Tag Archives: Dean and Chapter

January 7 2018 – “The Seven Resolutions” – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster – February 1 2018

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Thursday February 1 2018 – Church House Westminster

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

The Seven Resolutions for the ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference at Church House Westminster on Thursday February 1

To call for:
1. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” comment concerning Bishop Bell. Any effective ‘rebuilding of bridges’ is almost impossible without this Apology.  
2. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a “face-to-face” meeting [she has already requested such a meeting]. The Bishop of Chichester has already met ‘Carol’.
3. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House – and to invite Lord Rowan Williams to re-dedicate the new plaque at George Bell House.
4. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, Revd Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the display of Bishop Bell’s Portrait (in storage within the Cathedral Library) at Church House on Feb 1.
5. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, to correct Page 37 of the Cathedral Guide “Society and Faith”:
6. General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s report.
7. Prayer
Advertisements

October 29 2017 – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait imminent ?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

If Lord Carlile’s findings regarding Bishop Bell are conclusive, Chichester’s Cathedral authorities would be strongly advised to immediately restore 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House and immediately restore the Portrait of Bishop Bell – in storage within the private Cathedral Library – to its rightful place.

October 8 2017 – “The Exculpation of Bishop Bell” – ‘4 Draft Resolutions’ – The Lychgate – Ifield Village – Wednesday October 11 2017 – 2pm to 5pm

THE BELL SOCIETY

Press-Release

“THE EXCULPATION OF BISHOP BELL”

[FOLLOWING THE CARLILE REVIEW]

The Lychgate – Ifield Village – Wednesday October 11 2017 – 2pm to 5pm

 

4 Draft Resolutions

Resolution 1: Restoring the name “George Bell House” in Chichester

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/september-8-2017-carlile-review-on-bishop-bell-imminent/

Resolution 2: Withdrawing Booklet “Chichester Cathedral – Society and Faith” from the Cathedral Bookshop

https://richardwsymonds.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/bishop-bell-letter-delivered-to-bishop-of-chichester-november-16-2016/comment-page-1/

Resolution 3: Updating The Bell Petition to mark the passing of the 10th Duke of Richmond [Petition signatory] 

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/justice-for-bishop-george-bell-of-chichester#

Resolution 4: Publishing The Bell Chronology to mark Bishop Bell’s 59th Anniversary [October 3]

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

 

“Having acted so unjustly and unfairly towards Bishop George Bell in the recent past, it is hoped the Church will now be anxious to uphold English law [which states anyone who is not found guilty is thereafter presumed innocent], and act accordingly.

“There is very little doubt ‘Carol’ was abused as a child by a cleric within the Diocese of Chichester; but there is great doubt – and always has been – it was Bishop Bell. The findings of the Carlile Review give credence to those doubts”

~ Richard W. Symonds. The Bell Society

 

IMG_9510

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

GBH-Exterior-with-Cathedral

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

http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/visiting/_folder1/

 

UPDATES

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

 

 

For more information on this News Release, please contact:

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

2 Lychgate Cottages

Ifield Street, Ifield Village

Crawley, West Sussex

Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)

Email: richardsy5@aol.com

The Bell Chronology – 1883 to 2083 – Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester

images-9

Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester

1883 to 2083

CHRONOLOGY COMPILED BY RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE BELL SOCIETY

img_6292

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Thursday February 1 2018 – Church House Westminster

George Bell House - 4 Canon Lane - Chichester Cathedral

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

keep-rebuilding-bridges-working

Friday October 5 2018 – Church House Westminster

1883

Feb 4 1883 – George Kennedy Allen Bell born in Hayling Island, Hampshire

1910

1910 – George Bell appointed Student Minister and Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford

1912

1912 – Church of England ‘Caution List’ compiled

“This named priests known to have been guilty of criminal and moral offences, or viewed with ‘grave suspicion’. In fact, there are national and diocesan caution lists, and each diocesan bishop was advised to keep his own up-to-date, to consult it before making any appointment, and to pass any new name directly to Lambeth Palace”. [Source: “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler (Eerdmans 2016) – Page 196 & 197 – ‘Postlude: History and Allegation’]

1914

1914 – George Bell appointed Chaplain to Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson

“George Bell was very conscientious in keeping this Caution List up-to-date” – Richard W. Symonds

1918

1918 – George Bell marries Henrietta Livingstone

1925

1925 – George Bell appointed Dean of Canterbury

“At this time he was the driving force of the Canterbury Arts Festival, with artists including John Masefield, Gustav Holst, Dorothy Sayers and TS Eliot. Bell later welcomed Mahatma Gandhi to Canterbury”~ Richard W. Symonds

1929

1929 – George Bell appointed Bishop of Chichester 

1935

1935 – Bishop Bell commissions TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’

1936

In 1936 Bishop Bell appointed Chairman of the International Christian Committee for German Refugees

The Committee supported Jewish Christians who at that time were supported by neither Jewish nor Christian organizations.

1936 – “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – A Prayer by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Published in the Chichester Diocesan Gazette

1938

In 1938 Bishop Bell helped many people, including pastors’ families (eg Franz Hildebrandt), to emigrate from Germany to Britain who were in danger from Hitler, and the ‘official’ church, because they had Jewish ancestors or were opponents of the German dictatorship. As one of the leaders of the Ecumenical Movement, he influenced public opinion in supporting those persecuted by the Nazi regime. His public support is said to have contributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller’s survival (“First they came…”) by making his imprisonment in Sachenhausen in February 1938 – and later in Dachau – widely known in the British media, exposing it as an example of the Nazi persecution of the church. Hitler stopped Niemöller’s planned execution in 1938.

1939

Jan 1939 – Church of England “Caution List” revised

“During the war, Bishop Bell was involved in helping not only displaced persons and refugees who had fled the continent to England, but also interned Germans and British conscientious objectors….During World War II Bell repeatedly condemned the Allied practice of ‘area bombing’. As a member of the House of Lords, he was a consistent parliamentary critic of area bombing…In 1941 in a letter to The Times, he called the bombing of unarmed women and children “barbarian” which would destroy the just cause for the war, thus openly criticising the Prime Minister’s [Winston Churchill – Ed] advocacy of such a bombing strategy. On 14 February 1943 – two years ahead of the Dresden raids – he urged the House of Lords to resist the War Cabinet’s decision for area bombing, stating that it called into question all the humane and democratic values for which Britain had gone to war. In 1944, during debate, he again demanded the House of Lords to stop British area bombing of German cities such as Hamburg and Berlin as a disproportionate and illegal “policy of annihilation” and a crime against humanity…” (Source: Wiki)

1940

August 16 1940 – “Principles of Peace” by CEM Joad – The Spectator

Bishop Gavin Ashenden on Oct 5 2018 at Church House:
 
Perhaps one of the great gifts of Judaeo-Christian culture has been the presumption of innocence in our legal system...”
 
