Category Archives: Sexual Abuse

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.

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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.

 

October 3 2017 – “Justin Welby telling off the BBC over sex abuse was the pot calling the kettle black” – i News – Simon Kelner

images (45)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

https://inews.co.uk/uncategorized/justin-welby-telling-off-bbc-sex-abuse-pot-calling-kettle-black/

Justin Welby telling off the BBC over sex abuse was the pot calling the kettle black

Photo: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. (Photo: Getty)

Simon Kelner Tuesday October 3rd 2017

So there is the pot, as black as night, scorched by the depredations of everyday life, tarnished by hard times and rough usage. And suddenly, without warning or provocation, the pot turns round to the kettle, similarly battered and bruised, and says: “It’s not me that’s black. It’s you!”

This was the essential nature of an implausible exchange on Radio 4’s Today Programme when the Archbishop of Canterbury excoriated the BBC for their lack of integrity over dealing with sex abuse in its organisation. I am sure I heard it right. The head of the Anglican church, which has a long and horrible history of the sexual abuse of vulnerable young people, was complaining that the BBC hadn’t acted responsibly when the scale of Jimmy Savile’s offences became known.

Savile may have been protected by the blithe, blind, egregiously liberal mores of the age, but he was something of a one-off. Sex abuse was not endemic or systemic within the precincts of Broadcasting House, and the BBC’s reaction to his unmasking was swift and authoritative. The corporation launched an independent investigation by a high court judge, and accepted all its recommendations. They apologised to Savile’s victims, and have established new safeguards for children.

So what was the Archbishop on about? Why did he take on the BBC on grounds that he must have realised would be very problematic for the Church?

Photo

He knew, of course, that he would get support from the inveterate Beeb bashers among the national press, but notwithstanding that, it’s hard to credit his intervention. It is true that Archbishop Welby has been on the front foot regarding sex abuse scandals in the Church, insisting there will be no cover-up of historic allegations and saying that “the rule is survivors come first, not our own interests”.

‘I am deeply resistant to a religious leader who uses his pulpit to attack one of our most admirable institutions‘ At this point, it’s too tempting not to resort to scripture. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, according to the Gospel of St John. And an independent review of the Church of England’s handling of a particular sex abuse case in 2016 concluded that Welby’s office failed “to respond meaningfully to repeated efforts by the survivor… to bring his case to the Church leader’s attention”.

It is a shame that Welby took to the airwaves armed with a pocketful of stones, a fact not lost on a welter of Twitter respondents, including a number of victims of abuse. Both the Anglican Church and the BBC, representing two of the four estates of a democracy, are all too prone to introspection and self-absorption, and Welby’s comments were part of a bigger interview, not yet aired, to mark the 60th birthday of the Today programme. Within it, he discussed ways in which society has changed in that period. We have become kinder and more considerate, he said, but the flip side is the cult of individualism, or a “radical autonomy”, in his own words.

I found myself applauding this analysis. But I am deeply resistant to the moralising tones of a religious leader who uses his pulpit to attack one of our most admirable institutions, respected and envied throughout the world. That’s not to say the BBC is without sin either, by the way. But this was an unmerited and unjustified attack, which, taken with the Archbishop of York’s willingness to pocket the Murdoch shilling, might lead conspiracy theorists to think that the Anglican Church was pursuing an agenda against the Beeb.

@Simon_Kelner

October 5 2017 – “Did Church keep abuse secret?” – The Argus

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/local/15577806.Did_Church_keep_abuse_secret_/

Did Church keep abuse secret?

download

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

THE Anglican Church will be probed for potentially harbouring a “culture of secrecy” surrounding sexual abuse which allowed predators to offend unchallenged, an inquiry has heard.

The public inquiry into child sexual abuse is preparing to scrutinise the response of religious institutions to allegations of exploitation by the clergy.

This will include the disgraced former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball.

Ball was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

Attitudes to sexuality will form part of the investigation into the Anglican Church, due to begin next March, a preliminary hearing of the inquiry was told.

It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, provoked debate by accusing the BBC of not handling reports of longstanding abuse with the same “integrity” as the Church.

