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24 Aug 2018 – “We must also defend opponents from injustice” -‘Lily of St Leonards’ – Effie Deans

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https://www.effiedeans.com/2018/08/we-must-also-defend-opponents-from.html?m=1

“We must also defend opponents from injustice”

by Effie Deans

Yesterday I was informed that in 2013 I physically assaulted two people at my work. When I asked what I was supposed to have done and to whom, I was told that this was confidential. When I asked whether there was any physical evidence that I had assaulted these people, I was told that there was none. There were no photographs. Neither of the complainants had gone to a doctor. In fact there was no evidence at all that I had done anything wrong apart from their witness statements. When I asked whether there was more than one witness to each of the supposed assaults, I was told that there was only one. In each case someone has accused me of physically assaulting them at some point in 2013, but there was no more evidence than that. How am I to defend myself?

The problem is that I can only very generally remember 2013. I couldn’t tell you for certain what I was doing on any day in that year. I simply don’t remember. I might be able to look up diaries or check other sources of information, but otherwise if you asked me what I was doing on November 15th 2013 I wouldn’t have a clue. I couldn’t even tell you with certainty that I was in the UK. I might have been on holiday.

So if I don’t know who has accused me and I don’t know what it is I am supposed to have done or when, I have no way of saying I didn’t do that, because I don’t even know what that refers to. I might remember generally that I have never physically assaulting anyone, but I can’t specifically defend myself against an accusation unless I know what it is.

My guess is that if someone accused me of physically assaulting them five years ago, but with no more evidence than their witness statement, no-one would even bother to investigate. Likewise if I said that my house was broken into five years ago, but I have no evidence for this apart from my witness statement, the police are not going to waste any time trying to discover the supposed criminals. If I say that I witnessed a murder, but there is no evidence even that the supposed victim is dead let alone that I saw it, my witness statement will not be taken seriously. I will likely be accused of wasting police time.

I disagree with Alex Salmond politically, but justice ought to transcend political difference. We have rules about evidence for burglary, for murder, for physical assault and for fraud etc. that depend on objectively verifiable facts. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and in order to be proven guilty there has to evidence that proves that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I am in no danger of going to jail for burglary unless witnesses can establish that I broke into the house, my fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime, the stolen goods were found in my house or unless I make a confession. No judge is going to send me to prison because of a single witness statement about a burglary that happened five years ago for which there is no other evidence.

But somehow we have established a class of crimes, which must be investigated even if there is only a single witness who states something happened years ago and there is no other evidence at all. This single witness statement which would not be enough to convict someone of burglary, murder, physical assault or fraud, is taken seriously in only one type of case. These cases always involve sex.

Why should there be a special class of crime for which the normal rules of evidence are suspended? Would you feel safe if a single witness could convict you of burglary, murder, physical assault or fraud, even if there was no other evidence? I wouldn’t. So why should that single witness be enough to convict someone in a case involving sex?

There is something deeply unjust going on in the world at the moment. People’s reputations are ruined because someone makes a claim, which may or may not be true, but for which there cannot possibly be any other evidence.

Imagine there was a ceilidh in Aberdeen in 2013 and I went to it. Imagine if now in 2018 a man complains that I put my hand up his kilt and sexually assaulted him. How am I supposed to prove whether I did or I didn’t? The only witnesses are me and the man. Who are you supposed to believe? There may be all sorts of reasons why this man wants to ruin my reputation. On the other hand I may have assaulted him. But it is simply impossible for us to find out now.  He should have complained there and then during the ceilidh in 2013. Perhaps then it might have been possible to determine what happened. But there is no point whatsoever waiting five years and then making claims that cannot be verified either way.

I have no idea what Alex Salmond did or didn’t do. But I dislike intensely how people’s reputations are being ruined because of accusations that cannot justly be proved one way or the other. We have already seen how Cliff Richard’s life was shattered by accusations that turned out to be false. Leon Britton died while being accused of abusing children based on evidence that later turned out to be discredited. Other people’s lives have likewise been ruined because of accusations about things that supposedly happened decades ago.

Sexual crimes are as serious as any other crime and people who commit them deserve to be punished severely, but the evidence that convicts must be just as strong as in the case of burglary, murder, physical assault and fraud. This is not least because sexual crimes are so serious, are rightly severely punished and have a more damaging effect on someone’s reputation than most other crimes.

I think Metoo has become a very dangerous witch-hunt, which is leading to great injustice. For this reason it is deeply immoral. The only way to stop it is this. People who make claims of any form of sexual assault must be told that they have to make the claim immediately and provide evidence which corroborates their claim to having been assaulted. Making a statement that you were sexually assaulted five years ago without any other evidence should have no more likelihood of convicting anyone than making such a claim about a physical assault or a burglary.

There is not a special class of witness whose evidence ought automatically to be believed. We do not in Britain think that the witness statement of one man is worth that of two women. It would be equally contrary to justice to suppose that when a woman accuses a man of sexual assault that she ought automatically to be believed.

Women’s lives are being ruined by sexual assault and to make it easier for them to convict those they accuse they are routinely given anonymity. But the lives and reputations of those who are accused are often ruined too. Cliff Richard, I suspect, is at least as damaged because of the false accusations made against him than many victims of sexual assault. For this reason only those actually convicted of sexual assault should have their names revealed in the papers.

Whether innocent or guilty the name of Alex Salmond is liable forever to be associated with whispers about sexual assault. If it turns out that he is innocent, this will be very unjust indeed. It would be far better if none of us knew about this case until and unless Mr Salmond is convicted. But for the sake of justice let him also know what he is accused of, let him have a chance to defend himself and if he is convicted of anything let it require more than just his word against that of someone he perhaps hardly even remembers.

Effie Deans at 19:52

 

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Jan 14 2019 – “Bishop George Bell: the dithering C of E” – ‘Bats in the Belfrey’ – Christopher Hill

https://rothercottage.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/bishop-george-bell-the-dithering-c-of-e/

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Bishop George Bell: the dithering C of E

The #ChurchofEngland has been purposefully dithering for the best part of a year over its reaction to the second batch of “information” about #BishopGeorgeBell, and has throughout withheld with great determination any hint of what that information may be.

Several months were spent finding former @SuperintendentRayGalloway to assess whatever it was that the church had received and to make such further enquiries as he saw fit. His name, too, was closely guarded, (no one knows why) but found out by private enterprise and first published in this column on 29th May 2018.

After quite some time, but exactly when is another church secret, Galloway presented his report. It was then announced that his assessment was itself to be assessed by #TimBriden, a barrister who specialises in church law and is”Diocesan Chancellor and Vicat-General of the Province of Canterbury.”

Briden’s assessment has been delayed (again, no one knows why) and the latest news from the church is that the decision whether or not to publish it will be made, probably this month or in a February, by an individual with the wonderfully appropriate designation of, wait for it, the Deciding Officer. I do not yet know whether this is Mr Briden wearing another hat, or whether the Deciding Officer represents yet another source of delay on top of Galloway and Briden.

It will be a nice matter of judgement whether to publish before or after the forthcoming #Synod (20-23 February). To publish before the Synod risks giving ammunition to unco-operative clergy and laity. To delay would allow those same divisive elements to complain that they had been denied the opportunity to discuss the report.

We can only wait and see.

Follow me on Twitter: @ChristoHill3

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Jan 13 2019 – From The Archives [The Bishop Bell – IICSA Transcripts – March 2018]

March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5]

cw1_5427 - edited (2)

Chair Alexis Jay (leaning forward) – Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – IICSA

March 16 2018 – IICSA Highlights – March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer [Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

March 9 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 8

Page 154 – Paras 1-25 – Roger Meekings: There are one or two things I would like to say, chair. I think there have been a number of crises and difficulties that the Church of England have experienced, and I think it probably is time for some fairly radical action to be taken by the church, and I know they are thinking carefully about that, but I think my problem is the amount of time it does seem to be taking. I would like to ask a question, really, about whether they should be stripped of their exemption under the Equality Act to help stamp out a culture of abuse and homophobia and sexism, because under the 2010 Act, the church, as a religious institution, has special permission to insist that those it appoints are Christians, but it can also discriminate over sex, sexuality, marital history and gender identity if they conflict with strongly held religious convictions.
Secondly, I would probably support the development now of an independent safeguarding body. Operationally, I’m surprised that the church has not already set up a national database to record cases of concern and to upload case notes and allow a proper audit trail. I think I said in my witness statement I think that the Clergy Discipline Measure does require a complete overhaul to be able to hold people to account.

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 14

“The area which he [Lord Carlile] has rightly…identified is that there was nobody there [in the Core Group] to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again…is something that I think was wrong…” ~ The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 Paras 14-18

Fiona Scolding QC and Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Q. Can I turn now to the allegations made against
3 George Bell. An independent review was published
4 in December by Lord Carlile of Berriew. Paul, would you
5 mind getting that up? It is not in your bundle, chair
6 and panel, so we will get it up on screen. ANG000152,
7 Paul. Then we need page 64, which should be section K.
8 This is some conclusions that I am going to ask you
9 to comment upon that Lord Carlile made in respect of
10 the core group.
11 Maybe if I explain, what happened in respect of
12 the George Bell case is that something called a core
13 group was set up, which was a group of individuals. Did
14 that include you? I can’t actually remember?
15 A. I was present at some meetings, but not at others.
16 Q. So there were a number of people — so Colin Perkins was
17 involved, and we will hear some quite detailed evidence
18 from him about his view about the Carlile Report. So
19 I am not going to take you through it in any detail.
20 I just want to deal with this bit, as you were a member
21 of the core group at some point in time.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. They met regularly in order to, firstly, investigate,
24 and, secondly, to reach conclusions.
25 There is criticism of the core group. It is
Page 20
1 described by Lord Carlile as “unmethodical and
2 unplanned” and “it was a confused and unstructured
3 process at which members had no coherent notion of their
4 roles and what was expected of them”. Would you like to
5 comment upon that? Is that your understanding?
6 A. These are stringent and harsh observations which largely
7 we accept. We were in a situation here of breaking new
8 ground. The formation of a core group was something
9 which we were unfamiliar with, which has subsequently
10 been regulated for us, and we were also, of course, very
11 aware of working in the context of a serious criminal
12 allegation against a person of a massive international
13 and national reputation.
14 So I think the failures of consistency, of sense of
15 purpose and how we were to function, those
16 allegations — those criticisms are valid against us.
17 I don’t think, however, that that means we were
18 cavalier or unaware of the seriousness of
19 the responsibilities that we were trying to carry out.
20 Q. Paul, could we turn to the next page, because that’s in
21 fact where my quotation comes from. Yes. So we have
22 254(i). The other matter I want to put to you is, it
23 further comments down at (v):
24 “There was no organised or valuable enquiry or
25 investigation into the merits of the allegations, and
Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018
6 (Pages 21 to 24)
Page 21
1 the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or
2 proportionality.”
3 What is your response to that?
4 A. The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is
5 something of a value judgment, I think, and we certainly
6 didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that
7 which was undertaken through our insurers and their
8 legal representative in whom we had considerable trust
9 and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as
10 a responsible and able person.
11 I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell
12 was never given parity or proportionality. It was
13 certainly given proportionality. We understood
14 absolutely that was the case. I think the area which
15 he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody
16 there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with
17 the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was
18 wrong and we have welcomed —
19 Q. That’s (ix), chair and panel, just so that you know.
20 A. We would recognise it would represent best practice now
21 in the ways in which we have outlined our procedures.
22 Q. Can I ask, why was the decision taken to issue a public
23 statement about the George Bell case, because that’s
24 something that Lord Carlile does also critique?
25 A. Yes.
Page 22
1 Q. Perhaps you would like to explain?
2 A. We were very aware of working in the light of
3 the recommendations in the interim report of
4 the archbishop’s commissaries, which had been very clear
5 that no settlement with a survivor should include
6 a gagging clause. Of course you could say there’s
7 a difference between a gagging clause and making
8 a public statement, but it was very strongly felt that
9 to settle and to write a letter of apology and to make
10 no public statement, with no indication as to whether or
11 not those actions would become public, would look very
12 quickly like cover-up. Therefore, we felt that there was
13 an obligation on us to be open about what it was that we
14 were proposing to do.
15 Q. If I can just identify that Lord Carlile at
16 paragraphs 267 and 268 of his report — ANG000152, Paul,
17 at page 68, says:
18 “I am sure that the archbishop does not think it
19 appropriate to support the publication of what may be an
20 unjustified and probably irreparable criticism of
21 anyone, whether a celebrated bishop or not.”
22 And at 268:
23 “I regard this as a case, perhaps a relatively rare
24 one, in which steps should and could have been taken to
25 retain full confidentiality, with a clear underlying
Page 23
1 basis for explaining why it was done. For Bishop Bell’s
2 reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way
3 that occurred was just wrong.”
4 Do you have any comment you wish to make about that?
5 A. The first comment I would want to make is that, I think
6 we have learnt a painful lesson about the difficulty of
7 communicating through the media a very fine legal
8 nuance, and it’s recognised by Lord Carlile that we
9 never asserted the guilt of Bishop Bell, but to
10 communicate that in terms that the general public are
11 going to understand through the media is a very
12 difficult thing to do. Therefore, I think he does raise
13 an important question here about dealing with posthumous
14 cases, but also about being fair, I think, and
15 recognising the legitimacy and substance to an
16 allegation which we certainly felt was necessary with
17 Carol, the name that’s used for the person who brought
18 the case.
19 Q. Can we turn now, if we may, to another topic…

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 15

Q. [to Colin Perkins) Can I ask you now — I think begin to ask you — about
25 the situation in respect of Bishop George Bell. You
Page 184
1 have provided a — you provided some details about it
2 within your first witness statement. But you also have
3 a supplementary statement in which you comment upon your
4 views about the report of Lord Carlile of Berriew.
5 I want to mainly take you, because I will say again, as
6 I have said several times, we are not interested in the
7 truth or otherwise of the allegations concerning
8 George Bell. I also understand from information which
9 has been — which is in the public domain that there is
10 another allegation. I will not be asking you about
11 that.
12 So if I can just identify, what happened in respect
13 of the George Bell case is that there was a core group,
14 you were part of that core group, consistently, which
15 was set up. What was your understanding of the purpose
16 of the core group?

17 A. If I may, I should say that the core group first met
18 13 months after the first email from Carol came in. She
19 emailed initially to Lambeth Palace April 2013. That
20 was forwarded to me.

21 Q. I think you set out — I don’t think we need to turn it
22 up, but paragraphs 392 to 398, chair and panel, of
23 the statement deal with what steps were taken.

24 A. Exactly. So the steps were essentially to offer support
25 and Gemma Wordsworth was the person who was doing all of
Day 9 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 15 March 2018
Page 185
1 that throughout the rest of 2013, and actually
2 throughout.
3 A civil claim was entered in I believe it was early
4 2014 and the core group was essentially — I think it
5 met in early — in May 2014, essentially to respond to
6 the matters arising from that. I don’t think we
7 initially called it a core group, because practice
8 guidance was still emerging at the time. So it was
9 effectively a meeting between key diocesan and national
10 personnel. It became called the core group because that
11 was the term in the emerging guidance. But I don’t
12 think it was initially called one.

13 Q. At paragraph 6 of your supplementary witness statement,
14 which is, just for the record, ACE0262843_003, chair and
15 panel, of that document, you refer to three documents:
16 a briefing note; a George Bell review timeline of key
17 decisions; and a safeguarding timeline overview.
18 Now, if we could get the first one of those up,
19 ACE026290. So this is the briefing note that took place
20 prior to the first core group meeting, which, as you
21 have said, wasn’t actually called that, in May 2014, and
22 this was just to inform everybody about the nature of
23 the case?

24 A. Yeah, myself and Gemma wrote this to make sure that
25 everyone in the meeting had an appraisal of where
Page 186
1 things — where we were at.

2 Q. Just to — I mean, I think everyone is familiar probably
3 in this room with the allegations in respect of
4 George Bell, but there was an allegation made by Carol
5 of inappropriate touching in the late 1950s. It would
6 appear that the complainant wrote to Eric Kemp in 1995.
7 That letter was on a file. That was then not
8 discovered. Then she then wrote again in 2013 to
9 Lambeth Palace and it was then discovered that the
10 letter had taken place in 1995 and that matters then
11 progressed from there. But it does appear that the file
12 had not been subject to the 2008/2009 past cases review.

13 A. That’s so.

14 Q. I understand there is some reference in one of
15 the documents — and I’m afraid I couldn’t find it —
16 that somebody called it — it was found in the “naughty
17 boys’ cabinet” or something like that. What is that?

18 A. Gosh, that’s an unfortunate phrase, isn’t it?

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. In the corridor in Bishop’s Palace, there is a cabinet
21 to the right which is effectively closed disciplinary
22 cases, so that’s — someone has called it the “naughty
23 boys’ cabinet”. So that’s what’s in there.

24 Q. I understand the reference, if we want to see it, is
25 ANG000030_017 to 018. Thank you, Mr Greenwood.
Page 187

1 A. Opposite that is a cabinet of largely administrative
2 files that are nothing to do with personnel; maybe to do
3 with a particular trust or a particular building. Upon
4 receiving Carol’s letter, Gemma and I went to the palace
5 to see if we could find, well, anything on George Bell,
6 and so we happened to look in that cabinet, not really
7 expecting —

8 Q. Is that the “naughty boys’ cabinet” or the trust deed
9 cabinet, so to speak?

10 A. No, I would have already seen it if it was in the
11 disciplinary cabinet, because I’d gone through that when
12 I first arrived —

13 Q. Right.

14 A. — for obvious reasons. The administrative cabinet, we
15 found just a loose manila folder of — that contained
16 almost all correspondence about George Bell. It was
17 things to do with the 50th anniversary of his death. It
18 was largely people writing in, “I was visiting the
19 cathedral. I was thinking about George Bell and his
20 work in World War II”, et cetera, et cetera. It was
21 that kind of material. We really therefore had no
22 expectation of finding anything, and then we did find
23 this letter from 1995 and the associated material.

24 Q. So this briefing note was given to everyone. Could we
25 just look briefly through the briefing note. Can you
Page 188
1 just talk us through it. I don’t think you need to talk
2 us through — could we go to — is it just one page or
3 does it go over to the next page? It goes over to the
4 next page. Right. It sets out basically the
5 chronology, what’s happened when and the fact that there
6 have been some difficulties. Is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. There is then a timeline of key decisions. So this was
9 prepared in advance of a review meeting held
10 in June 2016. This is ACE026297, tab 50.
11 I’m assuming that this is prepared for
12 Lord Carlile’s benefit?

13 A. Not — sorry, not at that point, no. This was the
14 meeting at Lambeth Palace, as far as I remember, this
15 was the meeting at which it was decided to commission
16 a review which then was the review that Lord Carlile was
17 asked to do. So this was that meeting. He hadn’t been
18 asked.

19 Q. Do you mind, Paul, if we just switch forward slightly on
20 this. There is more than one page. In other words,
21 it’s a chronology which says what happened when. So
22 you’ve got “Email” and then “Detail and comment” and
23 then where it comes from; is that right?

24 A. Exactly.

25 Q. Thank you very much. The third document is
Page 189
1 “Safeguarding timeline overview”, which is, again,
2 another summary also produced for the June 2016 meeting.
3 That’s ACE026288, please, Paul. Again, what’s this?

4 A. I think it — I believe it was a summary of the previous
5 documents.

6 Q. So this is kind of, “We know that some people are not
7 going to read the entire document, so I’m going to give
8 you the headlines”?

9 A. Essentially.

10 Q. An executive summary, I believe is the word that’s
11 usually used?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. That’s fine. Can you describe the approach that you
14 considered what then became known as the core group were
15 taking when they were looking at the situation in
16 respect of Carol? I mean, you detail this in your
17 submission to Lord Carlile in July 2017, but it would be
18 useful to have that precised, really?

19 A. Yes, I’m trying to think how to precis it. The approach
20 of the core group was — it was effectively to — or the
21 approach of the meeting that became the core group was
22 effectively to decide how to respond to the perhaps
23 fairly unique situation we were presented with. As
24 I said, by that point, support to Carol had been offered
25 for over a year. She’d spoken to the police. There’d
Page 190
1 been some counselling provided, and so on and so forth.
2 But I suppose it was the situation that really arose
3 from the receipt of the civil claim, and it was — we
4 were very mindful of —

5 Q. Can I just check. In fact, the civil claim — one of
6 the difficulties with the Carol situation is the fact
7 that the church is not insured in claims against
8 bishops — well, I think it probably is now but it
9 wouldn’t have been at the relevant time that the
10 insurance arose?

11 A. Yes, and that was, I think, one of the prompts for that
12 meeting. I think that for me that is an essential part
13 of understanding what happened here, that we were in
14 a very unusual situation of a civil claim coming in that
15 was uninsured, and, therefore, it wasn’t clear to whom
16 that effectively — to whom the liability belonged.
17 I should say, as I think I allude to in my
18 supplementary statement, there was a backdrop here, and
19 the backdrop was that we would also — well, the church,
20 that any civil claim with regards to Peter Ball would
21 have been in that same position.
22 I wasn’t involved in any of the discussions around
23 this, but I was aware that discussions were taking
24 place, that there could have been a very —
25 a potentially large number of civil claims coming in
Page 191
1 from around Peter Ball that would have also been
2 uninsured. So I think — as I said, I wasn’t involved
3 in any of those conversations, but there was an
4 awareness that any decision made around the George Bell
5 claim, there was a wider context.