C.E.M. Joad on Aug 16 1940 – The Spectator 
 
“There are certain principles which form the heritage of our Western civilisation, principles which are derived partly from ancient Greece, partly from Christianity…”.
 
 
Richard W. Symonds is currently (2018) co-writing a biography on CEM Joad, with particular focus on his ‘swansong’ – “The Recovery of Belief – A Restatement of Christian Philosophy” [Faber & Faber 1952]

1946

1946 – ‘Compendium of the Codes and Practices of Episcopacy – Clergy: Discipline and Disability’ – “Perhaps the only official, printed acknowledgement that there existed in the Church of England a Caution List” – Andrew Chandler

“This significant, secret manual of episcopal practice was no ordinary labour, and it required no ordinary editor. A prefatory note by Archbishop Fisher announced, ‘We owe the revision of a record first compiled in 1912 to the industry of the Bishop of Chichester’ [Source: ‘Private Memoranda of certain matters discussed at the Bishops’ Meetings of Bishops of the Three Provinces of Canterbury, York and Wales held at Lambeth Palace (1902-1945), together with certain Resolutions adopted by the Convocations of Canterbury and York (1946)’, Bell Papers, vol. 306]

– Andrew Chandler – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” (Eerdmans 2016) – Page 196 & 197 – ‘Postlude: History and Allegation’]

“By now a working relationship with the Caution List had been a part of almost Bell’s entire career” – Andrew Chandler [Source: As above]

“It is difficult to believe someone responsible for a ‘Caution List’, which listed priests found guilty of ‘moral offences’, was as guilty as those on that List” – RWS

1948

Dec 10 1948 – “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” ~ Article 11, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly of the United Nations

1956

1956 – “The Wrong Man” – A Film by Alfred Hitchcock with Henry Fonda

1958

Oct 3 1958 – George Kennedy Allen Bell dies

1961

1961 – Newly-built Arundel Screen in Chichester Cathedral dedicated by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey – in memory of Bishop George Bell [thereon called The Arundel-Bell Screen]

1967

1967 – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” by Ronald C.D. Jasper [OUP 1967]

1971

1971 – Kincora Boys’ Home in Northern Ireland and William McGrath [“Who Framed Colin Wallace” by Paul Foot – Macmillan 1989/Pan 1990 – Pages 115-146/208-209 Photo] 

1983

Feb 4 1983 – The ’Anglo-German Tapestry’, which includes references to the life of St Richard, was commissioned to mark the centenary of Bishop Bell’s birth.

1983 (US) – “It all began in Lafayette” – Child Sex Abuse by the priest Gilbert Gauthe in Lafayette, Louisiana

1985 

June 1985 (US) – “The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy: Meeting the Problem in a Comprehensive and Responsible Manner” – 92-Page Report by Rev Thomas Doyle, Lawyer Ray Mouton, and Rev Michael Peterson (in the wake of the 1983 child sex abuse prosecution of the priest Gilbert Gauthe in the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana)

1986

Jan 30 1986 – “Anatomy of a Cover-Up” – Gilbert Gauthe – The Diocese of Lafayette and the moral responsibility for the pedophilia scandal – Jason Berry

1988

1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ [Series 5 Disc 2) – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral [‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

1991

July 16 1991 – “American paedophile jailed” [The Times, London, England] – Richard Gauthe, brother of Gilbert Gauthe (see 1983 & 1985 entries)

1992

1992 – Heathfield Sussex – Islington Council – Nick Rabet – Thailand

1993

1993 – Rev. Peter Ball, Bishop of Lewes, given a Caution by the Police for gross indecency, after abusing a trainee monk.

1995

1995 – First complaint by ‘Carol’ to Bishop of Chichester Eric Kemp, alleging Bishop Bell had sexually abused her in the 1940s and 1950s (not reported to Police). Second complaint in 2013

“I am increasingly of the speculative opinion that ‘Carol’ might have confused Bishop Bell with Bishop Ball. In other words, a simple case of mistaken identity where it is highly likely she was abused by a priest in Chichester as a child, but highly unlikely it was Bishop Bell” ~ Richard W. Symonds

1998

1998 – Conviction of Father Michael Hill of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton for child sexual abuse – Chaplain of Gatwick Airport & brief Resident of Crawley

2000

July 19 2000 – Archbishop defends paedophile move – BBC News

Sept 13 2000 – “Nolan to review Catholic rules on child abuse” – The Guardian – Stephen Bates [Religious Affairs Correspondent]

2001

May 2001 – Terence Banks – Head Steward at Chichester Cathedral – jailed for 16 years for sexual abuse of children

May 3 2001 – “Dean denies cover-up” (page 2) – Chichester Observer (mentioned by Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital)(Recommendations only in 2004 – Terence Banks et al not mentioned until 2014)

June 2001 – Edi Carmi is asked to review the Chichester case. The CARMI Report is completed in 2004, but only its Recommendations are published. In 2014 – 10 years later – the CARMI Report is published in full.

Sept 2001 – Nolan Report published

‘Guilty until proven innocent’ [Source: “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study for Procedural Justice for Priests’ by Fr. James Valladares – iUniverse 2012 – Page 160-161]

In a very interesting article entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent,” Fr. Austen Ivereigh, MA, DPhil, of Heythorpe College, Oxford, informs us of the Cumberlege Commission review of the Church’s child-protection policy [Nolan Report – Ed]. And this is his initial observation: “While treatment of the abused has improved, disturbing evidence has emerged that priests who have been accused and not charged are left in limbo, suspicion still hanging over them” [Ref 345: Austin Ivereigh, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Ever since a dithering Caiaphas [See ‘The Caiaphas Principle’ – June 11 2018 – Ed] succumbed to public pressure and maintained that the destruction of an innocent man was justified to save a nation, the law of Christian countries has consistently upheld the presumption of innocence, and the need for definite and incontrovertible evidence, before an accused can be convicted . In the Church’s legal tradition, this is known as ‘favor rei’ – the accused enjoys the benefit of the law and is deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. Said Pope John Paul II in 1979: “Due process and individual rights should never be sacrificed for the sake of the social order”.

In the wake of the explosive revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy in 2002 (exposed by the Boston Globe and highlighted in the ‘Spotlight’ film – Ed), the bishops of the world reacted with drastic measures to repair the scandal and restore justice through penal sanctions. Quasi-judicial bodies were established and duly authorised to implement their policies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there was COPCA (the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults), the child-protection agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, set up at Lord Nolan’s report on abuse in 2001.

