Tag Archives: Church of England

Dear Editor

Following the due process of law, the Church of England has restored Bishop Bell’s good name – especially with Archbishop Welby’s personal statement last November.

But the Chichester Cathedral authorities have yet to restore the name of George Bell House to 4 Canon Lane.

Why?

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

DECEMBER 2 2021 – “MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” / “A SERVICE OF REPARATION?” / “REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER- LETTERS + NOVEMBER 25 2021 – LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH

George Bell Bishop of Chichester

Portrait by William Coldstream [in storage at Pallant House Gallery Chichester]

“MAKE VOICES HEARD ON BELL” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS DECEMBER 2 2021

Dear Editor

As Marilyn Billingham, widow of Professor Peter Billingham, says [Opinion, November 25]:

“George Bell was the Bishop of Chichester from 1929-1958; a matter of great pride to the people of the city”

These people – and others – must now make their powerful voices fully heard, if the good name of this wartime bishop is to be fully restored within the Cathedral city.

RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Bell Society

“A SERVICE OF REPARATION” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

It’s joyful news that the Archbishop of Canterbury has rescinded his claim that a ‘significant cloud’ hangs over the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell, who died in 1958.

Six years’ injustice (since the accusation against Bell was first made public in 2015) has thus been overturned.

According to your report (November 25) the present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner welcomes the Archbishop’s statement as ‘both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues … do still surface in the Church of England of our own time’.

Maybe so.  But isn’t the obverse of that comment that those same virtues manifestly did not surface in the Church of England during the last six years?  To be blunt, Bishop Bell’s reputation was thrown to the dogs.

More can be said.  The attack on Bell’s reputation was in the first instance due to the Archbishop.  But Martin Warner by not challenging it was himself complicit.  The same goes for the Dean of Chichester and the rest of our Cathedral Chapter.

Astonishingly, not one serving bishop or senior cleric of the Church made any attempt to defend Bishop Bell during that time.  Though Bell, as they well knew, was a towering figure in his day, of unassailable moral grandeur, against whom the accusation of 2015 seemed to outsiders simply inconceivable.

Further, as far as I know no serving member of the clergy in the entire Chichester diocese felt moved to take Bell’s side.

It is time we heard from the Dean and Chapter on the matter.  To date, no statement on their behalf has appeared on the Cathedral website.

Does Dean Stephen Waine maintain his previous view of Bell’s guilt?  Or is he ready (like Martin Warner, it seems) to follow the Archbishop in his unexpected volte face?

Bishop Bell deserves a more obvious and sincere apology from both Cathedral and Diocese. 

Could the Dean perhaps announce a grand service of reparation, maybe in the form of a special Evensong?  It could very suitably be held on George Bell’s birthday (February 4th, a Friday next year).

DR TIM HUDSON                                                               

Hawthorn Close,                                                               

Chichester

“REOPEN CAFE IN BELL’S NAME” – CHICHESTER OBSERVER – LETTERS – DECEMBER 2 2021

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, has now unreservedly apologised for mistakes made in failing to manage the process of abuse allegations against Bishop Bell ‘with the consistency, clarity or accountability to meet the high standards rightly demanded of us’ [Observer November 25].

Welby retracts his previous claim saying a ‘significant cloud’ should no longer tarnish Bell’s distinguished reputation.

In regretful atonement, Welby has announced a statue to be erected on the west front of Canterbury Cathedral celebrating ‘the huge debt owed him which extends far beyond the Church he served’.

I ask Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester Cathedral, to follow Justin Welby’s fine example by restoring Bishop Bell’s good name, not with a statue, but with reopening The Bishop Bell Tea Rooms and Shop to the benefit of the community and local economy.

PETER LANSLEY

Cedar Drive, Chichester

LORD LEXDEN LETTER – DAILY TELEGRAPH – NOVEMBER 25 2021

SIR — Bishop Bell’s name must be put back on the buildings in Chichester, as the Rev Dr Barry Orford insists (Letters, November 23). There is no sign, however, that the current Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, with whom I have clashed in the House of Lords, intends to lift a finger.

Last week he praised the statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as “both humble and courageous, reminding us that these virtues, evident in George Bell himself, do still surface in the Church of England”.

It is an outrage to put Archbishop Welby on the same plane as the great man whose reputation he traduced. Bishop Warner added that he had “no plans to make any further comments”. Anglicans must give him no peace until he either does his duty or resigns.

LORD LEXDEN OBE
London SW1

Oct 22 2015 – “I would be grateful…if you could refrain from including George Bell in your guided tours and external presentations” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine [to Cathedral Guides]

IMG_1572

Page 37 of Cathedral Guide ‘Society and Faith’ [later, the Guide was pulped]https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/november-17-2021-i-was-wrong-says-archbishop-welby/embed/#?secret=cn0NvKdEHG

FEBRUARY 5 2021 – “COMPLAINANT IN PERCY CASE SAYS SHE ACTED ALONE” – CHURCH TIMES

CHURCH TIMES – FEBRUARY 5 2021 – “COMPLAINANT IN PERCY CASE SAYS SHE ACTED ALONE”


THE anonymous complainant in the latest case against the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, has defended herself against criticism that has denigrated her complaint and portrayed her as a tool of malign forces in the college.

The complainant has taken the unusual step of writing to the Church Times to counter critics who have publicised details of what should be confidential investigations by both the college and the Church of England (Letters).The case relates to an alleged incident of sexual harassment in the cathedral on 4 October (News, 20 November 2020).

She writes: “Had I not judged the incident to be inappropriate and extremely distressing, I should not have decided to make a formal complaint.” She continues: “I made this decision myself, under no pressure from any other person. To suggest otherwise is deeply insulting”

The open speculation about the case is taking its toll on her and the Dean, she suggests, and urges those discussing the case to desist, warning them that they are “creating an environment where future survivors of harassment will not feel able to come forward”.

She reveals that she offered to resolve the matter through independent mediation via ACAS, but the Dean had declined through ill health. This course is no longer open to him, since the college’s Governing Body has decided to initiate a formal tribunal to consider the case and whether he should be dismissed (News, 15 January).

Neither the college’s action against Dean Percy, nor the Church of England’s investigation, can proceed while the Dean is on sick leave.

Last week, it was revealed that the Charity Commission had written to each member of the Governing Body, inquiring about the new tribunal.

The reported cost of the college’s action against Dean Percy since a first complaint in 2018 is said to have risen above £2 million. Christ Church functions as a charity, and former alumni asked the Charity Commission to investigate.

