

MARTIN, Terry

MORGAN, Dr. Gerald

MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter

OSBORNE, Noel

RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles

ROBINSON, Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYMONDS, Richard W.

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Open Letter and its Signatories, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only – Very deaf]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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MAY 11 2019 – “ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY SHOULD RESIGN” – VIRTUE ONLINE

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Archbishop Justin Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby Should Resign

COMMENTARY

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
May 11, 2019

It must be apparent after the recent debacle at the ACC17 conference in Hong Kong, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has painted himself into a corner with no way out but to resign.

Like his predecessor Dr. Rowan Williams, who left the post eight years before he had to, Welby could not pull off a win-win and found himself up against a solid phalanx of African bishops who refused to cave into western provinces demands to accept homosexuality. They cut him no slack and held his feet to the proverbial fire. Welby was TKO’d and could do nothing about it.

His bleat, “I am the focus of unity” fell on deaf ears as one resolution after another failed to pass. The Africans refused to cave, neither would the progressives led by the Episcopal Bishop of Oklahoma, Edward J. Konieczny.

Welby left empty-handed, crying that he felt the pain of a handful of homosexuals more than he cared about the persecution of African Christians, now the single most persecuted group in the world according to an interim report prepared for the British government.

Welby apparently didn’t get it when one African bishop offered up that a push for homosexuality would bring down the wrath of Muslims in Africa on Christians. This was a plea that apparently left Welby completely unmoved.

Another African bishop actually mentioned GAFCON by name, which must have infuriated Welby.

GAFCON primates meeting in Australia, who speak for 50 of the Anglican Communion’s 70 million Anglicans wrote to Welby demanding a response to a request to restore godly order in the Communion. They asked him to use his power and responsibility to effect necessary changes that fell within his power and responsibility. They never got a response and never will.

Welby despises them and they, in turn, refuse to acknowledge his leadership because of his failure to discipline a number of progressive provinces over unbiblical sexual positions, contrary to Lambeth resolution 1:10, to scripture, tradition and history.

Slapping GAFCON down as a “ginger group” was as much an insult as inviting Archbishop and Primate Foley Beach to attend Lambeth as an “ecumenical observer.” This signaled that Welby did not think Beach was even an Anglican!

Archbishop Beach, naturally incensed, fired back that he is an Anglican and how dare Welby suggest otherwise.

Events reached fever pitch this week. GAFCON retaliated saying they would hold their own conference a month before Lambeth. GAFCON in Rwanda invited every bishop who could sign the Jerusalem Declaration to come. It will be interesting to see who shows up.

It must have been a massive kick in the groin to Welby and his consigliere, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary-General of the ACC, who has repeatedly railed at GAFCON for forming networks separate from the ACC. But what did Welby think would happen?

This was not a knee jerk reaction; it was a carefully thought out strategy by The GAFCON primates led by the feisty Foley Beach and his counsel of advisors.

Americans don’t take kindly to being whacked by a toffee-nosed English Archbishop whose own province can barely muster 770,000 Anglicans on any given Sunday, and this in a population of 66 million! The Church of England is barely much bigger in average Sunday attendance than the American Episcopal Church.

By any reckoning, Welby has lost the plot. He is out of touch with the vast majority of Anglicans in the Communion who no longer respect him or his leadership and won’t be seen at the same conference with him. His day is done.

The only honorable thing Welby can do is resign and make way for an authentic, gospel driven archbishop, someone like the former Bishop of Rochester, The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir Ali, who should have gotten the job in the first place.

END

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AUGUST 19 2020 – “WHEN ABUSE IS ALLEGED, THERE IS ALWAYS A VICTIM. IF TRUE, THE PERSON ABUSED. IF NOT, THE ACCUSED AND THEIR FAMILY. JUSTICE NEEDED ALL ROUND” – FALSE ALLEGATIONS SUPPORT ORGANISATION [F.A.S.O.] + FALSELY ACCUSED CARERS AND TEACHERS [F.A.C.T.]

