Category Archives: Anglican Communion

October 18 2017 – Anglican Communion Sexual Abuse Cases

Anglican Communion sexual abuse cases

The Anglican Communion sexual abuse cases are a series of allegations, investigations, trials, and convictions of child sexual abuse crimes committed by clergy, nuns, and lay members of the Anglican Communion.[1]

Anglican Church of Australia

A 2013 study in VictoriaAustralia, found that Anglican child sex abuse cases were one-tenth the number of Catholic Church sexual abuse cases.[2]

However, a 2016 investigation found cases of child abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia. During January 27 to February 5, 2016, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held public hearings. They centered on the Church of England Boys’ Society (CEBS) and scrutinised the Anglican Dioceses of TasmaniaAdelaideSydney, and Brisbane regarding “their responses to allegations of child sexual abuse” connected with the CEBS. The royal commission examined “the systems and policies within the CEBS and the four Anglican dioceses, in relation to youth camps and activities, and raising and responding to concerns and complaints about child sexual abuse”.[3]

Regarding the Diocese of Brisbane and the CEBS in that diocese, the Royal Commission interviewed a person (who cannot be named for legal reasons) who “complained of repeated sexual abuse” when he was “associated with the Church of England Boys Society”. He also said that he had taken his complaint to Peter Hollingworth, former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane in August 1993. When Hollingworth was interviewed, he admitted his handling of the matter was poor. “After a great deal of consideration over the past 22 years I acknowledge unreservedly that my actions were misguided, wrong and a serious error of judgment and that I genuinely regret it,” he said.[4] Hollingworth was also questioned about “his handling of abuse claims at St Paul’s School while he was Archbishop between 1989 and 2001”. Hollingworth said he was sorry for the boys who were molested by the teachers. “I am appalled by the abuse you suffered at the hands of two school staff members from St Paul’s School,” he said.[5]

Church of England

There have also been cases of adult and child sex abuse in the Church of England as seen below.

In 2015 the Church of England considered bringing back the ability to permanently dismiss or “defrock” an Anglican priest because of clerical abuse; this ability was abolished in 2003 over concerns about wrongful convictions.[6]

In March 2016, the “first independent review commissioned by the Church of England into its handling of a sex abuse case” issued a 21-page report by Ian Elliott, a safeguarding expert. The Church published only its conclusions and recommendations and “acknowledged the report was ‘embarrassing and uncomfortable’ reading”. The review centered on the case of “Joe” – described in the report as survivor “B”. In July 2014, Joe had “reported the abuse to the church’s safeguarding officers”. He sued the Church in October 2015. The Church paid £35,000 in compensation and called the abuse is “a matter of deep shame and regret”.[7][8]

The review criticised the office of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It said that Welby’s office failed “to respond meaningfully to repeated efforts by the survivor throughout 2015 to bring his case to the church leader’s attention”. Speaking on behalf of the Church, Sarah Mullally, bishop of Crediton, said that Welby has made “a personal commitment to seeing all the recommendations implemented quickly”. The eleven recommendations included (1) training clergy (especially those in senior positions) to keep records and take action for those who report abuse and (2) the Church should insure that “pastoral care of survivors takes precedence over protection of reputation or financial considerations”. Bishop Mullally “is drawing up an action plan to implement the report’s proposals, covering education and training, communication and structural change”.[9]