On Wednesday of last week, Helen Earner, director of regulatory services, wrote to each member of the Governing Body, 65 in all, warning them that the Commission “will be seeking further information and assurances from the members of the Governing Body about why establishing a tribunal is: in the best interests of the charity and its beneficiaries; [and] a responsible use of the charity’s resources”.The Commission will also inquire about any conflicts of interest.

The college authorities said that they welcomed “the opportunity to share the process in a transparent way with the Charity Commission”. At the same time, the authorities wrote to individual members offering advice and assistance about how to respond to the Commission.“Slow and brutal”. 

Last Friday, Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, whose Permission to Officiate was reinstated last week (News, 29 January), wrote in The Daily Telegraph to reiterate his argument made to the National Safeguarding Team core group that he had no recollection of the abuser John Smyth, who studied briefly at Trinity College, Bristol, when Lord Carey was Principal, or of being shown a report of his abuses.

He writes: “If I had seen the ‘memo’ listing Smyth’s terrible deeds it would have been seared on my memory. But the investigator and the core group took no note of my protestations.”

He notes of his treatment: “Recent safeguarding complaints about both the [present] Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been closed quickly with judicious speed and finality. I have no reason to doubt that they were dealt with properly but those of us who have suffered the stutteringly slow, brutal and impersonal face of the Church of England’s core group process have reason to complain about the disparity.

“This is not the Church of England that I have known — generous, open and kind. Tragically, I know that victims of clerical abuse found the Church of England in the past to be defensive and uncaring, and I greatly regret my part in that culture and those terrible attitudes. But it does not do to replace one failure with another.

“The current culture of fear in which survivors and clerics alike receive no kind of justice must be confronted.”


Complaint against Dean of Christ Church, Oxford – Church Times Letters

Sir, — I am the woman who made a complaint about Dean Martyn Percy’s conduct in Christ Church Cathedral on 4 October 2020.

I was surprised to read David Lamming’s letter (29 January) stating that he does not believe that the current CDM complaint against Dean Percy meets the “Hedley test”, i.e. that a case should be referred to a tribunal only if it involved “a degree of seriousness that, if conduct is proved, will render the respondent liable to at least removal from office or revocation of licence”. I am astonished that, as a party outside these proceedings, Mr Lamming thinks that he is qualified to pass comment on the seriousness of the complaint.

A great deal of misinformation has circulated about this case. It is time that a few points were clarified. First, the imbalance of power between the Dean and me, a much younger employee of the Cathedral, is obvious. Second, this incident took place in a space that had been reserved for staff (not clergy), owing to the pandemic. Third, I will not give details, because I respect the confidential nature of the complaints process, but had I not judged the incident to be inappropriate and extremely distressing, I should not have decided to make a formal complaint. I made this decision myself, under no pressure from any other person. To suggest otherwise is deeply insulting.

Surely it is essential that all complaints of sexual harassment in the Church be investigated thoroughly through the proper channels, and not be jeopardised or have their legitimacy questioned by public comments from those not privy to all the details. The Dean, too, is deserving of respect and compassion. It is known that he is on sick leave. He has been too ill to respond to the CDM complaint and the College process, and turned down my offer of independent mediation through ACAS because of ill health. I know what a toll seeing public reports of my experience has taken on me, and I am sure that it is taking a similar toll on him to find his behaviour discussed so publicly.

Neither of us has been afforded the dignity of a private investigative process; and so I ask all those discussing this publicly and sharing confidential documentation to desist. Anyone attempting to derail these investigative processes is setting a dangerous precedent for the Church and University, and is creating an environment in which future survivors of harassment will not feel able to come forward.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED


From Mr Martin Sewell

Sir, — The day on which the Church announced the lifting of the suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln coincided with the fourth anniversary of the Channel 4 interview with Cathy Newman, in which the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged that he knew that John Smyth QC was a serial abuser in 2013. The response to that was, shall we say, “sub-optimal”. The promised meeting with Smyth victims has still not materialised.

Things are not improving. Before Christmas, I drew the attention of the church authorities to a meeting in March 2017 at which 36 clergy including, four bishops, convened as “The Jonathan Fletcher Group” for a three-day retreat, led by Fletcher, after his PTO had been withdrawn: it was also just after the Newman/Smyth story had broken. At least one recipient of the original Ruston report was present as they contemplated the future of the Church of England and their part in it. Five weeks later, the principal informant about that event has still not been approached for interview, despite my making clear their willingness and ability to assist.

So, we have a bishop receiving (appropriate) apology for slow and tortuous process, but not victims; we have capricious inconsistency about who gets suspended and who does not; we have clergy finding the CDM process weaponised against them; and a consistent hesitancy about investigating certain privileged sections of the Church. What good are shepherds that will not protect and tend their sheep?

MARTIN SEWELL
Gravesend, Kent 

MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS

‘SURVIVING CHURCH’

Petra

Jane if you have access to today’s Church Times you will be delighted (as I am) that the complainant from the vestry has spoken publicly and strongly in her defence. There is an article and also a letter that she has written with name and address withheld. One in the eye for a regular commenter on this blog as you will read. (free access to either two or four articles for non subscribers)Reply

  1. EnglishAthena Well, I hope we’re not in the business of poking people in the eye! The problem with leaks is that not all the information squeezes out. And of course, that means we shouldn’t comment. I am very sorry that the complainant found some comments hurtful. I, for one, found the suggestion that she had become caught up in Martyn Percy case very concerning. And I hope she picked up on that concern. Now we find that she considers herself mistress of her own fate, and we should be very glad of that. Not to say, relieved. I hope she is being properly supported. The church does not enjoy a good reputation in that respect. So we should all continue to support her in prayer, and Martyn Percy, too. And all who are tangled in this and other webs.

“I’m suspicious of the claimant’s letter. If she wants to be believed, she should come clean and sign her name. She’s just exacerbating the situation”

‘S’05/02/2021

“‘Let my accusers be cloaked in shame’ [Psalm 109], for they have surely diminished the legitimate cause of all those who have truly suffered abuse”

[Last sentence of “Presumed Guilty” by Simon Warr – Biteback 2017]

“The increasing focus on convicting the guilty instead of protecting the innocent means that we may soon all have cause to fear the dawn raid”

[Preface to ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ by Jon Robins]

CHURCH TIMES – FEBRUARY 5 2021 – “COMPLAINANT IN PERCY CASE SAYS SHE ACTED ALONE”

“I made this decision myself, under no pressure from any other person. To suggest otherwise is deeply insulting”

“OXFORD JABS” – PRIVATE EYE – NO 1539 – 22 JANUARY – 4 FEB 2021

The new tribunal is investigating an allegation – which Percy denies – that he assaulted a verger at Christ Church by stroking her hair in the vestry after morning service. The alleged victim has acknowledged she was put under pressure to report the incident. “I knew it was a massive deal,” she said. “People wanted the final blow. I was thinking. ‘Is this important enough for that to happen?’”