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“WHEN ABUSE IS ALLEGED, THERE IS ALWAYS A VICTIM IF TRUE, THE PERSON ABUSED. IF NOT, THE ACCUSED AND THEIR FAMILY. JUSTICE NEEDED ALL ROUND” – FALSE ALLEGATIONS SUPPORT ORGANISATION [F.A.S.O.] + FALSELY ACCUSED CARERS AND TEACHERS [F.A.C.T.]

 

 

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AUGUST 6 2020 – “POLICE ADVISED TO STILL AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIMS IN NEW GUIDELINES, DESPITE WARNINGS IN REVIEW OF ‘NICK THE FANTASIST’ CASE” – DAILY MAIL

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Sir Richard Henriques

“POLICE ADVISED TO STILL AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIMS IN NEW GUIDELINES, DESPITE WARNINGS IN REVIEW OF ‘NICK THE FANTASIST’ CASE” – DAILY MAIL

  • Controversial instruction is contained in new College of Policing guidance 

  • Comes despite warnings after disastrous inquiry into VIP sex abuse claims 

  • Claims of fantasist Carl Beech were notoriously called ‘credible and true’ 

Police are still being advised to automatically believe alleged abuse victims in new guidelines despite warnings from a senior judge in his review of the ‘Nick the fantasist’ case.

The College of Policing guidance, which was published today, controversially tells detectives investigating claims of child abuse that ‘the intention is that victims are believed’.

Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech, called for the instruction to be withdrawn because suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Beech’s slurs were described as ‘credible and true’ by a senior officer, and went on to trash the reputations of esteemed public figures including D-Day hero Lord Bramall, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

The new guidance comes despite warnings from retired judge Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech (pictured in a police interview from 2016)

The new guidance comes despite warnings from retired judge Sir Richard Henriques, in his review of how police handled claims of VIP sex abuse from the fantasist Carl Beech (pictured in a police interview from 2016)

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, telling The Times: ‘They’ve learnt nothing at all from Nick.

‘The whole basis of their explanation for believing Nick is that they were driven to believe by the protocol that was in existence.’

The guidance was produced by the College of Policing and senior officers in Operation Hydrant, which leads the investigation of historic abuse allegations.

It was today defended by Hydrant chief Simon Bailey, who insisted officers did not apply ‘blind belief’.

He said that victims were constantly told by their abusers they would never be believed, and they would never come to the police if they did not feel they would be listened to.

The new guidance also urges officers not to go ‘trawling’ for abuse victims but to use prior investigation to approach specific groups of possible victims or witnesses.

It also advises the, when releasing information about a suspect who has died, officers must ‘make it clear that there police are making no judgments about guilt’.

Wiltshire Police was criticised for holding a press conference outside the late former Prime Minister’s Edward Heath’s home in 2015 to announce they were investigating claims he was a paedophile, before urging other alleged victims to come forward.

The force later said that, if the politician had been alive, he would have been interviewed about seven disclosures under criminal caution.

Carl Beech – the fantasist and paedophile known by the pseudonym ‘Nick’ – was sentenced to eighteen years in prison in July 2019 to his false claims, including against Sir Edward.

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, saying: 'They've learnt nothing at all from Nick'

Sir Richard criticised the decision to keep the guidance, saying: ‘They’ve learnt nothing at all from Nick’

Sir Richard’s report on Scotland Yard’s investigation, Operation Midland, advised that ‘the instruction to believe a victim’s account should cease’.

He said people who make allegations to police should be called complainants, not victims, so not to imply guilt. The report, commissioned by the Met, was handed to senior commanders in 2016 but was finally published in full in October 2019.

It exposed the appalling failures of senior officers who believed Nick’s false allegations as they mounted a bungled £2.5 million investigation which ruined the lives of war hero Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan and Mr Proctor.

Police decided to automatically believe claims of sexual abuse in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, when it emerged that credible rape reports had been dismissed.

But the approach led to the Met notoriously describing as ‘credible and true’ the false allegations made by Beech, which were also backed in Parliament by the Labour MP Tom Watson.

The 51-year-old falsely alleged that between the ages of seven and 16 he had been collected by car from his various schools in the country and driven to London, where he and other young boys were raped, burned, stabbed and tortured.

He claimed the offences were committed in the Carlton Club or in the apartment block in Pimlico called Dolphin Square. Afterwards, Nick would be returned by car to his home, where he lived alone with his mother.