6 Q. The approach that you have taken may — some people may
7 perceive it as a “believe anyone” approach. What were
8 you trying to do, or what do you think the core group
9 was trying to do? Because obviously Lord Carlile
10 thought that you were approaching it in the same way as
11 you would approach any other civil claim, so you were
12 trying to make a decision, you know, “Should this
13 individual be believed on the balance of probabilities
14 or shouldn’t they?” Was that the aim and objective of
15 the core group?

16 A. If I could just take those points in order?

17 Q. Of course.

18 A. In terms of the “believe anyone” approach, that’s
19 actually never been the approach that — I can only
20 speak for my team, but that — said in those terms, it
21 sounds quite pejorative. It sounds quite —

22 Q. That’s —

23 A. No, no —

24 Q. I’m saying it to challenge you.

25 A. I understand.
Page 192

1 Q. Because that’s what critics of it would say?

2 A. Exactly. So I understand the caricaturing of that kind
3 of approach is a sort of naive, believing anyone no
4 matter how fantastical the allegation, that has never
5 been the approach of my team. But the approach of my
6 team has very much been a willingness to take very
7 seriously anyone making an allegation and to offer the
8 support that would be offered essentially if the
9 allegation is true. So it’s not assessing the
10 allegation before support is offered, but it’s
11 essentially offering the support on the assumption that
12 it could be true. I’m probably articulating that quite
13 badly, but that’s the approach of my team.
14 In terms of, by the time the core group met, we were
15 aware that the civil claim would have to be assessed, so
16 almost by definition, the core group didn’t meet with
17 that kind of “believe anyone” approach because it was
18 meeting to start thinking about how were we going to
19 assess that claim.

20 Q. But was it meant to be an investigative process, kind of
21 a way of saying — or was it — I mean, please explain?

22 A. Yes. The first meeting, May 2014, was essentially, how
23 are we going to proceed? The second meeting, I believe
24 it was in July 2014, was — the advice received from the
25 lawyer who — the lawyer who was acting in the civil
Page 193
1 claim, although by that point it wasn’t entirely clear
2 who was instructing her because of this concern about
3 with whom did liability rest, but the lawyer acting in
4 that situation effectively — we were quite soon getting
5 into conversations about, should there be some kind of
6 publicity, should there be some kind of, you know,
7 acknowledgement that this claim or this allegation has
8 been made against this huge historical figure, and her
9 advice was very clear: you don’t have much ability to
10 test the claim, because it’s so old, but you do have —
11 sorry, to test the allegation, but you do have a civil
12 claim, so if you were to go public in any way before you
13 have tested that claim, before that claim is settled or
14 resolved, then you will be open to, you know, exactly
15 the kind of allegation of, “Well, you just — you know,
16 you jumped the gun”. So her advice was, allow this
17 claim to run, effectively; let’s do all of the things we
18 normally do in civil claims, instruct psychiatrists and
19 verify what can be verified and so on and so forth.
20 Once that is done, if the claim is settled, then
21 consider what to do about publicity.
22 So that’s what happened. Really, looking back, we’d
23 all acknowledge that I think this was where the problem
24 arose, that at that point, very unusually indeed, the
25 core group became quite intricately involved with the
1 civil claim and the response to the civil claim —
2 perhaps not quite that they became synonymous, but it
3 was getting there. I think we’d all look back and say
4 that should have been held much more separately.

Page 94

5 MS SCOLDING: I don’t know whether, chair, this might be an
6 appropriate moment to break, because I’m about to start
7 on the response to the Carlile Report which I think will
8 take us past a reasonable hour. So I don’t know whether
9 now might be an appropriate moment?

10 THE CHAIR: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you very much,
11 Mr Perkins.

12 MS SCOLDING: Don’t forget, Mr Perkins, you are under oath.
13 Thank you.
14 (4.24 pm)
15 (The hearing was adjourned until
16 Friday, 16 March 2018 at 10.00 am)

March 16 2018 – IICSA Transcript – March 16

Page 30

Fiona Scolding QC – Q. He [Lord Carlile] identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?

Perkins – 2 A. I accept that critique,

Page 24

15 Q. Was it the situation that there was scant, if any,
16 regard to Bishop Bell’s good character? Because that
17 comes out of this at various other points in his
18 conclusions? Paragraph 56 of Lord Carlile’s conclusion,
19 he says:
20 “… scant, if any, regard to … Bishop Bell’s good
21 character [was paid].”
22 Again, he also argued that there was deliberate
23 destruction of the reputation of George Bell. What do
24 you say to those two things?
25 A. In terms of the regard given to his good character, the
Page 25
1 esteem, he also talks about that —
2 Q. You deal with this at paragraph 70 and onwards of your
3 witness statement. Maybe if you would like to turn that
4 up for your own benefit. Chair and panel, that’s
5 page 25 of Mr Perkins’ supplementary witness statement?
6 A. We were very mindful indeed of the reputation of
7 George Bell, and in many ways the reputation of
8 George Bell is why we were holding the core group in the
9 first place. I have just mentioned a number of other
10 allegations we’d received about deceased clergy. Most
11 of those are obscure clergy, and didn’t generate this
12 level of action. Because we were aware of the weight of
13 his reputation and the likely impact of people reacting
14 to any actions we took, to some extent that was the
15 reason that we were having this nationally chaired
16 meeting involving staff from both the national church
17 and Chichester.
18 But I am very surprised at the extent to which,
19 certainly throughout the last two and a half years,
20 there have been many calls, and I am concerned that some
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser.
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against
Page 26
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 —
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace,
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”.
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
15 Q. I think at paragraph 70 of your witness statement you
16 identify some research that the NSPCC did in educational
17 settings which often found that those who sexually
18 abused students are often the most competent and popular
19 of staff and are often — I think the word used by the
20 NSPCC is “adored”?
21 A. Yes. The evidence — much of the evidence this inquiry
22 has heard, much of the academic evidence throughout the
23 world, suggests, again, going back to Nigel Speight’s
24 quote, that people find it extremely difficult to
25 believe that especially their admired leaders, or
Page 27
1 admired teachers within that educational setting,
2 sometimes the teachers that are the most popular could
3 also be guilty of abuse. We know that’s worldwide
4 research.
5 Q. There are two technical issues I want to raise.
6 Lord Carlile criticises the core group, and this is at
7 paragraph 167 of his report, page 044, chair and panel,
8 if you want to get it up, B47. He identifies — he says
9 that one of the things that you got wrong was not
10 understanding that he wouldn’t — had he been alive, he
11 wouldn’t have satisfied the arrest conditions, is what
12 he says.
13 So you mistakenly — what I think he indicates is,
14 having read the minutes, he believes that what happened
15 was, you all thought he would be arrested, he would have
16 been arrested, and therefore that was something which
17 fed into your consideration of whether or not the civil
18 claim should be settled?
19 A. Firstly, I’m not sure that he’s correct about that,
20 having worked with Sussex Police on a large number of
21 cases. I’m actually just not sure that he’s correct.
22 I think he may well have been.
23 But he largely suggested that we were so
24 inexperienced within the criminal justice system that we
25 conflated arrest with charge with conviction. As I say
Page 28
1 in my statement, that is simply not the case. There
2 were plenty of very experienced safeguarding
3 professionals with, between us, decades of experience
4 within the criminal justice system who were perfectly
5 capable of separating those things out.
6 Q. Thank you. He also identifies that you hadn’t followed
7 the basic prosecutorial process of looking at whether or
8 not something had happened and whether or not — you
9 know, the two-stage test which the CPS identified. Do
10 you have any comment that you wish to make about that?
11 A. Well, he specifically criticises that Sussex Police
12 hadn’t communicated properly to us that process. He
13 identifies Detective Inspector EF as the person who
14 should have, but didn’t, correctly communicate that to
15 us. He identifies that from one email exchange in 2013,
16 right at the start, when we were arranging Carol’s
17 interview with Sussex Police.
18 As I say in my statement, between certainly myself
19 and Gemma, we probably had weekly contacts with DI EF
20 across a five-year period between Operation Perry and
21 Operation Dunhill, and I think it highlights my point
22 that making that conclusion based on one email exchange
23 rather than discussing that with us, where we could have
24 explained that level of contact, is one of my concerns
25 about the process of the report.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

Page 29
1 Q. He also recommends, Lord Carlile, at paragraph 170, that
2 there should have been specialist criminal law advice
3 provided to the group. What’s your view about that?
4 A. If I can just —
5 Q. It is page 44 of B47, chair and panel. Thank you very
6 much, Paul.
7 A. I’m just trying to find within my own statement —
8 Q. Oh, you deal with it at paragraph 57, Mr Perkins.
9 A. Thank you.
10 Q. Paragraphs 56, 57 and 58.
11 A. Thank you. Firstly, this was a civil claim, so tested
12 to the civil standard. So it’s still not clear, and
13 I believe not clear to others who are responding to
14 this, why a comment about whether or not it could have
15 been proved to the criminal standard would necessarily
16 help us in deciding whether it could have been proved to
17 the civil standard.
18 But, again, that comment seems to have ignored my
19 submission from July 2016, where I make really clear,
20 and the minutes make really clear, and the legal advice
21 provided to the core group makes really clear, we were
22 making a choice to believe.
23 There was — never at any point, in my recollection,
24 at any point in the core group, did anyone say, “He
25 would have been convicted for this, so we have no
Page 30
1 choice”. That just wasn’t part of the discussion, which
2 I say in that paragraph.
3 Q. Which, again, Lord Carlile in his report at
4 paragraph 171 seems to identify that one of
5 the criticisms of the core group is they didn’t think
6 about whether or not he would have been prosecuted had
7 he been alive, and he identifies that the prospects of
8 successful prosecution were low. I think at
9 paragraph 57, you say —
10 A. Thank you.
11 Q. — “Well, we wouldn’t necessarily have asked ourselves
12 that question”?
13 A. We were fully aware that the chances of a conviction,
14 were he alive, were low, and, as I say at the end of
15 paragraph 57, external advice on that particular point,
16 was a criminal conviction likely, was not sought, not
17 because it never occurred to us to ask, but because the
18 answer was relatively obvious.
19 Q. Can I ask you just about two further points that he
20 raises at paragraph 155, if we can go back to that,
21 please, chair and panel, 038, please, Paul. Page 38,
22 chair and panel, of B47.
23 He identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?
2 A. I accept that critique, although in the submission from
3 the National Safeguarding Steering Group, I would also
4 emphasise the separation in that submission from the
5 action — between the actions of the core group, the
6 work of the core group, and the work of — I think it’s
7 called — a group — a body thinking about the
8 litigation. I am not sure that there should be within
9 the core group a person doing that, because the core
10 group is really managing a different situation. I think
11 that obviously and clearly should happen, but perhaps
12 within that different body. I think that’s the advice
13 from — or that’s the response from the National
14 Safeguarding Steering Group, which I would agree with.
15 Q. Two further issues: one about limitation; the second
16 about non-disclosure agreements. Obviously you are not
17 a lawyer, so I’m not going to ask you this. One of
18 the points that Lord Carlile raises is that nobody
19 seriously considered the limitation issue and/or that
20 the limitation issue should have been considered. Just
21 for the public, the usual rule is that such claims have
22 to be brought within — well, actually, in cases of
23 sexual violence, it is six years, but in cases of breach
24 of duty, ie negligence, it’s three years but with an
25 equitable time limit under section 33 of the Limitation
Page 32
1 Act, which involves, in effect, looking at all the
2 circumstances and saying, is it there or isn’t it there.
3 Now, we understand from the Ecclesiastical Insurance
4 Office’s guiding principles that in an insured claim —
5 we dealt with this with Professor MacFarlane earlier in
6 the week — they only raise limitation exceptionally, so
7 to speak?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was limitation something which was considered and
10 discussed within the context of the group?
11 A. It was —
12 Q. Just to say, “It was just too long ago. We can’t
13 possibly settle a claim on this basis”?
14 A. It was considered and discussed extensively in the
15 second core group, July 2014. The minutes make that
16 very clear. In fact, the explanation you’ve just given
17 is possibly almost verbatim the explanation that was
18 given to that core group, and, as the minutes show,
19 there was then an extensive discussion.
20 I think, again, that goes back to my problem about
21 the process of the Lord Carlile review.
22 What the minutes do not say is, “The purpose of
23 limitation was clearly explained”, largely because
24 everyone was fully aware. They were clearly explained
25 but the minutes don’t clearly say that.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

9 (Pages 33 to 36)
Page 33
1 Q. Of course, the issues of vicarious liability have
2 changed markedly over the past 10 years in respect of
3 cases of sexual violence against individuals?
4 A. Exactly.
5 Q. To make them a lot more generous than they were, shall
6 I put it that way?
7 A. Yes. But, as I say, the very fact that we had an
8 extensive discussion suggests that that — the point of
9 limitation was fully understood. That is certainly the
10 case: it was fully understood.
11 Q. Non-disclosure agreement. The other significant
12 criticism that Lord Carlile makes is, why wasn’t there
13 a confidentiality agreement put to this in order to
14 avoid what he considers to be unfair besmirching of
15 Bishop Bell’s reputation. I mean, that’s probably
16 putting it slightly higher than Lord Carlile puts it in
17 his report, so I’m slightly overegging that, but he
18 considers that it’s unfair. I think the church has
19 responded and said, “We think it was right that there
20 wasn’t a non-confidentiality agreement and we don’t
21 agree to — confidentiality agreements, I think, rather
22 than non-confidentiality agreements — think about NDA,
23 the US word for them. What’s your view about that, if
24 you have any?
25 A. As you said, the church has already rejected that
Page 34
1 proposal. I was very glad to see that. As you said,
2 I’m not a lawyer, so I possibly shouldn’t stray into
3 this, but my understanding of —
4 Q. Well, from the perspective of somebody — you’ve
5 identified that you started this process trying to work
6 from the perspective of providing compassionate support
7 to victims and survivors?
8 A. Exactly.
9 Q. From that perspective, that’s your view?
10 A. From that perspective, my understanding of
11 Lord Carlile’s recommendation with regards to the
12 non-disclosure agreement or the confidentiality
13 agreement, he also suggests — my understanding of his
14 report is — that we should have settled the claim
15 with —
16 Q. Sort of no admission of liability?
17 A. No admission of liability. From my point of view, from
18 the perspective you just described, that would have
19 effectively been saying, “We are not accepting your
20 claim. We are not going to apologise. We are going to
21 perhaps provide some monetary settlement and we are
22 going to require you to sign a non-disclosure
23 agreement”. That is exactly the opposite of where
24 I think the church should be on this issue, from my
25 perspective.
Page 35
1 Q. Can we now — that’s been very helpful, and I think we
2 have got a very clear view from you of your critique of
3 that, which I know you were very clear that you wanted
4 to give to this inquiry.
5 Can we now turn to the more mundane topic, or maybe
6 more exciting topic, of what you actually do on
7 a day-to-day basis?….

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – Richard W. Symonds

 
Page 25
“…I am concerned that some 
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived 
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s 
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell 
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser. 
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against 
Page 26 
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally 
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within 
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point 
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me 
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an 
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 — 
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was 
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview 
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace, 
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of 
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep 
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very 
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
 
Ignoring the fact Mr Perkins was mistaken on the Argus dates – it was December 16 2017 when ‘Carol’ made that statement – how could he say she “has managed to keep the balance…”! Incredible. ‘Carol’ was five years old at the time! How could she have known it was definitely Bishop Bell at that age! 
 
May I also suggest Mr Perkins reads the book “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – especially page 150 – before pontificating about the John Jay Report [Page 11 & 12 IICSA March 16].
CORRECTION
I stand corrected on the Argus dates – my apologies:
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported this on February 3 2016:
“Because he did good things, they automatically assume that he couldn’t do anything wrong, which was rather hurtful because a lot of men who have done good things have also done very evil things. He might be a man of peace but that doesn’t take away the fact of what he did to me,” said the woman, using the pseudonym ‘Carol’.
I confused this quote above with the quote made by ‘Carol’ on December 16 2017:
“He (Lord Carlile) can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts”
But neither quote helps the Diocesan Safeguarder Colin Perkins. It just confirms he might be seriously mistaken about the “balance” of ‘Carol’.
Also, Mr Perkins shows a serious lack of understanding of False Memory Syndrome (FMS) – “One of the features is that over a period of time – in this case a considerable time – the false accuser has convinced herself that her memory was correct”
Personally, I have little to no doubt ‘Carol’ was sexually abused. What I seriously doubt is that it was Bishop Bell. In other words, a case of mistaken identity.
‘Carol’ is an unreliable witness, and for Colin Perkins to put such faith in her recollections is not just seriously unprofessional for someone in his position, it is also seriously misplaced.
~ Richard W. Symonds

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – David Lamming

“While IICSA should be given full marks for the production of the daily transcript (available to download from about 6 pm each day), the website is both woeful and impenetrable. There is no easy way to find a document, since they are indexed only by the URN allocated to them by the Inquiry. More seriously, witness statements and documents referred to by witnesses (and appended to their statements) are not uploaded in advance, which makes it difficult to follow the oral evidence.

A prime example is the evidence given on 15th-16th March by Colin Perkins. At the beginning of his evidence last Thursday, counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, asked that Mr Perkins’s three witness statements be “placed upon the website at a convenient and appropriate moment.” (Transcript, 15 March 2018, page 82). That moment should have been no later than when Mr Perkins took the oath, yet now, Sunday lunchtime, 18th March, they are still not available for the public to read.

“An illustration of the need for the statements to be published in advance is in the evidence Colin Perkins gave to the Inquiry about the Carlile report on Friday morning (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 1-34). Ms Scolding refers to certain passages in Mr Perkins’s witness statement in which he criticises aspects of Lord Carlile’s review. Those criticisms (at least so far as they appear from the extracts set out and commented on in the transcript) are selective and self-serving. One must ask whether Lord Carlile was done the courtesy of bring provided with a copy of the statement, or even being warned that he would be criticised at a public inquiry where he is not represented. One sentence in Mr Perkins’s evidence is telling: “… it is my job to try and articulate these things from the perspective of the victim.” (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 15-16) Where is the necessary objectivity, when Carol is regarded as victim, not complainant? No wonder one of Lord Carlile’s conclusions was “… the clear impression left is that the process was predicated on [Bell’s] guilt of what Carol alleged.” (Carlile Review, para 254(vi), page 65.)

~ David Lamming

March 20 2018 – Peter Hitchens – The Mail on Sunday – March 18

“The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, admitted last week it had been a mistake not to give the late Bishop George Bell a defending counsel at the kangaroo court which wrongly convicted him of child abuse. When will he admit that he has made a similar mistake by refusing to allow Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, to pick a lawyer to defend him against the mysterious second allegation now levelled against him in secret? Too late, for sure” 

March 20 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 20

DAY 12 IICSA INQUIRY – CHICHESTER – 20 MARCH 2018 – DEAN PETER ATKINSON ON DEAN TREADGOLD, TERENCE BANKS ET AL

14 Q. Before we move on, we should deal briefly with one other 15 matter touching on Dean Treadgold. Is it right that at 16 the time of his retirement, or thereabouts, there came 17 a time when he burnt a number of files held within the 18 cathedral? 19 A. Yes. He had retired in the autumn of 2001 and moved 20 a short distance away. What I remember of the episode 21 is that he returned to the deanery, which then was 22 empty, this was long before Dean Frayling arrived, 23 removed a number of files from the deanery basement and 24 had a fire in the garden. 25 I don’t know what the files were. I think there is Page 151 1 some indication that they might have been old chapter 2 files, but they may well have been his own. It’s a bit 3 odd that he’d moved away and then came back to do this, 4 and it was sufficiently troubling for us to mention this 5 to the police, which happened. 6 Q. And the police subsequently investigated it, including 7 interviewing, I understand, Dean Treadgold under 8 caution? 9 A. They took it very seriously, yes. 10 Q. But no further action was ultimately taken? 11 A. Ultimately, no further action was taken. 12 Q. Did anybody within the cathedral or the chapter think to 13 get him back in, have a word with him and say, “What 14 were you burning and why were you burning it?”, because, 15 in theory, there’s a potential hole in your record 16 keeping now? 17 A. I don’t remember that happening. I think the person who 18 spoke to the police, as far as I can remember, was 19 Canon John Ford, who by then was the acting dean between 20 the two deans, and I can’t remember that we took further 21 action ourselves, knowing that the police were involved. 22 I think we took the view that that was police business. 23 Q. Once they’d taken no further action, why not then? Why 24 not then say, “Hang on a minute, somebody who has moved 25 away from the cathedral, who has retired, has come back, Page 152 1 potentially taken chapter files and burnt them. We need 2 to find out why and what they have burnt, if for no 3 other reason than to find out where we have now got 4 record gaps, or even take disciplinary action”? 5 A. I’m not sure what disciplinary action might have been 6 taken against a retired dean. The answer to your 7 question is that I don’t remember that kind of internal 8 investigation happening. 9 Q. If we can move forward to the Carmi Report…

March 21 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 20

Graham Tilby (National Safeguarding Adviser)
Page 98
6 Q. Do you agree with the conclusion that Lord Carlile
7 reached that you put the reputation of the church as
8 a whole above the untarnished reputation of Bishop Bell?
9 A. I don’t agree with that. I think this was always about
10 trying to come to a process with objectivity. When
11 I arrived, I didn’t actually know who George Bell was,
12 and that’s actually important on one level because that
13 brings an objectivity to the process, but also it is
14 about gathering evidence and making — and forming
15 a judgment based on a balance of probabilities.

March 21 2018 – “Clergy burnt file after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

 

March 22 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 21

Archbishop Justin Welby

Page 119-120 [Paras 21-25]

and at the heart of this has to be justice, and justice is a very, very difficult thing to find, as you know much better than I do, but we have to have a system that delivers justice. That is so important. And if it doesn’t, it’s not good enough.