Thames Valley police has investigated and said there is no case for further action.

Wood neglected to visit Christ Church, or to interview witnesses offered by Percy, including the other person who was in the vestry at the time. Nevertheless, on the basis of her report, the college has decreed that Percy poses a “high” or “medium” risk of perpetuating further “sexual harassment or sexual assaults” on staff, students and minors.

RWS NOTE

‘Name and Address Supplied’ says in her letter: “Neither of us [she and Martyn Percy] has been afforded the dignity of a private investigative process”.

If there is any truth to the analysis by Stephen Parsons below, the problem lies in the underlying structural flaws of the “private investigative process” – an obsolete system so broken and ‘not fit for purpose’ that it can never deliver justice either to ‘Name and Address Supplied’ or Martyn Percy…quite the opposite in fact.

Bishop Lowson appears to be a victim of poorly designed Church legal processes in the same way as Dean Percy and George Carey.  Each of them may have some faults in their pasts, but the way the church processes have operated in each case has been shameful if not scandalous. But flawed structures of justice do not operate on their own.  They need willing servants to put them into effect.  There are of course senior church functionaries who could, if they chose, blow a whistle to stop these core group/CDM processes when they are operated cruelly and destructively.  The fact that the suffering of each of these three men has been allowed to continue so long is an indictment of some of those in charge in the Church.  They choose to leave bad protocols in place even though they know they cause harm to those who are felt to be less important.  We are told that the whole CDM process is under review.  Will we see alongside this review a sense of shame and penitence on the part of those who have allowed the Measure to operate unjustly and, in some cases, malevolently?

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – 06/02/2021

Thinking Anglicans: Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Lincoln Affair – some comments

Comment – Richard W. Symonds

If there is any truth to the analysis by Stephen Parsons, the problem lies in the underlying structural flaws of the “private investigative process” [eg CDM’s and Core Groups] – an obsolete, abusive and cruel system so broken and ‘not fit for purpose’ that it can never deliver justice, healing or reconciliation

Admin Simon Sarmiento Reply to  Richard W. Symonds

Readers should scroll down to the letter about Christ Church, Oxford, to find this reference.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval Reply to  Simon Sarmiento

For those unable to access the Church Times, here is the letter: Sir, — I am the woman who made a complaint about Dean Martyn Percy’s conduct in Christ Church Cathedral on 4 October 2020. I was surprised to read David Lamming’s letter (29 January) stating that he does not believe that the current CDM complaint against Dean Percy meets the “Hedley test”, i.e. that a case should be referred to a tribunal only if it involved “a degree of seriousness that, if conduct is proved, will render the respondent liable to at least removal from office or revocation of licence”. I am astonished that

as a party outside these proceedings, Mr Lamming thinks that he is qualified to pass comment on the seriousness of the complaint.

A great deal of misinformation has circulated about this case. It is time that a few points were clarified. First, the imbalance of power between the Dean and me, a much younger employee of the Cathedral, is obvious. Second, this incident took place in a space that had been reserved for staff (not clergy), owing to the pandemic. Third, I will not give details, because I respect the confidential nature of the complaints process, but had I not judged the incident to be inappropriate and extremely distressing, I should not have decided to make a formal complaint. 

I made this decision myself, under no pressure from any other person. To suggest otherwise is deeply insulting [See ‘Oxford jabs’ – Private Eye – Ed]

Surely it is essential that all complaints of sexual harassment in the Church be investigated thoroughly through the proper channels, and not be jeopardised or have their legitimacy questioned by public comments from those not privy to all the details. The Dean, too, is deserving of respect and compassion. It is known that he is on sick leave. He has been too ill to respond to the CDM complaint and the College process, and turned down my offer of independent mediation through ACAS because of ill health. I know what a toll seeing public reports of my experience has taken on me, and I am sure that it is taking a similar toll on him to find his behaviour discussed so publicly.

Neither of us has been afforded the dignity of a private investigative process; and so I ask all those discussing this publicly and sharing confidential documentation to desist. Anyone attempting to derail these investigative processes is setting a dangerous precedent for the Church and University, and is creating an environment in which future survivors of harassment will not feel able to come forward.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

Laurence Cunnington

More than twenty-five years ago, I was the personnel adviser to senior management in gross misconduct disciplinary cases in a High Street bank. Aside from straightforward cases of theft by cashiers there were cases involving complex fraud and sexual/racial harassment that required thorough investigation. At all times, the bank was conscious that during the period of suspension from duty, the accused employee was under immense stress and could also be a suicide risk whether or not they were guilty of the allegations. It astonishes me that cases such as that involving the Bishop of Lincoln are allowed to drag on

for the best part of two years putting both the accuser and accused under intolerable pressure. Whoever is undertaking the investigation should at all times be mindful of the apparently contradictory imperatives of both the speed and thoroughness of their work.

Three decades ago the bank I worked for resolved this by:

  1. Employing a team of dedicated investigators. The CofE may not have sufficient employees/office holders for ongoing employment of such a team but could retain a team who could be called upon swiftly.
  2. Providing both the accuser and accused with independent counselling and support during the period of suspension leading up to the disciplinary hearing and beyond if necessary.
  3. Keeping all parties regularly updated with the present position. I was always conscious of the suspended employee sitting at home worried sick, unable to sleep properly, and prohibited from speaking to any of their work colleagues.

This is really just a codified form of common sense. The Church of England could benefit significantly from replicating successful disciplinary practice in other sectors.

Rowland Wateridge Reply to  Laurence Cunnington

From such information as has been made public, the Bishop’s suspension was made pursuant to CDM section 37 (1)(e) which has statutory force. There are possible grounds to suggest that the suspension was unlawful. One cannot make that assertion categorically, but the subject was gone into in great detail here at the time: see TA 16th and 24th May 2019, and David Lamming’s paper on the latter date, all accessible from the TA Archives link. But, of course, you are right to point out the pastoral shortcomings, irrespective of the issue whether the Bishop should not have been suspended at all.

