Tag Archives: Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

June 6 2019 – Archbishop Welby again called upon to apologise for his “significant cloud” remark against Bishop Bell – following the ‘Welcome to George Bell House’ event in Chichester.

 

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The Bell Tower – Chichester Cathedral – RWS Photography

Following the “Welcome to George Bell House” event at 4 Canon Lane Chichester on Thursday June 6, Archbishop Welby is called upon to apologise for his “significant cloud” against Bishop Bell – again.

June 4 2019 – Revd Nick Flint – Rector of Rusper

Witness Name:  The Reverend Nick Flint

Statement No.:  1

Exhibits:   ​​

Dated:​​   24 May 2018​​

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

___________________________________________________________________

Witness Statement of The Reverend Nick Flint

___________________________________________________________________

I, Nicholas Angus Flint, will say as follows:-

1. I make this statement in connection with the Inquiry’s Anglican Church investigation and in particular the Peter Ball case study.

 

Background

2. I am currently the Rector of Rusper, which is a village in West Sussex. I have been in this role for 21 years.

3. I attended Chichester Theological College from 1984-1987. Then, from 1987-1991, I was in training in Aldwick, in Sussex. In the early 1990s, I was the Bishop of London’s assistant chaplain for homeless people. Immediately prior to my current role as Rector, I held a position as Team Vicar of Bewbush, in Crawley, for 5 years. I have been ordained for 31 years.

Statement given to Brian Tyler

4. I have been shown a copy of the statement that I gave to Brian Tyler, dated 29 December 1992, which is referred to as CPS000796. Brian Tyler was a retired police officer conducting an investigation relating to Peter Ball. I confirm that the statement is a true and accurate record of what I said to Brian Tyler at that time and in that particular context. However re reading it in May 2018 for the first time in more than 25 years it strikes me that my comments are a response to a series of closed questions and that overall the document reflects at best a lack of understanding and experience of homosexuality, at worst a borderline homophobia, from which I would now distance myself and wholly and utterly refute. Historically, homosexuality has had to be closeted in secrecy and that very secrecy has been a cloak for unacceptable behaviour.  Part of the remedy for this must be for the church to be open and accepting of homosexuality, rather than continue to scapegoat homosexuals as being the problem. 

Statement given to the Independent Peter Ball Review 

5. On 9 June 2016, I spoke to Kevin Harrington, a member of the Independent Peter Ball Review team (the ‘Review’). I have been shown a copy of the note of the meeting, which is referred to as INQ000633. I confirm that this is an accurate summary of the meeting.

6. At the meeting, I read aloud a statement which I had prepared in advance. I have been shown a copy of this statement, which is referred to as INQ000632. I confirm that the statement was true and accurate at that time. However, since the publication of Dame Moira Gibb’s report in June 2017, I have become aware of additional information about Peter Ball and can no longer hold all of the views I expressed in my statement at INQ000632. 

7. I read Dame Moira’s report shortly after it was published. I broadly accept her findings. However I did contact the Review team with deep concern when I realised that it drew substantially on the comments [unreliable in my view] of James Francis AKA Mr A. [see below at 9]

8. In 1993, Peter Ball accepted a caution and in 2015, he pleaded guilty prior to a trial. Although I had accepted at that point that Peter Ball was guilty, I was not fully aware of the extent of his offending behaviour. Dame Moira’s report revealed to me for the first time the extent and serious nature of Peter Ball’s offending, but also crucially how much was known by many other people and how early on they had become aware of this information. 

Additional information

James Francis

9. At the outset of Sussex Police’s investigation in 2012, I made myself known to them. I was brushed off by the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Carwyn Hughes. I had information about sexual and other offending by James Francis, but the police did not want to speak to me about him. At the time of Peter Ball’s resignation from Gloucester [1993 – Ed], the Archbishop as well as the Bishops of Chichester, London and Southwark were all aware of his [James Francis or Peter Ball? – Ed] immoral and illegal activity. I had forensic knowledge of the layout and occupancy of the house where Peter Ball’s offences were alleged to have taken place but this offer of help was peremptorily dismissed.