He had originally made allegations to Wiltshire Police, who had interviewed him but concluded he lacked credibility.

His mother was also questioned and told them she had no knowledge of any unauthorised absence from school and had never seen any bloodstained underwear or similar sign of sexual abuse.

Yet Met officers listening to his claims were not given his earlier interviews so missed the large number of inconsistencies.

Beech's slurs were notoriously called 'credible and true' during a press conference outside New Scotland Yard

Beech’s slurs were notoriously called ‘credible and true’ during a press conference outside New Scotland Yard

Sir Richard said they then continued investigating his claims ‘in a disordered and chaotic manner and littered with mistakes’.

In his new book, From Crime To Crime, which was serialised in the Daily Mail, the former judge wrote: ‘They failed to ask Nick for his computers or mobile phone.

‘They ignored the fact that his medical records disclosed no injury consistent with his allegations in his personal online blog that his feet were stabbed and burned, poppies pinned to his bare chest and numerous bones broken.

‘They had no regard to the inherent improbability of men of the highest standing and impeccable character having behaved in the manner alleged.’

Moving on the notorious ‘credible and true’ press conference, he continued: ‘Instead the police made a public appeal for information, with a senior officer, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, standing outside New Scotland Yard and telling a press conference that they believed Nick’s allegations to be both ‘credible and true’.

‘The words should never have been uttered, and the officer himself later admitted they were inappropriate, saying he selected the wrong words in the heat of an interview.

‘But there was no correction for many months, by which time, as we will see below, two completely bogus potential witnesses had come forward with more lies purporting to support ‘Nick’.’

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AUGUST 19 2020 – F.A.S.O. [FALSE ALLEGATIONS SUPPORT ORGANISATION] + F.A.C.T. [FALSELY ACCUSED CARERS AND TEACHERS]

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http://www.false-allegations.org.uk/

https://factuk.org/

https://factuk.org/2017/09/14/retired-priest-roy-catchpole-reveals-how-heartbreaking-sex-abuse-allegations-wrecked-his-life/#:~:text=Roy%20Catchpole%20is%20a%20retired%20Anglican%20priest.%20In,familiar%20with%20the%20kind%20of%20suffering%20he%20endured.

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Sir,

The False Allegation Support Organisation are supporting clergy of different faiths in the UK, along with lay preachers falsely accused of sex offences, for the past 18 years..

The checks and balances supposedly in place in the investigations of the allegations within the church are flawed, and often hidden, therefore not transparent or used properly.

The truth is being concealed and you are losing good people.

Are The Ecclesiastical Law Society investigating this area of false allegations of sex abuse within the UK, as supposed ministers of god are breaking the code of truth and compassion, from what we hear on our helpline. (they are not the only professionals to do so)

or have the Oxford University carry out studies on this issue.

see my talk about false allegations to the men’s psychology group in London, for ease of reference – below

 FASO Utube talk on one side of FASO support Psychological impact of false accusations of sexual abuse

Psychological impact of false accusatio…

Also attached our leaflet

A response would be appreciated

Respectfully 

Margaret Gardener (Mrs)

FASO UK CEO

09709732031

False Allegations Support Organisation

False Allegations Support Organisation

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AUGUST 18 2020 – “THE NEW SAFEGUARDING BISHOP DEFENDS THE OLD MORALLY AND LEGALLY INDEFENSIBLE BANKRUPT SYSTEM OF ‘CORE GROUPS’ – LIKE A GOOD ECCLESIASTICAL PUPPET-ON-A-STRING”

“THE NEW SAFEGUARDING BISHOP DEFENDS THE OLD MORALLY AND LEGALLY INDEFENSIBLE BANKRUPT SYSTEM OF ‘CORE GROUPS’ – LIKE A GOOD ECCLESIASTICAL PUPPET-ON-A-STRING” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – BELL SOCIETY

 

Lead Safeguarding Bishop to critics: “You don’t understand” – ‘Cranmer’

 

Safeguarding bishop sides with critics of the Church of England’s policy

17 AUGUST 2020

GEOFF CRAWFORD/CHURCH TIMES

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, addresses the General Synod in February where he said that “serious money” was needed to fund redress for survivors of clerical abuse

THE lead bishop on safeguarding, Dr Jonathan Gibbs, has agreed that the C of E’s system needs “root-and-branch change” in order to improve its response to survivors.