Fiona Scolding QC

Page 123 [Paras 14-25] Page 124 [Paras 1-8]

Q. One of the points that Lord Carlile makes is that the church didn’t take a good enough account of…George Bell’s reputation. Now, we have heard from several individuals about their views about that. But what he seems to suggest is, you have to start — you know, this was such a Titanic figure that one must assume that his reputation is unblemished and, therefore, that has to be weighed very heavily in the balance. Do you have any response to that?

A. “I think the greatest tragedy of all these cases is that people have trusted, very often, those who were locally, in diocesan terms, or nationally Titanic figures, and have then found that they were not worthy of their trust. The fact that someone is a titanic figure doesn’t tell you anything at all, except that they have done remarkable things in one area. It doesn’t tell you about the rest of their lives. And it is not something that we can take into account” – Archbishop Justin Welby

“‘If Bishop Bell’s good reputation ‘is not something that we (The Church of England) can take into account’, then the Church of England [and Archbishop Welby as its leader] are breaking the law. As Lord Carlile has said, taking someone’s good reputation into account “is the law. In criminal cases especially, but also in civil cases, where the character of an alleged perpetrator is impugned by the allegation made, the court takes into account evidence of his good character. It does not mean that he can do no wrong. It is a factor to be weighed in the balance”‘

~ Richard W. Symonds

March 22 2018 – From The Archives [1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ [Series 5 Disc 2) – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral [‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

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Jan 12 2019 – Chichester City Council – Chichester Heritage Trails – Leaflet 8 – ‘Notable people’ – Bishop George Bell

 

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Jan 10 2019 – Bishop Bell Portrait and Plaque – Cathedral Library – Chichester

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Jan 10 2019 – RWS Note on Bishop Bell

photo

Richard W. Symonds

“‘Corporate Dog-Collars & No-Smoke-Without-Fire Merchants’ have done a great injustice to the wartime Bishop of Chichester and the Church he loved; great wrong to the Cathedral and its congregation; great pain to his surviving family and friends; and great damage to people’s faith in God, humanity and justice. More information is coming to light which is likely to reveal that the great injustice, wrong, pain and damage has been under-estimated”

~ Richard W. Symonds

gerbellg5

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

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Jan 5 2019 – Bishop Bell and an Archbishop’s Silence

“The power of silence: The mystery of Pope Francis’ refusal to respond to his enemies” – The Tablet

 

stop burying your heads in the sand, colleges - education reform now on Ostrich With Head In Sand Cartoon

“When it comes to the Bishop Bell case, it would appear Archbishop Welby – and his Church lawyers – are attempting the same strategy [aka ‘pulling the same stunt’] as the Pope: Silence.

“But it seems to me, the Archbishop’s silence is of a different nature to that of the Pope. It is not a dignified, devotional silence. It is a silence more akin to that heard by an ostrich burying its mitred head in the ecclesiastical sand.

“Lord Carlile has already said everything that needs to be said. We really don’t have to wait for the Briden Report to tell us what we already know.

“Restoring 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House would be proof enough of a change of heart within the Church hierarchy – and that change of heart was expected after the Carlile Report. It didn’t happen – and it hasn’t happened. Their hardened hearts appear to have turned into a deafening silence”

 

~ Richard W. Symonds

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Jan 5 2019 – “The Church lawyers in the Bishop Bell case would make even Machiavelli blush” ~ Richard W. Symonds

photo

Richard W. Symonds

“The Church lawyers in the Bishop Bell case would make even Machiavelli blush”

~ Richard W. Symonds ~

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/about/the-people/

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Jan 1 2019 – Bishop Bell and the Briden Report

img_9510 (2)

Bishop George Bell

This has just been sent by someone concerned with the Briden Report on Bishop Bell:
“The final element of the process is its consideration by the Deciding Officer, appointed by the Church, who will make … decisions [on] information that he has at his disposal, as submitted by the various legal representatives. In terms of publication of the various documents, that will be a matter for the Church of England and, I expect, that that decision will be made in January or February [2019] when the legal process has been completed. I’m sure that the decision will be made public but I will advise you as soon as I am made aware, in any event”
Invitations have now been sent out for Chichester’s ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ event at George Bell House/4 Canon Lane next month (Feb 4). RSVP soon SVP as the Bonhoeffer Room only holds a max of 30.
Sandra Saer will act as Chair and Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson will be one of the Keynote Speakers.
Richard W. Symonds
IMG_2112

George Bell House/4 Canon Lane – RWS Photography

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December 16 2018 – Peter Hitchens on Archbishop Welby and Bishop Bell’s Niece

“Does Archbishop Welby’s pride matter more than an elderly lady’s pain?”

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 

Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley.

George-Bell-niece-Barbara-Whitley-2

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Barbara Whitley   http://archbishopcranmer.com/church-england-bullies-george-bell-niece/

 

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 BBC 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.

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George Bell Bishop of Chichester – Howard Coster / RWS Photography

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?

~ Peter Hitchens

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4 Canon Lane / George Bell House

4 Canon Lane / George Bell House – Chichester

GBH-Exterior-with-Cathedral (2)

4 Canon Lane, formerly known as George Bell House (its rightful name – likely to be restored … see NOTE below), is a guest house set within the cathedral grounds in a fantastic location tucked behind the Cathedral and next to the beautiful Bishop’s Gardens. The house is a historic building, full of character with décor in keeping with the period. Set in a quiet location the building has a restful atmosphere. It is ideally located for exploring the charming town centre of Chichester, its cathedral or visit the Festival Theatre – all within walking distance!
4 Canon Lane is used for many purposes and only has 8 rooms. The rooms are comfortable without being elaborate. Some of the upstairs rooms have wonderful views of the cathedral or gardens. In particular, the 2 large doubles, Room 4 overlooking the garden and Room 5 overlooking the Cathedral are more expensive but apparently worth it. Smaller rooms are to the side and have showers, not baths.

It would seem that there are significant different differences between the rooms – with the better rooms unsurprisingly in demand – so early booking is advised…

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester Cathedral – before the name change [Picture: Alamy]

NOTE:

Due to unsubstantiated allegations, George Bell House has been renamed 4 Canon Lane. However, in the absence of any actual proof, court judgement or any admission of liability on behalf of the Church of England, it is expected that 4 Canon Lane will have its previous name of George Bell House restored.
Without proof or independent substantive evidence, there is no justification to excise the extraordinary legacy of Bishop George Bell or his memory…

The Church of England also seems to need reminding that in the United Kingdom a man is innocent until actually proven guilty.

Although it is for [Dean and] Chapter to decide, it is expected 4 Canon Lane will revert back to its former title of George Bell House following an Extraordinary meeting of the Chichester Cathedral Council on 17 January 2018.

Amen to that.

170461775

bus-thrown-under-198636530-365x247

 

“Here is the shocking moment [Oct 22 2015] when the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell was thrown under a moving bus by a Church swerving to avoid further blame for serial child sex abuse”

~ Richard W. Symonds

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2016/12/17/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester-october-2015-to-october-2017/

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November 21 2018 – Richard W. Symonds

I’m sure there’s research out there somewhere, and if there isn’t there should be, of perfectly sane, civilised, sensible individuals, groups, communities and societies inexplicably and unpredictably doing astonishingly insane, uncivilised, stupid – even evil – things, and thinking at the time they are perfectly sane, civilised and sensible – even good.

Nazi Germany is an obvious example of an ‘evilicious’ society and community collectively doing this.

An inexplicable suicide is an obvious example of an individual doing this.

A not-so-obvious example is a small, core group doing this.

The Church of England’s original Core Group investigating Bishop George Bell’s alleged abuse of a child could be a good example.

Oxford’s Christ Church Core Group could be another.

photo

Richard W. Symonds

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Case for Bishop Bell

Sir – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is not alone in being ashamed of the Church in its handling of child abuse cases in the Diocese of Chichester (report, March 22). So are quite a few others. And some of us would add that we are ashamed of Archbishop Welby too.

At the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing on Wednesday, the Archbishop was questioned about his continuing attack on the late Bishop George Bell, whose reputation has been besmirched by what Lord Carlile, the Church’s own eminent appointee to examine its legal processes, has described as a very misguided rush to judgement on a single accusation of historic child sexual abuse.

The continued anger that the case has aroused has nothing to do with Bishop Bell’s eminent reputation. It has everything to do with the fact that no one has ever been allowed to present a case in his defence.

The recent effort by the family to appoint its own lawyer in a new investigation has been turned down by the Chichester authorities. And once again, the Archbishop missed a chance to affirm his belief in Bishop Bell’s innocence as presumed by the law.

When will the Archbishop have the grace to admit that the Church leaders responsible for handling the George Bell case – including himself – have made the most colossal error of judgement in this instance?

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

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March 24 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley – March 23

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/george.bell.was.fond.of.paedophile.bishop.peter.ball.and.sponsored.him.through.ordination/127773.htm

George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination

George Bell was ‘fond’ of paeodophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him for ordination, an inquiry has heard.

As former bishop of Chichester, Bell is considered one of Anglicanism’s heroes. However, it emerged in 2015 the Church of England paid £16,800 to the woman, known as Carol, in a legal settlement after she accused Bell of sexually abusing her as a child.

Now it can be revealed Peter Ball, who was jailed for a string of sex offences against teenagers and young men in 2015, was close friends with Bell.

Peter Ball
Bishop Ball sentenced to 32 months in prison but served only 16 months.

Ball was initially rejected in his attempt to become a priest in 1951 but Bell wrote to the selection panel in support of Ball’s application.

When Ball applied for ordination a second time it was Bell who sponsored him through the process.

In his witness statement to an inquiry investigating child sex abuse within the Church of England, Ball denied that Bell had ‘overruled’ the selection board allowing him to be ordained.

However he said that after his ordination Bell would visit his parish to take services, adding he was ‘aware that he was “fond” of me’.

In response to a question about Bell’s involvement in his ordination, Ball told the inquiry: ‘It is not right therefore to say that Bishop Bell “overruled” the selection board in order for me to be ordained.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell is an iconic figure for the Church of England and was bishop of Chichester from 1929 to 1958.

‘Although Bishop Bell had indicated in 1951 in a letter to the first Selection Board who did not recommend me for ministry that he would be “prepared to accept me for ordination” even though the Selection Board had not recommend me for training at that time, that is not how matters proceeded.’

He went on: ‘After theological college, it was Bishop Bell ultimately who did sponsored [sic] me for ordination, but with the approval of the Selection Board. Bishop Bell then placed me in the parish of Rottingdean where I undertook my first curacy.

‘He would visit my curacy on occasion to carry out confirmations and to take services.

‘We had a good working relationship; I was aware that he was “fond” of me. He was someone who I looked up to when I was a young curate starting out in the Church.’

Bell, who died in 1958, was revered by Anglicans before the abuse allegations against him emerged. However a report earlier this year heavily criticised the Church’s handling of the accusations and found it ‘rushed to judgement’ and failed to give proper consideration to Bell’s rights.

But the archbishop of Canterbury refused to back down and said a ‘significant cloud is left over his name’.

Ball went on to become bishop of Lewes in the diocese of Chichester and then bishop of Gloucester. He was accused of gross indecency against a 16-year-old in 1992 but escaped with a police caution after he received backing from a member of the Royal Family and a number of other establishment figures. He was told to step down from his role as a bishop. However he continued to minister in churches and schools until 2010 before he was eventually arrested.

At the age of 83 he was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office and 15 months for indecent assaults in 2015. He was released after serving 16 months.

The independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has been investigation how the diocese of Chichester handled allegations of child sexual abuse as a case study for the wider Church of England.

In his concluding remarks today solicitor David Greenwood said the CofE was more ‘malign’ than the Catholic Church in its response to abuse and accused it of ‘a conscious effort to treat survivors badly’.

The archbishop of Canterbury in his evidence said he had ‘learnt to be ashamed again of the Church’ and warned child sexual abuse would ‘destroy the Church’ if not addressed.

You can read more about the past three weeks of hearings here.

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March 9 2018 – David Virtue – Viewpoints – VirtueOnline

http://www.virtueonline.org/

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND is reeling from one crisis to the next, with one never knowing how and where it will all end.

Here is the latest: The Church of England was warned by the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, that sexual abuse crimes would be on the front page of newspapers and television for the next two years. This, after years of institutional neglect and lethargy. This week is perhaps the start of the purging of complacency, said one report.

The opening of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the deficiencies of the Established Church took the headlines, but other stories also arose. The poor handling of Fr Matt Ineson’s complaints against five bishops was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme, and the substance of it appeared on the BBC website. It was also covered by Christian Today.

Further stories are beginning to emerge which have not yet been published but will add to our institutional woes, said another report.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y9agjjom

It was learned that Archbishop John Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest — leaving him to abuse again and then commit suicide.
You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/y8dk9bec

There were attacks on Lord Carey again with one headline that ran:
‘An Attack On Lord Carey Is An Attack On Us All’, Say Church of England Figures.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, 10 signatories including the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, suggested that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was being targeted for his involvement in the Bishop Peter Ball case because of “what he represents of biblically faithful Christianity”.

The letter, also signed by Simon Rufus Isaacs, Marquess of Reading, who is a friend of Prince Charles, former bishop of Woolwich Colin Buchanan, and campaigner Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, says that similar high-profile cases have not resulted in prosecutions for misconduct in public office.

You can read the full story here: https://tinyurl.com/ydg8hhd3

But the week ended on a moderately high note when the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace and discussed a range of issues including religious freedom for Christians in Saudi Arabia and the conflict in the Yemen.

In a statement, a Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said that Archbishop Justin was “encouraged” to hear about Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 roadmap. “The Crown Prince made a strong commitment to promote the flourishing of those of different faith traditions, and to interfaith dialogue within the Kingdom and beyond,” the statement said.

“The Archbishop shared his concern about limits placed on Christian worship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and highlighted the importance for leaders of all faiths to support freedom of religion or belief, drawing on the experience of the UK.

 

Canadian blogger Samizdat wryly noted on seeing Welby bowing to the Saudi prince, “Welby may be pointing out to Mohammed bin Salman that his shoelace is undone; or warning him not to slip on a banana peel; or inviting the prince to inspect his head for lice.

“Or he might have been bowing.

“Welby is meeting with the Crown Prince to discuss Saudi Arabia’s “strong commitment to interfaith dialogue”, an idea so preposterous only an ex oil executive could take it seriously. The country renowned for beating critics of its leaders practically to death, that practices the most barbaric excesses of sharia law, that mutilates women because it is “noble”, has no Christian churches. None. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy, a nasty, brutish, despotism which does not tolerate the public practice of other religions. There is no “interfaith” because there are no other state tolerated faiths.

“In other news, next week Justin Welby will be meeting with Satan to foster reconciliation, begin interfaith dialogue, and persuade him to turn down the temperature in hell.”

 

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February 26 2018 – “The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell” – OXSTU [Oxford Student]

http://oxfordstudent.com/2018/02/25/church-england-stand-bishop-bell/

The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell

A short biography of George Bell, who had been Bishop of Chichester for 27 years when he died in 1958, begins by acknowledging a recurring pattern regarding the reputation of notable people. It points out that after such people die, their reputations are often reshaped and defamed by harsh criticism not voiced during their lifetimes – but that the Bishop had managed to be an exception to this rule.

This claim, published in 1971, would no longer be written today. Whilst the memory of George Bell has been cherished over the past 60 years due to his significant support of the Protestant opposition to Hitler, his work in bringing over many non-Aryan refugees from Germany and his emphatic opposition to the bombing of civilians during the Second World War, Bell’s reputation is now at risk of being utterly decimated. A complaint made to the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 accused Bell of having committed grotesque acts of child abuse in the 1940s and 50s. In response, the Church apologised and paid the accuser £16,800 in compensation. Various memorials, such as one proclaiming him a ‘champion of the oppressed’ in Chichester Cathedral, faced removal. An Eastbourne school, formerly known as the Bishop Bell Church of England School, has changed its name altogether.

Most would agree that this sort of action would be justified in the face of conclusive evidence against Bell. But it has since transpired that the church acted far too hastily. Following their acceptance of the abuse claims, a robust movement was sparked to defend Bell’s reputation, involving major journalists such as Charles Moore and Peter Hitchens. The Church then initiated an independent inquiry, led by Lord Carlile (one of the country’s top legal experts), which concluded that they had “rushed to judgement” and that the damage to Bell’s reputation was “just wrong”. Lord Carlile even went so far as to say that had he been prosecuting a case against Bell in court, Bell would have won. Nevertheless, this report was withheld by the Church for two months. After its eventual release, Justin Welby insisted that a “significant cloud” still hangs over Bell’s name in spite of Lord Carlile’s conclusions.

We should be equally concerned for protecting Bell’s reputation against false accusations as we are for spoiling his reputation over true accusations

This strange outcome highlights an element of mystery that has surrounded the Bell case. The initial claim against Bell was anonymous and the church revealed no details about the accusation when making their apology. As mentioned, it took two months for the Church to release the Carlile report after having received it. Once it was released, Justin Welby did not follow the logical implications of the report, but refused to retract his statements because of a vague belief in a “cloud”. On the 31st January, the enigmatic plot thickened when the Church announced that a further anonymous and unspecified accusation had been made and was being investigated. Some felt the timing of this was suspicious, given that a motion to debate the restoration of Bell’s reputation was due to be voted on at the Church’s General Synod the following week. Lord Carlile, who knew nothing of this accusation during his investigation, described the announcement as ‘unwise, unnecessary and foolish’. At the very least, we can all recognise the strange and stark asymmetry between the previous withholding of the completed Carlile investigation report and the eagerness of the recent announcement of an incomplete investigation. Things got worse when it emerged that the Church of England had refused to allow Mrs Barbara Whitley, Bell’s 93-year-old niece, to have the lawyer of her choice represent her side in the proceedings – instead choosing on her behalf someone who is neither a lawyer nor known to Mrs Whitley.

At this point, while many will sympathise with the active supporters of George Bell, which now includes leading groups of historians, theologians and church leaders who have written public letters asking for Welby to retract his statement, others feel a sense of unease. After all, it is of course possible that the accusations are true. Justin Welby, in a recent interview with the Church Times, said that the alleged victims should be “treated equally importantly” as the reputation of George Bell. Some would say this does not go far enough: surely we must be more concerned for the alleged victims, who are still living, over the reputation of someone who died 60 years ago?

The general nervousness of the Church of England’s handling of the Bell case must be related to the fact that the Church currently faces over 3,000 complaints of sexual abuse

Perhaps a better way of framing this would be to say that we should be equally concerned for protecting Bell’s reputation against false accusations as we are for spoiling his reputation over true accusations. The trouble is that most people have an instinctive tendency to find the latter much easier than the former. When the Church of England apologised and paid the first alleged victim in 2015, The Guardian ran the story with the headline “Church of England Bishop George Bell abused young child”. At that stage, nothing was known about the identity of the accuser nor the accusations, and yet headlines announced the claims as fact. Once the Carlile report was made public, it would have been no less factual to run the headline ‘George Bell declared innocent of abuse claims’, yet nobody did so. In fact, most would consider this overstepping the mark.

The general nervousness of the Church of England’s handling of the Bell case must be related to the fact that the Church currently faces over 3,000 complaints of sexual abuse (including both long-standing and recent accusations). Other high-profile cases of clergy committing child abuse, such as that of former bishop Peter Ball, have highlighted the shocking failures of senior clerics to listen to victims and pass allegations on to the police. Taking into consideration the sharp spike in awareness of the prevalence of sexual abuse in society more broadly, following Weinstein, Larry Nassar and the #MeToo movement, it is not hard to imagine why the Archbishop of Canterbury would not want to stick his head above the parapet and defend the innocence of an archetypal establishment figure: a dead, white, male clergyman.

Courage, after all, comes at a cost. George Bell discovered this himself when his opposition to the bombing of innocent civilians during the Second World War put him on the wrong side of Winston Churchill, probably the main reason why he was never appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. In the absence of substantial evidence in support of the accusations against him, Bell’s reputation deserves to be defended. This is not only in the interest of truth, but also in the interest of maintaining a legacy of courageous leadership which is desperately needed among Bell’s clerical successors today.

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February 22 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person at inquiry into Church of England’s handling of sex abuse allegations” – MailOnline

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5422805/Archbishop-Canterbury-quizzed-sex-inquiry.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

EXCLUSIVE: Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person at inquiry into Church of England’s handling of sex abuse allegations

  • Justin Welby will appear at Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)
  • Former archbishop Rowan Williams will also be called to answer questions
  • They’ll be asked about the handling of abuse claims in the Diocese of Chichester
  • Welby will be pressed on the investigation involving the Reverend George Bell
  • Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 40s
  • The hearing will also look at the Lord Carlile Report, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and failing to consider the rights of Bishop Bell
  • The hearing in London will start on March 5 and continue for three weeks 

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is to be questioned in person over how the Anglican Church dealt with allegations of sexual assaults against children.

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month.

The most senior clergyman in the Church of England – and his predecessor Rowan Williams – will be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex.

Most notably he will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester.

Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl, starting from when she was just five-years old, in the 1940s and 50s.

A complaint was initially made to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in 1995 but it wasn’t until a second complaint was made to Welby’s office in 2013 that the matter was passed on to the police.

The subsequent investigation by Sussex Police found that there was sufficient evidence to have arrested Bell had he still been alive.

The diocese apologised and paid compensation to the victim, known only as Carol, in 2015.

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month

Justin Welby is due to give evidence as a witness at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) in central London next month

The archbishop will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 1940s and 50s

The archbishop will be pressed on the investigation into assault claims surrounding the Reverend George Bell, former Bishop of Chichester. Bell, who died in 1958, is alleged to have sexually abused a young girl in the 1940s and 50s

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since.