10. Shortly after [2012? – Ed], I wrote to the Bishop of Chichester [became Bishop in 2012 – Ed], Martin Warner. I provided him with information about James Francis. The response that I received was disappointing . [Letters attached.] It seems that Bishop Warner did not pass on the information to the police. I have made enquiries of the Diocese and Lambeth Palace to find out whether Bishop Warner did pass on the information to the police, but I have not received any clear answers. I gave this information face to face to Bishop Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham who subsequently told me had been personally ‘warned off’ investigating Francis.

11. In or around June 2016I was contacted by the Metropolitan Police Service (‘MPS’) and interviewed in connection with James Francis. The MPS had only contacted me by chance and because I was still in contact with one of his victims, not through the agency of Bishop Warner despite his knowing I had ‘useful’ information. James Francis had been arrested and the police wanted to gather information from my knowledge and experience of him. I relied to some extent on the information that I had learned from Bishop Eric Kemp, [I can provide two very brief letters he wrote at the time, if this is helpful] and I shared everything that I knew or thought I knew in my interview with the MPS. The puzzling question remained as to why despite the knowledge of several bishops of his activities which led to a significant delay in his ordination, did he yet go on to be ordained. [granted lesser sentence if he gave evidence against Ball reward for ‘shopping’ Peter Ball? – Ed]

 

General

12 In October 2015, I attended a meeting with Bishop Warner. I had arranged to see him so that I could discuss with him my frustration about not being able to move post within the Diocese. He advised me that he did not have anything for me in his diocese and that I should look in the Church Times as this was where other dioceses advertised their vacancies. The meeting took place shortly after Peter Ball had been sentenced and Vickery House was still on trial. It was  therefore an additionally difficult time for me since Fr House was an old friend who had preached at my First Mass and at my wedding. After his arrest he had attended my church until this had been unilaterally halted by the intervention of Archdeacon Douglas McKittrick without reference either to me or the Police. In an email the Police stated they were happy for Fr House to continue attending my church. I sought to query this and my concern that a man at the time presumed innocent had been scared off by the Archdeacon but he ignored my messages and Bishop Warner did not offer a satisfactory explanation for that decision or lack of communication. I was struck at this meeting by the Bishop’s total absence of any regard for my well being. Indeed as far as I was concerned it was at this point he crossed the line from previous neglect to actual bullying. If he had read his notes before this meeting he would have known how vulnerable I was. Either he couldn’t be bothered to inform himself or he took advantage of my vulnerability. As well as my parish posts I have since 2002 been part of the Deliverance Ministry Team in Chichester Diocese. Members of this team are advisers to the bishops in the field of the paranormal. From this specialist background and experience I would identify what I see in the diocese as ‘occult activity’.  By this I do not of course think that senior clergy are dabbling in arcane pagan rituals, but that they have been known to abuse power through knowledge, rather than modeling transparent holiness.

12. Before and since the Review [which Review? 2016 Harrington?], I have experienced little to no engagement from the Diocese of Chichester and Lambeth Palace. I contacted the latter in 2016 [James Francis arrested in 2016 but no publicity – protected by Church & Police because he ‘shopped’ Ball?]] as I was getting nowhere with my own diocese. The diocese did not encourage me to share my experience with Gibb [Gibb Report 2017]. Although I am not a direct victim in this case, I consider myself to be ‘collateral damage.’ By this I mean that since 2012 I have suffered undue anxiety, marked loss of confidence, even doubts about my priestly vocation and life purpose. I have experienced bizarre sleep walking behaviour and fears that as a key person in the Litlington community I might even be wrongfully arrested by the Police. I have found myself supporting others who identify as supporters of Peter Ball as well as those who consider themselves his victims. I have found myself supporting victims of Francis one of whom took his own life. In most cases neither of these groups have felt the way the church dealt with Peter Ball then and now has helped them. I have respected all their stories but holding such apparent opposites in tension has caused immense strain on me personally. I have felt silenced as I have had to listen to people who weren’t even there tell someone like me who was, what was going on at Litlington. My formative religious experience has been reduced to ‘ a cloak of fraudulent Christianity’, and if such is really the case I have been surprised that no bishop has required me to give account of my involvement in such a scenario. As recently as 2018 a senior member of Lambeth Safeguarding told me she ‘didn’t have time to talk with [me] or answer [my] difficult questions.’ I interpreted this as implying that as an employee of the church, an insider I should make allowances and hold back from criticism. As far as I am concerned this repeated and sustained attitude amounts to me being spiritually abused. I have been reduced to a condition where I do not believe I would now be fit to undergo interview for a new post. Why should Lambeth treat me as a second class complainant?
13. Essentially, I have felt senior churchmen would prefer it if I did not exist, as metaphorically I am neither black or white in my response to safeguarding failures and so challenge their panicked desire for a tidy response to the complex and unsettling reality. Their default position seems to be to sideline and talk loudly over my experience.