Fr. Austen Ivereigh frankly confesses that Nolan was well aware of the possibility of false or malicious allegations, and the haunting danger of reputations being irreparably destroyed. Yet, continues Fr. Ivereigh, “COPCA’s policies have ridden roughshod over these qualms. ‘Nolan would be turning in his grave,’ more than one canonist has told me.” So there is a pressing need for a level playing field [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, the bishop in charge of COPCA, candidly acknowledged last year that an accused priest is unlikely ever to be reinstated. Of the 40 clergy in England and Wales who had been accused by 2005, only two had been restored to ministry; four were dismissed. Of the 41 reports made in 2006, 24 resulted in no further action by the police, while 14 are still being investigated. Ivereigh adds, “And what is the fate of those whose cases have been dropped by the police? Many of them live in limbo, their reputations and vocations cast to the wolves. All too often, they leave the priesthood”. ‘So a priest is guilty until proven innocent – and this is the deplorable stance of the very ones who brazenly preach about justice in season and out of season’.

Fr. Paul Bruxby, the Brentwood canonist who defends accused priests, informs us that most of the 20 priests he is defending have been assessed as ‘low risk’; yet, five or six years later, they are unable to return to their parishes. “They feel shunned by their bishops and describe themselves as lepers. They feel hopeless, and sometimes imagine committing suicide” [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10]

2002

Jan 6 2002 – “Church allowed abuse by priest for years” – Front Page – Boston Sunday Globe…..the scandal broke and a film was made of the investigation 14 years later: “Spotlight” [2016]

“Boston Globe identified a pattern of systematic sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston in which known paedophile clergy were moved around parishes and/or sent to ‘treatment centres’ – but not prosecuted or de-frocked. The abuse was ‘covered up’. Any just legal recourse for victims was difficult – and made difficult” – Richard W. Symonds

2002 – Boston and Beyond – Major abuse scandals uncovered in the following places…

“There are parallels between what happened in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester in 2015 and what had already happened in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Boston in 2002 – and beyond. The ‘Spotlight’ film brings this out clearly” ~ Richard W. Symonds

2003

2003 – Church of England abolishes “Deposition from Holy Orders” [‘Defrocking’]

2003 – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness…” by Dorothy Rabinowitz [Wall Street Journal Books 2003]

Feb 20 2003 – “Police to close sex abuse inquiry” – Daily Telegraph [ Operation Care – Football manager Dave Jones – Merseyside Police “trawling”]

May 10 2003 – “Warnings have been going on for 25 years” (page 2) – Chichester Observer (mentioned by Carmi Report 2004 – along with the Saturn Centre Crawley Hospital)(Recommendations only in 2004 – Terence Banks et al not mentioned until 2014)

2004

2004 – Carmi Report published (not released by Church until July 8 2014 – following jail sentence of Terence Banks in 2001 – only the recommendations were published)

March 17 2004 – “Child sex ‘expert’ (Stephen King aka Stephen Gosling) is jailed for girls’ abuse” – Daily Telegraph

2007

2007 – House of Bishops Confidential Document 

“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers)…With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it” – Excerpts from House of Bishops confidential document – 2007

Dec 5 2007 – Stuart Syvret Interview – “A systemic decades-long betrayal of the innocents” – Jersey Evening Post

2008

Oct 2008 – “George Bell, 1883-1958 -A Bishop To Remember – A Study Guide for his Diocese to mark the 50th Anniversary of his death” by Rachel Moriarty

Oct 3 – 5 2008 – “Hundreds attend Chichester Cathedral with the Archbishop of Canterbury to Celebrate its 900 years” [and Bishop Bell’s 50th Anniversary] – ‘The Official Chichester Cathedral Website’

Oct 8 2008 – George Bell House at Chichester Cathedral opened and dedicated by the recently-retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

2009

June 30 2009 – “No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

2010

2010 – “Inspector George Gently” with Martin Shaw [Series 2 – Disc 1 – ‘Gently with the Innocents’] – on the theme of Child Sexual Abuse in a Children’s Home

July 9 2010 – “False Accusations” by John Landry http://www.catholicity.com [Quoted in “Hope Springs Internal in the Priestly Breast – A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests” by Fr. James Valladares – Page 200 – “Where is Justice for Falsely Accused Priests?”]

July 13 2010 – Statement: “Archbishop Chaput defends reputation of falsely accused priest” – Catholic World News – July 16 2010

2011

May 25 2011 – “Church of England criticised over Sussex sex abuse” – BBC Sussex

“Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is critical both of Sussex Police and Chichester Diocese, for not taking complaints against Pritchard and Cotton  seriously enough. There was ‘a lack of understanding of the seriousness of historic child abuse’ – Richard W. Symonds

Nov 1 2011 – Jimmy Savile scandal breaks – in UK

Nov 3 2011 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – in US

Dec 29 2011 – “Dr Williams orders visitation” – Church Times

2012

2012 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. [Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, USA – 2012]

February 2012 – Independent Historic Cases Review. Roy Cotton / Colin Pritchard – Diocese of Chichester – Roger Meekings / Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss

“The victims were effectively denied the opportunity of being believed in a meaningful sense and denied the opportunity of ‘timely’ justice. PJ spent many years trying to get the Church [and Sussex Police] to accept his allegations and respond with timely action and recognition of his abuse” – Roger Meekings

March 2 2012 – “Unreserved apology” from Diocese of Chichester regarding Roy Cotton & Colin Pritchard – The Argus [See March 2 2017]

May 28 2012 – “Church of England inquiry into Sussex abuse Bishop” – BBC – Colin Campbell

May 29 2012 – “Police review dossier over disgraced Bishop” [Ball] – Eastbourne Herald

“Sussex Police receive dossier from Lambeth Palace relating to Bishop Peter Ball in the Chichester Diocese” – Richard W. Symonds

Aug 30 2012 – “Archbishop’s Chichester Visitation – interim report published” – Dr Rowan Williams 104th Archbishop of Canterbury

“The problems relating to safeguarding in Chichester have been specific to that diocese rather than a reflection of failures in the legal processes or national policies of the Church of England. Nevertheless…” – Archbishop Rowan Williams

Aug 31 2012 – “Child sex abuse inquiry damns Chichester church’s local safeguarding” – The Guardian – Reporter: David Batty

“The inquiry by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office concluded that the West Sussex diocese has ‘an appalling history’ of child protection failures, with ‘fresh and disturbing’ allegations continuing to emerge” – David Batty

Oct 12 2012 – “Church considers removing Jimmy Savile’s knighthood” – Christian Today

Oct 20 2012 – “I haven’t handed over a sex offender to the police – ‘because I was told in confidence’ – A leading agony aunt makes an explosive confession” – Daily Mail – Anne Atkins

Nov 10 2012 – “Masonic Paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog [Deleted on Request]