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell.

At an IICSA preliminary hearing on January 30, it was announced that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Williams had provided witness statements.

The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 which will last for three weeks.

Lambeth Palace say they will make a formal statement once the witness schedule has been finalised.

However, a spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council told MailOnline: ‘The Archbishop was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the Church of England is committed to working with IICSA in a transparent way.

‘He is aware that for the survivors who are brave enough to come forward to the Inquiry and give their testimony this will be a very difficult time which is why he is prepared to do the same.’

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

Welby's predecessor Rowan Williams will also be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex

Welby’s predecessor Rowan Williams will also be quizzed on their handling of a number of high-profile abuse allegations in the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex

 The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 in central London which will last for three weeks

 The investigation into the Anglican Church has its first public hearing on March 5 in central London which will last for three weeks

As part of its investigation into the Diocese of Chichester it will examine allegations of abuse by other priests, particularly Roy Cotton, Colin Pritchard and Gordon Rideout.

Rev Cotton, a parish priest in Brede, near Rye, Sussex had been convicted for an indecent assault on a child in 1954 but despite this was ordained in 1966.

He is thought to have had as many as 10 victims, which included two brothers from Eastbourne who won damages from the diocese after it recognised that the Church had failed to stop them being abused as choirboys in the 1970s and 80s.

Cotton died in September 2006 before he could be brought to justice.

Pritchard served as the vicar of St Barnabas, in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex until 2007 after being arrested over sex abuse claims

He pleaded guilty the following year to sexually abusing two boys in the 70s and 80s and was jailed for five years.

The offences took place while he was parish priest at St Andrew’s Church in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

A subsequent report in 2011 into Cotton and Pritchard found that victims’ claims had not been treated seriously.

Meanwhile Canon Rideout was found guilty of 36 separate sex offences by a jury at Lewes Crown Court in 2013.

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

While the inquiry will not examine the truth or substance of the allegations into Bishop Bell, it will analyse how the victim was treated and what improvements in safeguarding the Church has made since

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ¿rush to judgement¿ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell (above, centre)

Crucially, the £100 million hearing will also look at the findings of the Lord Carlile Report, published in December, which criticised the Church for a ‘rush to judgement’ and of failing to give proper consideration to the rights of Bishop Bell (above, centre)

The attacks, which included attempted rape and indecent assaults on both boys and girls, some of whom were 13-years of age, took place between 1962 and 1973 in Sussex and Hampshire.

He later pleaded guilty in 2016 to one charge of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 at a children’s home in Reigate, Surrey which took place between July 29 1969 and July 21 1974.

The Chichester hearing will also consider the case of Peter Ball, formerly Bishop of Lewes and subsequently Bishop of Gloucester, and investigate whether there were inappropriate attempts by people of prominence to interfere in the criminal justice process after he was first accused of child sexual offences.

However a separate, more detailed hearing into Ball, who was friends with Prince Charles, will take place in July.

On the website, the inquiry states: ‘There have been a significant number of internal investigations of the diocese carried out both by child protection individuals and individuals within the church itself.

‘The Chichester hearing will examine those investigations, what they found and what has changed as a result.

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

The inquiry, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay, is investigating the extent to which institutions in England and Wales failed to protect children from sexual abuse

‘The Chichester hearing will also examine what steps the Church of England as a whole has taken to improve its practice and to respond to the experiences discovered within the Diocese of Chichester.

‘Of importance to the focus to the hearing will be the accounts of disclosure of abuse by complainants from within the Diocese of Chichester: both whether they were believed, how they were treated, and what happened as a result of the complaint.

‘If they were unable to disclose their abuse at the time, why they were so unable and what steps they consider the church could and should have made to improve the processes in respect of safeguarding where they consider that the response given was not adequate.

‘The case study will investigate, amongst other things, the following: the culture of the church, by which the investigation team means its behaviours, values and beliefs, and if those behaviours, values and beliefs inhibited or continued to inhibit the investigation, exposure and prevention of child sexual abuse.’

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[Original submission – before editing]

Dear Editor

It is also our duty to prioritise those falsely accused of sex abuse [“Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety”, Telegraph, Feb 20).

In 2009, football manager Dave Jones wrote a book about his experience – “No Smoke, No Fire” * – which led Judge David Clarke to conclude after the court case:

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong”

In 2015, Bishop George Bell was falsely accused of sex abuse, which led the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to monstrously conclude last month that a “significant cloud” still hangs over this long-dead, venerated Bishop of Chichester – even after a report by Lord Carlile QC.

The words of Judge David Clarke should haunt the present Archbishop.

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

“No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

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February 20 2018 – “Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety” – Daily Telegraph – Paul Hayward – Chief Sports Writer

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/02/19/duty-prioritise-child-safety/

Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety

Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety
Gary Cliffe, a victim of Barry Bennell, speaks outside Liverpool Crown Court after the sentencing of his former coach CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

One of the beauties of sport is that it populates its landscape with young people dreaming of making it into the big time. Among its darkest aspects is the violation of those dreams by predators who see aspiration as a vulnerability they can exploit.

From the depravity of Barry Bennell right down to the spiv who tries to get rich on the back of a child’s talent, young people are in need of protection by families, institutions, vigilant individuals and of course the rule of law, which has caught up with Bennell – jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for 30 years for abusing 12 young footballers between 1979 and 1991.

Those protective structures failed abysmally for a generation of children who were defenceless against Bennell’s brazen and routine sex crimes, which, as the court heard, occurred on an “industrial scale.” As we know from the Jimmy Savile case and others, this level of sexual criminality is not possible unless those with the power to stop it are blinded by the perpetrator or place their own self-interest first.

In this case, parts of the Football Association, Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra – in that period – refused or failed to see Bennell’s interest in scouting and coaching was incidental to his main reason for working in football. His chief purpose was to gain access to children. He played a double game to satisfy his appetites, conning the clubs into thinking he was a talent-spotter par excellence and the children and their families into believing he held the key to a future in the game.

The NSPCC’s statement after sentencing pointed out that Bennell “ruthlessly preyed on the hopes and aspirations of young footballers who believed he held the key to their dreams”.

Procedures are much tighter in football now. Awareness has improved exponentially since the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. Yet, as the many recent welfare-in-sport scandals have demonstrated, there is still a phase in which young people are vulnerable if they have not attained full adulthood or the power that comes with success.

That stage of life, where children are most open to being exploited, is the one that requires the most careful policing, because sex offenders are drawn to professions in which they have access to, and can exploit the ambitions of, young people. Thus it falls not only to governing bodies but also coaches, parents – all of us, in fact – to recognise the danger signs and intervene, as opposed to merely muttering our concerns.

From Bennell’s perspective, reptilian deceit was effective. One member of City’s staff called him “the star-maker”. Concerns raised by Len Davies at City and Hamilton Smith at Crewe gained no real traction. Now, a further 86 alleged victims have reportedly come forward, which accentuates one of the truly shocking features of this tragedy: the impunity with which Bennell abused children, and the breadth of his crimes, in homes, holiday camps, football clubs and even on the pitch at Maine Road.

The FA have a responsibility to show negligence and complicity have consequences

Only the victims who came forward to testify can know how long the “relief” will last. And relief was certainly the most conspicuous first response. No quest for justice – even one so obviously grounded in fact – guarantees the kind of outcome that exposed Bennell’s sadism and perversion.

The first emotion, one assumes, is one of vindication. The lie has been broken. An expectation now, however, is that thoughts will turn quickly to those who excused Bennell’s paedophilia, looked the other way, or facilitated it in ways that require them to be held to account.

Lord Carlile, one of the country’s leading legal figures, has said Bennell’s behaviour was “brushed under the carpet” by Crewe.

These failures, where they existed, cannot be marked down as unfortunate accidents. The victims are entitled to justice from football as well as the legal system. The FA bear a responsibility in their forthcoming report to show that negligence and complicity have consequences, not least for the FA of that time.

The societal nature of this crime was grimly apparent when a “Cambridge-educated” geophysicist from a “privileged” background, Matthew Falder, was jailed for 32 years at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting 137 offences including blackmail, voyeurism, encouraging child rape and sharing indecent images – on the same day Bennell began his latest prison sentence.

Football is not uniquely blighted by child sex abuse, and its safeguards now are better. But in all cases it needs to think first of child protection, of child welfare, and punish those who have failed in that duty.

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February 18 2018 – Hitchens on Bell – Mail on Sunday

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2018/02/return-to-times-tables-not-when-we-can-ask-poles-to-do-our-sums.html

What would you think of a country or a company which  publicly claimed that someone was a wicked paedophile, was found to be mistaken – and then refused to apologise and did it again? Hang on, I haven’t finished. What would you think if that country or company then refused to allow the accused person’s 93-year-old niece to have the lawyer of her choice at the hearing? You’d think you were dealing with arrogant, tyrannical  fat cats. But actually, the culprits in this are the Church of England, still unable to admit a grave error in besmirching the name of the late Bishop George Bell. Why and how does Archbishop Justin Welby permit this behaviour?

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February 17 2018 – “With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip” – The Guardian – Andrew Brown

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/16/justin-welby-church-archbishop-canterbury

With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firmest grip

The Archbishop of Canterbury has shaped the CofE to his will with a skill of a politician – and made it all the better

 

Last Saturday in central London, two archbishops joined a small group of people protesting about sexual abuse. Though you might expect – or at least hope – to find archbishops on the side of the angels, what was remarkable was that they were protesting against their own church. The building in question was Church House, in Westminster, where the Church of England’s General Synod was meeting, due later that day to discuss the problem of sexual abuse, with the church facing more than 3,000 historical claims. By standing with the protesters, the Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu were making a loud statement about where their sympathies lay. You had to listen very carefully under the noise to notice that the synod debate was in fact a presentation of a report and there were no survivors speaking in it.

The day before, there had been two other announcements on the subject: the church passed over its papers on the diocese of Chichester, where most of the scandals have come from, to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – 75,000 documents in all. What needles might be concealed in this haystack will be for the commission to discover. More sensationally, it announced that a second allegation against the late, and almost sainted, Bishop George Bell of Chichester had been passed to the police.

This came in the wake of unprecedented public criticism of Welby by heavyweight legal figures for his apparent assumption of Bell’s guilt on the word of one pseudonymous accuser. He has refused to back down despite Lord Carlile QC’s scathing verdict of the church’s inquiry. Welby has refused to say either that Bell was guilty or that his name can be cleared. So you might say that this is a typical Anglican fudge, but it is very much more hard-edged than most of those.

The whole show was typical of Welby’s style as Archbishop of Canterbury: he combines energy, ruthlessness and a determination to get the church moving, through a mixture of public theatricality and arm-twisting behind the scenes. He has been archbishop for five years and next month will publish a fat state-of-the-nation book that covers almost all the current areas of political and cultural dispute in the church. The early coverage of him concentrated first on the unashamed poshness of his background – an Etonian whose mother had been one of Churchill’s secretaries and who had worked for 10 years in the oil industry – and then on his attacks on payday lending. The church, he promised, would outcompete Wonga in helping the poor. This was a successful piece of outrageous bluff. The church did no such thing, but in pledging to do so Welby captured the public imagination.

Since then he has proved more effective than any of his immediate predecessors in pushing the church in the direction he wants, despite the lack of formal power in the role. He told the Church Times: “Don’t waste time looking for levers to pull [in this role], because there aren’t any. It’s a process of persuasion, of example, of blessing and withholding blessing for particular things.”

On the other hand, he loves the work of nudging and manipulation. When he was trying to get the bishops of the worldwide Anglican communion to agree to meet again after decades of wrangling over gay sex and female bishops, he spent much of his annual holiday ringing the heads of the member churches for 20 minutes each – not how most people would choose to spend their holidays. And though he disclaims the ability to select bishops, ever since he drove through the legislation to make women bishops in 2013, the holy spirit has somehow ensured that half of the bishops appointed have been women, among them Sarah Mullally to the prominent see of London, and Jo Bailey Wells, his former chaplain, to be bishop of Dorking.

His manner is austere, somewhere between oil industry executive and crisp infantry officer. His temper is widely feared (“I haven’t been spoken to like that since I was at school,” said one victim), but at the same time it’s difficult to talk to him seriously without glimpsing beneath the armour of success, self-discipline and charming self-deprecation, the clever and miserable boy he must once have been. His critics say he is trying to turn the church towards soulless managerialism, devoid of mystery or imagination – and this stings him deeply. He is immensely proud of the small monastic community he has established inside Lambeth Palace, where young people spend a year doing nothing much but praying and thinking.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during the Eucharist at York Minster in York.
Pinterest
‘Justin Welby has done an enormous amount to centralise the church’s institutions and make it more of an organisation.’ Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Behind the scenes, Welby has done an enormous amount to centralise the church’s institutions and make it more of an organisation, although it will never in fact become one. He has hired high-profile PR advisers from Buckingham Palace and the City of London and given them substantial budgets. He works enormously long hours and is unsparing of failure in others. His treatment of one of his predecessors, Lord Carey, was startlingly ruthless. Carey, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1990s, had much the same diagnosis of the church’s ills as Welby and many of the same answers, but entirely lacked the political and presentational skills to carry them out. He also had a much greater respect for the establishment than the Etonian Welby, who sometimes burns with an insider’s scorn and anger at the fools he went to school with.

While in office, Carey connived at the partial rehabilitation of the paedophile bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball; he gave him money, and tried to get him a job in South Africa under Desmond Tutu. When this came to light last year, Welby promptly sacked Carey from his retirement job as an unpaid priest.

Whether any or all of this will be enough to stem the long-term decline of churchgoing remains to be seen. The problem facing the Church of England is that it hardly ever makes converts of adults, while those born into it are not very concerned with passing the faith on to their children. In fact, for many congregants the church seems to be a place of refuge from the modern world: in a recent case where parishioners objected to their priest’s attempts to install toilets in a medieval church, one reason given was “toilets attract children”.

Changing that is beyond the power of any archbishop; it will require a profound cultural revolution that starts in the parishes. But what he can justifiably claim after five years is that he has done nothing to make the task more difficult and much to make it seem more urgent. That may not seem much but it’s more than any other archbishop has managed for a long time.

Andrew Brown is a Guardian columnist

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February 16 2018 – “Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile” – BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38632026

Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile

Barry Bennell: Lord Carlile says football failed to protect youngsters from abuse

The Barry Bennell scandal was “brushed under the carpet” by Crewe Alexandra, according to the eminent barrister who prosecuted the serial paedophile in 1998.

Lord Carlile – one of the country’s top legal experts – told the BBC the club at the centre of the case was guilty of “institutional failure” over their former youth coach.

He also fears young footballers were abused because “this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public”.

Bennell, 64, who has already received three prison sentences – in 1995, 1998 and 2015 – has been convicted of 43 further charges of child sex abuse by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court. The jury were told of abuse of 12 boys between 1979 and 1990.

In a statement on Thursday, Crewe said the club “was not aware of any sexual abuse by Bennell” until his arrest in Florida in 1994, and that it did not receive any sexual abuse complaint about him “before or during his employment with the club.”

Crewe also said a police investigation found “no evidence to corroborate that the club was aware of Bennell’s offending”.

Chris Unsworth, Micky Fallon and Steven Walters

Bennell, who worked with a number of clubs across the north west of England, including Manchester City and Stoke City, was jailed for nine years in 1998, pleading guilty to 23 specimen charges at Chester Crown Court.

But the prosecuting barrister at the trial, Alex Carlile QC, who was made a life peer in 1999, has now spoken out for the first time about Crewe’s handling of the case.

“I believe the Crewe board should have addressed this issue, and I’d be very interested to see the board minutes of the time because I feel sure the board would have discussed it in some way, but I have the feeling it was brushed under the carpet,” he said.

“What I am satisfied about is that there should have been further inquiry by any club involved, including Crewe Alexandra. I’m surprised I did not read subsequently that Crewe had carried out an inquiry into what had occurred.”

Speaking to the BBC last year, Carlile said Bennell “seemed to me to be the embodiment of the sort of person you wanted no nearer than a million miles from your children”.

Barry Bennell calling card
Bennell’s relationship with Man City remains unclear, but the BBC has obtained what is believed to be a business card that the coach handed out to young players and their parents, describing himself as a the club’s ‘North-West representative’. The BBC cannot verify the authenticity of the card, but if this is what it appears to be, it may show how Bennell used City’s name to lure some of his victims.

League Two club Crewe have been under intense scrutiny over what was known about Bennell since former player Andy Woodward spoke out in November about the abuse he had suffered while a trainee at the club. Since then, other former players who say they were victims of Bennell have come forward.

A former board member at Crewe, Hamilton Smith, has claimed he had warned the club about Bennell’s relationship with young boys in the late 1980s, but the coach was allowed to stay in his job.

Bennell was eventually sacked in 1992 for reasons that have never been made public. Smith also says he asked the FA to investigate the case in 2001, after Bennell was convicted, but was ignored.

“If any senior people at the club knew more than they let on at the time then they should have been open about it,” said Carlile.

“Football coaches had immense power over young boys who they were training and clubs were in the place of parents and it’s quite clear that they didn’t take that position seriously.”

Andy Woodward says ‘justice has been served’

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi, who was the club’s manager from 1983 to 2007, was suspended by the Football Association in November 2016. During Bennell’s trial in 1998 it was revealed that one of the offences happened at Gradi’s house.

John Bowler, who has been chairman of the club since 1987, continues in his role.

“I’m very surprised about the continuity in the club of a number of people who were present at that time,” said Carlile.

“Dario Gradi was a relevant figure in this case. I’m not making any sort of allegation against Dario Gradi, but he was a relevant figure and I think Crewe ought to come clean about the way in which they dealt with this problem, admitting their shortcomings where there were shortcomings.”

Both Gradi and Bowler have denied any wrongdoing, and say the first they knew about Bennell’s crimes was when he was arrested in 1994.

Gradi has said he would “do everything within my power to assist all investigatory authorities” while Crewe announced in November 2016 the club would hold an independent review into how it dealt with historical child sex abuse allegations.

But Carlile has also spoken about his dismay at the lack of interest in the case at the time of Bennell’s earlier conviction.

“I’m absolutely certain that at the time there was institutional failure, and I’m very disappointed that it now appears as a result of a lack of publicity of that case other boys have been abused, because this danger was not drawn to the attention of a wider public,” he said.

“If someone was prosecuting that case today about serious indecency against young boys, some of whom might have stardom as footballers in front of them, it would’ve had blanket press coverage.

“The follow-through by the media would have been huge, and I suspect more complainants would have come forward as a result.

“I’m absolutely certain that if the media and the sport had taken this on as an issue in 1998, a lot of young people would not have been abused in the years that followed.”

Football child sex abuse scandal one of FA’s biggest crises – Greg Clarke

With hundreds of potential victims coming forward, multiple suspects, and many clubs and police forces across the country now investigating, the FA has begun an internal review into the crisis, headed by barrister Clive Sheldon QC.

“The FA inquiry has spluttered into life,” said Carlile, who spent a decade as the government’s terrorism legislation reviewer, and is leading an independent study into how the Church of England handled child abuse accusations.

“There was a change of leadership within almost days, the explanation has never been entirely clear to me, but I think that Clive Sheldon will be a splendid head of that inquiry.

“What we’re talking about is multiple, repeated, horrific crimes and I think the inquiry will have to have a keen intelligence about the way in which crimes of this kind develop.

“The lessons learnt must include explaining to those who run [sports] clubs to be able to anticipate these events and to take child safeguarding measures that will make it much more difficult for these events to happen.

“It’s a huge crisis for sport, it’s a bigger crisis than doping for athletics. It’s a crisis of confidence. It will diminish Britain’s very considerable success in every sport unfortunately, because parents will be more reluctant to allow their children to take part in sports clubs.

“It is going to provoke real difficulties for sports, but the sports have themselves to blame for this to some extent.”

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February 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Hugh Wyatt CVO

December 2017

Very Revd. Stephen Waine

Dean of Chichester Cathedral

The Royal Chantry

Cathedral Cloisters

Chichester

PO19 1PX

Following the publication of Lord Carlisle’s report on the Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell’s case. The time has surely now come to re-dedicate the house in Canon Lane (presently known as 4 Canon Lane) to the name it carried before it was summarily re-named i.e. GEORGE BELL HOUSE.

The re-naming and re-dedication of this building would create an immense amount of goodwill among the many worshippers at the Cathedral and citizens like myself who have never believed the accusations made against the Bishop and feel that proper remembrance, respect and love should be restored to him as soon as possible. This re-dedication should also be signal for schools and local authorities to restore his good name.

The Cathedral Chapter should make it their urgent business to re-dedicate this building as soon as possible and suggest that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, be invited to return to Chichester to re-dedicate it.

Yours faithfully

Christopher Hoare

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February 13 2018 – Letter to a Bishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Hugh Wyatt CVO

January 2018

Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Warner

Bishop of Chichester

The Palace

Chichester

PO19 1PY

Thank you for sending me a copy of your statement to the Diocese on the

George Bell matter and Lord Carlile’s review.

You have plenty to say about “Carol”. You were “privileged to meet her”; you think “she is a woman of courage and integrity”; she behaved with “dignity and was not greedy”; and you had a “patient and generous conversation” with her.

But, as you admit, George Bell was found guilty by the Core Group. You also say “this was a Church matter”. You are correct – it was – and it failed to deal with the matter properly and fairly.

Many of George Bell’s supporters, some of whom including myself actually knew George Bell, think that the buck stops in Chichester and that you should be carefully considering your position.