14. I was for over twenty years a public supporter of Peter Ball, but I now feel that I was set up as such by the Diocese of Chichester. There were opportunities where I think the Diocese should have spoken to me about Peter Ball but chose not to. I was not given the full truth. I feel betrayed by both the Church of England and the Diocese of Chichester. Recently Colin Perkins finally explained that he had not been at liberty to meet and talk with me because potentially both of us might have been witnesses in the case involving James Francis, yet he or someone else in the department could have told me this far earlier and pointed me in the direction of help. My decades of loyalty to Chichester, even if partially misguided, should have been reciprocated. In fact I feel I have been punished for trying to do the right thing and following my conscience.

15. I believe it is possible that I have been and continue to be discriminated against due to my previous association with and support of Peter Ball. I have put this suggestion to Archdeacon Philip Jones,  a few times and he categorically denies it. However, I think it is the most likely explanation for the poor treatment that I have received, and I have often expressed myself open to a more plausible reason, but none has ever been offered. I would have been far happier and satisfied with an admission of incompetence than with the guilty silence that screams conspiracy. All I have sought is an open conversation on the matter, which might address that fear and if I am mistaken lay it to rest. Firmly in the Catholic tradition I work happily across the broad churchmanship spectrum and support the ordination of women and same sex marriage. Many of my tradition are allied to ‘The Society’ which according to its website requires the ‘submission’ of its members to the bishop. I find the language of submission deeply troubling and out of place. Modern bishops claim to themselves a management rather than pastoral model to their role. In what other organisation would someone have a line manager who hasn’t spoken to them since 2016? Archdeacon Jones did after some years apologise for not standing up for me when he witnessed Bishop Wallace Benn humiliate and bully me. His inability to do so at the time indicates the underlying culture of bullying of which even he was a victim. I can provide a document ‘I am Rev B’ which details much of the discrimination of which I am a victim and which I have shared with Lambeth Safeguarding.
15 In 2017 I sought legal advice from a solicitor’s firm. My concern related to appointments. Positions within the Diocese of Chichester are rarely openly advertised, and sometimes roles are handed out without the appropriate processes being followed. In October 2015 I did challenge Bishop Warner face to face on the lack of transparency I was witnessing specifically in relation to clergy appointments, but he made clear he did not accept this insight and would not discuss the matter.
I also sought to raise the same matter with Lambeth Safeguarding staff and a number of bishops on the basis that such transparency was a requirement of the Archbishops Visitation to Chichester. My offer of evidence to back this up was ignored and I have been passed from pillar to post with no one showing the slightest interest in taking any action. I was criticised by Lambeth Safeguarding for ‘talking to too many people’  but this was precisely because no one would offer consistent advice or take responsibility for my concerns.
On a personal note my CV is such that those outside Chichester diocese have had no hesitation in offering me interviews for posts in which I have shown an interest, while according to Warner my name had not even ever been considered for a single one within Chichester, where I have always made clear I wish to stay in Sussex for family reasons.

16 I witnessed the closing statement made on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council at the Inquiry’s Chichester hearing. They seemed to be saying that although they had got it wrong in the past they will do better in the future. I felt this was false. I do not think that they are doing better now, and I do not think that there is sufficient will to change the cultural attitude. The recent George Bell case shows the church not only doing things by its own rules but even trying to police the Police! Despite the abusive pressure I am still experiencing, I believe I have for the most part responded with graciousness yet firmness. I may have had occasional lapses into anger under the constant strain, but I would be happy for any independent body to have full access to all correspondence I have had in these matters in order to judge whether my words have in the circumstances been inappropriate. The church has had to face some painful truths. It now needs to be unflinching in proclaiming its core message of reconciliation and finding ways of putting that that into practice, otherwise it has no reason for continuing to even exist.

Statement of Truth

I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.

