Category Archives: “Carol”

December 16 2018 – Peter Hitchens on Archbishop Welby and Bishop Bell’s Niece

“Does Archbishop Welby’s pride matter more than an elderly lady’s pain?”

This Christmas I would like you to think of the plight of a 94-year-old woman, who has been atrociously mistreated by the Archbishop of Canterbury 

Her name is Mrs Barbara Whitley.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Barbara Whitley   http://archbishopcranmer.com/church-england-bullies-george-bell-niece/

 

More than three years ago, the Church of England publicly accused her beloved long-dead uncle of the filthy crime of child sex abuse.

The charge was based on the word of a single accuser, more than half a century after the supposed offence. The Church had presumed his guilt and made no serious effort to discover the truth. Key living witnesses were neither sought, found nor interviewed. A senior bishop admitted soon afterwards that they were actually not convinced the claim was true. Yet by some mysterious process, a number of newspapers and BBC stations, all on the same day, felt safe in confidently pronouncing that Barbara’s uncle had been a disgusting paedophile. No ifs or buts.

Who told them?

A later inquiry would show that this miserable episode was based on nothing more than a chaotic, sloppy kangaroo court. One of this country’s most distinguished lawyers, Lord Carlile, tore the case against Barbara’s uncle to shreds. He said there would have been no chance of a conviction on the evidence available, and made mincemeat of the shambolic committee that had published the original allegation.

After delaying the release of this inquiry for weeks, Justin Welby’s church eventually published it.

But did it admit its mistake and restore the reputation of Barbara Whitley’s wrongly defamed uncle?

Nope. Mr Welby, in defiance of all the rules of British justice, sulkily insisted that a ‘significant cloud’ still hung over the name of Barbara’s uncle. Thus, just as she might have been able to rejoice that her relative’s name had at last been cleared, the Head of the Established Church made it his personal business to prevent this.

And then, a few weeks later, another supposed allegation against her uncle was said to have been made. Why then? What was it? Who had made it? Nobody would say, but it served to stifle potential criticism of Mr Welby at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was about to begin. Details of the second allegation remain a secret. After nearly a year, Mr Welby’s church (which has a bad record of sitting on reports that it doesn’t like) still hasn’t come up with its conclusions. Yet Sussex Police, given the same information, dropped their investigations into the matter after a few short weeks.

It all looks a bit as if someone is trying to save someone’s face. But the cruelty to Barbara Whitley, who was 91 when this horrible saga began, is appalling. Who cares about some prelate’s pride (a sin in any case) when Mrs Whitley could be spared any more pain?

Because the cruelty to Mrs Whitley seems to me to be so shocking in a supposedly Christian organisation, I have deliberately left till last that the object of these accusations is the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

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George Bell Bishop of Chichester – Howard Coster / RWS Photography

Bell was, as people who knew him have told me, a kind, scrupulously honest, courageous man. He was, most notably, a beloved friend of the German Christians who fought against Hitler and a brave critic of the cruelty of war. I sometimes wonder if modern bishops and archbishops are afraid of being compared with him. They have reason to be. In the meantime, Mr Welby’s church should end Mrs Whitley’s agony.

Does anyone really doubt that, if the archbishop wanted to, he could end the whole business today?

~ Peter Hitchens

October 10 2017 – “Bishop George Bell review to criticise Church’s handling – reports” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/bishop.george.bell.review.to.criticise.churchs.handling.reports/115579.htm

Bishop George Bell review to criticise Church’s handling – reports

Bishop George Bell’s reputation could be restored after an official review in the Church’s handling of abuse allegations is expected to be critical of how the CofE handled the case.

The wartime Bishop of Chichester, a celebrated Anglican figure who was given the equivalent of a Saints’ Day, was accused of historic abuse in 2015.

Bishop George Bell was a celebrated theologian who was praised for his staunch opposition to Hitler’s Nazi regime. Courtesy of Jimmy James

A Church inquiry two years ago found ‘on the balance of probabilities’ he had abused a child in the late 1940s and 1950s. The Church awarded his alleged victim, known only as ‘Carol’, compensation of £15,000 after experts said they had ‘no reason to doubt’ the claims.