John Wallace Reply to  Laurence Cunnington

Sadly Laurence about the same time, I was suspended with all 49 of my colleagues as a result of a totally unfounded abuse allegation in a children’s home. No support supplied by the County Council. We sorted out our own via the Unions and we held Union meetings in church! Personally I and my wife were supported by our clergy and the Vicar went public from the pulpit to rubbish the accusations. We were vindicated after a very expensive inquiry which the Council was forced to initiate.
It is sad that the church’s procedures are still in the dark ages. 

Fr Dean Henley Reply to  Laurence Cunnington

The common thread in all these debacles is the Archbishop. The latest issue of Private Eye outlines his involvement in safeguarding blunders whilst he was at Liverpool Cathedral. From Stephen Parsons’s article it seems that he’s blundered in the case of the Bishop of Lincoln’s suspension. It’s almost as though he has a reverse Midas effect in that everything he touches turns to dross, but why is he allowed to cling on to office? History shows that archbishops of Canterbury like to have hosted at least one Lambeth Conference but who knows when the next one might take place. Only 25 people in the continent of Africa have been vaccinated so far according to the previously quoted issue of Private Eye. With mutations and the all too real possibility that the vaccine will become an annual requirement, another Lambeth Conference may be many moons away. Is it his status as an old Etonian that allows him to cling on?

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Fr Dean Henley

The Archbishop is protected by the same power systems which protect the Queen – and future King. It would require a revolution in thinking – especially political and theological thinking – to remove such an ‘untouchable’.

Michael Reply to  Fr Dean Henley

Debacle and Welby appear too often in the same sentence. Rod Liddle’s waspish take on the Church of England in the Sunday Times today:

For almost the entire population our established church has become a complete irrelevance, a pitiable institution forever cringing before the most fashionable progressive causes and presided over by a man of such sodden vapidity that I feel an urge to wring him out and hang him up to dry every time I see him.
The numbers of people with any investment in the CofE are now plummeting at an even greater speed than they were before Justin Welby took over the seat once held by the likes of St Augustine of Canterbury and Thomas Cranmer. Down by 200,000 worshippers in just the past five years — a huge acceleration on what was hitherto merely a steady decline.

The comments underneath the article are from a number of disaffected Anglicans rather than the usual sky fairy sort of comment. I hope covid reality kicks in soon and the Archbishop and his fellow bishops will realise that there is a point to church buildings after all. Denying communion to the laity for 48 Sundays and counting is a dreadful idea but I know by now that some bishops will continue signing off cancellation of public worship because they cannot see the pastoral and financial devastation that is being caused.

FrDavid H Reply to Michael

It is understandable that Michael continues to be upset about the closure of Church buildings during the pandemic. I can’t accept, however, that Church decline has been caused solely by a virus. It’s been reported that Justin Welby vowed to mention the name “Jesus Christ” in every media interview he gives. He creates the impression of someone who always insists on talking about his faith at a dinner party. It causes embarrassment in polite company, The vacuous religion he offers is no match for savvy media folks, the likes of Richard Dawkins and anyone who can see that the simplistic idea that “Jesus wants us for a sunbeam” is spiritually and intellectually laughable.. What was once a great national Church, having some bishops of great intellect, is now regarded as an irrelevant evangelical sect that dislikes gay people. The virus that has destroyed the CofE is its silly version of religion.

LETTER SUBMISSION TO THE CHURCH TIMES [UNPUBLISHED]

Dear Editor

Although we must not lose sight of the fact there is a complaint which merits full investigation (“Complainant in Percy case says she acted alone”, CT Letters, Feb 5), we must also not lose sight of the fact the professional investigative approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and allegation. There is no right or entitlement for her – or anyone else – to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for her – or anyone else – to be treated with respect, to take the allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly.

I understand the police have already done a full investigation, and they are no longer pursuing the case.

The lady is now wanting “the dignity of a private investigative process”.

I cannot see how this is now possible.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

DECEMBER 31 2020 – BARBARA WHITLEY [1924-2020] OF BLETCHLEY PARK AND NIECE OF BISHOP GEORGE BELL: “ARCHBISHOP WELBY SHOULD RESIGN”

Barbara Whitley [nee Barbara Wood]

Church Times – December 31 2020

Dr Andrew Chandler writes:

BARBARA WHITLEY was born on 5 February 1924 in Witnesham Rectory, in east Suffolk. Her father, Cecil Wood, had been Bishop of Melanesia; her mother was Margorie Allen Bell (1886-1972), also a vicarage daughter, whose brother, George, in that year became Dean of Canterbury. Cecil Wood was 50 when Barbara was born, and she remembered him to be very much a Victorian. The family travelled with his ministry: assistant bishop in Newcastle diocese and Rector of West Grinstead in West Sussex.

Barbara worked for the Horsham local paper and became a secretary for the Home Guard, before joining the WRNS at the age of 17. Her conspicuous qualities were clearly identified as an asset by someone: by 1942, she was employed at Bletchley Park, work about which she remained, to the end, silent.

Barbara Wood (left) and Doris Tuffin (Aaron Chown/PA)

The war defined much for her: she lost her fiancé, Oliver Kirby Johnson, who was killed by a mine in Italy in May 1944. Afterwards, she was posted to Chatham and then to a succession of government departments. In these post-war years, she met Ted Whitley, a rising star in the world of advertising. Her father officiated at their wedding in September 1951.

Living first in north London, and later in Bromley, in Kent, she enjoyed a busy life, hosting parties, starting a catering business, and bringing up her two children, Nicholas and Georgina, with the help of a succession of Austrian au pairs. Conventionally devout, she attended St Luke’s, Bromley Common, and later St Mary’s, Shortlands. Her daughter had come to know her as a “strong, hard-working and sociable woman who got the most out of life on her own terms”.

The Whitleys celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary with a dinner for more than 65 friends at the Savile Club, in London. After her husband died, Barbara’s church-going ceased, but, far from turning inwards, she adapted to a new age of technology with determination, maintaining a vast screen in her bedroom at her care home and dispatching vigorous emails. She also kept an eye on the world.

It was an astonishing turn of events which, in her nineties, suddenly brought her into public life. In October 2015, the authorities of the Church of England announced that they had settled a claim with a woman who had accused George Bell of sexual abuse.