Signed: _________Nicholas Flint SMMS ________________________________

Dated: ____________24 May 2018___________

 

TIMELINE

1992/3 – Ball resigns from Gloucester – “The Jimmy Savile of the Church of England – Ball conned and duped everyone – including Bishop Bell” – RWS

2012 – Flint provides Warner [and Police] with info about James Francis. Neither are interested, it seems.

2015 – James Francis alerts Police to the extent of Ball’s abuse. Ball pleads guilty. Flint was unaware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Flint close friend with Vickery House. Flint’s meeting with Warner.

2016 – Pre-Gibb Harrington police investigation. Flint approached by Police for information about James Francis. Francis arrested.

2017 – Gibb Report. Flint now fully aware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Gibb very reliant on the testimony of James Francis (who felt Francis was “unreliable” and said so]

 

 

Nick, I note with concern your comment: “In my evidence I also record my repeated concern that as recently as 2016 Martin Warner had not passed on to the Police information I gave him about a suspect.”

Nobody has picked up on this. Not surprisingly the discussion has focussed on the finer details of patronage, as this was the subject of the article.

It’s troubling if any bishop is not acting on information reliably given by a member of clergy or officer within the diocese. And astonishing really that after many layers of failure and cover-up in this diocese have been brought into daylight – this lack of response might still be happening under a current bishop.

I hope the situation has now moved forward a considerable pace since the time of your statement. I’d be surprised if it hasn’t. I imagine you have had help from the IICSA lawyers to ensure a definite response. To my mind the bishop’s inaction would be grounds for a CDM. But that piece of structure has been brought into considerable disrepute with dismissals within the purple circle, time limits, ‘floods’, etc.

Two CDMs brought against Bishop Wallace Benn by the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group (DSAG) were dismissed on the basis of 12 month time limits. It is worth reading the IICSA summary to be reminded just how dysfunctional Bishop Benn’s approach was. And startling to see how easily the time-bar protects bad practice.

https://www.iicsa.org.uk/reports/anglican-chichester-peter-ball/case-study-1-diocese-chichester/b6-complaints-under-clergy-discipline-measure

IICSA says the CDM “is not a suitable tool to deal with ongoing issues of risk management.” That seems a right assessment. But in the absence of anything else that might hold bishops to account, it’s all there is. Sir Roger Singleton brought a recent CDM against the Bishop of Chester for failing to respond to a letter ten years ago. If there’s any consistency, that will be dismissed by the Clergy Discipline Tribunal. And the Measure descend into more of a farce than it already is. One can only assume that Sir Roger’s reason for bringing this CDM was to highlight the farce and demonstrate the total collapse of the CDM. And force the church to address glaring unaccountability.

At the very least, Bishop Martin Warner should be asked to explain his reasons for the inaction. I’m not surprised the media did not pick up on this at the time, as there are so many documents on the IICSA website. Unless a witness lands in front of Counsel in a hearing, much goes past the media who tend to report the ‘big stuff’. The material on IICSA might be source for historians and theologians in the future….

It charts a church in breakage, a gospel in collapse.

Gilo

June 3 2019 – “Justice for Bishop Bell will prevail as long as there are enough people with enough faith to fight for it” ~ Richard W. Symonds

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester [before the name change in 2015] – Picture: Alamy

“Justice for Bishop Bell will prevail as long as there are enough people with enough faith to fight for it”

~ Richard W. Symonds

https://www.change.org/p/the-dean-chapter-of-chichester-cathedral-justice-for-george-bell-479a626f-47aa-400d-8fc3-61b19fcc5d98/u/24646287?cs_tk=AmUgHT_mLfXlAWb-91wAAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvKGAchlH_bvZzl3QDhjezNk%3D&utm_campaign=d73b877c355e41bfa538ab5d0f2b8372&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_term=cs

May 24 2019 – “I find Dr Warner’s reluctance [to declare Bishop Bell innocent] incomprehensible” – Church Times – Letters – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

download

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/24-may/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

IICSA report on Ball’s translation; clearing Bishop Bell…

From Mr Richard W. Symonds

Sir, — Your leader comment (“Power of abuse”, 17 May) states: “. . . It is easy, then, to see why Dr Warner [the Bishop of Chichester] has been so reluctant to declare Bishop Bell innocent of the charges of abuse brought against him by ‘Carol’, despite encouragement to do so from those who have investigated the case thoroughly.”