The case is hotly debated both within the Church and across the wider establishment with Bell’s accusers saying the compensation is long overdue. But a George Bell support group was launched last year to argue his positive reputation and legacy is being tarnished by unsubstantiated claims.

recent debate on historical child sex abuse in the House of Lords reflected the growing concerns among leading establishment figures about the George Bell case.

It is expected to be critical of the Church’s initial investigation, although it does not rule on the bishop’s guilt or innocence, according to the Mail on Sunday.

October 9 2017 – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair'” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

http://thejusticegap.com/2017/10/church-englands-handling-allegations-bishop-bell-flawed-unfair/

Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’

A review into historic abuse allegations against a celebrated bishop is expected to criticise the Church of England’s handling of the case as ‘flawed and unfair’.

As reported on the Justice Gap (here), 37 years after the death of former Bishop of Chichester a woman known as ‘Carol’ made complaints that he had abused her when she was a young girl in the late 1940 and early 1950s. Bell has been described as ‘the most significant English clergyman of the 20th century’ and who spoke out against the Allies’ carpet-bombing of German cities such as Dresden.

The allegations first arose in 1995. In October 2015 a claim was settled by the Church of England and compensation reported to be £15,000 was paid out. The current Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner issued a formal apology in October 2015.

In July 2016 two members of the General Synod, Martin Sewell and David Lamming, both retired lawyers, proposed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the investigation. Speaking to the Justice Gap, Sewell said that the case was ‘almost unique’ insofar as its review was conducted in ‘complete purdah’. ‘You can’t get anything out of the Church and that is what raised our hackles. It must deal with these matters with transparency and accountability,’ he said.

The Bell case represents the perfect storm from which injustice emerges. We had a Church fearful and sensitive to allegations that it might be covering up abuse, a plausible complainant, a long dead Bishop with no living heirs, and a culture which had abandoned the presumption of innocence in favour of asserting that all complainants are entitled to be believed.’
Martin Sewell

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has spoken in parliament about his ‘distress’ at the Church’s treatment of Bishop Bell and claimed that its procedures ‘had the character of a kangaroo court and not a just, compassionate and balanced investigation of the facts’. The George Bell Group was set up in response to the perceived unfairness at the late Bishop’s treatment. The campaign – supported by former chairman of the Bar Desmond Browne QC, historian Andrew Chandler, Frank Field MP and the Conservative Peer and historian Lord Lexden – calls the wording of the October statement ‘(at best) reprehensibly equivocal, and (at worst) positively misleading’.

The Mail on Sunday reported that Lord Carlile handed his report to the Archbishop of Canterbury last week. You can read Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday on the George Bell case (The spirit of justice seems to be dead in many parts of this country).


This article was first published on October 9, 2017

 

Profile photo of Jon RobinsAbout Jon Robins
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon’s books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council’s journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year’s Criminal Justice Alliance’s journalism award

October 8 2017 – “It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

IMG_9510

This Portrait is in storage within the Cathedral Library [September 9 2017] – No Public Access [except on Heritage Open Days eg September 9 2017] – “Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation” Photograph: Howard Coster, 1953. It is the last portrait photograph of Bishop Bell.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4959468/Peter-Hitchens-says-Theresa-deserved-conference-saga.html

It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead 

The spirit of justice seems to be dead in many parts of this country. I always disliked Ted Heath but I am revolted by the police treatment of him, and by some public reaction to it.

The police do not decide guilt or innocence. No man should be condemned without a hearing and we are all innocent until proven guilty.

Have we forgotten these ancient British rules? I hope not. Now I gather that the Church of England’s hierarchy are trembling in their cassocks about a report (soon to be published) into their disgraceful smearing of the late Bishop George Bell, a man of real courage and principle who makes them look like pygmies.