Barbara was determined to see her uncle’s name cleared of an accusation that she regarded as preposterous. It was to prove a very long haul indeed: this discreditable affair would dominate her four final years, and she played her part in a long campaign with great courage and tenacity.

She once remarked to me that those who now led the Church of England simply had no understanding at all of the kind of man her uncle was, the standards by which he had lived, or the world that had formed him. “George Bell would never ever contemplate such sexual behaviour,” she wrote. “He was far too high-minded.”

She died on 9 October, aged 96.

Barbara Whitley [1924-2020]

NOVEMBER 21 2020 – CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF ITS DEAN AND HEAD MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES…WITH HELP FROM THE BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT.

Christ Church Oxford

The Dean of Christ Church Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

Dean and Head of Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church, Oxford

“UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN” – REPORTEDLY [NEW HEADLINE – FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020]

CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD RELENTLESS, UNJUSTIFIED AND DISGUSTING CHARACTER ASSASSINATION OF MARTYN PERCY CONTINUES… [ORIGINAL HEADLINE FROM WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18 2020 REINSTATED ON SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21 2020 – WITH STEVEN CROFT ADDITION]

Troubled Oxford dean Martyn Percy steps aside in fight with dons as he faces Church of England probe into his behaviour

  • Fresh allegations against the Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy have emerged 
  • In ‘private’ message to students Christ Church said Prof Percy stepped down  
  • It’s the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church college

By JOSH WHITE EDUCATION REPORTER FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17 November 2020

The controversial dean of an Oxford college stood down last night after the emergence of a fresh allegation against him.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour.

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’.

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour+3

The Very Rev Professor Martyn Percy (pictured) faces a Church of England probe into his behaviour

It is the latest twist in a four-year battle that has consumed Christ Church – where he is head of the college and its cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail.

In response, the dean sought changes to the college’s safeguarding protocols. However, his proposals met with resistance from academics.

There followed moves to oust Professor Percy from his position. He was suspended in 2018 amid allegations of improper misconduct. However, these claims were rejected by an employment tribunal which found in the dean’s favour and against Christ Church. Professor Percy then complained that his £90,900 salary was less than the average earned by the heads of Oxford colleges.

But last night senior Oxford University sources said the fresh allegation meant Professor Percy now had no choice but to be ‘stand back or be suspended’.

In a message to students, college officials in charge of discipline said they could not shed much light on the matter for legal reasons.

But they added that ‘appropriate measures have been put in place whilst inquiries are under way’ and urged any students who needed to support to contact their welfare offices.

Their formal full statement went on to say: ‘The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. The clash between Professor Percy and his opponents at the 474-year-old college dates back to 2016, when Christ Church undergraduate Lavinia Woodward (pictured) stabbed her then boyfriend during an argument. She was spared jail

‘Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.’

A Church of England source confirmed it was actively investigating Professor Percy’s behaviour but would not be drawn on the substance of the allegation or the progress of its probe.

Allies of the dean defended him last night, saying the claims against him were ‘not grave’ and he was the victim of a sustained witch-hunt.

One said the allegations were ‘being ruthlessly exploited by his enemies who, once again, are proving the culture of the college has become toxic’.In a ¿private and confidential¿ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ¿voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities¿+3

In a ‘private and confidential’ message to students, his college, Christ Church, (pictured) confirmed that Professor Percy, 58, had ‘voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities’

The source added: ‘But they don’t seem to care: they will do anything to force him out.’

Another said: ‘There is no chance of him going soon – and he will probably be reinstated in the new year.’

In February, leaked emails revealed that Oxford dons had described Professor Percy as a ‘little Hitler’ who was ‘nasty’ and had a ‘personality disorder’.

The dean declined to comment. Then in May, the majority of Christ Church’s trustees wrote to the Charity Commission urging it to insist that he should accept a settlement and leave – or be removed.

Christ Church and Oxford University were contacted for comment. Professor Percy could not be reached for comment last night.

Christ Church, founded by Henry VIII in 1546, is one of the richest Oxford colleges with an endowment approaching £600million.

Its alumni include 13 British prime ministers.

FURTHER MEDIA REACTION

Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church OxfordDaily update ⋅ November 19, 2020
NEWS
Dean of Oxford college steps aside in long-running disputeThe GuardianThe Very Rev Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, voluntarily withdrew from all his duties after a new, unspecified complaint was made against him.Flag as irrelevant
Martyn Percydean of Oxford’s Christ Church college, steps aside after new complaintThe TimesThe “demise” of the dean of one of Oxford’s oldest colleges has been “exaggerated”, friends said yesterday, as they insisted he would return to work …Flag as irrelevant
Dean of Christ Church Very Rev Martyn Percy steps aside following fresh complaint Oxford Mail The head of an Oxford University college has temporarily stepped aside following a fresh complaint against him. The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean …

THINKING ANGLICANS – NOVEMBER 19 2020

https://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/a-new-complaint-about-the-dean-of-christ-church/

COMMENTS

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

This whole matter stinks – and it is critical the source of the stench is rooted out.

The Church of England fully exonerated the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy of all safeguarding charges three months ago.

Now, an anonymous someone has come forward making a further safeguarding allegation against the Dean.

The media have made much of the fact that Martyn Percy has ‘stepped aside’ pending further investigation – something I would imagine he had no choice but to do because of this new allegation. The Daily Mail waded in, and the Guardian, Times and Telegraph followed. The Church Times has as its headline “Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church Oxford steps back”.

This is an almost identical scenario to what happened in the Bishop Bell scandal. Lord Carlile QC, in his Church-commissioned investigation, was excoriating in his legal analysis of how the Church of England handled the abuse allegations against the wartime Bishop. Then, ‘out-of-the-blue’ came a new allegation. This action delayed justice for George Bell. The allegation was later found to be totally unfounded by another Church-commissioned investigation led by Timothy Briden. But the damage had been done – and the Bishop Bell supporters still await justice

Justice delayed is justice denied..

I sense there is something deeply corrupt within certain corridors of power – and if this is not rooted out quickly, it will quickly spread like a cancer.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting approval

Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft – November 19 2020 – criticising the “supporters” of Christ Church Dean Martyn Percy:

“We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position…The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated”

Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner:- October 22 2015 – criticising the “supporters” of Bishop of Chichester George Bell:

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency”

Martin Sewell

The word “reportedly” in this statement is doing a suspiciously large amount of work.

Luke 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.
Ephesians 5:11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval Reply to  Martin Sewell

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” – reportedly.