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February 13 2018 – Letter to an Archbishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Hugh Wyatt CVO

4th February 2018

The Most Reverend Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury

Lambeth Palace

London

SE1 7JU

Bishop George Bell was my father’s tutor at Oxford, he married my parents and he buried my father in 1954 when I was aged 20. I remember him well.

This whole matter has been effectively shouldered by you and the Bishop of Chichester and I have written to the Bishop of Chichester to say so. Lord Carlile makes it clear that the impression is left by the Core Group that George Bell was guilty.

Your remarks on the publication of Lord Carlile’s report were disgraceful – and you did not retract them some days later. In my letter to the Bishop of Chichester I suggested that he should seriously consider his position. You have also subjected one of your predecessors, George Carey, to dreadful humiliation.

In view of these two episodes in the Church of England, in which you played a major part, I think that you, too, should very seriously consider your future.

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February 13 2018 – Release of Bishop Bell Document – A Critical Analysis by His Honour Charles Gibson [distributed by Tom Sutcliffe to General Synod in Feb ’18]

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE RESPONSE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND TO THE REPORT OF LORD CARLILE OF BERRIEW, CBE, QC

In the Christian liturgy a form of confession comes early on in the service. One would reasonably expect Archbishops and Bishops to be very good at it, not only in services but also in their reflections on the decisions they make in their episcopal and everyday lives. I have considered the responses of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath and Wells (the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop) to the Carlile Report in the light of this expectation.

Lord Carlile QC was commissioned to conduct a review into the way in which the Church dealt with the complaint made by ‘Carol’, first in 1995 and again in 2012 and 2013, that the late Bishop George Bell had sexually abused her on occasions in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In September 2015 the Church issued a formal apology to Carol, paid her a sum in damages and costs, and issued a public statement in terms which led to widespread reporting of the story, all to the effect that Bishop Bell had been guilty of appalling sexual abuse of a child – a conclusion which, though not expressly stated, was to be implied from the Bishop of Chichester’s “deep sorrow” while he acknowledged 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”. He referred to “the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse”.

By its statement the Church pinned the label ‘Abuser’ on Bishop Bell as securely as it pinned the labels ‘Survivor’ and ‘Victim’ on Carol.

The inevitable (and eminently foreseeable) publicity led in turn to widespread and passionate responses in defence of the high reputation of Bishop Bell which the Church had destroyed; and the Church was challenged to demonstrate the quality of the process which it had adopted and which had led to such a shocking result.

Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not include determination of the truthfulness of Carol or the guilt or innocence of Bishop Bell [para 9]. In essence, he was required to examine the procedures which the Church followed, the way in which it obtained and assessed evidence, and whether it was right to make a public statement of apology and pay damages.

In relation to the complaint which Carol made in 1995 Lord Carlile found that the Church did not serve Carol well [para 96]. There can be no argument about that, and the Church’s shortcomings at that time were specifically acknowledged by the Bishop of Chichester in October 2015 and by the Bishop of Bath and Wells in his response to the Carlile report: he described the failures at that time as “lamentable”. Those failures consisted in offering pastoral support but taking the matter no further. It is reasonable to expect the leaders of the Church, having dealt with the matter in recent years with the benefit of wisdom and practice accumulated over twenty years or so since the “lamentable” failures of its predecessors, to be equally willing to acknowledge and castigate any serious failings in their own conduct which Lord Carlile might identify in his report.

Lord Carlile made a large number of specific criticisms of the way in which the Church dealt with the complaint which was made in 2012 and 2013. He accepted that the errors which he identified had been made in good faith, and that they resulted from ‘oversteer’ in the direction of what were believed to be the best interests of Carol and of the Church, and without a calculated intention to destroy Bishop Bell’s reputation. This is unsurprising. It would be scandalous in the extreme if the Church had been found to have acted in bad faith with the specific intention of damaging (more accurately further damaging, having regard to the 2015 statement) Bishop Bell’s reputation. But equally unsurprisingly Lord Carlile found that in fact and in reality his reputation was destroyed in the eyes of all but his strongest supporters [para 119].

Lord Carlile made sixteen criticisms which fall into five categories.

Approach to the investigation

(1) The allegation being serious and apparently credible, the Church implicitly accepted it without serious investigation or enquiry. This was an inappropriate and impermissible approach [para 43]. There was an underlying acceptance of Carol’s case; she was referred to as the ‘victim’, not the ‘complainant’ [para 155(iii)]. The use of this term and ‘survivor’ contributed to decisions which might otherwise have been scrutinised more critically [para 274].

(2) The Church concluded that the needs of a living complainant who, if truthful, was the victim of very serious criminal offences were of considerably more importance than the damage done by a possibly false allegation to a person who was no longer alive. This approach was wrong in principle, for three separate reasons [paras 43-48].

(3) No steps were taken to ensure that Bishop Bell’s interests were considered actively by an individual nominated for the purpose. His reputation, and the need for a rigorous factual analysis of the case against him, were swept up by the focus on settling Carol’s claim and the perceived imperative of public transparency [paras 142, 155(ii), 159(i) and (ii), 188]. The Core Group never seriously engaged with protecting the legitimate interests of Bishop Bell [para 263].

(4) The reputation of the Church was apparently treated as of greater importance than the justice of the case [para 155(i)].

Assembling and dealing with evidence and advice
(5) The Church reached a conclusion without actively seeking the widest available

evidence [paras 36, 140-141, 155(iv), 229]. Significant evidence was readily available [paras 214-220 (‘Pauline’), and 221-225 (Canon Adrian Carey)]. See also (10) below, and the detailed points made by the George Bell Group in its Review dated 18 March 2016.1 The Bishop of Chelmsford, who had a very limited knowledge of the case, was wrong to assert in a debate in the House of Lords that the allegations had been “tested ….. so far as possible”.

(6) The Core Group failed to appreciate the appropriate test for prosecution, viz whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction, and the duty of prosecutors to be impartial, following leads which might cast doubt on the complaint as well as those which are likely to support it [para 41].

(7) The Core Group failed to give the considerable weight which should have been given to Bishop Bell’s good character, his inability to defend himself, and the lack of any other allegations [para 56].

(8) Although counsel’s advice was obtained on the issue of which part of the Church (if any) would have to meet an award of damages, no specialist criminal lawyer was asked to advise on the strength of the evidence [para 170]. Such advice probably would have been to the effect that the prospects of a successful prosecution would have been low [para 171]; and it would have affected the approach to negotiations [para 172].

(9) Only some members of the Core Group were shown the full report of the Consultant Psychiatrist who was consulted. Had they all seen the report they would have seen his advice that

http://www.georgebellgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/George-Bell-Case-Review.pdf. 2

page2image32592 page2image32752 page2image32912

 

the delays in reporting in this case were exceptional, that memory is not reliable over such long periods, and that the only way to establish the truth of the allegations would be through corroborating evidence [paras 178-181].

(10) Evidence that Bishop Bell had access to many young girls during World War II2 and that this had given rise to no complaints was wrongly treated as not undermining the Core Group’s conclusion that the allegations against Bishop Bell were true [para 233].

Treatment of relevant people

(11) The response of the Archbishop’s staff to the complaint which Carol made in September 2012 was inadequate [para 107].3

(12) Nothing was done to identify living relatives of Bishop Bell and to ensure that they were informed of the allegations, let alone asked for or offered guidance [paras 142, 207].

Constitution of the Core Group
(13) There were unacceptable variations in membership and attendance at meetings ofthe Core Group [para 176].
The various criticisms of the establishment, structure and work of the Core Group were summarised in fourteen separate points in para 254 of the Report.

Settlement of the claim
(14) Insufficient attention was given to points which were available for use in negotiations: the fact that Bishop Bell had been dead for over half a century and a fair trial would be extremely difficult; the absence of any corroborative or similar fact evidence; and that Carol had alleged abuse in 1995 but had not made a claim for many years afterwards [paras 146-147, 155(v), 188, 190].

(15) The Church was wrong to settle Carol’s complaint without an admission of liability, while knowingly and apparently deliberately destroying the reputation of Bishop Bell [para 52].

(16) Lord Carlile stated that if the criticisms which he made were substantially valid the decision to settle the case in the form and manner which was followed was indefensibly wrong [para 258]. With the evidence which he found to be readily available a denial of liability would have been the right initial response by the Church [para 260]. There could have been an economic case for a ‘litigation risk’ settlement with an express denial of liability [para 261]. A confidentiality clause probably would have been complied with, and in the event of breach the repayment aspect of it could have been enforced, and cogent reasons for the settlement could have been given [para 262]. Had this been done the legitimate interests of Bishop Bell would have been protected, and he would not have been cast out into the moral wilderness in any statements by the Church [para 263]. This is what should have been done [para 283].

In reading the report all those who had participated in producing the result which led to the review should have considered carefully (i) the extent to which their acts and omissions were criticised, (ii) to what extent the situation in and after September 2015 would have been different had they acted in such a way as not to have attracted criticism; and consequently (iii) to whom and in what terms they should make apologies. This duty should have been undertaken with humility and frankness, particularly in the light of the unqualified nature of the apology which had been offered for the acts and omissions of Bishop Eric Kemp, the then Bishop of Chichester, in and around 1995.

2 Through his active participation in the Kindertransport scheme.

3 At the time of the complaint the Archbishop was The Most Revd and Rt Hon Rowan Williams. The present Archbishop was elected on 4 February 2013 and enthroned on 21 March 2013.

page3image31048 page3image31208 page3image31368 page3image31528

3

It is my firm conclusion that in view of the catalogue of faults which Lord Carlile found in the Church’s approach to dealing with Carol’s complaint and in its processes the one word answer to (ii) is ‘massively’; and that the appropriate apologies would have been deeply penitential.

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, responded to the report on behalf of the Church. As mentioned above, he used the word “lamentable” to describe the handling of the case in 1995. He rejected the recommendation of a confidentiality clause. He accepted that the Church’s processes had been deficient in a number of respects. He claimed that much professional care and discussion were taken over agreeing the settlement and the decision to make it public; and that the Church had acted in good faith throughout with no calculated intention to damage Bishop Bell’s reputation. He apologised for adding to the additional pain suffered by Carol and the Bishop’s surviving relatives by the handling of the case.

The Bishop of Chichester started his statement by asserting that Lord Carlile’s review was a demonstration of the Church’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency. He apologised for failures in the work of the Core Group and for inadequate attention to the rights of the dead. He accepted that there should be further consideration to the complexity of the case, such as what boundaries should be set to the principle of transparency. He described the principle of innocent until proven guilty as “emotive”. He praised Carol’s dignity and integrity, whether she was technically a complainant, survivor or victim.

The Archbishop of Canterbury referred to Bishop Bell’s heroic stature, saying that the decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance. He disagreed with the recommendation as to a confidentiality agreement. He observed that Lord Carlile did not seek to say whether Bishop Bell was responsible for the acts alleged. He apologised for failures in the process. He accepted that a significant cloud was left over Bishop Bell’s name, saying that no human being is entirely good or entirely bad, and that while Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero he is also accused of great wickedness.

The most striking aspect of this trio of responses is that in none of them is found any recognition of the radical and damning observations which Lord Carlile made about the Church’s approach to the matter: see (1) to (4) above. Lord Carlile tactfully used the word “oversteer” to describe the Church’s approach and the detail of its work. An equally appropriate term is bias. In the points which Lord Carlile made we can see manifest bias in favour of Carol and against Bishop Bell. This is consistent with the doctrine which has been adopted in recent years by, in particular4, the police. Widely criticised for failing to take seriously complaints of sexual abuse and to deal sensitively with those complaining of it, the police adopted a principle that such complainants were always to be believed and were to be assured that they were believed. This has led inexorably to an inherent disbelief in the alleged abuser; and in practice there has been shown in many cases a sharp contrast between diligence in pursuing lines of enquiry likely to support a complaint and a lackadaisical approach to the equally important duty of pursuing lines of enquiry which may cast doubt on it. This is a duty owed in law by the prosecution in a criminal case. I suggest that the duty is equally owed by all those responsible for dealing with complaints of serious misconduct, not least the Church.

4 See, for example, the recent case of R v Allen, where the officer in the case not only failed to review the complainant’s telephone records, which served to exonerate the defendant, but also asserted that they contained nothing relevant to the issues in the case. In the light of this case and others it seems that there is now a prospect that this intrinsically unjust principle is being abandoned.

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Regrettably, the three responses show not a hint of recognition of this duty; and the damning indictment of the breach of it has been lightly brushed aside by prelates who are all too keen to show pride that their “good faith” has been recognised. All that this means is that they did not set out deliberately to destroy Bishop Bell’s reputation. But this is not much of a point in the Church’s favour when that result was eminently foreseeable, indeed virtually certain, as the consequence of the Church’s approach; and we have seen that this approach was replicated throughout the investigation. Moreover, the statement by the Bishop of Chichester that Lord Carlile’s review was “a demonstration of the Church’s commitment to equality of justice” is startlingly inaccurate. On the contrary, it is a demonstration of the Church’s devotion, not to the principle of justice simpliciter, but to the fashionable but misconceived principle of justice for the particular class of persons who claim to be victims and/or survivors. As this case vividly demonstrates, the application of this principle foreseeably, if not inevitably, makes victims of people such as Bishop Bell and those who honour his reputation.

In a very broad way the statements did recognise that there had been faults in the process of investigation. But in view of the wide range of Lord Carlile’s criticisms it was inappropriately boastful of Bishop Hancock to refer to “much professional care and discussion”. Further, although the Bishop of Chelmsford had no more than a walk-on part, he had no justification for saying that the allegation had been “tested ….. so far as possible”.5 This is an example of the Church’s readiness to be reckless in its self serving response to criticism.

The statements showed no recognition of the wholly different result which would have come about had the Church proceeded in the proper manner, based on sound principles, clearly described by Lord Carlile.

It would have been clear that there was not a single shred of corroborating evidence, in circumstances in which, in spite of the passage of time, such evidence could have been found if it existed. Proper attention to the advice of the Consultant Psychiatrist6 would have led to the conclusion that it would be wrong to admit any possibility of Bishop Bell’s guilt. For all Carol’s honest belief in the accuracy of her story, there was no good reason for the Church to share that belief. Quite simply, her memory could not be relied upon after such a long lapse of time, and the absence of any corroboration demonstrated that her memory was at fault.

It was therefore culpably wrong of the Bishop of Chichester to equivocate as to whether Carol was “technically” a complainant, survivor or victim; and the Archbishop of Canterbury was equally culpable in qualifying his recognition of Bishop Bell’s high reputation with the gratuitous comment that “he is also accused of great wickedness”. It appears to me that so wedded is he to the fundamentally flawed approach which Lord Carlile described that he cannot contemplate going any further than admitting that it is equally likely that Bishop Bell was an abuser as it is that he was not. Moreover, it was discreditable of him to support this stance with the assertion that “Lord Carlile does not seek to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the acts about which complaint was made”. Of course he does not do so: this question was outside his terms of reference, as he recognised [para 9].

While the Bishops of Bath and Wells and of Chichester in their responses appeared to disclose a measure of willingness to look again at what the Bishop of Chichester called “the

  1. 5  See (5) above.
  2. 6  See (9) above.

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5

principle of transparency”, the Archbishop makes it clear enough that for him this principle trumps all others. It is eminently foreseeable that other people, whether of high reputation or not, will be sacrificed on the altar of transparency before his archiepiscopate comes to an end.

Reading and analysing the material in this case leaves me as a lifelong Anglican with a deep sense of sadness that between my sense of justice, formed and developed over a long period in the law, and that of at least some of the leaders of my Church there is “a great gulf fixed” [Luke 16.26]. I fear that, unless we see a recognition of, and repentance for, the great wrong which has been done to Bishop Bell, to those who treasure memories of him and those who admire him for what he did for the Church and for the moral and spiritual life of the country, that gulf will remain unbridgeable.

His Honour Charles Gibson

December 2017

6

ADDENDUM

Since I wrote the Analysis just before Christmas 2017 widespread criticism of the Church’s response to Lord Carlile’s review has been published. Prominent among this body of criticism was a letter dated 17 January 2018 and signed by seven eminent historians.

They asserted that the Church’s response involved perpetuation of a single allegation, and that this flew in the face of the review, which had devastated the Church’s claim that its view was based on an investigation which was “very thorough”. They emphasised that the allegation against Bishop Bell was not only wholly uncorroborated but was contradicted by considerable and available circumstantial material which any historian would consider credible. They claimed that the allegation was unsupported and unsupportable, asserting that there was no credible evidence that Bishop Bell was a paedophile.

In a letter dated 19 January 2018 the Archbishop of Canterbury, writing with the support of the Bishops of Chichester and of Bath and Wells, rejected the contention that the Church should amend its response to the Carlile review.

The letter contains a number of points which in my opinion are wholly without merit.

The Archbishop made much of the Church’s having taken the allegation seriously, implying that in the past the Church had failed to treat such allegations with the seriousness which they deserved. I hope that he was not implying that the historians or any other of those who have expressed criticism have suggested that any such allegation need not be taken seriously, for any such implication would be insulting. In making so much of the seriousness of the Church’s intent and its determination to listen carefully and sympathetically to those making allegations the Archbishop is pushing at an open door. None of the critics would suggest otherwise.

Taking an allegation seriously involves investigating it thoroughly, and the Archbishop appears to persist in the contention that the Church passed this test, in spite of Lord Carlile’s unequivocal opinion that it did not: see in particular items (1), (2), (3), (5), (7), (8), (9), (10) and (13) in my Analysis. For him and the Bishops it seems that performance of the duty to treat the complainant seriously absolved the Church from the equally important duties to avoid bias and ‘oversteer’, to seek out and investigate all potentially relevant evidence, and to be prepared not to shirk from drawing the conclusion to which the evidence inexorably leads.

In this case that conclusion was clear. It was ignored because of the Church’s incorrect approach to the matter, and as a result of a particular example of the shoddiness of its processes. Not all members of the Core Group, which in any event had a variable membership, saw the full report of the Consultant Psychiatrist whom the Church consulted. Those who did see it cannot have read it thoroughly. His advice was unequivocal. Memory is not reliable over the long periods which elapsed in this case, and the only way to establish the truth of the product of such memory is through corroborating evidence. In its investigation the Church failed to seek such evidence. Had it done so it would have found none. Moreover, as the historians point out, there was a wealth of persuasive circumstantial evidence which was not neutral: it contradicted and undermined the allegation.

The Church has shirked the difficult, but necessary, task of explaining to Carol that after thorough investigation of her complaint her honesty was accepted, but that the Church could not

7

in good conscience and with fairness rely on her memory. The reasons for that conclusion could have been explained to her in a pastoral way, without derogation from the policy of taking allegations seriously.

The Archbishop states that “claims are from time to time dismissed because we do not accept the allegations. However, we do take all allegations seriously”. That being the case, why was this claim not dismissed? On the expert evidence, it was not to be accepted unless it was corroborated. The Archbishop, in a comment which is as patronising as it is inaccurate, suggests that the historians in their letter seem to confuse the two standards of proof, beyond reasonable doubt and on a balance of probabilities. The point which he wilfully ignores is that the evidence in this case was such that no reasonable tribunal, applying the latter standard which all agree was the appropriate one, could have concluded that Bishop Bell was guilty in any respect.

That conclusion would have disposed of the allegation. Once a tribunal has found that an allegation is unreliable it has no business to give it further currency. The Archbishop compounds the wrong he and others have already done by repeating that Bishop Bell is “accused of great wickedness” and that a “significant cloud” still hangs over him.

It is disturbing to see the Archbishop recording that “the Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof”. Maybe it was; but, as Lord Carlile observed, legal advice was not sought on the strength of the evidence. The advice must have been tendered on the basis of the conclusions of the Core Group, which, as has been clearly demonstrated, were fatally flawed.

On the insupportable basis that the allegation has a continuing validity the Archbishop insists that to achieve transparency Bishop Bell had to be named. What happens in those cases, which he says do occur, when claims are dismissed, as this claim should have been? Is the alleged perpetrator against whom there is no reliable evidence to be hung out to dry as Bishop Bell continues to be? If this is the case, the sooner the Archbishop treats Lord Carlile’s opinion and recommendation with the seriousness which he accorded to Carol’s allegation the better.

Unless he does so, any pronouncement of his as to where justice lies in any situation is not to be treated with respect by those, whether or not they are members of the Church which he leads, who are seriously concerned with justice.

His Honour Charles Gibson

23 January 2018

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February 13 2018 – “Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations'” – The Week

http://www.theweek.co.uk/91551/church-facing-two-years-of-abuse-revelations

Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations’

Feb 12, 2018

General Synod warned of dark days ahead after 3,300 reports of alleged sexual abuse in 2016

Chris J Radcliffe/AFP/Getty Images

The Church of England is facing two years of revelations about sexual abuse and attempts to cover it up, its ruling general synod has been told.

Responding to reports the Church is dealing with more than 3,000 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Rev Peter Hancock, said: “We will hear deeply painful accounts of abuse, of poor response, and over cover-up.”

Hancock, the lead bishop for safeguarding, told the synod that “this will not be an easy couple of years”.

The most recent figures for 2016 showed that dioceses are dealing with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”, the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within Church communities”.

The Times says about a fifth of the claims were made about clergy and other church officials, “with the rest relating to other members of the congregation who perform unofficial roles or volunteer within the church”.

The disclosures come as the Church prepares for scrutiny by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which starts hearing evidence next month.

A series of sex abuse scandals connected to the Church have come to light over the past few years. Former Bishop Peter Ball was jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys over three decades.

An independent inquiry last summer found the Church had failed to protect boys and then concealed evidence of Ball’s crimes while another review was highly critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for his handling of the case of former bishop, George Bell, who was posthumously accused of sexual abuse.