Last week, survivors, lawyers, academics, and members of the clergy and General Synod wrote to the chair of the Charity Commission, Baroness Stowell, urging her to intervene to address “the failures of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England to devise a safe, consistent and fair system of redress” for victims and survivors of abuse (News, 14 August).

In his formal response last week, Dr Gibbs, who is the Bishop of Huddersfield and part of the National Safeguarding Team (NST) and Steering Group (NSST), deflected criticism of the NST and its core-groups system, adding that the NST should be trusted and respected.

He later told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday, however: “In one sense, I welcome this letter, because it adds weight to my desire to bring about the kind of root-and-branch change that we all long for: in particular in the way in which we respond to survivors, the way in which we deal with complaints, the way in which we change the culture of the Church.”

The letter to the Charity Commission, which also criticises the “impaired transparency and intermittent accountability” of the NST, calls for a complete reform of safeguarding practice and policy within the C of E. It urges the Church not to wait for the final report of the Anglican investigation by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which is due to be published this autumn (News, 1 May), before acting.

Dr Gibbs told the programme: “There is no doubt that, in the past, our systems have failed considerably, and that was made very clear during IICSA. That made very painful listening for all of us involved in the Church and our hearts go out to and our principle focus must be on survivors, and improving the way in which we respond to survivors. . .

“There is still a long way to go. There is journey; but it is a journey to which we are absolutely committed. . . The direction of travel is going to be substantially influenced by the IICSA report when it comes out very shortly. We made clear our commitment to that journey of change especially in the debate at the General Synod back in February” (News, 14 February).

Dr Gibbs also remarked on the research, published in the Church Times last week, by Dr Josephine Anne Stein, who estimated that the Church spends between £20 and £25 million on safeguarding, but that just £55,000 of this went to survivors in the form of redress (News, 14 August).

“I welcome that piece of research; it is a great piece of work. . . The Church’s expenditure on safeguarding work has expanded very substantially in recent years and that is really important because that is part of making sure that we do begin to respond much better to all of these safeguarding concerns.”

He agreed that the money was not directly benefiting survivors, but “that is the commitment we made in February.” A staff member was being appointed “very soon” to begin advancing redress, he said.

“Even in advance of that work, I have written to the Archbishops and the heads of the Church Commissioners to say I want to set up an interim scheme that enables us to respond much sooner than the time it will take to put the full scheme in place. So, absolutely, not nearly enough has been done here on redress, and redress is not just about compensation, it is about helping people rebuild their lives, and that is underway. So, I welcome that; as far as I am concerned it is weight to help push forward.”

Dr Gibbs maintained, however, that he did not support all of the letter’s criticisms. “I recognise what lies behind the letter: its deep frustration with the Church’s failures, in particular to address the needs of survivors. [But] no, I don’t agree with the specifics of the criticisms there, and implications about a lack of integrity on the part of some of my colleagues. I think those are simply unfortunate.”

One of the signatories of the letter, Lord Carlile, who wrote the independent review into allegations against a former Bishop of Chichester, the late George Bell (News, 22 December 2017), said earlier in the programme: “The Church has a very haphazard way of approaching safeguarding cases. There are numerous conflicts of interest that arise; it doesn’t fit into any recognisable jurisdictional structure; neither complainants, nor people complained against are getting a fair hearing. Additionally, the process is far too slow.”

Dr Gibbs said: “Making change in a big institution always takes time; there is always a certain amount of institutional resistance that is just part of being part of large organisation. There is always a danger of thinking someone else is dealing with this issue.” He reported that the Archbishop of Canterbury shared his frustration with the present system.