Speaking at the new headquarters of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in central London, counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said: “Culture is important because it shapes everything about the way that things are done within the organisation and it is both deeply embedded within an organisation and often difficult to change.”

Outlining the aims of the Anglican Church investigation, she said: “This will involve examining how far was there or is there a culture of secrecy within the Church.

“How far the Church’s approach to sex and sexuality contributed or contributes to difficulties with cultural change.

“How far does the hierarchical nature of the Church create a power imbalance which could inhibit the reporting of abuse.”

Ms Scolding said this would not only stretch to attitudes of the past, but also cover the current practices of the Church and any future reforms it has planned.

The preliminary hearing also heard 184,020 pages of evidence had been received for examination.

Around 100,000 have so far been reviewed by inquiry officials with 22,000 of these found to be duplicates and 35,000 deemed irrelevant.

Article of Faith, an independent review of how the Church handled Ball’s case, was published earlier this year.

Chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, the review found “Ball’s conduct has caused serious and enduring damage to the lives of many men”.

October 1 2017 – “Heath ‘abused boys young as 11′” – Mail on Sunday – Oct 1 2017

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4937366/Ted-Heath-abused-boys-young-11.html

Ted Heath ‘abused boys young as 11’: Bombshell police report details 42 assault claims and one ‘rape of underage male’ with two cases linked to ex-premier’s interest in sailing

  • The controversial report into paedophile allegations against Sir Edward Heath includes claims he sexually assaulted boys as young as 11 
  • Some of the more serious allegations are linked to the sailing world 
  • The report will say that seven of the allegations are sufficiently credible to justify questioning Sir Edward under caution were he alive today

The controversial report into paedophile allegations against Sir Edward Heath includes claims that he sexually assaulted boys as young as 11, it emerged last night.

Some of the most serious allegations, which include at least one rape and span his five decades as an MP, are linked to the sailing world. The former Prime Minister was a skilled yachtsman.

The report will say that seven of the allegations are sufficiently credible to justify questioning Sir Edward under caution were he alive today. One of the seven is said to involve the rape of an underage boy. Two were linked to his interest in sailing and allegedly occurred in Guernsey and Jersey.

The sailing connection: The former Prime Minister was a renowned yachtsman, and even won races on board his vessel Morning Cloud. Two of the abuse allegations against Heath - pictured on the yacht in 1975 - are linked to his love of sailing and are alleged to have taken place in the Channel Islands

The sailing connection: The former Prime Minister was a renowned yachtsman, and even won races on board his vessel Morning Cloud. Two of the abuse allegations against Heath – pictured on the yacht in 1975 – are linked to his love of sailing and are alleged to have taken place in the Channel Islands

It is thought that at least two of the other seven most serious allegations occurred in Wiltshire, where Sir Edward lived at Arundells, a mansion in Salisbury. It is not known if the alleged crimes happened there.

Two separate allegations are said to have been made by individuals in ‘prominent’ positions today. It is thought they were reporting the alleged abuse of others.

The Mail on Sunday has been told that at least one allegation relates to a boy younger than 11 but we have been unable to confirm this.

And according to one unconfirmed report, some claims refer to the music world – Heath was known as an orchestra conductor.

Ready for a backlash: Chief Constable Mike Veale

The astonishing disclosures come just four days before the findings of Operation Conifer – a two-year, £1.5 million investigation into Sir Edward – are made public by Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Mike Veale.

Mr Veale has faced fierce criticism from those who claim the allegations are fantasy.

Crucially, the inquiry does not prove Sir Edward’s guilt: its remit was limited to saying if the claims justified questioning him.

It is understood that the report rejects three of the main arguments used by Sir Edward’s friends to combat the allegations: that he would have few opportunities to commit such crimes because he couldn’t drive and never owned a car; that for most of his long career he had round-the-clock police protection; and that he was asexual.

The report says Sir Edward’s former police bodyguards said they did not watch him 24 hours a day and that for much of his political life he had no protection at all.

It says he could drive – though bizarrely there is no record of him having had a driving licence – and at various times owned a Rover 2000 and Vauxhall Viva.

And it says former aides said they were certain he did have consenting sexual relationships with adults.