To appear as if they were tough on today’s real paedophiles (which they aren’t), these prelates condemned Bishop Bell on the basis of a solitary uncorroborated allegation made decades after the alleged crime. Blackening the names of dead men to boost your own reputation is a pretty wretched thing to do.

We can only punish it with contempt. But we should punish it all the same, or nobody is safe.

 

September 30 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church” – Christian Today [Ruth Gledhill]

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop.of.canterbury.accuses.bbc.of.failing.to.show.same.integrity.over.child.abuse.as.the.church/114954.htm

Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised the BBC over its response to Jimmy Savile

The BBC has defended itself against criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury that it lacked ‘integrity’ in its response to the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.

Archbishop Justin Welby said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the corporation had not shown the same integrity the Anglican and Catholic churches had.

Invited to reflect on the programmes 60th anniversary of being on air, he said: ‘I think we are a kinder society more concerned with our own failures, more willing to be honest where we go wrong in most of our institutions.’ But there were still ‘dark areas’. 

He continued: ‘If I’m really honest, I’d say the BBC is one. I haven’t seen the same integrity over the BBC’s failures over Savile as I’ve seen in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church of England, in other public institutions over abuse. We may be proved wrong about that but you know that’s one area.’

The Archbishop also referred to the dispute over the pay gap between men and women at the BBC, and said that in the church, male and female bishops received exactly the same stipends.

Archbishop Welby was speaking just weeks before Lord Carlile publishes his review into how the Church of England handled a claim by ‘Carol’ into allegations of abuse by the late Bishop George Bell of Chichester, who died in 1958.

In Australia, where the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches have been under investigation by a royal commission into institutional child sex abuse, and the Catholic Cardinal George Pell is facing multiple historic child sex abuse charges, only yesterday it emerged that one victim was forced to take the Anglican Church to court over failure to pay a $1.5 million settlement.

The BBC, Church of England and Roman Catholic Church will all be examined soon in the UK’s own version of the Australian commission, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay.  This December, the UK inquiry will look at the English Benedectines and next March, at the Church of England’s Chichester diocese.

Meanwhile six church sex abuse survivors silence condemned the Archbishop’s attack on the BBC.

In a statement they said: ‘Speaking from our own bitter experience, we do not recognise Archbishop Welby’s description of the integrity with which the Church of England handles cases of abuse in a church context.

‘Far from the ‘rigorous response and self-examination’ he claims, our experience of the church, and specifically the archbishop, is of long years of silence, denial and evasion. The Church of England needs to confront its own darkness in relation to abuse before confronting the darkness of others.’

Matthew Ineson, who as a teen was raped by a C of E vicar, Trevor Devamanikkam, who killed himself just before he was due to appear in court to answer to the charges, told The Guardian: ‘I know from my own experience, and the experience of others, that safeguarding within the C of E is appalling.

‘The church has colluded with the cover-up of abuse and has obstructed justice for those whose lives have been ruined by the actions of its clergy. I have been fighting for five years for the church to recognise its responsibilities and I’m still being met with attempts to bully me into dropping my case.’

A BBC spokesman defended the corporation. He said: ‘This isn’t a characterisation we recognise. When the Savile allegations became known we established an independent investigation by a High Court judge. In the interests of transparency, this was published in full. We apologised and accepted all the recommendations.

‘And while today’s BBC is a different place, we set out very clear actions to ensure the highest possible standards of child safeguarding.’

Regarding the Archbishop’s comments on the gender pay gap, the BBC added: ‘Gender pay is a challenge for all organisations not just the BBC. The national gender pay gap is 18 percent. The BBC’s is under ten percent and we have committed to closing it in 2020. We know we have to go further and faster. We are not unique in this. The Church of England’s own published pay gap for non-office holders is 41 percent. We all collectively have more work to do, to sort an issue that is a problem across the vast majority of organisations.’

Lambeth Palace said: ‘We fully accept the failures of the Church of England in the area of safeguarding.