As someone who has assisted “those who have investigated the case thoroughly”, I do not find the Bishop’s reluctance to declare Bishop Bell innocent “easy . . . to see”.

In fact, I find Dr Warner’s reluctance incomprehensible.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley
West Sussex RH11 0NN

 

From the Rt Revd Dr Colin Buchanan

Sir, — Your account (News, 17 May) of the Report of the Independent Investigation into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), while picking upon the part played by Archbishop George Carey, omits any mention of another key figure, who must bear much responsibility for the whole miserable event.

The hinge on which the case turns is the appointment of Peter Ball to be Bishop of Gloucester. The earlier Gibb report merely reported that Ball had been no 2 on the list sent to John Major, though it did report that the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary, Robin Catford, had earlier tried Peter Ball’s name on the diocesan representatives of Norwich when they were seeking to appoint a diocesan bishop there in 1985. The Norwich representatives then indicated that they did not want a bishop who seemed so greatly to enjoy the company of young men.

The IICSA report mentions this in para. 61. It does not mention here that the previous year Catford had made the same approach to the Portsmouth representatives when their diocese was vacant, and they (I have on good authority from one of the four) replied that they lived too near to Sussex with too much knowledge of Chichester diocese to contemplate nominating Ball.

To anyone who asked the question, which the Gibb report omitted, how Ball was appointed to Gloucester, the IISCA gives a part-reply. It does highlight the critical role played by Catford in persuading John Major to use his discretion and appoint the second name on the list, with a very loaded and possibly even devious exercise of his advisory role. Catford appears in a very bad light in paras. 65-66 of the IISCA report. But the report does not consider the prior question how Ball ever became considered for appointment by the Crown Appointments Commission. The CAC must surely have received clean unqualified references, tabled by the two appointments secretaries (one the Archbishop’s, the other the Prime Minister’s) and including, presumably, a detailed reference from Eric Kemp, Ball’s diocesan bishop in Chichester.

The report does show that Kemp was well aware of activities (or at least rumours) that would have seriously qualified any frank report; so we are left to wonder what kind of references the two secretaries laid before the CAC. Had Kemp written nothing, or had anything damaging been filleted out of anything that he had written? Ball was also an unlikely candidate on the quite different grounds that he opposed the ordination of women, which Gloucester diocese strongly supported (a point that it does not appear that Catford made in his memorandum to John Major).

So it becomes reasonable to assume that, as previously with Portsmouth and Norwich, Catford was pressing a strong case for Ball’s appointing — and securing Ball’s position as second on the list with the CAC was enough to enable him then to recommend to the Prime Minister that Ball be appointed. But IISCA does not report what references and what other support Ball had at the CAC; and the natural conclusion must remain that George Carey, along with the CAC, was being taken for a ride on behalf of Catford’s favoured candidate.

If this is so, three immediate reflections come to mind. First is that it is hardly surprising that George Carey, with the PM’s appointments secretary’s glowing character reference before him, was fully ready to believe Ball’s protestations of innocence. Second, if a proper handling of the stories around in Chichester diocese had been put before the CAC, Peter Ball would never have been even second in the candidates for appointment to Gloucester, and, while the matter would no doubt have reached the Archbishop of Canterbury, it is Bishop Kemp who would have had to deal with the first round of complaints; and, third, the key person responsible for getting Ball into this position was the civil servant who was adviser to the PM, in relation to which the State is as liable as the Church for the unwanted outcome.

The PM retained the final discretion in the appointment of bishops; he, on the wholly misleading advice of the civil servant who was supposed to have first-rate and dispassionate knowledge of the clergy, exercised his discretion on behalf of a deeply flawed candidate; and considerable blame should therefore lie with Downing Street.

None of this touches directly on the part played by either the police or George Carey or the Prince of Wales, but it helps to explain why Ball was so readily believed.

COLIN BUCHANAN
21 The Drive
Leeds LS17 7QB

 

 

May 21 2019 – Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Bishop George Bell and The Deleted Files – Anglican Unscripted 505 [Time: 20.45 to 28.05]

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Bishop Gavin Ashenden

The implications of hiding crosses in churches. Anglican Unscripted 505.