Nov 13 2012 – “Retired bishop Peter Ball held in child sex abuse investigation” – The Independent – Reporter: Rob Hastings 

2013

April 5 2013 – “Great Lives – George Bell” – BBC Radio 4 – Series 30 [with Andrew Chandler, Matthew Parris and Peter Hitchens]

April 30 2013 – “The Big Interview: Dr Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester – The Argus – Bill Gardner

May 2013 – “Retired Canon Gordon Rideout guilty at Lewes Crown Court of abuse at Barnado’s home” [Ifield Hall, Crawley – Diocese of Chichester] – Southern Daily Echo

May 3 2013 – Archbishop’s Church Visitation – final report – Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC

June 12 2013 – “Judge chosen for Jersey child abuse committee of inquiry” – BBC Jersey

July 7 2013 – “Church of England makes Chichester child abuse apology” – BBC News

July 24 2013 – “Jersey historical abuse inquiry head suffers stroke” – BBC Jersey

Oct 18 2013 – “How far did [West Yorkshire] police go to protect Jimmy Savile?” – Daily Telegraph

2013 – Second complaint by ‘Carol’ to Bishop of Chichester Justin Welby, alleging Bishop Bell had sexually abused her in the 1940s and 1950s (reported to Police). First complaint in 1995

2014

March 27 2014 – “Betrayed – The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis” by Richard Scorer [Biteback Publishing 2014]

July 8 2014 – “Safeguarding Report Published” – Diocese of Chichester – The CARMI Report 2004

July 8 2014 – “Chichester child abuse victims wait 12 years for report” – BBC News – Carmi Report 2014 released – Terence Banks named (but not named in 2004 – only recommendations)

July 14 2014 – “Diocese and Cathedral turned deaf ears to victims’ complaints” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies – Terence Banks named (but not named in 2004 – only recommendations)

August 18 2014 – “BBC’s Cliff Richard raid coverage driven by pressure for exclusives” – The Guardian

Sept 21 2014 – “Jersey Anglican Church abuse accuser needs ‘closure'” – BBC Jersey

Nov 2014 – Operation Midland launched by Metropolitan Police [and closed in March 2016]

 2015

Jan 20 2015 – “Date set for retired bishop and fellow former Brighton priest to face child sex abuse trial” – Brighton and Hove News – Oct 5 – Reporter: Frank le Duc

Jan 25 2015 – “Jersey synod calls for abuse report publication” – BBC Jersey

Jan 26 2015 – “Jersey Church abuse report: Victim against release” – BBdCJersey

Feb 15 2015 – “Jersey Church abuse report: Dean supports release” – BBC Jersey

June 12 2015 – “Retired Eastbourne priest [Robert Coles] receives further prison sentence for historic sex offences” – Eastbourne Herald

June 22 2015 – Clergy call for resignation of Bishop of Buckingham – Virtue Online

July 13 2015 – “Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals” – The Telegraph – John Bingham 

July 13 2015 – “Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of sexual abuse of children” – Independent – Ian Johnston

July 20 2015 – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail

August 1 2015 – “Tom Doyle addresses priest abuse survivors” – National Catholic Reporter

August 2015 – Operation Conifer launched by Wiltshire Police – Sir Edward Heath (See Operation Midland & Henriques Report)

Sept 8 2015 – “Retired bishop Peter Ball admits sex offence” – BBC News

Sept 8 2015 – “Peter Ball’s victims accuse C of E, police and CPS of sexual abuse cover-up” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Sept 8 2015 – “Abuse inquiry turns its focus on political forces” – Jersey Evening Post

Sept 13 2015 – “Peter Ball should have been prosecuted for sex abuse 22 years ago, admits CPS” – Christian Today – Ruth Gledhill

Sept 2015 – Diocese of Chichester pays compensation to complainant ‘Carol’

Oct 1 2015 – “Betrayal – The Crisis in the Catholic Church” – The Boston Globe [Book made into the film ‘Spotlight’ – DVD release in UK: See May 23 2016]

Oct 5 2015 – “Independent Review of Peter Ball case announced” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 6 2015 – “‘Deeply corrupt’ Church of England Tried To Silence Abuse Victim” – Rev Graham Sawyer of MACSAS – Video (subtitles)

Oct 6 2015 – “Bishop Peter Ball sex abuse victims sue Church of England” – BBC News

Oct 7 2015 – R-v-Ball. Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Wilkie – Central Criminal Court

Oct 7 2015 – Church of England Statement on the sentencing of Peter Ball

Oct 7 2015 – “Bishop [Ball] escaped abuse charges after MPs and a Royal backed him, court told” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Oct 7 2015 – “Bishop [Ball] ‘avoided prosecution for sex abuse after royal support'” – Daily Telegraph – Nicola Harley

Oct 7 2015 – “Prison for Bishop Peter Ball, but victims of Peter Ball sue Church of England” – Church Times – Tim Wyatt

Oct 7 2015 – “Church inquiry into Bishop Peter Ball abuse ‘cover-up'” – BBC News

Oct 7 2015 – “Former Anglican bishop Peter Ball jailed, as victims sue Church of England over ‘cover-up'” – National Secular Society

Oct 7 2015 – “Peter Ball Sentenced” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 9 2015 – “Jimmy Savile and Prince Charles’ very close friendship with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball” – Daily Mail

Oct 9 2015 – “No more excuses: Bishop Peter Ball’s abuse demands more than regret” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Oct 9 2015 – “Bishop Peter Ball case ‘should be part of child sex abuse inquiry'” – The Guardian – Sandra Laville

Oct 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Chichester (Martin Warner) Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell [1883-1958] 

“In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties….” – Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

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

Oct 22 2015 – Statement on the Rt Revd George Bell (1883-1958)” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Oct 22 2015 – “Church of England bishop George Bell abused young child” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood

Oct 22 2015 – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop of Chichester George Bell sex abuse victim gets compensation” – BBC News – Sussex

Oct 22 2015 – “Former Chichester bishop George Bell abused young child” – Chichester Observer

Oct 22 2015 – “Bishop Luffa urged to rename house after George Bell revelation” – Chichester Observer

“The grandson was asked the reason why his school building, dedicated to Bishop George Bell, had been re-named. The answer came straight back, ‘Because he was a paedophile'” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 23 2015 – “Bishop revealed to have sexually abused child” / “The dark secret of a respected peacemaker” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

Oct 23 2015 – “Conservative Government Threatened By Sex Scandals” – Aangirfan

Oct 24 2015 – “Former bishop’s despicable fall from grace will prompt much soul-searching from the Church” / “Abuse victim hits out over ‘systematic behaviour’” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 27 2015 – Vickery House found guilty of historic sex offences – BBC News

