Jersey Church abuse report: Dean supports release
15 February 2015
The findings of an inquiry into the handling of an abuse allegation should be made public, Jersey’s dean has said.
In 2008, a woman, known as HG, made a formal complaint about abuse by a Jersey churchwarden.
The inquiry into the handling of the complaint recommended no disciplinary action should be taken against any Jersey Anglican clergy member.
The report has been kept confidential on legal advice and HG said its publication could cause her harm.
The Very Reverend Bob Key said closure was now needed.
Mr Key was suspended for two months in March 2013 for allegedly failing to investigate properly the treatment of the 26-year-old woman.
He was reinstated after apologising for anything he might have got wrong in the handling of the abuse complaint.
The inquiry into what happened, led by Dame Heather Steel, was commissioned alongside a wider review into safeguarding policies being undertaken by Bishop John Gladwin.
Mr Key told BBC Radio Jersey: “I think we need to have the report so all the immense stress of the last couple of years can simply be put to bed.
“When it comes out I have no doubt it will be in the media for a very short period of time and we can all move on.
“The island needs to know what Dame Heather Steel, a very respected judge, has to say.”
In January, the Jersey Deanery synod said the report should be made public in the name of Christian reconciliation, so the episode could be put to rest and the Church could move forward.
The saga resulted in the Channel Islands ending their 500-year relationship with Winchester and their moving to the Diocese of Canterbury as part of an interim arrangement.
Timeline of diocese split
- March 2013 – Bob Key, the Anglican Dean of Jersey, has his commission withdrawn by the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, over concerns about his handling of a parishioner’s complaint about abuse in 2008. It followed the publication of a report by the Diocese of Winchester’s Safeguarding Panel. An inquiry into its handling begins, as does another into how Anglican churches in the diocese protect vulnerable people
- April 2013 – Bob Key is reinstated after apologising for anything he might have got wrong in the handling of an abuse complaint
- August 2013 – Concerns are raised by Anglican church members in the Channel Islands about their relationship with the Church of England
- November 2013 – Inquiry into the handling of the complaint recommends no disciplinary action should be taken against any Jersey Anglican clergy member and finds no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Key. The final report is kept confidential on legal advice
- January 2014 – The breaking down of relations between Mr Key and Bishop Dakin leads to the Archbishop of Canterbury temporarily moving oversight of the islands to the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Wilmott, based in the Diocese of Canterbury – a split in the 500-year-old relationship between the islands and the Winchester diocese
- March 2014 – Concerns are raised by churchgoers that money continues to be paid to the Winchester diocese
- July 2014 – The Church of England reveals it has spent £190,000 on handling the split, although a lay member suggests it has cost more than £600,000
- January 2015 – An interim arrangement is confirmed whereby the Diocese of Winchester will retain oversight of Anglican legal matters in the Channel Islands, while the Canterbury diocese will be responsible for finance, ministry and training and safeguarding