‘Since the Archbishop took up his role, he has been very clear that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be the highest priority of all parts of the Church and was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

‘The Church’s National Safeguarding Team was created in 2015 and there are now robust House of Bishops safeguarding policies in place along with independent audits for all dioceses and dedicated training on hearing disclosures for all senior clergy.

‘The Archbishop fully supports the Church’s commitment to develop a stronger national approach to safeguarding to improve its response to protecting the vulnerable.

‘The Archbishop believes this level of rigorous response and self-examination needs to extend to all institutions, including the BBC.’

October 5 2017 – Carlile Review on Bishop Bell imminent

gbh-exterior-with-cathedral (1)

4 Canon Lane [to be re-named George Bell House ?]

IMG_9510

This Portrait is in storage within the Cathedral Library [September 9 2017] – No Public Access [except on Heritage Open Days eg September 9 2017] – “Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation” Photograph: Howard Coster, 1953. It is the last portrait photograph of Bishop Bell.

 

 

 

CARLILE REVIEW ON BISHOP BELL

http://carlilebell.co.uk/

Bishop George Bell

High Altar and Quire

Lord Carlile CBE, Q.C has been asked to carry out a review of the Church of England’s settlement of a claim by “Carol” in relation to allegations of abuse by the late Bishop George Bell.

The complaint relates to events within the period 1948-1953. The Bishop died in 1958.

The Terms of Reference contain a full description of the objective and scope of the review.

Lord Carlile invites anybody who has material evidence and documents to submit them by sending them by email to him at carlile@carlilebell.co.uk  if hard copy is preferable to emails, please could such copy be sent to him at Lord Carlile of Berriew, House of Lords London, SW1A OPW.

Confidentiality

Anyone responding to this call for material will be guaranteed anonymity unless:

  • Your identity is already in the public domain and/ or
  • You explicitly confirm you are content to be identified

Accuracy

Lord Carlile will make sure he fully understands and reflects what you tell him.  He will make a record of any meeting with you.  He guarantees to confirm the accuracy of that record with you.

Support

Lord Carlile understands how difficult it may be for some to come forward and help him.  If a meeting is arranged, you will be welcome to bring someone with you.  He will make sure that, when requested, there are arrangements

  • To provide you with emotional support
  • To meet any travelling and accommodation costs in accordance with the Church of England’s established arrangements.

New Safeguarding concerns

Any new safeguarding concerns will have to be referred to the relevant safeguarding body.

When will the review be finished

It is planned that the review will be completed for submission by the end of July 2017.  Consideration will then be given to publication. Some confidential material may have to be redacted but this will not affect the completeness of the report.

Telephone contact

It is easier for the review if contact is made by email or by post.  However, if you wish to contact Lord Carlile by telephone please do so on 0203 432 9891, where Lord Carlile’s confidential assistant Katherine Strathern will be available to take your call in the first instance.  If you are telephoning please state clearly that you are calling about this review.

1. The Bell Chronology

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2016/12/17/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester-october-2015-to-october-2017/

2. “The Exculpation of Bishop Bell” by Richard W. Symonds [for immediate release following publication of The Carlile Review]

3. “Archbishop of Canterbury accuses BBC of failing to show same ‘integrity’ over child abuse as the Church” – Christian Today

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/archbishop.of.canterbury.accuses.bbc.of.failing.to.show.same.integrity.over.child.abuse.as.the.church/114954.htm

4. Commemoration Service at St Martin-within-Ludgate [Ludgate Hill] to mark Bishop Bell’s 59th Anniversary – Wednesday – October 4 – 5pm

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/october-1-2017-commemoration-service-at-st-martin-within-ludgate-ludgate-hill-to-mark-bishop-bells-59th-anniversary-wednesday-october-4-5pm/

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/october-4-a-service-of-evensong-to-observe-the-day-on-which-bishop-george-bell-is-remembered-by-the-church-of-england-st-martin-within-ludgate-ludgate-hill-city-of-london/

5. “Did Church keep abuse secret?” – The Argus – Oct 5 2017 – Page 9

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/october-5-2017-did-church-keep-abuse-secret-the-argus/