STORY THAT’S DIVIDED WESTMINSTER

COMMENT By Simon Walters 

There is a sense of incredulity at Westminster as the clock ticks down to Thursday’s publication of the findings of Operation Conifer.

It appears we will officially be told there are genuine grounds to believe Sir Edward Heath may have been a paedophile. The report is to be unveiled by Mike Veale, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police at its HQ in Swindon – a town better known for its ‘Magic Roundabout’ junction than cracking Watergate-style scandals.

If Mr Veale has been duped by fantasists, North Wiltshire Tory MP James Gray will be the first Westminster figure to call for him to quit. Mr Gray told me: ‘I knew Ted Heath and don’t for a minute believe he was a paedophile. If he was it would have come out long ago. If he produces firm evidence, I will be the first to apologise. If he doesn’t, he must go.’

Mr Gray can expect strong support from Sir Edward’s No 10 private secretary Lord Armstrong and ex-Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson who have been just as scathing about Mr Veale.

But Mr Veale has backing from key police figures, including Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey, who is in charge of all UK historic child sex investigations, and Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton, who supervises national police operations. Both men have seen his report.

Separately, he receives support today from Tory Minister John Glen, MP for Salisbury in Wiltshire – Sir Edward’s home city. Most assumed Mr Veale would abandon Operation Conifer after an inquiry into claims of a Westminster paedophile ring involving Home Secretary Leon Brittan collapsed over bogus claims.

When we reported that he pressed ahead because he thought some allegations against Sir Edward were ‘120 per cent true’, some asked: how can Heath have committed such crimes when he had police bodyguards?

If, when Mr Veale makes his statement in Swindon on Thursday, it is all fantasy like TV’s Magic Roundabout, he can expect to depart the police force at the first exit.

But if it contains solid facts, few will be laughing.

Furthermore, the report says:

  • 42 claims of child sex abuse include at least one rape of an underage boy. Most alleged victims were boys aged 11 to 15;
  • Some were rent boys or from ‘low-life’ backgrounds. Others were boys he encountered elsewhere. Nine of the 42 claims were already on police files, in some cases for decades, but had been dismissed;
  • Allegations date from the mid- 1950s when he was Chief Whip to the 1990s when he was in his 70s;
  • Places where alleged crimes occurred are generally referred to as ‘public places’. At least one is said to have happened in a hotel. Two allegations were made by ‘senior professionals’. Mr Veale is expected to say that he went to great lengths to avoid errors made by other police investigations into historic sex abuse allegations, such as being taken in by ‘fantasists’.

Riddle: Heath outside his Rover - he owned cars despite not having a licence

Riddle: Heath outside his Rover – he owned cars despite not having a licence

One accuser is said to have made three bogus claims and faces being prosecuted.

Nor has Mr Veale shied away from examining his own force’s record. The inquiry was told by a retired Wiltshire policeman that plans to prosecute an individual in the 1990s were dropped when the person threatened to claim in court that they had procured rent boys for Sir Edward.

KEY QUESTIONS FACED BY THE POLICE INQUIRY

Why haven’t the 42 allegations come to police attention before?

A Several did but were dismissed as bogus. Mr Veale reopened complaints buried in police files. The report says some did not complain at the time because they feared they would be ignored in an age when such complaints against VIPs were rarely investigated.

Q If only seven ‘victims’ would warrant police action, are the others bogus?

A Not necessarily. Police erred on the side of caution, and at least two were left out of the top category at the last minute.

Q Since Heath had police protection for much of his life, how could he abuse young boys without police knowing?

A Police who guarded Heath said that they did not always watch him 24 hours a day. There were lengthy spells when he had no protection.

Q Some of Heath’s friends said he never owned a car.

A Heath owned two cars – a Rover 2000 and Vauxhall Viva.

Does the report prove Sir Edward was guilty of anything?

A No. The inquiry did not have the power to do that and would need more evidence even to consider recommending prosecution.

Q What happens now?

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse said last month it is to study whether the report has any relevance to claims of an historic Westminster child sex ring and allegations of a cover-up involving Government Whips.

Mr Veale recruited eight of Britain’s most senior retired detectives to boost the 24-strong Wiltshire Police inquiry.