Oct 28 2015 – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 28 2015 – “Church in third sex abuse scandal as ex-vicar is convicted” / “Where did it go wrong for the Diocese of Chichester?” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Oct 29 2015 – “Vickery House: Priest jailed over sex attacks” – BBC News

Nov 4 2015 – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 7 2015 – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Nov 9 2015 – “The tragedy of former bishop who committed terrible acts” – Tony Greenstein – Opinion – The Argus

Nov 9 2015 – “Bishop George Bell and the tyranny of paedomania” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Nov 13 2015 – “The Church of England media statement about Bishop George Bell” – The Church Times – Letter – Alan Pardoe QC

Nov 20 2015 – “Church of England media statement on Bishop Bell – further comment” – The Church Times – Letter – Dr Brian Hanson

Nov 22 2015 – “My defence of former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 5 2015 – A Background to “The Jersey Way” – Photopol

Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane

Dec 31 2015 – “Peter Ball: letters of support released” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Winter 2015 – Chichester Cathedral Newsletter – Stephen Waine, Dean on Bishop Bell

2016

Winter 2016 – ‘Bishop George Bell’ – Page 37 – Cathedral Guide – “Chichester Cathedral. Society and Faith” [Pitkin 2016]

Jan 1 2016 – “The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell” – The Daily Telegraph – Charles Moore

Jan 5 2016 – “Bishop Bell declared guilty without trial” – The Daily Telegraph – Letters (a) Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (b) Rt Rev Martin Warner. Bishop of Chichester

Jan 5 2016 – “Anglican persecution” – Bats in the Belfry – crhill764

Jan 7 2016 – “Doesn’t Bishop George Bell deserve the presumption of innocence?” – The Guardian – Giles Fraser

Jan 13 2016 – “Questionable trashing of Bishop George Bell’s reputation” – The Guardian – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Jan 14 2016 – “This text is intended to give clear guidance on tone and content…if you prefer to leave Bishop Bell out of your conversation or guided tour, this is perfectly acceptable” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine – to Cathedral Guides

IMG_1573

Jan 16 2016 – “Proof of guilt is crucial and must not be assumed” – The Argus – Saturday Guest – Peter Hitchens

Jan 16 2016 – “Bishop’s memorial to remain in place” / “The Church itself has tried to satisfy both camps and in doing so has pleased neither” – The Argus – Spotlight – Joel Adams

Jan 20 2016 – “George Bell: School to remove bishop’s name after abuse claims” – BBC News – Sussex

Jan 28 2016 – “School changes name in clergy sex scandal” – The Argus – Reporter: Peter Lindsey

Jan 28 2016 – House of Lords “Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure” – The Lord Bishop of Durham’s reply to Lord Lexden – Hansard – Column 1516

“What I find deeply disturbing is that a Bishop’s reputation is destroyed and no-one takes any responsibility for destroying it – least of all the Bishop’s own Church” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 3 2016 – Bishop of Chichester issues Statement

“The presence of strident voices in the public arena which have sought to undermine the survivor’s claims has added in this case to the suffering of the survivor and her family. To that extent it is not surprising that she felt it necessary to take the courageous decision to speak out in public and reveal the personal details which the Church could not” – Bishop of CN hichester Martin Warner

Feb 3 2016 – “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me” / “Listen to her story”– The Argus – Front Page + Pages 4-6 / Editorial Comment

Feb 3 2016 – “Bishop Bell’s victim praised for speaking about historic abuse” – Chichester Observer

Feb 3 2016 – “Victim of George Bell: ‘He said it was our little secret, because God loved me'” – Premier Christian News & Radio – Reporter: Antony Bushfield

Feb 3 2016 – “Disgraced paedophile Bishop Bell abused five year old while telling her ‘God loved me’, says victim” – Christian Today – Reporter: Ruth Gledhill

Feb 3 2016 – “Victim describes how she was abused by bishop George Bell” – The Guardian – Reporter: Harriet Sherwood (Religion correspondent)

Feb 3 2016 – “Newspaper Interview Reveals Details of Sex Abuse Allegations Against Bishop George Bell” – Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion – Richard Bartholomew

Feb 3 2016 – “Interview with Bishop George Bell’s victim” – Thinking Anglicans

Feb 4 2016 – University of Chichester closes the George Bell Institute and withdraws Fellowships – Director: Andrew Chandler

Feb 4 2016 – “Bishop sex abuse victim is praised for her courage” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Feb 5 2016 – “Bishop’s victim should have got a bigger payout” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

Feb 5 2016 – “Visit to Bell’s palace were my girlhood ordeal, paper told” – The Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

Feb 5 2016 – ‘Spotlight’ Film – “Phil Saviano: The Child Sex Abuse Survivor who refused to be silenced by the Catholic Church” 

Feb 6 2016 – Argus Comment – Richard W. Symonds

Feb 8 2016 – “Statement from Bishop Paul Butler on George Bell” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Feb 9 2016 – “When did child abuse become the unforgivable sin?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Feb 9 2016 – “George Bell: Former wartime bishop ‘abused girl in cathedral'” – BBC News – Sussex

Feb 9 2016 – “When did child abuse become the unforgivable sin” – Archbishop Cranmer

Feb 13 2016 – “George Bell is wiped out” – Argus – In Brief – [George Bell House re-named 4 Canon Lane]

Feb 18 2016 – “Chichester Cathedral memorial to Bishop George Bell could be changed” – BBC News – Sussex

Feb 21 2016 – “Now war hero bishop branded an abuser may lose cathedral tribute” – The Mail on Sunday – Reporter: Jonathan Petre

Feb 22 2016 – “Bell’s family hit back” – The Argus – Barbara Whitley aged 92 [Niece of Bishop Bell] + Tim Sutcliffe [Former Member of General Synod]

Feb 24 2016 – “Independent Review into Peter Ball case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Feb 25 2016 – “Does silence say it all” by Richard W. Symonds / “I could not agree more” by J Robinson – Chichester Observer – Letters

Feb 26 2016 – Letter to Richard W. Symonds from Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Feb 28 2016 – Boston Globe/‘Spotlight’ – “Sex and power in the spotlight”

Feb 29 2016 – “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler [Eerdmans 2016]

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s anger over disgraced bishop” / “Carey anger over sex abuse case” / “Former Archbishop slams church for destroying reputation of George Bell” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s fury at Church over abuse case bishop” / “Major New Development in George Bell case – Lord Carey speaks out” – Mail on Sunday – Reporter: Jonathan Petre & Columnist Peter Hitchens

March 7 2016 – “Carey’s support for abuse accused Bishop Bell ‘distressing'” – BBC – Sussex

March 9 2016 – “Church defends stance in historic sex abuse inquiry” – The Argus – Reporter: Rachel Millard