Anglican Unscripted 505 – Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Bishop George Bell [Time: 20.45 to 28.05]

Ref: “Footprints In The Sand – tracking changes in online content” – A short report for The Bell Society by Peter Crosskey

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/may-20-2019-footprints-in-the-sand-tracking-changes-in-online-content-chichester-cathedral-website-a-short-report-for-the-bell-society-by-peter-crosskey/

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May 19 2019 – Lack of apology and Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Dr Martin Warner Bishop of Chichester said this on Oct 22 2015:

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties” 

Lord Carlile QC said this on February 1 2019:

“The Church should now accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and that after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him”

Professor Peter Billingham said this on May 12 2019

 “Two major reports in 2017 and 2019 [Carlile and Briden] established that allegations of abuse made against Bishop Bell sixty years after his death were unfounded”  

After nearly 4 years, we are still awaiting an apology from Bishop Warner – and we still await Bishop Bell to be declared innocent.

May 19 2019 – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell – What is at Stake and Why is it Important?

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Peter Hitchens

https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2019/05/please-sign-this-petition-for-truth-and-justice.html

15 May 2019

Please Sign This Petition for Truth and Justice

I hesitate to ask readers one again to support a petition, but my good friend Peter Billingham, a long-standing and dedicated fighter in the cause of truth, and justice for the late George Bell, needs your support in a good enterprise.

There is now no serious question that the late Bishop Bell has emerged with his reputation unstained after allegations made against him. Regular readers will know of the case, but for new readers, or those wishing to refresh their memories, the best summary of the long saga may be read here http://www.georgebellgroup.org/statement-may-2019/

The distinguished QC Lord Carlile of Berriew  reviewed the case in a report which showed that the investigation of the allegations against the late Bishop bell was a one-sided, sloppy kangaroo court. But the Archbishop of Canterbury, who commissioned that report, debarred him from stating a conclusion about George Bell’s guilt or innocence. Lord Carlile made it clear, when questioned at the time of publication, that he thought the case against George bell was extraordinarily weak.  He has since said clearly that he believes that Bishop Bell *was* innocent of the charges,

Lord Carlile declared on 1 February 2019,  ‘The Church should now accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and that after due process, however delayed, George Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him.’

But while the Church has plainly retreated from its earlier attitude, and the media which joined hastily in the Church’s hasty, unfair condemnation are now licking their wounds, relieved that the dead have no redress in such situations, there is still a failure in some quarters to admit error. In a Stalinist frenzy after the first accusations were made, George Bell’s name was hurriedly and shamefully stripped from a number of buildings and institutions, by people who failed to understand the most basic principles of English justice.

The most important of these was the handsome and tranquil guest house in Chichester Cathedral precincts, called George Bell House. This building was originally the gift of an order of Anglican nuns who had loved George Bell when he was alive and wanted to honour him after his death. Yet despite the vindication of George Bell by the Carlile review, his name has still not been restored to it. This is small-minded and petty, and putting it right would go a long way towards the penitence the Chichester authorities, and the Church of England as a whole, ought to show.

So, in the names of Truth and Justice, I ask you please to take a moment to add your names to this petition:

https://www.change.org/p/the-dean-chapter-of-chichester-cathedral-justice-for-george-bell-479a626f-47aa-400d-8fc3-61b19fcc5d98?recruiter=834778373&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email

 

 

 

There are many things going on in this world but this is also an important issue one should not ignore, if one cares for truth and justice in everyday life.

However, I was wrong to believe that I could not sign this petition. This one does *not* require the residence address/postal code. There are many readers who do not live in the UK but really care for this subject.

I hope more people, even those who living outside of the UK, would sign this petition now.

 

 

The petition claims:

Two major reports in 2017 and 2019 established that allegations of abuse made against Bishop Bell sixty years after his death were unfounded.

Which is just a way of browbeating the original complainant into withdrawing – so back to the dark ages of the C of E – when everyone knew that htis sort of thing was rife but nobody spoke out – not even those who were happy to speak out against the war effort.

The facts have not changed.

An allegation was made. The C of E had it checked and concluded that in a civil case they would lose (with the facts judged on the balance of probabilities) and so they settled – about GBP16,000 plus a similar amount of costs.

In the absence of corroboration it was widely assumed that a criminal case against Bell (had he still been alive) would not get up if judged beyond reasonable doubt.