MORE INFORMATION

“Pressure on Bishop of Huddersfield over lack of action on Church sex abuse” – Yorkshire Live

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AUGUST 17 2020 – “LOOKING BACK: THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN SETTING THE STAGE FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS” – THE DAVIS VANGUARD

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“LOOKING BACK: THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA IN SETTING THE STAGE FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS”

 

Looking Back: The Role of the Media in Setting the Stage for Wrongful Convictions

Jeffrey Deskovic speaking in Davis last year at the Annual Vanguard Event

“Looking back” will feature reprints of articles that Jeff previously wrote while a columnist at The Westchester Guardian, which encompass topics that are applicable here in CA as well as across the country and not simply applicable to NY.

by Jeffrey Deskovic

It is with good reason that criminal defendant is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. It is only through this approach that the chances for justice to occur are maximized.

Too often, however, the media disregards this principle, and instead produces articles which presume guilt, and are one-sided; statements that are uttered by the prosecution and the police are taken as gospel. And, the articles that are written are slanted, written as though the media is taking on a pro-prosecution advocacy role, as though they know all that there is to know about a case, rather than remaining neutral, and cautious, scrutinizing, and looking for alternative explanations for evidence while writing a balanced story. This type of news coverage is by no means harmless.

It is often experienced by the accused as an out-of-control feeling in which there is the experience that the entire world is against them. In this environment the accused must defend himself against serious charges which often carry lengthy prison sentences, while, at the same time, being aware of the chilling reality that what is going on outside of the courtroom often affects what is going on inside of it.

For example, a judge can be influenced and caused to make rulings of law which make it likely that a guilty verdict will result at trial. Potential jurors can hear about a case prior to being selected with the result that they are swayed before hearing evidence, despite denying hearing about it during the selection process.

As a trial progresses, it is a fiction to believe that jurors always obey a judge’s instructions that they should not read about the case. Sometimes a prosecutor could feel pressure from the environment and not extend a plea bargain offer which he or she feels would serve the ends of justice; or press for a lengthier sentence at a sentencing hearing. A judge could wind up imposing a lengthier sentence because of the media coverage.

Although a prosecutor could him, or herself, get swept up by the environment, as I mentioned above, at other times they are the author and architect of such coverage, when they are using cases for political purposes. One of the better-known examples of this was the case Duke Lacrosse Players case. In an article Justice Denied by Rachel Smolken, she wrote: “As Reade Seligmann choked back tears on the witness stand, the 21- year-old Duke University lacrosse player dubbed ‘Flustered’ by teammates was poised, compelling and clearly hurting. He told of a world turned ‘upside down’ and of experiencing ‘as lonely of a feeling as you can ever imagine’ after he was indicted for allegedly raping a stripper at a team party on March 13, 2006. He described the stinging slights from former friends, the terrifying death threats–and the inescapable media horde.” All told, somewhere between one to three hundred guilt presumption-oriented media pieces were either written or aired.

Taken from Wikipedia and the Durham In Wonderland Blog written by KC Johnsonthe facts of the case are as follows: “In March 2006 Crystal Gail Mangum, an African American stripper and escort falsely accused three white members of Duke University’s lacrosse team- Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans, of raping her at a party held at the house of two of the teams captains in Durham, North Carolina on March 13, 2006. On April 11, 2007, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges and declared the three players innocent. Cooper stated that the charged players were victims of a ‘tragic rush to accuse.’ District Attorney Mike Nifong assumed personal control of an ongoing—and scarcely begun—police investigation fundamentally transformed the case. Appointed to the office in 2005 despite a pattern of emotionally unstable behavior during his half-decade sojourn in Traffic Court, Nifong appeared destined for defeat in the upcoming Democratic primary. By late February, Nifong’s fundraising had dried up and he resorted to personal loans to his campaign kept his candidacy afloat. Under personal, financial, and political pressure—and perhaps even, at first, believing that a crime occurred—Nifong seized the opportunity to exploit the case. He quickly secured a court order demanding that the players submit DNA samples and photos. That motion was fraudulent in that: Nifong claimed that the players called each other by first-name aliases and uniform numbers at the party; no evidence existed for either claim; Nifong withheld from the court that the accuser had failed to identify any suspects in an official photo lineup; Nifong falsely promised the court that negative DNA tests would ‘immediately rule out any innocent persons.’ Confident that DNA would ‘show conclusive evidence as to who the suspect(s) are in the alleged violent attack upon this victim,’ the D.A. launched a publicity barrage that seemed unrelated to any legitimate law enforcement purpose but did much to boost his name recognition in the run-up to the primary.