March 11 2016 – AS v TH (False Allegations of Abuse) – High Court case

March 13 2016 – Peter Hitchens on ‘Carol’ and Lord Carey – Mail on Sunday

March 15 2016 – “Damning report reveals Church of England’s failure to act on abuse” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

March 17 2016 – “‘Seriously misled’ by the diocese over allegations” – Chichester Observer Letters – Marilyn Billingham

March 19 2016 – “Church ‘wrong’ to name Bishop of Chichester a paedophile” – Daily Telegraph – Patrick Sawer

March 19 2016 – “Welby urged to apologise over sex abuse inquiry. Bishop’s reputation has been ‘carelessly destroyed’ by allegations” – Mail on Sunday – Jonathan Petre

March 20 2016 – “Challenge to Bishop George Bell abuse claim” – BBC News

March 20 2016 – “A Review by the George Bell Group of the treatment by the Church of England of the late Bishop of Chichester, George Bell” – The George Bell Group

March 20 2016 – Peter Hitchens on the George Bell Group formation – Mail on Sunday

March 20 2016 – “The Defence of George Bell – Full Documents in the Case” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

March 20 2016 – “Murder in the Cathedral. The Casual Wrecking of a Great Name” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

March 20 2016 – “Group challenges naming of Bishop George Bell as paedophile” – Thinking Anglicans

March 20 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (1)” – Bats in the Belfry – crhill764

March 22 2016 – “Group blasted as they question abuse victim – Solicitor claims client is ‘not allowed closure she deserves'” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

March 23 2016 – “Group challenges Bishop Bell claim” – Crawley Observer

March 24 2016 – “C of E must apologise for destroying Bell’s reputation, says his defenders” – Church Times – Reporter: Tim Wyatt

March 24 2016 – Church Times Letter – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

March 25 2016 – “Uncertainty hurts”- Argus Letters – Mark Dunn

March 26 2016 – “Archbishop: Cleric [Bishop Bell – Ed] likely child abuser” – Argus – In Brief

March 29 2016 – “Credible and True” by K. Harvey-Proctor [Biteback 2016]

March 30 2016 – “Group set up to back disgraced bishop” – West Sussex Gazette

March 31 2016 – “From The Editor’s Chair – Mike Gilson” – The Argus

March 31 2016 – “Group is formed in support of Bishop Bell” / “Archbishop responds to criticism” / “Bishop Bell reaction – School and Cathedral buildings renamed” – Chichester Observer

April 2016 – “False allegations, emotional truth and actual lies” – The Justice Gap]

The present preoccupation with sex crime and victims of crime has given rise to a new type of victim: the falsely accused…I believe that victims of false accusations now deserve more consideration…Various victims of false accusations, of whom the most high profile and outspoken is the well-known BBC radio presenter Paul Gambaccini (& Sir Cliff Richard – Ed) have voiced dismay at the authorities’ willingness to entertain complaints that in the past would have been seen as outlandish, even vexatious…It star witness is an anonymous accuser, whose multiple personalities include ‘Nick’, ‘Carl Survivor’ and ‘Stephen’…It’s time for a much more rigorous and open discussion about why some people…make false accusations. But first I should clarify what is meant by ‘false’. The word is ambiguous, covering a spectrum of claims that are simply unfounded, to those that are mistakes, to those that are dishonest.

In their 2012 paper, Jessica Engle and William O’Donoghue proposed 11 pathways to false accusations of sexual assault. These are: 1. Lying 2. Implied consent 3. False memories 4. Intoxication 5. Antisocial personality disorder 6. Borderline personality disorder 7. Histrionic personality disorder 8. Delirium 9. Psychotic disorder 10. Disassociation 11. Intellectual disability.

Crucially, they omit ‘the honest but mistaken person’: Pathway 12. A classic example of this is the rape victim who misidentifies her assailant in an identity parade (or the elderly ‘Carol’ who mistakenly identified Bishop Bell when she was very young? – Ed)…

People can also develop false memories of abuse, for example as a result of contact with therapists, pressure from peers or from significant others (such as partners or parents), or even from reading stories in the media. There is no space here to discuss this important topic in detail.

It is a sad fact that those with mental disorders or learning disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual assault. But it should also be recognised that third parties – such as care providers – may stand to benefit from a false allegation.

That mental problems could potentially lead to false allegations is rarely discussed. But it is a very serious issue, which would benefit from wider debate. Those with personality disorders may be motivated to make false accusations out of motives of revenge, ot attention-seeking. Some may misperceive non-sexual events as sexual. Those who are delusional may also make false accusations of sexual misconduct….”Testifiers do not inevitably speak the truth, as virtuous as they may perceive themselves to be” [Professor Janice Haaken]

~ Barbara Hewson 

April 1 2016 – “Vigil to protest against treatment of late bishop” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

April 2 2016 – “‘I want to be a voice for the voiceless’, says nun left in limbo over sex abuse allegations” [Sister Frances Dominica OBE and President of F.A.C.T. – Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers] – The Guardian – Esther Addley 

April 2 2016 – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – [Petition closes in Oct 2016 with 2169 signatures, and delivered to The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock at Lambeth Palace by Richard Symonds & Marilyn Billingham on October 19 2016]

April 3 2016 – “Archbishop in an unholy mess” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

April 3 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (2)” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

April 4 2016 – “Group wants new look into case of late bishop” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams [The Vigil + Photo – Sunday April 3]

April 5 2016 – “Credible and True: the evidence against Harvey Proctor and Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

April 6 2016 – “Abuse was alleged” – Argus Letters – Richard W. Symonds

April 7 2016 – “When the spire collapsed” / “New name for the tower” – Chichester Observer Letters – Richard W. Symonds / Brian Hopkins

April 10 2016 – Peter Hitchens on ‘No reason to doubt’ and Archbishop Justin Welby – The Mail on Sunday

April 11 2016 – “Why All The Fuss About George Bell. A New Biography Explains” – Peter Hitchens

April 13 2016 – “In Britain, the name of a courageous Christian is smeared” – The Catholic World Report – Joanna Bogle

April 14 2016 – “Disappointed at church reaction” – Christopher Hoare / “What else could Church do?” – Peter Rice – Chichester Observer Letters

April 21 2016 – “No answer from the council” – Chichester Observer Letters – April 21 2016 – Tim Hudson + “Bishop Bell portrait is reinstated” – Chichester Observer – May 12 2016

April 23 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (3)” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

April 24 2016 – “‘Murder in the Cathedral’ explains why you should sign the George Bell Petition” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

April 29 2016 – “Abuse victim accuses C of E of cover-up” – Church Times – Reporter: Tim Wyatt (Re: Bishop Peter Ball & Rev Graham Sawyer)

April 29 2016 – “Lessons for the Church from Hillsborough” – ‘Brother Ivo’