Mr Veale is expected to give a robust response to those who say it is pointless to investigate a dead man on the grounds that he can never be put in the dock, arguing that police have a special duty to probe alleged corruption in high places. Conifer was set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

No victims are referred to by name in the 100-page inquiry summary to honour a pledge of lifetime anonymity – although they are included in the full 350-page report given to the Home Office and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

This newspaper has been told the report lists the allegations against Sir Edward, who died aged 89 in 2005, in five categories:

1. Seven ‘victims’ whose accounts would warrant interviewing him under caution, including the alleged rape of a boy.

2. Sixteen ‘vulnerable’ cases whose accounts fall just short of similar action due to an ‘element of undermining evidence’, including fading memory.

3. Ten cases including ‘third parties’ – complainants who said others had been abused by Sir Edward but not themselves. When police tracked down the alleged victims in these cases they gave the same account, but named other individuals as being the person who had been abused. It is thought that they wanted to expose Sir Edward without admitting he had assaulted them. It includes people who are married with children and want to put the matter behind them but felt compelled to act as well.

4. Six cases including one individual who is to be prosecuted over three bogus claims. Three others withdrew complaints.

5. Three complaints were made anonymously.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘If this report shows there were serious grounds for believing Edward Heath was involved in the sexual abuse of children, it will cause a huge shockwave and it could indicate that claims of an Establishment cover-up of paedophiles in Westminster have been true all along.

‘When Theresa May was asked about the inquiry last week she said it was vital that all child sex abuse allegations are investigated properly. She is right.

‘The public need to be reassured that no one is above the law whatever their position in public life. It is interesting that some MPs and parts of the media appear so keen to vilify Mr Veale without knowing what is in the Conifer report.’

Friends of Mr Veale say he is ready to face down an anticipated hostile reception to his report from Sir Edward’s defenders. One said: ‘Mike’s view is that although Sir Edward is dead and cannot be prosecuted, the nearer you are to power, the more important it is to investigate alleged wrongdoing.’

Police chief has been pilloried… simply for doing his duty: MP JOHN GLEN defends the man who launched the Heath sex abuse inquiry 

If Sir Edward Heath were still alive today, I would be his local MP. His famous former home, Arundells, lies in the very heart of my Salisbury constituency.

So I was as appalled as anyone else at the manner in which the inquiry into sex abuse allegations against him began in 2015.

For a Wiltshire Police officer to stand outside Arundells to appeal for witnesses was insensitive.

Guard: An officer on duty outside Sir Edward's Salisbury home on the day the abuse inquiry was launched

Guard: An officer on duty outside Sir Edward’s Salisbury home on the day the abuse inquiry was launched

 

But over the past year, my anger at that ill-judged approach has given way to greater concerns.

I have watched with increasing disquiet as the inquiry has been subjected to repeated attacks seemingly designed to discredit it before it even sees the light of day.

And the man who took the difficult decision to launch it, Mike Veale, has been pilloried, his competence and professionalism questioned.

As someone who knows and respects Mr Veale, I find this deeply unfair.

In my constituency dealings with him, I have found him to be a dedicated and principled police officer.

In deciding to proceed with this inquiry, Mr Veale faced a profoundly difficult decision.

Sir Edward’s friends are understandably concerned that his reputation is not destroyed when he is no longer here to defend himself.

Given how other high-profile political sex-abuse inquiries collapsed, Mr Veale could have been forgiven for ignoring the allegations concerning Sir Edward.

Scotland Yard’s disgraceful hounding of former Tory Home Secretary Sir Leon Brittan will have borne heavily on his mind.

I suspect that if Mr Veale’s main concern was his own future career prospects, he would never have launched this inquiry. Instead, he did what I think was the right thing and decided that every allegation of such a serious crime must be judged on its own merits, however unpleasant and controversial.

If there are victims of historic child sex abuse in this case, they deserve to be heard and have their allegations properly investigated.

Sadly, critics of Operation Conifer have casually conflated it with previous discredited inquiries, as if one set of unfounded allegations automatically disproves others in perpetuity.

Nothing could be more damaging to public trust in our police and political system.