Though Section 3.8 (f) of the North Carolina Code of Professional Responsibility requires prosecutors to ‘refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused,’ Nifong gave dozens of interviews. He termed the players ‘hooligans’ whose ‘daddies’ would buy them expensive lawyers. He made a host of statements not backed by items in police files. He made a public statement to the effect that ‘One would wonder why one needs an attorney if one was not charged and had not done anything wrong.’ And, in a blatant bid for the African American vote, he deliberately exaggerated the racial element of the alleged attack. As he basked in the media spotlight, Nifong learned that contrary to his assurances, the DNA results would be negative. But he refused to discard the case for lack of evidence, and instead instructed police to conduct another lineup. Only this time, he would ensure that the accuser identified someone. In violation of Durham policies, the lineup would be confined to suspects—now all 46 white players on the team. In further violation of procedures, the accuser would be told that the lineup contained no fillers. And overriding yet another procedure, the lead investigator for the case would oversee the array. Duke Law professor James Coleman, former chief counsel to the House Ethics Committee, later wrote that these Nifong mandated procedural irregularities ‘strongly suggested that the purpose of the identification process was to give the alleged victim an opportunity to pick three members of the lacrosse team who could be charged. Any three students would do; there could be no wrong choice.’

In the lineup, Mangum identified the three suspects, with varying degrees of certainty. Her performance gave no indication that she was a reliable eyewitness. After having not recognized him at all on March 21, she now claimed that Evans attacked her, and that he had a mustache—even though he didn’t have one. She claimed to be 100% certain that Seligmann attacked her—even though three weeks earlier, she said she was only 70% sure that Seligmann even attended the party. Indeed, the only player that the accuser twice identified as attending the party with 100% certainty wasn’t even in Durham that night.

Nifong ignored this litany of transparent inconsistencies. With knowledge that the DNA tests were negative and surely understanding that his procedurally dubious identification would not survive close scrutiny, Nifong fanned the flames of public indignation. In this critical period, Nifong had three indispensable allies: The media—first the N&O, and, after March 27, the national networks and especially the Times—uncritically accepted his version of events, framing the story as a morality tale of white, rich, athletic excess, exploiting a poor, black, demure mother of two; Among what New York’s Kurt Andersen has termed the Duke faculty’s ‘loopy left,’ the players were guilty until proven innocent. In late March, Houston Baker, a professor of English and Afro-American Studies, issued a public letter denouncing the ‘abhorrent sexual assault, verbal racial violence, and drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us’ and demanding the ‘immediate dismissals’ of ‘the team itself and its players.’ A week later, on April 6, 88 members of Duke’s arts and sciences faculty signed a public statement saying ‘thank you’ to campus demonstrators who had, among other things, carried a banner reading ‘CASTRATE’ outside the lacrosse players’ rented house, distributed a ‘wanted’ poster of the lacrosse players, and publicly branded the players ‘rapists’, and placed an ad in a newspaper thanking protesters ‘for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.’

By contrast, no Duke professor publicly criticized Nifong’s conduct until months later. Brodhead failed to resist his faculty’s assault on due process. Moreover, whether intended or not, his actions fortified a public image of guilt. On March 25, in an unprecedented move, the president canceled (at the last minute) the lacrosse team’s game against Georgetown, citing underage drinking at the party. Then, after the April 5 release of the McFadyen email, Brodhead demanded Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler’s resignation, canceled the lacrosse season, and issued a statement anchored by a lament on the evils of rape—at a time when the players were firmly denying any sexual contact, much less rape. These moves enjoyed enthusiastic support from Board of Trustees chairman Robert Steel.”

Rachel Smolken wrote that CNN’s “Nancy Grace particularly distinguished herself, in a negative sense, with her mean-spirited comments about the athletes. Every piece of defense evidence that established innocence, ‘she spun as further evidence of guilt,’ Taylor says. ‘Or as, That just goes to show you how defense lawyers lie.’” On another occasion, referring to whether any Duke Lacrosse games would be missed, she made an on-air statement that “I’m so glad they didn’t miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape!”