After the settlement the Cof E (and various elements of the media) reported the situation so as to give the impression that Bell had been found guilty. That is the only thing that was handled wrongly.

The difficulty still remains for the C of E (and any other organisation finding itself in a similar situation) that they have a lauded hero but htere is an uncorroborated allegation against him. What to do about statues and other celebratory artefacts relating to that person.

That a tough nut to crack.

No amount of further pontification changes the original facts.

Clearly there are those who would like the original complaint to be withdrawn and are applying pressure in manners such as this and Spacely-Trellis type reports which waffle around before eventually putting the boot in.

Disgraceful.

The original point (about the church’s (and media’s) misreporting of the original settlement) was won long ago.

Time to let it drop was long ago.

The only way you can get the original uncorroborated allegation to be withdrawn is by pressuring the complainant to do that – of which this is clearly a part.

***PH remarks: This contributor plainly has not read the two reports on the allegations against Bishop Bell. I suggest he goes to the website of the George Bell Group and studies the issue. Both sets of charges were shown in detail to be ( I put this politely) hopelessly weak. ****

 

 

 

adbob | 18 May 2019 at 01:14 AM

-“The facts have not changed.”-

The facts have changed.

-“An allegation was made. The C of E had it checked and concluded that in a civil case they would lose (with the facts judged on the balance of probabilities) and so they settled – about GBP16,000 plus a similar amount of costs.”-

As a previous thread post pointed out:

Yes, maybe a “legal process” had begun – but there was no trial. 
“Presumption of innocence”, “reasonable doubt”, “balance of probabilities”, etc. all apply only *during a legal or civil trial*. – Phil W | 29 January 2018 at 09:42 AM

-“No amount of further pontification changes the original facts.”-

The “original facts” did not include the facts which came to light since.

 

Signed and donated. In order for evil to prosper it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.

 

 

Signed. Mr Hitchens deserves great credit for his campaign to ensure that justice is done.
I wrote to Canterbury and Chichester to complain about what had been done. I received unsatisfactory replies. It would be interesting to see what they gave to say now.

 

 

 

Thank you for continuing to pursue this.

Is it worth asking how this happened, so that it might be prevented from reoccurring? My guess is that the Establishment (George Carey, the Prince of Wales, etc) was so stung by its worryingly misguided defence of Peter Ball, the convicted sex offender and ex Bishop of Lewes, that it swung too far the other way when faced with an unsubstantiated allegation.

 

 

Signed.
Yes, well done Mr Hitchens for keeping this up.

 

signed.

 

 

I signed. I don’t live in Chichester but do visit occasionally and these visits always include the Cathedral. It has been associated with some very notable people. I noticed that Gustav Holst’s remains are interred there, but my favourite is Thomas Weelkes, who was the Cathedral’s organist about 400 years ago. I do love his music and wondered why he never became a Gentleman of The Chapel Royal. Then I found out that he was rather too fond of the bottle and was often in trouble, even behaving badly enough to be dismissed but being able enough to be re-instated! His greatest/lowest moment must surely have been urinating on the Dean of the cathedral from the organ loft during Evensong. If the Cathedral authorities then were much like those now then perhaps he had a point.

 

Done

Signed. What a shame it has come to this. Welby and his ilk have no honour and integrity and should be ashamed to call themselves Christian, let alone purport to lead and represent a Christian institution.

 

Signed and shared on Facebook in the hope that others might sign it too…

 

 

PH is unwittingly beginning to sound like the defenders of Michael Jackson and Bill Cosby, it is extremely rare for people to completely fabricate allegations of sexual abuse, so I think it is right that someone’s reputation is at least tarnished by such an an accusation.

Of course if they were alive the law would presume innocence as it should, the alleged victims and the defendant could provide testimony and be subject to rigorous, persistent cross-examination, alas, this was never done and now cannot be done.

However, given that we are not talking about taking away Mr Bell’s liberty,, and given how rare it is for people to fabricate sexual abuse,, is it not absolutely correct that the CofE distances itself from this man?

 

 

Thomas O’Thornton | 15 May 2019 at 04:48 PM:-“it is extremely rare for people to completely fabricate allegations of sexual abuse […] and given how rare it is for people to fabricate sexual abuse”-

If only that were so.

 

 

Just signed it now. Thank you for keeping up interest in this matter Mr. Hitchens, I hope Justice is served.