Of course some mistakes will have been made in Operation Conifer, such as its launch. And in any such complex investigation, unfounded claims will have been made and unreliable witnesses spoken to.

But Mr Veale has made extraordinary efforts to ensure this inquiry is proportionate and appropriate.

This inquiry was never going to ‘prove’ Sir Edward’s guilt one way or the other.

Only a court of law can do that and obviously the former PM can no longer face trial. But Operation Conifer may at least shed some light on whether he should have done.

 

Police chief has been pilloried… simply for doing his duty: MP JOHN GLEN defends the man who launched the Heath sex abuse inquiry

If Sir Edward Heath were still alive today, I would be his local MP. His famous former home, Arundells, lies in the very heart of my Salisbury constituency.

So I was as appalled as anyone else at the manner in which the inquiry into sex abuse allegations against him began in 2015.

For a Wiltshire Police officer to stand outside Arundells to appeal for witnesses was insensitive.

Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale's competence and professionalism has been questioned after launching the Heath sex abuse inquiry

But over the past year, my anger at that ill-judged approach has given way to greater concerns.

I have watched with increasing disquiet as the inquiry has been subjected to repeated attacks seemingly designed to discredit it before it even sees the light of day.

And the man who took the difficult decision to launch it, Mike Veale, has been pilloried, his competence and professionalism questioned.

As someone who knows and respects Mr Veale, I find this deeply unfair.

In my constituency dealings with him, I have found him to be a dedicated and principled police officer.

In deciding to proceed with this inquiry, Mr Veale faced a profoundly difficult decision.

Guard: An officer on duty outside Sir Edward's Salisbury home on the day the abuse inquiry was launched

Sir Edward’s friends are understandably concerned that his reputation is not destroyed when he is no longer here to defend himself.

Given how other high-profile political sex-abuse inquiries collapsed, Mr Veale could have been forgiven for ignoring the allegations concerning Sir Edward.

Scotland Yard’s disgraceful hounding of former Tory Home Secretary Sir Leon Brittan will have borne heavily on his mind.

I suspect that if Mr Veale’s main concern was his own future career prospects, he would never have launched this inquiry. Instead, he did what I think was the right thing and decided that every allegation of such a serious crime must be judged on its own merits, however unpleasant and controversial.

If there are victims of historic child sex abuse in this case, they deserve to be heard and have their allegations properly investigated.

Sadly, critics of Operation Conifer have casually conflated it with previous discredited inquiries, as if one set of unfounded allegations automatically disproves others in perpetuity.

Nothing could be more damaging to public trust in our police and political system.

Of course some mistakes will have been made in Operation Conifer, such as its launch. And in any such complex investigation, unfounded claims will have been made and unreliable witnesses spoken to.

But Mr Veale has made extraordinary efforts to ensure this inquiry is proportionate and appropriate.

This inquiry was never going to ‘prove’ Sir Edward’s guilt one way or the other.

Only a court of law can do that and obviously the former PM can no longer face trial. But Operation Conifer may at least shed some light on whether he should have done.

 

BREAKING NEWS – OCTOBER 5 2017

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/10318089/bbc-news-channel

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41503143 (Seligman)

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-abuse-heath/late-pm-heath-had-questions-to-answer-over-child-sex-abuse-claims-police-idUKKBN1CA101

http://news.sky.com/story/sir-edward-heath-would-have-been-questioned-over-child-sex-abuse-claims-say-police-11067641 (Seligman)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/sir-edward-heath-report-child-sex-abuse-allegations-investigation-inquiry-grounds-interview-caution-a7984256.html (Seligman)

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/sir-edward-heath-faced-investigation-claims-raped-young-boys-102557704.html

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/oct/05/ted-heath-would-have-been-questioned-over-seven-abuse-claims-police-say (Guardian)

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/edward-heath_uk_59d5eca1e4b0becae80271dc?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D544576591_uk (Huff Post)

 

https://twitter.com/WillBlackWriter?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor (Will Black)

https://twitter.com/glindsay34?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor (“Sir”)

https://www.davidicke.com/article/430937/sir-edward-heath-report-finds-grounds-investigate-former-prime-minister-child-sex-abuse-allegations (Icke)

 

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.’