Many in the Church of England fear a repeat of the scandal that has ripped through the Anglican Church in Australia.

A royal commission last year revealed more than 1,100 allegations of child sexual abuse over 35 years, with the Church admitting it tried to silence victims to protect its reputation.

While the allegations of a cover-up and endemic sexual abuse are damaging to the image of the Church of England, they could also put financial strain on its already depleted coffers.

The Daily Mail reported that the Church paid out £15,000 in compensation over unproven allegations against a former bishop, suggesting it could face a bill of almost £50m if every complaint currently being investigated was settled for a similar fee.

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February 13 2018 – “Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure” – Chichester Observer

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/church-defends-its-position-on-bishop-bell-amid-mounting-pressure-1-8375675

Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure

George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on October 3 1958 Published: 17:45 Monday 12 February 2018

A Church of England representative has defended its position amid mounting pressure over its handling of abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell.

An independent review carried out by Lord Carlile found the Church ‘rushed to judgement’ in paying compensation to a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by Bishop Bell as a girl.

Days after its publication the Church announced on January 31 it was now investigating ‘fresh information’ concerning the late bishop.

Lord Carlile, having advised in his report that alleged perpetrators, living or dead, should not be publicly identified unless a ‘proper and adequate investigation’ is settled with ‘admission of liability’, has openly criticised the Church for ignoring his recommendations in announcing this new information. Speaking on Radio 4 Today on Saturday morning ahead of the General Synod gathering for a third day, Lord Carlile said:

“The Church in doing this is behaving in a very peculiar way…It’s like a small dictatorial government deciding to go ahead and acting any way it wishes, regardless of due process of the rule of law…It flies in the face of the recommendations I made which the Church said it accepted…The Church has got to get a grip on this.”

The programme also reported that the Church has denied Bishop Bell’s surviving family legal representation from their chosen barrister for this new investigation.

Speaking on the programme on behalf of the Church, Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth, said instead someone had been ‘put forward to represent the voice of Bishop Bell’ and his family. Bishop Thornton said: “We are taking Lord Carlile’s recommendations very seriously, we are going through our processes. “Even before they’ve done that it’s tragic that some more information has come forward since the publication of his report and we are taking the voice of the survivors and those who are complaining very seriously”.

Archbishop Justin Welby’s response to Lord Carlile’s report that a ‘significant cloud remained over Bishop Bell’s name has provoked growing anger amongst Bell supporters, some calling for his resignation. Asked if that remained the position of the Church, Bishop Thornton replied ‘yes’.

Mr Welby was among several bishops to join a silent protest staged by surviving victims of abuse within the Church of England outside Church House. He told the Church’s ruling synod that its approach to safeguarding ‘needs culture change’.

George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on October 3 1958. He was revered for his support of Christians and Jews in Nazi Germany during the Second World War and condemned the British government over its bombing of civilian areas in Germany. Read more about Lord Carlile’s review here

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/church-defends-its-position-on-bishop-bell-amid-mounting-pressure-1-8375675

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February 12 2018 – “Church of England bullies George Bell’s elderly niece by denying her choice of lawyer” – Martin Sewell

Martin Sewell writes here

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February 12 2018 – “Rebuilding Bridges” – ‘News Alert’ – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ with Lord Carlile (Feb 10) – Comment by ‘GTP’

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/2018/02/09/news-alert/

 

1. Carlile was recorded to the effect that the C of E said it had accepted and would act on his report. It had done
neither.

2. A church rep. [Bishop of Lambeth Tim Thornton – Ed] explained that new evidence had come to light since Carlile’s report.

3. He did not say whether this evidence lay behind Welby’s ‘cloud’ remark. but plainly encouraged us to think that
it did.

4. [I don’t believe it did. Else why did Welby not mention the new evidence when he made his remark ? It would have
explained what otherwise appeared an unjustifiable refusal to exonerate Bell. ]

5. The new evidence is being examined.

6. Bell;s family have asked to be represented at the fresh examination by their own barrister, a Mr Brown.

7. The C of E has refused the request and has appointed one of its care representatives to represent Bell’s interests.

8. Why has it refused ? Because until the evidence is examined, it is not known whether it makes any difference. It
may be too slight to take seriously or it may be important.

9. The obvious response to this, not answered straight by the church rep., is that a barrister appointed by Bell’s family
should be a part of the process by which the credibility of the new evidence is examined. If the church has appointed
its own person to represent Bell’s interests, why can’t those interests be represented (as they would be in a court of
law) by a barrister chosen by the defendant or in this case by the defendant’s family ?

10. All the signs are that the C of E has appointed someone whom it can control and who can be counted on to follow
the party line.

11. The Bell family are to be kept informed. This means that no-one has told them anything about the new evidence and
they will only know what the new inquiry ‘finds’.

I don’t need to comment.

~ ‘GTP’

 

 

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February 12 2018 – “Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3000 sexual abuse complaints” – Christian Daily (US)

https://www.christiandaily.com/article/church-of-england-could-pay-millions-in-compensation-for-3000-sexual-abuse-complaints/62033.htm

Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3,000 sexual abuse complaints

The Church of England could reportedly end up shelling out millions in compensation for the more than 3,000 child sex abuse complaints it had received by 2016.
(REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett)Church-goers arrive for a Christmas carol service at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, December 23, 2009.

The total number of sex abuse complaints that the Church of England had received by 2016 had reached 3,300. Although the new complaints were not set apart from the old ones, the Church could still end up paying millions in compensation to the victims, The Daily Mail reported.

In a case against deceased Bishop of Chichester George Bell, the Church had to pay 15,000 British pounds in compensation even though the abuse allegations were unproven. If each complaint would cost that amount, the Church could then end up shelling out almost 50 million pounds.

The specifics of the abuse complaints were handed to the Church of England’s General Synod. This included the one filed against former bishop Peter Ball, who was imprisoned in 2015 for 32 months for abusing boys for more than 30 years.

On Feb. 5, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the woman who had accused Bishop George Bell of sexual abuse could not be overlooked. He said the accuser ought to be “treated equally importantly” as the person being accused, The Church Times reported.

Lord Carlile’s independent review criticized the Church of England’s decision to reveal Bell’s name in the case, and Welby also drew flak for saying that he could not clear the embattled bishop’s name. The Archbishop defended the Church’s decision to reveal the amount of compensation it had given to the woman, which was 16,800 pounds, and told the Church Times that he accepted Lord Carlile’s recommendations except the one about naming the accused.

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable,” said Welby. “But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

In addition, Archbishop Welby said safeguarding was the most difficult thing he had to do because it dealt with the sin of the Church and the damage that it had inflicted on the victims. He said the problem has to be addressed both in spiritual and “mechanistic” ways.

Featured post

February 8 2018 – “Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations” – The Times – Kaya Burgess

Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations

About a fifth of the 3,300 allegations being dealt with in 2016 were made against clergy and other church officials
About a fifth of the 3,300 allegations being dealt with in 2016 were made against clergy and other church officialsGETTY IMAGES
The Church of England is dealing with more than 3,000 reports of sexual abuse within its parishes.

The most recent figures for 2016 show that dioceses were dealing with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”, the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities”.

About a fifth of the reports were made against clergy and other church officials, with the rest relating to other members of the congregation who perform unofficial roles or volunteer within the church. The 3,300 figure related to both open cases and those newly reported that year. It is not known how many involved active claims against the church for compensation.

The figures were revealed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Rev Peter Hancock, who is the church’s lead bishop on safeguarding issues. He issued the figures in response to a written question from Kat Alldread, a lay member of the church’s General Synod, which starts its three-day meeting today.

The bishop said that in 2016 alone 338 risk assessments were carried out by the church’s dioceses, of which 19 per cent were carried out on priests. In the same year, 867 “safeguarding agreements” were in place, made when someone is believed to pose a risk to young or vulnerable people and must agree to be monitored or to restrict their interaction with possible victims of abuse.

Of these 867 agreements, 682 related to known sex offenders.

Bishop Hancock was also asked whether it was right for the church to refer to those who made abuse allegations as “victims” or “survivors” instead of “complainants”.

He replied that church guidance stated that the terms were used without making any judgment about the veracity of the allegations and explains: “This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”

The church commissioned Lord Carlile of Berriew to conduct an independent investigation into the church’s handling of abuse allegations made against George Bell, the revered former bishop who was posthumously accused of abusing a child. The report criticised the church for “rushing to judgment” in declaring that he was likely to have committed the abuse and paying out compensation of almost £17,000 to his alleged victim, who is now in her 70s.

Bishop Hancock revealed that the review cost the church £38,000 in addition to any costs incurred by dioceses that were asked to provide information.

He also said that bishops would look at ways to “strengthen independent oversight” of the church’s safeguarding practices.

The bishop said that there were no plans to change church laws that state that general complaints against clergy must be made within a year of the alleged incident for them to be dealt with under Clergy Discipline Measure but he said that this one-year limit had been removed in cases of alleged sexual misconduct towards children or vulnerable adults.

23 comments
MJJ

A good job Carey is no longer in charge. His compulsion to reward abusers might get near bankrupting the Church. Sickening to remember how the then leader of the Church of England took the part of a despicable sex abuser, provided funds for his escape from justice and, cherry on the top, withheld evidence from the police. Now he has the nerve to whinge because people express their disapproval (for my part, utter contempt) of his conduct and his lucrative little part time bishopric is snatched from him.

.

I must say that I will need convincing that other clerics, those self styled “men of god” are so very different. Their aim is to protect their church, and if it costs the happiness, or even the sanity, of their many victims, then too bad!

John D Finlay 

IMO religion of any kind is about power, pure and simple. Invented/developed so that some should have power over others and generally enforced by a set of rules constructed to purport to tell the majority how they should live their lives. Of course those who do not follow the rules are severely punished.

Peter O’Toole 

The article relates to the C of E, yet the headline photo is of a Roman Catholic priest’s collar.

Both branches of British Christianity have a lot to answer for, but try to get the details right .

MJJ 

I’m sure most of us don’t consider CofE clerics so very different from their Catholic counterparts, and who really cares about the different styles of their collars. Badges of honour for hypocrites some would say

Pumpiepants 

682 agreements relate to known sex offenders. Not sure why the church engages these people in the first place. Surely, a policy of zero tolerance, zero engagement is better than exposing young people to the prospect of sexual abusers. The scars of sexual abuse can last a very long time.

Leanora Munn 

““This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.” ”

Victims/survivors are not neutral terms. If you want an even field it’s victim/survivor and perpetrator, or complainant and respondent.

Doc Torrants 

On a serious note…I have experienced at first hand the inadequate safeguarding procedures of a local church where the leadership was intent on promoting a convicted paedophile to positions of responsibility within the church (initially without the knowledge of parents or  some members of the church leadership team)  and didn’t even think to have an agreement which said they shouldn’t attend family services.  A spectacular failure of the Daily Mail Test (apologies for using bad words) .   After having had my concerns repeatedly ignored by the leadership, the incoming safeguarding officer took them seriously and some of these issues have been addressed.   As a practising christian I believe in forgiveness and redemption.  As a parent and health professional I also believe in appropriate safeguarding procedures and these should be of  paramount importance.

Let’s ask ourselves a simple question…in the history of the church, both anglican and catholic, how many serious problems reported on the front page of the national press have arisen from being too strict with respect to safeguarding and erring on the side of caution?  Anyone?  No?  And another question…how likely is it that a convicted paedophile would knowingly be employed in a school, as opposed to a church?  We need to get real with a bit of muscular christianity.

And finally on a frivolous note: as a child of the Blackadder era I am amazed that the Bishop of Bath and Wells would be in charge of safeguarding.  We all know his proclivities 😉

James 

To be fair and very few commenting on here are, can anybody point to institutions such as political parties, every religious group, police, armed forces, public sector, private sector sports clubs, education, all races  that hasn’t been guilty of covering up.

I bet we are all in one of those groups where those in charge have been at best slow to contact the police or in the case some downright frown on anybody reporting somebody from their group to one who isn’t .

Part of the problem is that far too many jump up and condemn very quickly when its not one of their “gang”.

Andy Webb 

@James

That is blatant whataboutery James.

Yes, these things happen in all walks of life, but this article is about the church of England and sex abuse……..again!

Bishop Jonathan Blake 

Unaccountable clergy wielding autocratic authority, and disturbed individuals allured into membership and given access to vulnerable children creates a hotbed of perverse abusive relationships that sane members of the community would do well to avoid.

OutsidetheM25 

Who would dare let their children anywhere near the Church of England? It’s a giant institution run by, and for the benefit of, perverts. Best avoid.

Andrew Middlemiss 

“Of these 867 agreements, 682 related to known sex offenders.”

Meanwhile, on Planet Earth, known sex offenders are not allowed to work in schools.

You truly can’t make this story up; yet again the Church is showing itself to be an anachronism, unworthy of respect.

Malcolm Gray 

@Andrew Middlemiss I am not clear that these 682 relate to people who work for the church – I think they probably include people who attend services – an agreement that said X may not attend services that children attend would seem to agree with your comment?

Richard Moss 

“This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”

That is a distortion of the English language. The Church seems to want to be seen to be sympathetic to victims of abuse while making a passing nod to the principle of innocent until proven guilty. You can’t have a victim without a crime or attack  and a survivor must by definition have suffered an injury, attack or accident and survived it. Rigor and religion don’t seem to go well together.

BlueInTheFace 

“[Bishop Hancock] replied that church guidance stated that the terms [“victims” or “survivors” instead of “complainants”] were used without making any judgment about the veracity of the allegations and explains: “This guidance will use the terms ‘victims/survivor’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.” ”

Another Bishop who seems to be able to talk out the wrong end of his alimentary canal while keeping a straight face.

Featured post

February 8 2018 – “Church of England facing more than 3000 abuse cases” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/church-of-england-facing-more-than-3000-abuse-cases/125479.htm

Church of England facing more than 3,000 abuse cases

The Church of England is facing more than 3,000 abuse complaints, the vast majority of which relate to children or vulnerable adults.

Peter Hancock, the lead bishop on safeguarding will reveal the full extent of the scandal the Church faces when he answers questions from the ruling general synod later today. Of roughly 3,300 ‘concerns or allegations’ dealt with by the Church in 2016 alone, ‘the vast majority of which related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities,’ he will say.

Church of England synod
The Church of EnglandThe Church of England’s General Synod is its ruling body and sets its laws.

The revelation comes as the CofE’s general synod, or parliament, meets in Westminster for three days that are set to be dominated by questions around abuse.

A presentation around safeguarding on Saturday will outline the issues the Church is facing but Christian Today understands that survivors of abuse are furious the presentation is ‘stage-managed’ by bishops and is not a full debate that would allow more probing issues to be raised. Several synod members are planning to push for a full debate rather than simply a presentation but their calls are likely to be rejected.

Victims of clergy sex abuse will protest outside Church House before the presentation on Saturday and the Archbishop of Canterbury along with other bishops and members of synod are planning to go and join them for two minutes of silent prayer.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will face questioning by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) next month. The Church is facing three weeks of public hearings into how it dealt with allegations of abuse in the Diocese of Chichester and one CofE source told Christian Today they expected the hearings to be ‘very painful’.

Welby has said the way the Church has abused people, particularly children, leads him to tears and frequently keeps him awake at night. But victims are warning the time for words is over as they demand fuller compensation.

The archbishop is also under significant pressure from supporters of George Bell, the late Bishop of Chichester, who the CofE effectively admitted was a paedophile when it announced it had paid £16,800 in compensation and legal fees to a complainant known as ‘Carol’. However a review of the decision by Lord Carlile QC found the Church’s process deficient in a number of ways.

Peter Hancock
Church of England Rt Rev Peter Hancock is Bishop of Bath and Wells and the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding.

His review was published in December and found the Church had ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its attempt to avoid being seen as soft on clerical sex abuse. The inquiry found ‘serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence.

But Welby appeared to leave open the possibility of Bell’s guilt when he responded to Carlile’s review by saying a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over his head.

Despite coming under immense pressure from Bell’s supporters, who include academics, historians and peers, Welby has refused to withdraw his statement and last week the Church said ‘fresh information’ has emerged about the case which has been handed to Sussex Police.

The CofE’s general synod meets from today until Saturday in Church House, Westminster.

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February 8 2018 – General Synod – Questions 40 to 60 – Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2018-02/Questions%20Notice%20Paper%20February%202018%20%2807.02.18%29.pdf

The Revd Wyn Beynon (Worcester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q40 In the light of the Carlile Report and the letter of several eminent
historians to the Church Times about the failures in investigating
claims of past historical abuse against Bishop George Bell and the
response from the Archbishop of Canterbury in December, that a
“cloud still hung over the memory of Bishop George Bell”; what weight
will be given to the value of fair historical judgement in assessing the
lives of the saints for inclusion in the Sanctorale at its next revision
and in particular the continued presence of George Bell in the
calendar?
The Bishop of Exeter to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:
A All liturgical business, including any future review of the Calendar, is
only carried out by the Liturgical Commission at the invitation of the
House of Bishops. If such a request were made, any proposed
amendments to the Calendar would require a full synodical process
and at that stage the Commission would seek advice from the House
about the parameters of the review. It

Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q41 What is the role of General Synod with regard to safeguarding,
particularly in terms of policy, oversight and review?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Under Article 6 of its Constitution, the Synod’s functions are legislative
(6 (a)) and deliberative (6 (b)). Under 6 (a) the Synod considers and
enacts legislation on safeguarding. In exercise of its deliberative
function it can debate motions on matters of safeguarding policy,
oversight and review.
Additionally, the Standing Orders relating to Questions allow members
to put questions to the Chair of the House of Bishops relating to those
aspects of its business that concern safeguarding, including the
formulation of safeguarding policy and the guidance it produces on
safeguarding (to which bishops and others are legally required to have
due regard).
The Synod’s safeguarding role is set out in House of Bishops practice
guidance which may be viewed on the Church of England website.
Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q42 What is the role of bishops with regard to safeguarding and to whom
are they accountable on safeguarding matters?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The Bishops’ role with regards to Safeguarding is twofold.
Firstly, as Diocesan Bishops, they have overall responsibility for
Safeguarding within their diocese as outlined in House of Bishops
Practice Guidance.
Secondly, as members of the House of Bishops, they have a collective
national responsibility as leaders of the Church of England to ensure
that the whole of the Church is a safe place for children and
vulnerable adults and that survivors are treated fairly.
Bishops are accountable to the Archbishop of their Province for all
matters including Safeguarding. They are offered support and
challenge by the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding
Board. As trustees of their Diocesan Board of Finance they are also
accountable to the Charity Commission.

The Revd Christopher Robinson (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask
the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q43
Under the Disclosure and Barring service eligibility guidelines, leading
regular Sunday worship is not defined as a regulated activity. In rural
areas lay people often lead Morning or Evening Prayer on a Sunday
where there is no priest present (under Canon B 11(1)), and will
sometimes robe for the purpose, and some dioceses have authorised
lay worship leader schemes for such ministries. At present, these
people are not eligible for a DBS check for this ministry alone, and yet
leading worship and robing puts them in a perceived position of
trustworthiness and authority in a congregation or community. Will the
church of England take active steps to address this issue with the
Government, to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in
our churches?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It is not clear that any change in the current position is called for.
Lay people leading worship are already eligible for basic DBS checks.
Enhanced DBS checks are only for those individuals who work, or
have substantial contact, with children or vulnerable adults. So lay
worship leaders of the kind described will be eligible for enhanced
checks if they lead services exclusively for children or vulnerable
adults or where they are members of a PCC, which qualifies as a
children’s or vulnerable adults’ charity.
In any event, it needs to be borne in mind that only a tiny percentage
of individuals who abuse are convicted. DBS checks can only ever
therefore be one element of the safer recruitment process and
organisations must never rely solely on DBS checks when recruiting.
Further guidance on best practice can be found in the Safer
Recruitment Practice Guidance on the Church of England website.
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q44 Has any consideration been given to the value to the Church of the
process of Neutral Notification whereby an individual, concerned that
their actions, however minor, towards a child or vulnerable adult might
be misconstrued or misinterpreted, can make their own report to a
responsible person without fear or detriment or stigma?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The current guidance in relation to responding to an individual who
may have concerns about their own behaviour in relation to a child or
vulnerable adult is outlined in the House of Bishops guidance
responding to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers. This is based on the Children Act 2004 (section 11)
requirements for faith organisations. This expects that any information
received about concerning behaviour needs to be shared with a
safeguarding professional, in the Church’s case the DSA, for
consideration. If an offence is indicted and/or there is a potential
current risk to a child and/or adult this information will also be shared
with statutory agencies.
DSAs are currently available for advice and support in relation to
appropriate behaviour around vulnerable people.
Outside of statutory organisational requirements, there is more
flexibility to offer such a service, for instance ‘Stop it Now’
https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/.
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair
of the House of Bishops:
Q45 Given the Church of England’s commitment to becoming a safe
church, what consideration is being given to removing the one-year
rule in the Clergy Discipline Measure in relation to cases where
bishops and other office holders fail to respond appropriately to
disclosures of abuse that are made to them?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The one-year limitation period generally serves a useful purpose,
recognising that justice needs to be administered without delay.
Where there is good reason for a complaint not having been made
within one year, the President of Tribunals can nonetheless give
permission for the complaint to be made out of time. However, the
limitation period has now, for good reason, been removed in cases
where the alleged misconduct is of a sexual nature towards children or
vulnerable adults; and when considering the responses to the NST’s
recent consultation on the CDM we shall consider whether there is a
case for removing it in other safeguarding contexts.
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q46 Given Lord Carlile’s recommendation (at paragraph 49) for a
published standard of proof that applies to complainants can the
Church of England’s safeguarding arrangements continue to describe
those alleging abuse as ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Whilst paragraph 49 is not a recommendation by Lord Carlile, the
response to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers is outlined in House of Bishops guidance, which was agreed
by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The guidance is clear
that the use of the expression ‘victim/survivors’ does not presuppose
that any allegation will be substantiated. The guidance states, “This
guidance will usually be needed before there have been any findings
in criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings. At this stage there will be
people who have made complaints (referred to as safeguarding
concerns or allegations in this guidance) and people against whom
complaints have been made. Both victims/survivors and respondents
will at this stage be alleged victims/survivors and alleged respondents.
For ease of reference this guidance will use the terms
‘victims/survivor’’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy
of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do
not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”
Mrs Kat Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q47 Given that many General Synod members may be unaware of the
scale of safeguarding casework, please could you state the number of
open safeguarding cases in the Church of England as a whole in
2017? Of those cases, how many involved an allegation of some form
of abuse?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Each diocese is asked to complete an annual self-assessment
circulated and collated by the National Safeguarding Team for the
previous year’s activity. Our current data therefore relates to 2016
activity. In 2016, dioceses reported that they were dealing with around
3300 safeguarding concerns or allegations, the vast majority of which
related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church
communities. Around 18% related to safeguarding
concerns/allegations against church officers. These figures do not
distinguish between previously open and new cases that started
during the year.
During 2016, 338 risk assessments were completed by dioceses, of
which 19 (6%) were in respect of members of clergy. During 2016,
there were 867 Safeguarding Agreements in place of which 682 (79%)
related to known offenders. A small number of complex and highprofile
cases are managed by the National Safeguarding Team in
collaboration with relevant dioceses.