As KC Johnson writes in Durham In Wonderland, “Often prosecutorial misconduct becomes intertwined with the slanted media coverage. On December of 2007 the North Carolina bar filed ethics charges against Nifong over his conduct in the case, accusing him of making public statements that were prejudicial to the administration of justice and of engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. The 17-page document accuses Nifong of violating four rules of professional conduct, listing more than 100 examples of statements he made to the media. On January 24, 2007, The North Carolina State Bar filed a second round of ethics charges against Nifong for a systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion that was prejudicial to the administration of justice when he withheld DNA evidence to mislead the court. In a five-day proceeding in late June, the Disciplinary Hearings Commission of the State Bar found him guilty on 27 of 32 counts of ethical improprieties. He was disbarred and forced to resign as DA. In late August, Judge Smith found him guilty of criminal contempt for lying to the court about his conversations with Meehan; Nifong was sentenced to a day in jail. And, in early 2008, he declared bankruptcy to avoid a civil suit filed by the falsely accused students against him, the city of Durham, and Meehan.

On April 11, 2007, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced the results of his office’s investigation. Not only would all charges be dropped, but the three players were declared “innocent” victims of a “rogue prosecutor.”

Analysis

As I stated above, slanted, prejudicial, and guilt-presuming articles are not harmless. Instead, they set the environment in which, and the stage on which, a case is tried. The turning of community sentiment against the defendant sets a terrible context through which a case proceeds through the process. What goes on outside of the courtroom is as much a factor in determining how a case turns out as what goes on inside of the courtroom.

I can personally attest to the frightening feeling of being an innocent defendant in a guilt-presumptive media environment such as I described above. During the time period in which I was going to trial, all of the news media coverage, save for one story, was slanted against me.

In the Duke Lacrosse Case, the prosecutor both started, and kept, the media witch hunt going for his own political purposes. He wanted to generate free advertisement and get elected. The media went along for the ride by not simply reporting facts and remaining neutral; instead, in effect, becoming advocates in an environment in which the presumption of innocence went out the window.

Unbelievable as it may seem, in a variety of ways, the Duke Players were lucky. Firstly, their parents were wealthy thus enabling them to hire quality attorneys. Secondly, it is almost unheard of for an Attorney General, as in their case, to intervene in a case and then dismiss the charges. Thirdly, the players were never wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. Fourthly, the Attorney General did not simply dismiss the charges, but he declared them to be “innocent”.

In the usual scenario, poor defendants, relying on public defenders, would have been found guilty; would have remained publicly excoriated; and would have been sent to prison to serve lengthy prison terms where they would never have been heard from again, unless a miracle occurred and they somehow were able to obtain quality representation and ultimately prove their innocence.

Understanding what went wrong in an individual case is only part of what needs to occur. Coming up with a way forward which would prevent its reoccurrence is an important second step. In the article Justice Delayed, Smolkin asked what the media should learn from the Duke case. Stuart Taylor, a columnist who is also an attorney, says “Read the damn motions.”He goes on to say, “If you’re covering a case, don’t just wait for somebody to call a press conference. Read the documents.” He advises reporters to look beyond the rhetoric. “We should never take a prosecutor’s word as fact.” Conversely, don’t disregard defense assertions as necessarily false.

Taylor goes on to say, “Yes, many defense lawyers will say almost anything to get their clients off most of the time, but don’t just ignore what they say, look at what they’re telling you. And do they have the evidence to back it up?”

Defense attorney Jim Cooney adds,

“The national media seems to believe balance requires them to report anything someone says, whether it’s true or not.” The fact-checking aspect of reporting, “he says, “seems to have fallen by the wayside.”

Later in that same article Smolkin quotes Ruth Sheehan, who wrote numerous guilt-presuming articles about the Duke players, saying, “I will approach cases in a different manner now. I will be much more cautious. I had a visceral reaction to that case as it was being described by the prosecutor.” Therefore, the media should try not to have an emotional reaction to a case by viewing it through the prism of their own experience.

In my opinion, these suggestions are good. However, I would add that the media should remember that there is a reason that defendants are presumed innocent, and this needs to be given more than just lip service. I also believe that although oftentimes defense attorneys can make things difficult by their silence, they can get beyond this silence by paying attention to the cross-examinations that the lawyers are doing and what points they are making through it, as well as opening statements and closing arguments.