May 5 2016 – A Good New Independent Account of the George Bell Controversy” – Peter Hitchens

May 5 2016 – “George Bell – The battle for a bishop’s reputation” – BBC News Magazine – Reporter: Justin Parkinson

May 6 2016 – “Anglican Rough Justice (4) – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

May 11 2016 – Letter to Bishop Martin Warner from Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson (cc Archbishop Justin Welby)

May 11 2016 – “At last – a small victory in the rehabilitation of George Bell” – Peter Hitchens

May 12 2016 – “Bishop Bell portrait is reinstated” – Chichester Observer – May 12 2016 + “No answer from the council” – Chichester Observer Letters – April 21 2016

May 12 2016 – “Petition to reopen Bell case” – Chichester Observer Letters – Marilyn & Peter Billingham, Richard Symonds and Meriel Wilmot-Wright

May 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell’s reputation is besmirched by witch hunt, claim angry campaigners” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

May 14 2016 – “Portrait of sex abuse bishop is back on council office wall” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

May 17 2016 – “More proof needed” – Argus Letter – Martin Sewell

May 19 2016 – “The ‘absurd fiction’ of the need for secrecy in the trial of Bishop Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

May 19 2016 – “Church just prolongs agony” – Chichester Observer Letter – Martin Sewell (same letter as the Argus “More proof needed” – May 17 2016)

May 19 2016 – “Bishop George Bell – The lack of information given by Church of England unsatisfactory” – Editorial – Chichester Observer [Gary Shipton – Editor-in-Chief – Sussex Newspapers-Johnston Press]

May 20 2016 – “Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Jersey Dean over abuse case” – BBC Jersey

May 23 2016 – “Spotlight” DVD Film release in the UK [Boston Globe investigation of Child Sexual Abuse in Roman Catholic Church]

“A small team of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe (US) – known as ‘Spotlight’ – investigate allegations of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, and expose the scandal that the Archdiocese of Boston knew of the abuse, but did nothing – or not enough – to stop it. Disturbing parallels with the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester” – RWS

May 25 2016 – “The Stalinesque Disappearance of George Bell House” – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

May 26 2016 – “Commonsense from council” – Chichester Observer Letter – Richard Wilby

May 27 2016 – “Campaigners’ fight to clear ‘sex attack’ Bishop goes viral” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

May 31 2016 – “Bell secrecy” – Argus Letter – Richard W. Symonds

June 2 2016 – “Chichester Diocese can learn from its own lessons” – ‘ Brother Ivo’

June 3 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [‘Spotlight’ & Bell Petition]

June 10 2016 – “I treated kids Bell ‘abused’. A young man tried to kill himself, says retired nurse” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt

June 10 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [Kincora, “Who Framed Colin Wallace?”]

June 20 2016 – “Accusation against Bishop George Bell” – Peter Hitchens – youtube

June 24 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds [Church of England Press Statement Oct 22 2015 – Bishop of Durham/House of Lords Statement – Jan 28 2016]

June 28 2016 – Independent review into handling of George Bell case – Church of England News Release

June 28 2016 – “Independent review into handling of George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

June 29 2016 – “Church review on Bell” – The Argus – Reporter: Joel Adams

June 30 2016 – House of Lords Debate – Hansard – Historical Child Sex Abuse

June 30 2016 – “Review of Bishop Bell case processes is announced” – Chichester Observer – Reporter: Nikki Jeffery

June 30 2016 – “Bell review welcomed” – Chichester Observer – Editorial [Gary Shipton?]

July 1 2016 – “Review launched into Bishop Bell case by Church” – Chichester Observer

July 1 2016 – “Lord Carey critical of the Church” – Argus

July 3 2016 – “The Lord, St Thomas, and Bishop Bell” – ‘Brother Ivo’

July 4 2016 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – “Charles Moore Notebook” – The Daily Telegraph

July 6 2016 – “Synod ‘No Confidence’ motion looms in the secret trial of Bishop George Bell (RIP)” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

July 7 2016 – “Sympathy for the Bishop of Chichester” – ‘Brother Ivo’

July 7 2016 – “Will review be independent” – Chichester Observer – Letter – The Revd David Burton Evans

July 8 2016 – Martin Sewell given just Two Minutes to make his Statement at General Synod

July 8 2016 – Chichester Post – Letter – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society [Trust, Synod & Secrecy]

July 12 2016 – “Update On Peter Ball Establishment Cover-Up: FOI Documents Reveal Ball Investigated In 2008 For Being Part Of A Suspected Paedophile Ring” – Goodness and Harmony

July 14 2016 – “Further points on the George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 20 2016 – “Campaigners fight to give Bishop George Bell a ‘fair’ posthumous hearing on charges of child abuse” – Christian Today – Contributing Editor: Ruth Gledhill

July 22 2016 – “Identity of abuser in Bishop Bell case questioned” – The Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

July 24 2016 – Chichester Cathedral – Notice on Pews – Sunday

July 26 2016 – “Senior Anglican clergy accused of failing to act on rape allegations” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood [Religion Correspondent]

July 29 2016 – “The C of E smears saints and shields scoundrels” – Rev Jules Gomes

Aug 4 2016 – “Police say sorry over Bishop Bell” – Chichester Observer (not online)

Aug 5 2016 – “Sussex Police apology over Bishop George Bell affair” – BBC Sussex 

Aug 5 2016 – “Police say sorry over Bishop Bell. BBC says sorry over Bishop Bell. And The Church?” – The Bell Society – Richard W. Symonds

Aug 6 2016 – “Police to apologise to Bishop George Bell’s family” – Premier – Antony Bushfield

Aug 6 2016 – “Police apology to niece of child abuse bishop” – The Argus – Assistant News Editor: Arron Hendy (not online)

Aug 19 2016 – “Chichester needs to explain itself, publicly” – The Church Times – Letter – Marilyn Billingham

Aug 21 2016 – “Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph“Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Aug 25 2016 – “While the Church of England becomes a safe place for children, it is hell for those wrongly accused” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Aug 26 2016 – “The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – The Church Times – Letter – Gabrielle Higgins (Diocesan Secretary of Chichester)

Aug 31 2016 – “The Church of England masters the non-apology” – Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes – The Conservative Woman

Sept 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell: a straw in the wind” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 17 2016 – “Bishop Bell: the complainant’s payoff” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 26 2016 – “Play reading as part of ‘Justice for George Bell’ campaign” – Chichester Observer – Phil Hewitt

Sept 26 2016 – “Bishop Bell: The Church recumbent” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Sept 29 2016 – “Bishop Bell: victim of CofE ‘kangaroo court'” – Chichester Observer – Phil Hewitt [Group Arts Editor]

Oct 1 2016 – “Bishop Bell: The Continuing Campaign for Justice for the late Bishop George Bell” – Peter Hitchens 