The Very Revd David Ison (Deans) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q48 The Elliott Review of a safeguarding case which reported in March
2016 included in its recommendations two key statements about
structurally changing how the Church of England approaches
safeguarding: that ‘The National Safeguarding Team should be given
the power and the responsibility to monitor practice and to intervene
where it is thought necessary to do so’ and ‘Safeguarding decisions
as they occur across the Church, should be subject to review by an
independent body within the Church, which has the skills, knowledge
and expertise to do this. The role of the National Safeguarding Team
should be looked at again to enable it to possibly fulfil this
requirement.’ What progress has been made in implementing these
recommendations?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells  \sdreto reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Since the publication of the Elliott Review in March 2016, the role of
the NST has been defined within House of Bishops practice
guidance, ‘Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders
and Bodies’, October 2017. The independent Peter Ball Review
recommends that ‘the role and responsibilities of the National
Safeguarding Team should clearly reflect an emphasis on planning
and supporting continuous improvement in diocesan safeguarding
services’. The NST is taking an increasing role in quality assurance
work having commissioned independent diocesan safeguarding
audits and ‘Safeguarding Progress Reviews’ with all dioceses, where
it will take a ‘critical friend’ role. The House of Bishops session on
safeguarding in December 2017 also agreed that further work be
undertaken this year in respect of ways to strengthen independent
oversight and scrutiny of safeguarding practice, and this will include
how the role of the NST can be strengthened in relation to its
monitoring and powers of intervention.
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q49 In the light of the Carlile Report, what actions are the House of
Bishops planning to take to restore the reputation of Bishop George
Bell?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.

The Ven Julie Conalty (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q50 For the record and the benefit of members of General Synod who
have not read the Carlile Report, could you please summarise the
principal errors of law and good practice identified therein, and
outline what measures are being taken to avoid those mistakes in
future by way of retraining, amending procedures, recruiting a
specialist safeguarding lawyer, or otherwise?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It would not do justice to Lord Carlile’s review to attempt to
summarise the key points of learning and I would encourage
members of Synod to read the report for themselves. However, the
National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements t

against church officers’ which includes further clarity with regards to
its membership and function. I am confident that collectively the core
groups have the right spread of skills and expertise they need to
perform this role. It is, however, accepted that further guidance is
now required with regards to posthumous allegations, which will give
consideration to Lord Carlile’s specific recommendation concerning
the presence of someone assigned to the core group to represent the
interests of the accused person and his or her descendants.
Fr Thomas Seville (Religious Communities) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q52 (i) What fees and expenses have been paid (or agreed to be paid)
to Lord Carlile for his Review, published on 15 December 2017,
into the way in which the Church of England dealt with a
complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’
against the late Bishop George Bell;
(ii) What other costs were incurred by the church (including by the
Diocese of Chichester) in relation to Lord Carlile’s review; and
(iii) Who, or what church body, has paid, or will be paying, all such
fees, expenses and costs?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A (i) Having consulted Lord Carlile, I can confirm that the costs of
the review were £35,000 plus an additional £3,000 for
administrative support;
(ii) I am not able to identify the costs of incurred by the church in
relation to Lord Carlile’s review as this would involve extensive
work and have an unreasonable impact on the work of the
NST;
(iii) The costs of the independent review were met jointly by the
Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners.
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q53 Which individuals and/or groups were provided with Lord Carlile’s
draft report (in whole or in part) for comment, between the receipt of
the draft in October 2017 and publication of the final version on 15
December 2017?
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q54 Were any significant amendments or redactions made to the draft
Carlile report (as received in October 2017), before the final report
was published?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A With permission I will answer questions 53 and 54 together.
Upon receipt of the first draft of his report, the NST agreed with Lord
Carlile the key areas on which comments might be offered, which
were:
• factual points
• general substantive points not affecting the recommendations
• matters affecting the possible jigsaw identification of ‘Carol’
• typographical errors
The above criteria informed decisions as to who to circulate the
report to for comment. Upon receipt of a range of comments relating
to the above areas, Lord Carlile accepted some changes and
rejected others. For the most part, the amendments made were in
respect of matters of factual accuracy and possible identification of
‘Carol’. No changes were made to the recommendations of the
report.
The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q55 In order to clarify the role intended to be undertaken by the external
lawyer who attended meetings of the Core Group, can the standard
client care letter (which all solicitors must deliver on receipt of
instructions) provided by her be made public, so as to make clear her
understanding of the role she was asked to perform?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The external lawyer involved in the core group was given clear
instructions well within her professional expertise. The Carlile Report
recognised that the external lawyer offered advice, including in
respect of the civil burden of proof and expert evidence. This would
be consistent standard practice in such cases. The release of any
standard client care letter would be a matter for consideration by the
Bishop of Chichester.

The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q56 On what basis did the Press Statement of 22 October 2015 [Carlile
Report Annex A, pages 3-4]:
(a)state that “expert independent reports” had found “[no] reason to
doubt the veracity” of the allegation made against Bishop George
Bell when the psychiatric report commissioned by the Core Group
referred expressly to the possibility of false memories and said
unambiguously that that could not be excluded; and
(b)give the impression that a “thorough pre-litigation process” had
taken place when no serious attempt had been made to seek
testimony from important living witnesses?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I understand that Professor Maden routinely makes reference to the
‘possibility of false memories’ in his reports. Their inclusion does not
therefore suggest that this was more or less likely in this case.
The Carlile Report offers a chronology of the work that was
undertaken by the core group including the use of an external,
experienced lawyer and consideration of two external experts’
reports. However, I accept that a number of aspects of the process
could have been much better, as pointed out in Lord Carlile’s report. I
have apologised for these failings, and we are seeking to learn the
lessons of this review.
We are now examining in detail how best to give effect to the
recommendations, taking account of Lord Carlile’s analysis.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q57 In the light of the statement on 15 December 2017 by the Archbishop
of Canterbury in his response to the Carlile Review into the way in
which the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse
made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop George
Bell, “We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name … no
human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a
hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not
diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good,”
is there considered to be any evidence or other information that
would support or corroborate the claim by ‘Carol’ that she was
sexually abused as a child by Bishop Bell?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q58 Since Lord Carlile, in the report of his 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 George Bell [GS Misc 1173],
has effectively found the process of the Core Group that investigated
the complaint to be fundamentally flawed, is it accepted that, if the
Church of England wishes to act justly, it has two options: if it is to
maintain that “a significant cloud” remains over Bishop Bell’s name, it
must either (i) set up a fresh independent review into the truth or
otherwise of Carol’s allegation, to be conducted in accordance with
correct procedural principles, to include ensuring representation of
the interests of the late bishop, and abide by the outcome, or (ii) if it
is not prepared to go to the expense of such a review, it must accept
that the Core Group’s effective finding of Bell’s guilt [see Carlile
report para 237] cannot stand, and say so?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q59 Is it unambiguously accepted that the prejudging of a case through
the legal heresy that “the victim must be believed” must play no part
in the Church’s processes in determining whether a case of alleged
sexual abuse is or is not made out?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It has never been the case that the ‘victim must be believed’ in
determining a case.
The determination in any case whether an allegation is made or not
made has always been in accordance with a civil standard of proof,
i.e. the balance of probabilities. The process determining this is
32
outlined in the House of Bishops guidance ‘responding to
safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church officers’. This
was agreed by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The
guidance uses the term ‘taken seriously’ in responding to such
concerns. Section 2.2 clearly states that the response should not
prejudice any statutory investigation that may be required but should
be compassionate.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q60 Before the Statement issued on 28 June 2016 that there was to be
an independent review, commissioned by the Church of England’s
National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop
of Chichester, “to see what lessons can be learned from how the
[George Bell] case was handled”, the Church of England refused to
disclose any information, beyond that set out in the 22 October 2015
statement, on which the civil claim by ‘Carol’ was settled, claiming
that it was precluded in law from doing so by the need to protect the
“survivor’s” privacy. It was indicated that this was in accordance with
legal advice. Given the comprehensive explanations set out by Lord
Carlile without in any way compromising the complainant’s proper
claim for anonymity, is it now conceded that a transparent
explanation of process is desirable, lawful, and not at all problematic?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The purpose of commissioning an independent review was to ensure
that there was a transparent explanation of the processes that led to
the decisions made in respect of this case. In doing so, a judgement
was made that it was in the best interest of all concerned that this be
explained by someone independent of those processes.
The National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements that the NSSG accepts the main
thrust of the recommendations, though respectfully differing on one
part of one of them. I have apologised for any failings in the process
and we are now considering how best to make improvements in light
of the review. The NSSG will report to the House of Bishops as soon
as this process is complete.

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February 9 2018 – “Bishop Bell is still being defamed by the Church of England” – The Times – John Charmley

 the times

Bishop Bell is still being defamed by Church of England

The coincidence of a second sexual assault allegation against Bishop George Bell coming to light a month after the initial one was discredited and a week before the synod of the Church of England was due to hear a motion on the issue was remarkable. Quite why the church had to issue a press release is unclear. Lord Carlile of Berriew, who investigated the first allegation, has been told nothing about the second.

When did the church first hear of this allegation against the former Bishop of Chichester, who died 60 years ago, and why release it in a manner that suggests an attempt to divert attention from criticism of the church’s initial investigation?

The work of the Carlile report and the George Bell Group has shown that the original investigation by the church was inadequate. There was no attempt to talk to surviving witnesses, or to look at his papers, nor was there any evidence of a pattern of offending behaviour.

The obvious thing for the Archbishop of Canterbury to do would have been to accept this as, at the least, a sign that it was unsafe to condemn Bishop Bell. That would not mean that the complainant, “Carol”, was wrong, but would have aligned with the conclusion that there was no evidence of guilt.

Instead the archbishop managed to make two mutually exclusive claims: first that a cloud hung over Bell’s reputation, but that he remained an “Anglican hero”. These two things cannot both be true. Bell’s reputation as an Anglican hero rests on his record of integrity in opposing the persecution of Jews in the 1930s and the bombing of Germany in 1944, and on his work as a great ecumenist. If he was abusing a child or children during this time, his integrity disintegrates. The archbishop tells us his own integrity is at stake here, although it is unclear how.

The Archbishop Cranmer blogger has suggested that this second allegation may come from a source who failed to contact Lord Carlile. The church could confirm or deny that but prefers to say nothing.

The archbishop clearly wishes to escape the charge that, in the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Gloucester, it failed to investigate child abuse allegations, but it cannot do that by mounting an inadequate allegation against a long-dead bishop. If it thought that it could signal virtue by throwing Bell under the bus, it failed.

Doubling down here does not raise questions about the archbishop’s integrity, but rather about the quality of the advice he receives and his own judgment.

Professor John Charmley is pro vice-chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham

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February 8 2018 – “Church of England is facing more than 3000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation” – Daily Mail – Steve Doughty

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5365473/Church-England-facing-3-000-sex-abuse-claims.html

Church of England is facing more than 3,000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation

  • The Church paid out £15,000 in compensation over unproven allegations
  • The compensation related to claims against the long-dead bishop George Bell
  • It is feared that similar payments could end up costing the church some £50m 

The Church of England is facing more than 3,000 complaints over sex abuse. The total number of ‘concerns or allegations’ had reached 3,300 by 2016.

The figures do not distinguish new complaints from longstanding ones, but almost all involved the treatment of children, young people or vulnerable adults. If even a proportion were upheld the Church would have to pay millions in compensation.

One recent compensation payment in an unproven and heavily-disputed case of abuse alleged against long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell amounted to £15,000. Matching that sum in every complaint now facing the Church would cost almost £50million.

The Church of England paid out £15,000 in compensation in an an unproven and heavily-disputed case of abuse alleged against long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell, pictured

 

Despite the growing controversy over false allegations, bishops will continue to call those who make claims of sex abuse ‘victims’ and ‘survivors’. But they say this ‘does not presuppose that any allegation will be substantiated’.

Details of the abuse complaints were prepared for bishops and will be given today to the General Synod, the Church’s parliament. The disclosure follows difficult months for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and colleagues over a series of damaging sex abuse scandals.

They include the case of former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys over three decades. An independent inquiry last summer said the Church had failed to protect boys and then concealed evidence of Ball’s crimes. Most recently, Archbishop Welby has been criticised for his handling of the George Bell case.

Former bishop Peter Ball, jailed for 32 months in 2015 for sex abuse against boys 

Of the 3,300 sex abuse complaints the Synod will hear about nearly one in five, 18 per cent, involved ‘church officers’, likely to be mainly clergy. Other complaints are likely to have been made against lay individuals or churchgoers.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, said in documents prepared for the Synod that during 2016 dioceses did 338 ‘risk assessments’ after complaints against individuals. Of those assessed, 19 were clergy. The Church made 867 ‘safeguarding agreements’ with individuals – drawn up to ensure someone assessed as a risk is kept away from possible victims of abuse and is supervised.

 

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February 2 2018 – “Judges join call for Welby to apologise over Bell claims” – Daily Telegraph – Page 2

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20180207/281547996343338

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February 7 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late Bishop’s reputation” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop-of-canterbury-says-george-bells-accuser-is-as-important-as-late-bishops-reputation/125411.htm

Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late bishop’s reputation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said the woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her should be ‘treated equally importantly’ as the reputation of the late bishop, and that she is ‘not an inconvenience to be overlooked’.

In an interview with the Church Times ahead of a gathering of General Synod, which is like a church parliament, Archbishop Welby defended the decision, made by the Church of England with Welby’s involvement, to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as ‘Carol’.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has defended the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Bishop George Bell.

That decision and the ‘rush’ that led up to it was heavily criticised in a review published in December by Lord Carlile into the handling of the allegations made against Bishop Bell, regarded as a 20<sup>th Century giant of Anglicanism who died in 1958.

Since then, Archbishop Welby has come under growing criticism from historians and academics for insisting that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over Bell’s name.

Speaking to the Church Times, Welby acknowledged that the Carlile report ‘points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell’ and he said that he ‘accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation’ [the naming of those accused of abuse].

But he added: ‘Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse]…that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose…

Welby continued: ‘We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.’

Last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received ‘fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell’ and said that Sussex police had been informed, without providing any details of the ‘new’ information about the late Bishop of Chichester. It was subsequently reported that a new complainant had come forward.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House in Westminster, with the keynote speaker  as Dr Jules Gomes, the controversial pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

This led the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, to attack the meeting as ‘outrageous’ when speaking to Christian Today.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House on Saturday morning.

Reflecting on the past five years in office, Archbishop Welby said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. ‘It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

‘I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.’

Archbishop Welby has taken a leading role in defending the Church of England’s approach to Bishop Bell, having been involved in his name becoming public in relation to allegations. The Carlile report reveals an email from the Bishop of Durham on April 29, 2014 to the so-called ‘Core Group’ in the Church of England, which reads: ‘Dear All, At the meeting of Archbishops & Diocesans Archbishop Justin decided that he should inform those gathered of the possibility of the name of the person concerned becoming public in due course.’

The full interview with Archbishop Welby will appear in the next issue of the Church Times.

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February 6 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby” – Church Times

Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby

06 February 2018


richard watt – Archbishop Welby at Lambeth Palace on Monday

THE woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her is “not an inconvenience to be overlooked”, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Monday. Instead, she is someone who should be “treated equally importantly” as the reputation of Bell.

In an interview with the Church Times, Archbishop Welby defended the Church of England’s decision to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as “Carol”, who, in 1995 and again in 2012 and 2013, told church officials that Bishop Bell had abused her as a young girl.

The decision to make Bell’s name public was criticised by Lord Carlile’s independent review (News, 22 December 2017). Since the publication of the review, Archbishop Welby has been fiercely criticised for saying that he could not, with integrity, clear Bell’s name (News, 26 January).

Speaking to the Church Times, the Archbishop acknowledged that the Carlile report “points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell”; and he “accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation” [the naming of those accused of abuse].

He said: “Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse] . . . that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose. . .

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

Campaigners for George Bell have cast doubt on the account given by Carol (News, 24 March 2016). But on Wednesday of last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received “fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell”. It did not give any further details.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House, Westminster. The keynote speaker was Dr Jules Gomes, pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

There has also been press coverage of Julian Whiting, a survivor of private school and church abuse, who wrote to Archbishop Welby last month to complain about the settlement that he had received.

“I have struggled for years to obtain appropriate compensation, which despite huge efforts over many years I have failed to receive”, Mr Whiting said on Monday. “Even direct approaches to Justin Welby have proved fruitless.”

Accounts by other survivors were published in a booklet on Tuesday, We Asked for Bread but You Gave Us Stones.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House, Westminster on Saturday morning.

Archbishop Welby, reflecting on his first five years in office, said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. “It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

“I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.”

 

Read the full interview in next week’s Church Times. See our special subscription offer: ten issues for a tenner.

 

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February 6 2018 – “Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/welby-under-pressure-as-general-synod-members-asked-to-back-motion-of-regret-over-bishop-george-bell-case/125358.htm

Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be under renewed pressure at the Church of England’s ruling General Synod this week to renounce his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over George Bell, a highly-respected bishop accused of sex abuse.

Members of synod, which acts as the church’s parliament, are today being asked to back a motion expressing ‘regret’ over Justin Welby’s handling of the case and calling for Bishop Bell’s ‘reputation as one of the great bishops of the Church of England is restored untarnished’.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell is accused of historical child sex abuse but his supporters insist the allegations are uncorroborated and without evidence.

The motion, seen by Christian Today, will be published as synod opens on Thursday after being approved by the church’s lawyers. It will not be debated at this week’s sessions but could be discussed at the next synod in July, if it receives enough support.

It comes after Welby said he could not retract his assessment that a ‘significant cloud’ hung over Bell’s reputation and the Church announced ‘fresh information’ had emerged about the case. Christian Today understands this involves a new complaint against Bishop Bell.

David Lamming, a lay member of synod and proposer of the motion, told Christian Today: ‘Regardless of this new information, the conclusions made in the damning Review by Lord Carlile QC into how the Church handled the case are important. General Synod must be given the opportunity to debate them.’

He added: ‘I initially considered putting the motion on ice while the investigation into these latest allegations unfolded but on second thoughts I think it important that synod has the opportunity to hold the Church to account for its processes and a debate on this motion would do just that. It will not be debated this week in any event, but if sufficient synod members sign it, that will be a clear indication that it should be on the agenda at York in July.’

The controversy over the George Bell case is likely to dominate this week’s synod with several questions tabled to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the issue.

Synod
The General Synod will meet this week in Westminster.

It comes after an independent review into how the Church dealt with the allegation made by ‘Carol’ found officials ‘rushed to judgment’ and smeared Bell in its desperation to avoid being seen as soft on clerical sex abuse. The inquiry by Lord Carlile QC found ‘serious errors were made’ as a result of an ‘oversteer’ that presumed his guilt without fully looking at the evidence.

Despite the highly critical report Welby refused to apologise to Bell’s relatives and supporters and instead issued a statement that appeared to leave open the possibility of his guilt.

Two groups of Bell’s supporters, alongside a number of historians and academics, have criticised Welby’s statement after Carlile’s review judged there would not have been sufficient evidence for a guilty verdict in a criminal court.

A question from Mr Lamming is thought to have prompted the Church’s admission of ‘fresh information’ after he tabled a question asking if there is ‘considered to be any evidence or other information that would support or corroborate the claim by “Carol” that she was sexually abused as a child by Bishop Bell?’

 

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February 4 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Website launch [following the Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Feb 1]

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Website following on from The Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1 2018

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

In the news…

External links to a selection of Bishop Bell-related article that appeared after the Rebuilding Bridges conference.

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February 4 2018 – “The Bridge on the River Chaos” – ‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes – Conservative Woman

https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/rebel-priest-rev-jules-gomes-bridge-river-chaos/

The Bridge on the River Chaos

 

Last Thursday our very own ‘Rebel Priest’, the Rev Dr Jules Gomes, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the George Bell Group at Church House. It was an impassioned plea for justice for the still-impugned Bishop Bell. But more than that, it was a plea for bridge-building with a Church of England that has entrapped itself in the morally relative world of victim politics and orthodoxies. This, Jules argued, citing biblical, philosophical and legal sources, has been at the expense of truth, right and justice. ‘Right’, not the modern ‘rights’ culture, must guide the Church and Christian faith.

