Jersey synod calls for abuse report publication
25 January 2015
Leading Anglicans in Jersey have called for a report on an inquiry into the mishandling of an an abuse allegation to be made public.
In 2008, a woman said she had been abused by a Jersey church warden. In 2013 the Very Reverend Bob Key was suspended for two months over the alleged mishandling of the complaint.
The inquiry has been completed but the report has not been published.
It was reported in September the Bishop of Winchester was reviewing the report.
The Jersey Deanery synod said publication would mean the episode could be put to rest.
Reverend Key was suspended for two months in March 2013 for allegedly failing to properly investigate 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.
Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, then commissioned two inquiries, one led by Dame Heather Steel into the particular incident and a wider review into safeguarding policies being undertaken by Bishop John Gladwin.
The BBC has learned the Jersey synod has passed a motion regretting the actions of the bishop in declining to release Dame Heather’s report.
Synod members 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-old 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- March 2013 – Bob Key, the Anglican Dean of Jersey, has his commission withdrawn by the Bishop of Winchester Tim Dakin over concerns about his handling of a parishioner’s complaint about abuse in 2008.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 the handling and another into how Anglican churches in the diocese protect vulnerable people begins
- April 2013 – Dean 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 Dean Key. The final report is kept confidential on legal advice
- January 2014 – The breaking down of relations between Dean 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, in a split in the 500-year-old relationship
- March 2014 – Concerns are raised by church goers 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, while a lay member suggests it has cost more than £600,000
- January 2015 – An interim arrangement is confirmed where the Diocese of Winchester will retain oversight of Anglican legal matters in the Channel Islands. However the Canterbury diocese will be responsible for finance, ministry and training and safeguarding