I also think that it is important that writers remain neutral and do not turn into advocates when they write. There is a difference between writing a story on a case when the evidence is in as opposed to covering ongoing court proceedings. Reporters should not be above writing a correction or an apology if it is needed, and such apology or correction should be given the same prominence as the original story, not hidden in the back section of the newspaper.

“Jeffrey Deskovic, JD, MA, is an internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and founder of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which has freed 7 wrongfully convicted people and helped pass 3 laws aimed at preventing wrongful conviction. Jeff is an advisory board member of It Could Happen To You, which has chapters in CA, NY, and PA. He serves on the Global Advisory Council for Restorative Justice International, and is a sometimes co-host and co-producer of the show, “360 Degrees of Success.” Jeff was exonerated after 16 years in prison-from age 17-32- before DNA exonerated him and identified the actual perpetrator. A short documentary about his life is entitled “Conviction”, and there episode 1 of his story in Virtual Reality is called, “Once Upon A Time In Peekskill“. Jeff has a Masters Degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with his thesis written on wrongful conviction causes and reforms needed to address them, and a law degree from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9


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George Bell House, 4 Canon Lane, Chichester

TO ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS: APOLOGISE. RESTORE THE NAME OF GEORGE BELL HOUSE. OR RESIGN

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George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral

LETTER SUBMISSION – AUGUST 29 2020

RESIGNATIONS EN-MASSE TO THE SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN ? 

Dear Editor

Following this week’s Private Eye article and Church Times letter, we the undersigned again call upon / renew the call for Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner to consider their positions.

The evidence against Bishop George Bell has been gathered and thoroughly examined. Lord Alex Carlile QC and Timothy Briden have declared the allegations are unfounded and there is no case to answer . It follows, therefore, that no “significant cloud remains” hangs over Bishop Bell’s head – it hangs elsewhere.

Bishop Bell’s name has now been fully vindicated, so there is no good reason why an apology should not be forthcoming and the name of George Bell House restored.

But Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Martin Warner continue to perpetuate this injustice against the wartime Bishop of Chichester by wilfully and arrogantly refusing to admit they were wrong. There is no willingness on their part to right that wrong. They display no humility in acknowledging that wrong. They have no intention to lift that “significant cloud”.

As Stephen Parsons says in ‘Surviving Church’: “Incompetence whether caused by ignorance, conceit or malevolence, is a particularly important matter when the individual refuses to admit to it and own up to it”.

After Archbishop Welby’s comment last year: “It is still the case that there is a woman who came forward with a serious allegation and this cannot be ignored or swept under the carpet” – a few of us did not ignore or sweep under the carpet those allegations against Bishop Bell. We fully investigated the clear likelihood of ‘mistaken identity’ – especially after the IICSA brought to light the “bonfire” of John Treadgold Dean of Chichester. Our findings are one reason why we are so critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – especially relating to excising the memory of Bishop Bell in Chichester].

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, the only surviving relative and in her 90’s, and the Rev Peter Mullen and Andrew Morse have already called for resignation.

Therefore, we, the undersigned, now call for the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner, unless an immediate and full public apology is forthcoming regarding Bishop Bell and the name of George Bell House in Chichester is restored.

Yours sincerely

ATKINS, Revd. Forrest William

BOYS, Geoffrey

CHARMLEY, Professor John

DONALD, Revd. Steve

GOMES, Dr. Jules

INESON, Revd. Matthew

LINSLEY, Alice C.

MARTIN, Terry

MORGAN, Dr. Gerald

MULLEN, Revd. Dr. Peter

OSBORNE, Noel

RAVEN, Revd. Canon Charles

ROBINSON, Dr. Steven

SIMS, Kevin

SYKES, Rt. Revd. Nicholas J.G. – Suffragan Bishop

SYMONDS, Richard W.

VIRTUE, David W. DD

WATKINS, Lindsay

For further information regarding this Letter and its Signatories, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley – Gatwick

Tel: 07540 309592 [Text only please]

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

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St Richard’s Walk – Chichester Cathedral