You can listen to his full address here. An edited version is posted below.

By Rev Jules Gomes

The human compulsion to build bridges is deep-rooted; it is archetypal. Jacob in Genesis dreams of a ladder bridging earth to heaven. This archetypal story is immortalised by William Blake’s painting and by Francis Thompson’s poem situating Jacob’s ladder in London.

Paradoxically, bridge building is fiercely contested. The compulsion to blow up bridges is also deep-rooted in human nature. The monumental clash between these conflicting compulsions is what makes Sir David Lean’s World War II movie The Bridge on the River Kwai one of most gripping of the 20th century.

In the movie, Colonel Nicholson is fixated upon building the bridge linking Bangkok to Burma, convincing himself that the bridge is a monument to British character. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission to blow up the bridge. Ultimately, Nicholson, who has successfully built the bridge, is trying to prevent the Allied commandos from blowing it up. He is shot and stumbles over to the detonator plunger and falls on it, just in time to blow up the bridge and send the enemy train hurtling into the river. Major Clipton, the British medical officer who has witnessed the carnage unfold from his vantage point on the hill, says as he shakes his head incredulously: ‘Madness! Madness!’

To build, or not to build, that is the question we are posing at the George Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference.

Order and chaos are the constituent elements of this world. According to Jordan Peterson, ‘Order is where the people around you act according to well-understood social norms, and remain predictable and cooperative. It’s the world of social structure, explored territory, and familiarity.’ If the hierarchy of the Church of England had conducted its investigation into Bishop Bell on the principles of order, we would not be battling to clear the slander against his reputation. We are here because order has been overwhelmed by chaos.

The opening verses of the Bible present us with the picture of an ocean of chaos. The Hebrew text paints for us pictures of mythological sea monsters of chaos intent on devouring God’s creation. God subdues and defeats the monsters of chaos through the logos, God’s Word. Chaos is also marked by ‘darkness over the face of the deep’. God’s first act is to dispel darkness by creating light. Light is God’s first bridge-building act.

Over the last two years, the Bishop Bell group has been fighting this battle between chaos and logos. Finally, logos has triumphed. Hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken by dozens of historians, lawyers, clergy, columnists, churchgoers and choristers have prevailed. The Lord Carlile Review, a leading manifestation of ‘order’, even though restricted in its brief, has found a subtle way to pronounce Bishop Bell ‘not guilty’.

But the bridge over troubled waters is yet to be built. Justin Welby doubts the logos and rejects the light and clarity of order. He returns to the darkness and disorder of chaos in his insistence that a ‘significant cloud’ still hangs over Bishop Bell’s character.

Thus we may not be able to build this bridge with Welby, even though we are desirous of so doing. Our chief task, then, is to build the bridge between present and past. We build our most strategic bridge with history. History held Bishop Bell in the highest honour. The present zeitgeist blew the bridge of historical record to smithereens. It adopted a scorched earth policy and obliterated Bell’s name from institutions that had sought to etch his memory in stone.

Structurally speaking, the most important part of a bridge is the beams that support it. Our bridge with history should be built on the twin beams of truth and justice. The torrential waters of the River Chaos threaten both beams.

We live in a post-modern and post-truth age. Postmodernism dismantles truth as relative and perspectival. Philosopher Richard Rorty unapologetically proclaims, ‘There is no truth. We should give up the search for truth and be content with interpretations.’

In its handling of the Bell enquiry, the Church of England has revealed its first postmodern and post-truth archbishop for whom there is no truth, only interpretations, for whom the only virtue is openness, and for whom personal experiences are more influential than objective facts in shaping public opinion.

The second beam that will support our bridge across the River Chaos is justice. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in his book Whose Justice? Which Rationality?  speaks of ‘different and incompatible conceptions of justice’ and of ‘conflicting conceptions of justice’.

Is this what is being played out in the drama of Bishop Bell? There is one school that defines justice as that which is ‘right’, and another that defines justice as ‘rights’. ‘Rights’ are the obligations society is said to have towards certain social groups and it is the status of a person in the organised hierarchy of such groups that decides what is ‘right’ according to the ‘rights’ accorded to that group. In other words, justice is now re-defined as the ‘rights’ of a victim; these rights may even trump what is ‘right’, because postmodernism defines all claims to ‘truth’ and what is ‘right’ as claims to ‘power’.

In this radical re-conceptualisation of justice, those who claim to have suffered qualify by default for privileged status. They are right because they have the right to be right irrespective of what is objectively right. This, of course, is not to dismiss Bishop Bell’s accuser ‘Carol’ and her claims, it is simply to argue that the Church of England has moved considerably in its conception of justice. It is a very different conception from those who conceive of justice as ‘right’ because it is part of the right order of the logos and its features are truth and light.

The problem with grounding this beam of justice so as to build our bridge is that it is constantly threatened by chaos. In his Republic, Plato seems to think that people are pushed into the path of justice only by coercion and force of law. People choose to act in their own interest given the opportunity to commit injustice, because that is what nature deems good. Of course, Plato ultimately argues that humans submit freely to justice and law because there are rewards for those who restrain themselves in the face of temptation and make amends in the case of transgression.

But making amends requires great courage and it is ‘courage’ which Aristotle called the greatest of all virtues, because without courage it is impossible to practise any of the virtues. It is courage which will drive the building of our bridge across the River Chaos. Will Archbishop Welby have that courage?

As a tribute to Bishop George Bell I can do no better than conclude with these words from Romans 8: ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

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February 2 2018 – “New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – SpiritFM

https://www.spiritfm.net/news/sussex-news/2492202/new-investigation-into-former-bishop-of-chichester-george-bell/

New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell

 

chichester cathedral

5:13am 1st February 2018

The Church of England says it is in the process of launching a fresh investigation into allegations of sexual abuse concerning the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

A statement from the Church confirmed ‘fresh evidence’ has been brought to light concerning Bishop Bell, and that they would work collaboratively with Sussex Police.

Bishop Bell was accused of abusing a woman over a four year period, starting when she was five-years-old in the 1940s and 50s.

He was the Bishop of Chichester for almost 30 years until his death in 1958.

In 2015, the Church made a formal public apology to the alleged victim, known as ‘Carol’, and paid her £16,800 following the settlement of a legal civil claim.

The handling of the allegations triggered furious reaction from Bell’s supporters, who said his reputation had been ruined.

In December last year, an independent inquiry led by Lord Carlile criticised the church for a ‘rush to judgment’ over the case, saying that although the C of E acted in good faith it failed to give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

The Church of England subsequently apologised to the family of Bishop Bell.

Read the review in full here.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations.

“The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent  investigation in respect of these latest developments.

“As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

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February 2 2018 – “George Bell: Justin Welby and the perils of navigating a binary argument” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/george-bell-justin-welby-and-the-perils-of-navigating-a-binary-argument/125199.htm

George Bell, Justin Welby and the perils of navigating a binary argument

There can surely be no middle ground when it comes to sexual abuse: it makes a villain of anyone who perpetrates it.

George Bell was either a giant of the Anglican Church who helped rescue Jewish children from the Nazi regime and, against the grain, heroically opposed the bombing of Dresden, or he was a child abuser and all his achievements are for the birds.

Perhaps that is why the debate, if it can be called that, around the reputation of the late Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958, is so binary, even by the standards of the age of social media.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy James Bishop George Bell.

This stark reality helps explain why so many of Bell’s supporters have directed their anger in the aftermath of Lord Carlile’s report into Bell at Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who insists that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over the late bishop’s name.

It is worth quoting at some length from Welby’s statement which coincided with the release of the Carlile review in December, a statement that he has since refused to rescind.

It said: ‘Bishop George Bell is one of the great Anglican heroes of the 20th century. The decision to publish his name was taken with immense reluctance, and all involved recognised the deep tragedy involved… The complaint about Bishop Bell does not diminish the importance of his great achievement. We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name. Let us therefore remember his defence of Jewish victims of persecution, his moral stand against indiscriminate bombing, his personal risks in the cause of supporting the anti Hitler resistance, and his long service in the Diocese of Chichester.

‘No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good. Whatever is thought about the accusations, the whole person and whole life should be kept in mind.’

To be fair to Welby, although he has pointed out that his position is supported by the Bishops of Chichester and Bath and Wells, in standing by this statement, even in the face of direct attacks against him from leading academics and historians, he is taking responsibility for the modern-day Church’s controversial position on Bell – and seeking to subvert that binary narrative by saying any bad things he did should not entirely obliterate the good.

Welby is surely right to take responsibilty. For the detail of the Carlile report makes it clear that the archbishop himself was involved in the early stages of discussions about releasing Bell’s name to the media and public following complaints from the woman known as ‘Carol’ who claims she was abused by Bell and to whom the Church paid damages of £16,800 in 2015.

It should be said at this point that it is almost impossible to believe that ‘Carol’ made her allegations up out of thin air. And some of Bell’s fiercest critics are surely wrong to traduce her, or claim that the abuse came later than her childhood. But it remains possible of course that she was abused by some church figure other than Bell. We will never know.

Nonetheless, the Carlile report reveals an email from the Bishop of Durham on April 29, 2014 to the so-called ‘Core Group’ in the CofE, members of which have come under immense strain in recent weeks and who were, after all, amid all the chaos of the modern media age, trying their best to do their difficult jobs.

The email reads: ‘Dear All, At the meeting of Archbishops & Diocesans Archbishop Justin decided that he should inform those gathered of the possibility of the name of the person concerned becoming public in due course.’

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
ReutersArchbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

It was the ‘rush’ to name Bell, and the very fact of naming him at all in the face of unproven and unprovable allegations, that led Carlile to be so critical in his report.

Arguably, Welby and the Church have since backed themselves into a corner on the case. The archbishop’s refusal to climb down, doubtless heavily influenced by legal advice, leaves wide open the question about what is justice for an accused person. There are false and mistaken accusations, but the position still seems to assume that an accusation alone can be taken as almost conclusive.

Of course, the Church must be hyper-cautious following the separate case of the former bishop Peter Ball – and the safeguarding team should be commended for its efforts in recent years — but the two cases are in fact widely different, as Ball was accused by a significant number of people and accepted his guilt.

Then there is the Church’s decision to release yesterday what some see as a cryptic statement saying that it had received ‘fresh information’ concerning Bell, a statement which left open the assumption that another complainant had come forward, and one that appeared to critics to be a case of ‘We told you so’. It is reported that the Church has known about this ‘new’ information for two weeks, which raises questions, if true, about the timing of the release of the information ahead of General Synod which begins next week and at which Welby is expected to come under fire. More importantly, it also raises the question why Bell has effectively been named again as the subject of an accusation, but this time only weeks after the Church received the information, not years as in the case of ‘Carol’.

On the other hand, it is hard not to sympathise with the safeguarding team especially, and even with Welby. After all, the only truth present in this tale with few heroes is that no-one knows whether or not Bell committed the grave sins of which he has been accused. And, as even the leading pro-Bell campaigner Peter Hitchens concedes, if Bell did do it then his achievements are as nothing.

He tells me: ‘George Bell’s memory is revered not because he was a great artist, the inventor of a drug or medical procedure which transformed the world for the better or a warrior who saved his country from subjugation. Such persons can be to some extent separated form their other deeds because their actions endure in a material way. Bishop Bell’s memory is revered because of repeated acts of self-sacrificing goodness, a rare example of a man who placed truth and justice before self. If it turns out that he was in fact a lying traitor, who abused defenceless little children by perverting the Gospel and sought to make them complicit in concealing the crime, then he was not good and his reputation was a shining robe laid over a rotting heap of filth. William Blake reminds us that true good is done in minute particulars. Likewise evil.’

But in the terms of reference, the Church of England constrained Carlile from making a judgment on whether or not Bell was guilty as accused.

All of which is why this argument will, sadly but inevitably run and run.

As the Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner has said: ‘The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally…[and] will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case.’

Like Welby, he is anxious to move beyond the binary split between Bell as hero or Bell as villain. But in this polarised and super-sensitive area, that may not be an option.

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February 2 2018 – “Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish” – Church Times

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/2-february/news/uk/lord-carlile-says-new-statement-about-bishop-george-bell-is-unwise-and-foolish

Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish

01 FEBRUARY 2018

PA

Lord Carlile

 

LORD CARLILE, who investigated the Church of England’s handling of the sex-abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell and found them wanting, has expressed his astonishment at the release of news about a new allegation.

On Wednesday, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received “fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell”. The statement gives no further details on the grounds of confidentiality, but goes on: “Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.”

A key recommendation by Lord Carlile, who was commissioned to look into the way the Church had dealt with accusations that Bell had abused a woman, named as “Carol” when was a young girl, was that Bell’s name should not have been broadcast without a greater certainty of his guilt.

“For Bishop Bell’s reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way that occurred was just wrong,” Lord Carlile wrote in his report (News, 22 December 2017).

On Wednesday evening, Lord Carlile told The Daily Telegraph: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the Church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated, and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known, and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

The Church’s statement goes on: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments.”

In a covering note, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, writes of “ongoing queries and comments around the Bishop Bell case”. And he puts the Church’s statement in the context of the IICSA investigation into safeguarding in the diocese of Chichester, and the impending debate in the General Synod next week.

He makes no mention of a debate in Church House, Westminster, today, organised by supporters of Bishop Bell, which is aimed at “restoring Bishop Bell’s place in history”, and which is expected to be critical of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has declined to clear Bell’s name.

The safeguarding team’s statement reads in full: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell. Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.

“This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments.

“As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

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February 2 2018 – “Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/exclusive.bishop.blasts.disgraced.priest.allowed.to.defend.george.bell.at.church.of.englands.headquarters/125197.htm

EXCLUSIVE: Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters

It is ‘outrageous’ that a disgraced priest banned from ministry has been allowed to speak at the Church of England’s headquarters, a bishop said today.

Rachel Treweek
Rachel Treweek was the first female bishop to sit in the House of Lords.

Jules Gomes, formerly a priest at St Mary’s on the Harbour on the Isle of Man, addressed a group of supporters for the former Bishop of Chichester, George Bell, who is accused of historical sex abuse, in Church House, Westminster, this morning.

But today the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, blasted his presence at the event, which is titled ‘Rebuilding bridges’.

‘He has been invited to speak under that wonderful title whereas all his writings about me and other bishops who are women are being destructive and destroying bridges not building them,’ she told Christian Today.

‘I think it is outrageous that he has been allowed to speak at Church House under that title when his writings demonstrate that he is not up for living in reconciliation or relationship.’

Church House is the building used as the Church of England’s main London base. The National Church Institutions (NCIs) which govern the Church’s daily running, do not own the building nor control its bookings and the CofE appeared to distance itself from the event.

A Church of England spokesperson previously told Christian Today: ‘We are aware of an event due to take place at Church House Conference Centre Limited, in Westminster, on Feb 1 at which we understand Jules Gomes, a former Church of England parish priest prohibited from ministry for 10 years by a Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal, has been invited to speak.

‘The National Church Institutions are tenants at Church House. Church House Conference Centre Limited, who manage bookings from clients and operate the conference spaces, is an independent conference centre located at Church House.’

Jules Gomes
Jules Gomes.comJules Gomes was barred for 10 years from ministry for conduct unbecoming a priest.

Gomes was banned from ministry for 10 years after a disciplinary tribunal found against him following complaints about his behaviour. Deeply opposed to female clergy, refers to female bishops as ‘bishopesses’ described Sarah Mullally, the new Bishop of London, as ‘safe space Sarah, the box-ticking Bishopette of Londonistan’ who ‘doesn’t have the foggiest idea about the biblical gospel’.

Elsewhere in a blog badged as ‘satirical’ he described a ‘gaggle of anorexic and bulimic teenage girls’ accompanying ‘Rachel Treweek, Bishopess of Gloucester’.

Treweek told Christian Today: ‘I have known him in the past so it is deeply disappointing that he feels able to write things about me and others without ever trying to communicate in a relational way.

‘If rebuilding bridges is about relationship then it is a very funny and strange way to demonstrate that if you feel able to simply write abusive things on blogs.’

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February 2 2018 – “Police should have truck with the hounding of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/02/01/police-should-have-no-truck-churchs-hounding-bishop-bell/

The police should have no truck with the Church’s hounding of Bishop Bell

Dr George Kennedy Allen Bell (1883 - 1958), Bishop of Chichester, in his study at Chichester Palace
Dr George Kennedy Allen Bell (1883 – 1958), Bishop of Chichester, in his study at Chichester Palace CREDIT: TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY/GETTY

 

There is an old political law that states: “When you are in a hole, stop digging”. It is a maxim that should have an ecclesiastical application, too.

The case of Bishop George Bell has damaged the reputation of the Church of England and of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Although Bishop Bell died in 1958, allegations of sexual abuse against the prelate were accepted by the Church with no evidence.

When an independent report concluded he had been unjustly treated, the Church declined to exonerate him while accepting the process it had undertaken was flawed. But instead of leaving matters there (which Bishop Bell’s supporters were reluctant to do in any case) the Church has become even more resolute in its pursuit.

It has forwarded to the police a separate allegation of sexual abuse some 70 years old, a decision that the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile QC, called “unwise, unnecessary and foolish”.

Archbishop Welby has said he will not clear Bishop Bell’s name because he cannot be sure he is innocent. But neither can he be sure he is guilty, and due process in this country means that he is innocent until proven otherwise. Clearly, since he has been dead 60 years and no evidence could be adduced to corroborate an offence that possibly happened in the late 1940s, there is simply no point in pursuing this matter.

The police have been asked by the Church to investigate but to do so would be a misuse of their time, just as it was to investigate dead politicians like Edward Heath.

It is not the function of the criminal justice system to investigate, to no purpose, those who cannot be brought to book, nor the Church’s place to request that it should.

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February 1 2018 – “Church accused of launching new shameful attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/31/church-accused-launching-new-shameful-attack-memory-bishop-george/

Church accused of launching new ‘shameful’ attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell
Bishop George Bell

The Church of England has been accused of launching a ‘shameful and foolish’ new attack on one of its most revered bishops, by making public an uncorroborated child sex abuse allegation almost 70 years old.

The Church announced on Wednesday it had referred to the police a second claim of sexual assault made against Bishop George Bell, who died in 1958.

It made the allegation public amid growing pressure on Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for the Church’s handling of a previous claim against Bishop Bell, which shredded his reputation.

The General Synod is to discuss the Church’s treatment of Bishop Bell with some suggestion that Archbishop Welby should have resigned over his refusal to say sorry.

In a statement, the Church said: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell.  Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.”

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop, said: “Due to the confidential nature of this new information I regret I cannot disclose any further detail until the investigations have been concluded.

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby CREDIT: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/ REUTERS

The Church refused to give further details such as the date of any alleged wrongdoing nor even whether the complainant is a man or a woman or even still alive. That raises the prospect Bishop Bell is being investigated 60 years after his death on claims made by someone from beyond the grave.

An independent report by Lord Carlile QC into the previous claim – made by a woman known only as Carol – had found the Church had “severely and unnecessarily damaged” Bishop Bell’s reputation. A psychiatric report suggested her claim could have been the result of false memory.

Lord Carlile said he was astonished that the Church had gone public with the new claim against Bishop Bell. Among his recommendations was that people accused of abuse should remain anonymous until the allegations are proven.

Lord Carlile said last night: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER PLEDGER

Professor Andrew Chandler, his biographer and spokesman for the George Bell Group, said: “This is shameful. The issuing of this press release shows the only way the Church can justify itself is at George Bell’s expense.”

A source close to the case said it was “outrageous” that the Church had made the announcement on the eve of a debate held at Church House which is expected to lead to calls for Justin Welby to quit over his handling of the matter. General Synod will also hear calls for Archbishop Welby to apologise when it meets next week.

The new complaint is understood to be at least 70 years old and is uncorroborated.

The source added: “This is outrageous behaviour on the part of the Church.”

The Telegraph understands the Church has known about the case for at least a fortnight before making it public 24 hours before the Church House debate.

One source suggested the Church might be keen to pay damages to the complainant because it will help to justify its contentious decision to pay damages to “Carol” in 2015.

Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester, was one of the Church’s outstanding clerics of the 20th century, recognised for helping to save the lives of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.

Carol had first gone to the Church with her complaint in 1995 and made her allegations a second time direct to Archbishop Welby in 2013. The psychiatric report suggested it was highly unusual for her to have waited almost 50 years before making her initial complaint. The fresh allegation will raise similar concerns.

 

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January 18 2018 – “Fresh information sparks new Bishop Bell investigation” – Chichester Observer

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/crime/fresh-information-sparks-new-bishop-bell-investigation-1-8358546

‘Fresh information’ sparks new Bishop Bell investigation Bishop Bell

STEPHEN PICKTHALL Email Published: 15:57

Wednesday 31 January 2018

The Church of England has announced that it has received ‘fresh information concerning Bishop Bell’ and is now in the process of launching a new investigation.

A statement on the Church website today (Wednesday, January 31), states: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell. “Sussex Police have been informed and we will work corroboratively with them.” The Church said the new information had been received following the publication of the Carlile Review, which looked into the Church’s handling of an allegation of sexual abuse by a woman when she was a child while the late George Bell was bishop between 1929 to 1958.

The woman, known as ‘Carol’, received compensation and an apology from the Church, as well as an apology from current Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner in September 2015. The Church statement adds: “This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations. “The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments. “As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/crime/fresh-information-sparks-new-bishop-bell-investigation-1-8358546