Richard W. Symonds Reply to  Inquattrogatti

How can all supporters of the Dean of Christ Church Martyn Percy “belittle” complainants?

That’s rather like saying all supporters of the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell “belittle” those complainants of abuse.

Palpable, illogical, dangerous nonsense from the Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

Richard W. Symonds

Richard W. Symonds Awaiting for approval 

Church Times editor hastily amends article to restore journalistic balance and integrity [Hat-tip: Simon Sarmiento], but the unbalanced headline remains.

Supporters warned off as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, steps back – Church Times

byA STAFF REPORTER19 NOVEMBER 2020DAVID HARTLEY/CHURCH TIMES

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The statement concludes that the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, is in close contact with all concerned.

CHURCH TIMES ARTICLE – HASTILY AMENDED ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 20 2020 [BUT ORIGINAL HEADLINE AND DATE REMAINS ON NOVEMBER 21 AT 7AM]

 

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy

SUPPORTERS of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy, have been reprimanded by the Oxford diocese. The supporters, in turn, have asked why members of the college’s Governing Body have not been criticised.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Dean Percy was stepping back from his duties while a new complaint against him is being investigated.

The following statement was issued to students and staff: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Dean, who is also head of the college, has been in dispute with the college authorities for the past three years. He was recently cleared of a complaint from the college by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (News, 8 September), and some of his supporters have assumed that the new complaint is connected with college attempts to remove him.

On Thursday, however, a fresh statement was added to the note about the Dean on the Oxford diocesan website, prompted by media reports. It read: “We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.

“The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”

The diocesan statement, in turn, has been criticised by David Lamming, a friend of Dean Percy and a General Synod member, as a “wholly inappropriate public comment while the current allegation is under investigation”. He objects, in particular, to the reference to “severity”, and asks for information about the authorship of the statement.

Other allies of the Dean have pointed out that the diocesan reprimand is one-sided. It is said that at least one member of the college’s Governing Body was known to have briefed journalists anonymously about the case.

A story in the Daily Mail on Friday partially identifies the complainant in the new case, and resurrects a dispute started by the college in the summer against research funding from the United States for the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, which another Canon of Christ Church, Professor Nigel Biggar, directs (News, 19 June). Professor Biggar has been an outspoken supporter of Dean Percy. 

The Daily Mail writes: “The Mail has learnt that inquiries are also being made over money discovered in college accounts originating with an obscure Michigan-based Christian group.” Far from being obscure, the McDonald Agape Foundation has funded several projects at St Mellitus Theological College, including the McDonald Professorship of Christian Theology, currently held by Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.

One friend of Dean Percy said that he had no intention of belittling the new complaint, but he questioned why the diocesan statement did not encompass both the Dean’s supporters and his critic

The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

BISHOP OF OXFORD STEVEN CROFT

Diocese of Oxford Home/News/The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy

19 November 2020
Following media reports, our statement is updated as follows

We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position. The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.

18 November 2020

The Bishop of Oxford has agreed with the Very Revd Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, that Martyn will step back from office, while a complaint is properly considered.

Christ Church is a complex institution and, uniquely in the Church of England, the Dean of the Cathedral is also Head of an Oxford College. Christ Church has written to students and staff with the following statement. The statement has also been shared with the Cathedral congregation and those at the Cathedral School.

“The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Revd Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as Dean of the College and Cathedral. Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way. The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

The Bishop of Oxford is in close contact with all concerned. His prayers, and those of the Diocese, are with everyone at Christ Church.

Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft

FROM THE ARCHIVES

“CHURCH CLEARS OXFORD COLLEGE DEAN AFTER BLACK OPS CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT HIM – THE GUARDIAN – SEPTEMBER 8 2020

“VICAR TELLS ABUSE INQUIRY ARCHBISHOPS NOT FIT FOR OFFICE – ITV NEWS – JULY 10 2019

Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry

A vicar who says his disclosures about being sexually abused as a teenager were ignored by senior clerics has told an inquiry the archbishops of Canterbury and York are not “fit for office”.

The Rev Matthew Ineson criticised the archbishops as he gave evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) investigation into the Anglican Church.

The vicar called for changes to the way the church investigates safeguarding issues and complaints about clerics, describing the current system as “totally unsuitable”.

The witness told the inquiry how he suffered abuse at the hands of priest Trevor Devamanikkam, who took his own life on the day he was due to appear in court accused of sexual offences against Mr Ineson.

He said he later made disclosures to a number of bishops and archbishops but they were ignored and no further action was taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby when he made complaints against the clerics.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Archbishop of Canterbury in the Canterbury Cathedral.Credit: PA

Mr Ineson said bishops abuse their power to protect themselves and force victims of clerical sexual abuse to face further suffering by not acting upon their disclosures.

He told the inquiry: “Bishops sit on thrones.

“They live in fine palaces and houses, they wear the finest robes and garments, they bully people.

“People literally kneel down and kiss the ring on their finger.”

“Enough is enough – I think the victims are far stronger people than the bishops.”

He continued: “I cannot see the face of Jesus in the Archbishop of Canterbury or York. I see hypocrites and I see Pharisees. I see the people that Jesus stood up against.

“I don’t think those people are fit for office.”

Mr Ineson said he met the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu at a meeting for survivors of clerical abuse at a General Synod in York.

The witness said: “I’d never seen John Sentamu before and if I ever see him again it will be too soon.

“He came over to me, he came really in my face, too close, he grabbed me by the shoulder and he held me by the shoulder and said, ‘One day me and you will talk’.”

Mr Ineson said he asked the archbishop for an apology for his failure to act on his disclosures but Dr Sentamu replied: “Apologies mean different things to different people.”

He told the inquiry: “He’s arrogant, he’s rude and he’s a bully.”

Mr Ineson, who was ordained in 2000 and practised as a vicar in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, for more than 10 years, said he made his first disclosures between 2012 and 2013 to the Bishop of Doncaster Peter Burrows, the then bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, and the then archdeacon of Rotherham Martyn Snow, but that nothing came of his reports.

He said: “I could not believe it. I could not believe they were doing nothing.”

Mr Ineson went on to make two written disclosures to Mr Croft, now the Bishop of Oxford, and sent copies to the Bishop of Beverley and Dr Sentamu.

He said he wrote in his second letter: “You will never know what it took to tell you but you will also never know of the hurt that you and your suffragan have caused me by doing absolutely nothing about it.”

