New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell
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.
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.”