January 23 2018 – “Bishop George Bell not to be cleared of ‘abuse'” – BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-42779684

Bishop George Bell not to be cleared over ‘abuse’

  • 22 January 2018
Bishop George BellImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected calls for him to clear the name of the late Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a young girl.

A review found failings in the way the Church investigated allegations against the Bishop of Chichester in the 1950s.

Supporters of Bishop Bell have called on the Most Rev Justin Welby to pronounce the bishop as innocent.

But Mr Welby said he could not rescind a statement in which he said a cloud hung over Bishop Bell’s name.

Bishop Bell’s supporters have sent three open letters to the archbishop in recent days.

They were written by a group of historians, an international group of church leaders, and a selection of former choristers at Chichester cathedral.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Image caption The archbishop said the letter from the historians did not take into account the “realities” of past abuse in the church

But the archbishop said: “Our history over the last 70 years has revealed that the church covered up, ignored or denied the reality of abuse on major occasions.

“As a result, the church is rightly facing intense and concentrated scrutiny (focused in part on the Diocese of Chichester) through the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

“The Diocese of Chichester was given legal advice to make a settlement based on the civil standard of proof, the balance of probability.

“It was not alleged that Bishop Bell was found to have abused on the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt.

“The two standards should not be confused.”

The independent reviewer, Lord Carlile QC, said the Church of England’s investigation into allegations against the bishop by a woman known as “Carol” were deficient.

The church apologised and compensated Carol after she claimed she had been assaulted by Bell as a young girl.

Lord Carlile said the church had “rushed to judgment”.

But Mr Welby provoked anger among the late bishop’s supporters when he said: “No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness.”

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Church apology over Bishop George Bell abuse inquiry
    15 December 2017
  • Petition seeks ‘justice’ for ‘abuse’ Bishop George Bell
    19 October 2016
  • Sussex Police apology over Bishop George Bell affair
    5 August 2016
  • George Bell: The battle for a bishop’s reputation
    5 May 2016
  • Bishop George Bell: Archbishop defends abuse claim payout
    25 March 2016
  • Carey’s support for abuse accused Bishop George Bell ‘distressing’
    7 March 2016

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

  • Church of England
  • Diocese of Chichester
  • George Bell Group
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