Mr Ineson told the inquiry that the only person to reply was Dr Sentamu, who wrote: “Please be assured of my prayers and best wishes at this difficult time.”

He said he submitted complaints about the clerics under the clergy discipline measure but was told that the complaints fell outside of the church’s one-year rule.

Mr Ineson appealed but told the inquiry that part of the process was to contact those being complained about to ask for their opinion about whether the one-year rule should be extended in their cases.

He said: “Who in their right mind thinks it’s acceptable to write to a priest who is under investigation by the police for child sexual abuse and give him the opportunity to object to being investigated?”

Mr Ineson described the complaints system as “totally unsuitable”.

He said: “Bishop investigates bishop and they’re all conflicted.”

Mr Ineson said he believed that safeguarding should be taken out of the hands of the church so that complaints are investigated by an independent body and that clerical sexual abuse should be the subject of mandatory reporting.

He said: “I have no desire to damage the church at all or bring the church down. The overriding motive for me is to help prevent abuse from happening again.”

Mr Ineson continued: “The church is not going to change unless they are made to. They can’t be trusted.”

Giving evidence on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Sentamu said he did not believe he had made personal mistakes in the course of responding to disclosures of clerical abuse.

He said: “Hand on heart, I don’t think so. Where there have been disclosures, I have been willing to apologise to the person, trying to do the best I can to support them.”

When asked about the case of Mr Ineson, Dr Sentamu said he received a copy of the cleric’s letter but assumed the Bishop of Sheffield would deal with it because it was his responsibility.

He said that, if he had behaved at the General Synod in the way described by Mr Ineson, that behaviour would have been “totally inappropriate”.

Dr Sentamu agreed Mr Ineson’s treatment by the Church had been “shabby and shambolic” and said he should have received more support.

He added the police investigation and the complaints issued under the clergy discipline measure meant it took too long to set up an inquiry into his abuse.

“BISHOP OF OXFORD TO FACE POLICE QUESTIONING OVER ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE COVER-UP – DAILY TELEGRAPH – SEPTEMBER 2 2018

Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegations of sex abuse cover-up – Daily Telegraph – September 2 2018

The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation
The Rt Rev Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation

2 SEPTEMBER 2018 • 10:00PMFollow 

The Bishop of Oxford will be summoned for questioning by police over claims he failed to pass on allegations of rape against a priest.

The Rt Rev Steven Croft will be interviewed under caution by South Yorkshire Police as part of an investigation over alleged failures to report abuse, sources have told The Telegraph

No arrest is expected and the Diocese of Oxford stressed there was no suggestion of guilt. 

However, a senior lawyer involved in the case said that Bishop Croft is set to be questioned over possible offences of misconduct in public office.

Matt Ineson, who has waived his right to anonymity, says he was raped by a former priest, the Rev Trevor Devamanikkam, in Bradford in the 1980s.I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequateMatt Ineson

Mr Devamanikkam, who later lived in Witney, Oxfordshire, was later charged with child sex offences but committed suicide last year, the day before he was due in court. 

Mr Ineson says he told Mr Croft, then the Bishop of Sheffield, in 2012 and later copied in the Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, in a 2013 letter. 

Neither Bishop Croft, Archbishop Sentamu, nor the three other bishops Mr Ineson says he told reported the matter to the police, it is claimed. 

South Yorkshire Police has now taken a written statement from Mr Ineson and are expected to question Bishop Croft in the coming weeks. If the investigation goes ahead, it is also possible the Archbishop of York could face police questioning.

Bishop Croft is separately facing criticism for reinstating Lord Carey’s permission to preach and lead services amid allegations the former archbishop “colluded” with disgraced paedophile bishop Peter Ball.

Mr Ineson told The Telegraph: “The failures to deal properly with my disclosures has caused me great pain and anguish.

“I want to avoid this happening to others in future. Internal church procedures are utterly inadequate. I must now leave the police and CPS to examine the issues.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, left, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby

Mr Ineson’s lawyer, David Greenwood, the head of the child abuse department at Switalskis Solicitors, said: “I understand Steven Croft is to be investigated for offences of misconduct in a public office. 

“Those in public office are expected to abide by high standards and when their behaviour falls well below a standard to be expected the CPS can prosecute. 

“The type of behaviour to be examined could include ignoring sex crimes against children.”

Mr Greenwood added he was dismayed government ministers had abandoned plans to introduce mandatory reporting which would make it a criminal offence not to pass on suspicions of abuse to the police.

He said if the UK followed the example of some Australian states and introduced mandatory reporting laws then convictions for covering up abuse would be easier. 

The majority of respondents to a government consultation earlier this year urged against new laws on reporting abuse, warning it would put children’s workers at risk of prosecution and divert attention away from important cases. There is currently no legal requirement on those working with children to report either known or suspected child abuse or neglect.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford said: “Written records and notes taken at the time give a different picture to the one Mr Ineson is presenting about how his case has been handled. 

“An independent review, commissioned by the National Safeguarding  Team, will investigate the response of the Church of England to matters relating to the late Trevor Devamanikkam. 

“The review will further explore the facts of the case and establish any lessons learned. We look forward to the findings of the review.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said official guidelines meant they could neither confirm nor deny the identity of anyone who may or may not be under investigation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

BISHOP STEVEN CROFT

“NOW DEAN IN OXFORD COLLEGE FEUD ACCUSED OF STROKING WOMAN’S HAIR” – MAIL ON SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 22 2020 – PAGE 26

I’m not someone who uses the word ‘evil’ lightly, but after reading the Mail on Sunday [MoS] article, a shiver of that word was felt…….

After calming down and reading the MoS article again – after being in a state of shock, anger and disbelief – I believe a police investigation of all Christ Church Board of Governors should now take place without delay.

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

MAY 27 2020 – JOSEPH SHAW ON ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY AND BISHOP GEORGE BELL

IMG_6047

St. Margaret’s Parish Church in Ifield Village

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/wheres-the-moral-outrage-from-the-christian-left-while-being-locked-out-of-their-churches

Referring to the government’s message about public health, he [Archbishop Welby] told the press that “by closing the churches, we make a powerful symbol of the need to listen to that message.”

I’m not someone who has called for people to flout the government’s guidelines, but going beyond them in this extraordinary way seems to me a powerful symbol of the Church of England’s worship of the idol of “health and safety.”

This isn’t the first time Welby has jumped on a bandwagon without engaging his brain. He condemned the long-dead and much-revered Bishop George Bell of Chichester for child abuse, without bothering to find out if the accusation was credible, a condemnation now criticized by a succession of official reports. Welby has found it difficult to apologize to Bell’s relations, who were understandably furious. Perhaps he was hoping his zeal in criticizing the dead would counter-balance Anglican failures to deal with Peter Ball, a living Anglican bishop actually imprisoned for sexual abuse.

May 22 2020 – “NINTH COMMANDMENT CONCERNS ABOUT THE BISHOP OF CHICHESTER” – ANGLICAN LINK

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Present Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Letter to the editor: Ninth commandment concerns about the Bishop of Chichester

Richard Symonds of The Bell Society believes the General Synod of the Church of England and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse should investigate the Bishop of Chichester for being “economic with the truth” in his statements on his handling of clergy sexual abuse cases. He writes:

 

Sir:

The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 – Fiona Scolding QC: “The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: ‘There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.’ What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner: “The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

Mr. David Lamming, Church of England’s General Synod Member representing St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich, further comments: ‘Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA [Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse] on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see…Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.’

At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?”’

This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”’

His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.’

In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016, asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”’

This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds, The Bell Society

Ifield Village, Crawley-Gatwick, West Sussex RH11 0NN
Email: richardsy5@aol.com

MAY 17 2020 – ECCLESIASTICAL AND ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Ecclesiastical-Insurance-Logo-for-website

THINKING ANGLICANS – COMMENTS

 

Richard W. Symonds

Janet Fife
Kate

Richard W. Symonds

Think about it Kate. Ecclesiastical – as Church of England’s principal insurers – would have advised on the insurance claim of ‘Carol’ who claimed Bishop Bell abused her as a child. A “kangaroo court” was set up by the Church. She was compensated with a payment of £16,000+. Two extensive legal investigations [Carlile & Briden] have concluded the allegations of ‘Carol’ were unfounded.

One can be forgiven for assuming Ecclesiastical have advised the Church not to formally apologise and fully exonerate Bishop Bell for its part in his character assassination – probably because of the likely claims for considerable damages (eg by Bishop Bell’s niece and others)

We should be regularly reminded of what Revd Graham Sawyer said at the IICSA two years ago [July 2018]:

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by [Bishop] Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the entirely cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained. I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or 10 years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and I use these words cruel and sadistic because I think that is how they behave. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude is that] anyone who seeks to in any way threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed”

So, Establishment ‘cover-up’ is an art form in the Church of England – of which Ecclesiastical is an integral part [as ‘Gilo’ clearly points out in his carefully-researched ‘Surviving Church’ article].

Will the Establishment figure of Sir Stephen Lamport [‘parachuted in’ to improve the image of two pillars of the Establishment – Ecclesiastical and the Church of England] help to right the wrongs done to victims and survivors of sexual abuse – and victims and survivors of those falsely (or wrongly) accused of sexual abuse?

It would be nice to think so, but I think there’s more chance of seeing flying pigs getting landing rights here at Gatwick.

 

Rowland Wateridge

I’m not sure that there was any insurance cover in that case. The church’s own ‘investigation’ as summarised in Lord Carlyle’s report very much indicates that it was handled wholly in-house, albeit in an utterly shambolic and amateur fashion, without using external expert forensic and legal services.

 

Richard W. Symonds in ‘Thinking Anglicans’

As far as I know, there was no insurance cover, but as Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner makes very clear at the IICSA in March 2018, the Church’s insurance company at the time – presumably Ecclesiastical? – was fully involved in (and I’m sure was fully paid for) the advice to the Church, and presumably its Core Group, regarding Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’:

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/jan-13-2019-from-the-archives-iicsa-march-2018/

Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21

Fiona Scolding QC

“The other matter I want to put to you is [quoting Lord Carlile]: “There was no organised or valuable enquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.” What is your response to that?”

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

“The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is something of a value judgement, I think, and we certainly didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that which was undertaken through our insurers and their legal representative in whom we had considerable trust and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as a responsible and able person. I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality. It was certainly given proportionality. We understood absolutely that was the case. I think the area which he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was wrong…”

 

Rowland Wateridge

Kate
Oh, they probably have been involved in the past but you said, “The success of Sir Stephen Lamport’s ‘parachute jump’ into the Church of England Establishment will be measured, by me, on how he deals with the monstrous, continuing injustice done to the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell.” Looking forwards, I stilldon’t see how Ecclesiastical as insurer is involved in what is essentially a closed matter and, even if they are, why a non-exec would get involved.
Richard W. Symonds
Then I can’t help you Kate.
David Lamming

Bishop Martin Warner’s answer to Fiona Scolding’s question at IICSA on 14 March 2018 about the involvement of insurers in the settlement of ‘Carol’s’ claim (see the link below in Richard Symonds’s comment) appears to be at odds with information he provided to me in 2016.

At General Synod on 8 July 2016 I asked a question about the contribution to the settlement made by the Church Commissioners. The question was answered by the then First Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith. In the light of his written answer, I asked by way of a supplementary “whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, whether and why they declined to do so?” This was Sir Andreas’s response: “You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs, as you probably know, and we make judgments on what costs to bear on a variety of factors. In this case, the answers are really clear in my answer. I do not think I can add to them. There are the damages; there are the claimant’s legal costs and there are the Diocese of Chichester’s costs. We paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I cannot add to that.”

His answer led to the following exchange with Martin Sewell:
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester): There is a very simple question on the table: did any insurer decline to indemnify?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I have no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.
Mr Martin Sewell: Who would know?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The Diocese of Chichester would know.
Mr Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?
Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the Diocese of Chichester, I am afraid.

In the light of this exchange I e-mailed the Bishop of Chichester on 25 July 2016,asking (inter alia), “Were insurers involved at any stage prior to the settlement with Carol? If so, were they asked to contribute to the settlement and, if so, did they decline to do so or to indemnify the Diocese and, if so, why?”

This was Bishop Martin’s reply in an e-mail on 29 July 2016: “No relevant insurance was held in respect of this claim, so no insurers were involved in the case and no requests were made to any insurer. As Sir Andreas said in his reply to the Synod, the costs and damages were paid by the Commissioners and a private individual who wishes to remain anonymous. The claim was made against me in my corporate capacity.”

The full exchange of Qs and As at General Synod can be read in the Report of Proceedings, July 2016, at pages 58-59:
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/July%202016%20Report%20of%20Proceedings%20w.index_.pdf