Oct 3 2016 – Reading of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in Chichester [as part of the “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester” Campaign] – Peter Hitchens

Oct 5 2016 – Service at St. Michael’s Cornhill, City of London [to mark the life and work of Bishop Bell in the Church Calendar] – Peter Hitchens

Oct 7 2016 – “Victims or Survivors” – Bats in the Belfrey – crhill764

Oct 7 2016 – “In an era in need of it, courage” – Book review of Andrew Chandler’s Biography – ‘George Bell, Bishop of Chichester: Church, State and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship’ [Eerdmans 2016] – Church Times – The Revd Dr Jeremy Morris, University of Cambridge

Oct 7 2016 – “Lambeth receives petition in support of George Bell” – Church Times – Reporter: Hattie Williams

Oct 12 2016 – Church of England National Safeguarding Steering Group meet for the first time – Chair & Lead Bishop for Safeguarding: Rt Revd Peter Hancock [Bishop of Bath & Wells]. Vice Chair & Deputy Lead Bishop: Rt Revd Mark Sowerby [Bishop of Horham]. Other Members include Rt Revd Nigel Stock [Bishop of Lambeth][who received the Bell Petition at Lambeth Palace on Oct 19 2016]

Oct 12 2016 – Letter to The Archbishop of Canterbury from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 13 2016 – “Bishop Bell was commemorated” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Tim Hudson

Oct 15 2016 – “Justice for bishop” – The Daily Telegraph – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 19 2016 – The Bell Petition closes with 2169 signatures – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester”

Oct 19 2016 – Visit to Lambeth Palace to deliver The Bell Petition. Marilyn Billingham and Richard W. Symonds meet with the Bishop of Lambeth, The Rt Revd Nigel Stock.

Oct 19 2016 – “Petition seeks ‘justice’ for ‘abuse’ Bishop George Bell” – BBC Sussex

Oct 22 2015 –1st Anniversary of the Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2016 – “Former Archbishop of Canterbury admits he deserves criticism over ex-bishop sex abuse ‘cover-up'” – The Daily Telegraph – Chief Reporter: Robert Mendick

Oct 22 2016 – Letter to Graham Tilby [National Safeguarding Adviser for the Church of England] – from Marilyn Billingham

Oct 22 2016 – Letter to Graham Tilby [National Safeguarding Adviser for the Church of England] – from Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Oct 23 2016 – “This is NOT justice – it’s a witch hunt” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell

Oct 27 2016 – “Petition in support of Bishop Bell is delivered” – Chichester Observer – Reporter: Steve Pickthall

Oct 28 2016 – “Congregation make feelings clear over abuse allegations” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Ruth Scammell

Oct 28 2016 – Chichester Post – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Oct 29 2016 – Letter from Kay McCluskey [Manager of ‘Cloisters’ Cathedral shop] to Richard W. Symonds – in reply to a written request for the withdrawal of the Cathedral Guide relating to Bishop Bell.

Oct 31 2016 – “An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations, alleged against persons of public prominence” – Sir Richard Henriques

Nov 1 2016 – “In defence of George Bell” – First Things (US) – Peter Hitchens

Nov 1 2016 – Letter from the Bishop of Lambeth [The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock] to Richard Symonds and Marilyn Billingham

Nov 8 2016 – “Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s statement following Sir Richard Henriques Review” – The Metropolitan Police

Nov 10 2016 – “Henriques Report: ‘Deputy Heads Must Roll'” – ‘BarristerBlogger’ – Matthew Scott

Nov 11 2016 – Chichester Post – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Nov 12 2016 – “Abuse of an inquiry” – The Daily Telegraph – Letter – CDC Armstrong [Belfast]

Nov 14 2016 – “End the witch-hunt” – Daily Telegraph – Editorial

Nov 14 2016 – “Heath’s godson (Lincoln Seligman) : stop the police witch hunt now” / “Police ‘destroying Heath’s reputation to rescue theirs'” – Daily Telegraph

Nov 16 2016 – “Trial of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Nov 16 2016 – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Signatories delivered to the Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner

Nov 18 2016 – Reply by the Bishop of Chichester to the co-signed ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Nov 16

Nov 18 2016 – “Bell affair: implications of the Henriques report” – Church Times – Letter – C.D.C. Armstrong [Belfast]

Nov 18 2016 – “Henriques: Help or Hindrance” – David Hencke

Nov 20 2016 – “Finally…one brave bishop says sorry” – Peter Hitchens

Nov 22 2016 – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – Chair: Frances Oldham – Latest Updates [Final Report: Early 2017]

Nov 22 2016 – “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer of George Bell case” – Church of England News Release

Nov 23 2016 – “Bishop George Bell case: Lord Carlile to lead review” – BBC Sussex

Nov 23 2016 – “Church of England appoints Lord Carlile to review George Bell claim” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood/Religion correspondent

Nov 23 2016 – “Ex-terror reviewer Lord Carlile to re-examine Bishop Bell sex abuse decision” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham/Religious Affairs Editor

Nov 23 2016 – “Top QC will review the Bishop George Bell case” – Chichester Observer

Nov 23 2016 – “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer in George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Nov 23 – Nov 26 – Comment & Analysis on “Lord Carlile named as independent reviewer in George Bell case” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

Nov 23 2016 – “Some Cause for Modest Hope in the George Bell Case” – Peter Hitchens 

Nov 25 2016 – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges'” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 26 2016 – The Spectator on Lord Carilile’s Review [Brief Note]

Nov 28 2016 – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 2 and List of Signatories delivered to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester

Nov 30 2016 – “Bishop Bell abuse case” – West Sussex Gazette – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Dec 1 2016 – “Please withdraw Cathedral guide” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Dec 2 2016 – The Letter of Christopher Hoare to Chichester Cathedral – with Replies from the Bishop, Dean and Chancellor

Dec 3 2016 – “Heath abuse inquiry ‘not a witch-hunt’/’not a fishing trip'”/Wiltshire Police – The Guardian – Reporters: Vikram Dodd & Owen Bowcott

Dec 7 2016 – Dean of Chichester replies by Email to the ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 2 of Signatories

Dec 9 2016 – Statement of The George Bell Group [following the appointment of Lord Carlile]

Dec 13 2016 – A Local Contribution from ‘P’

Dec 14 2016 – Dean of Chichester orders removal of all plants from Bishop Bell Memorial in Cathedral – without explanation

Dec 19 2016 – “A Sprig of Christmas Holly for the Bishop Bell Memorial?” – Charles Moore Notebook – The Daily Telegraph

Dec 24 2016 – Information for Submissions from Lord Carlile

Dec 24 2016 – Graham Toole-Mackson to co-ordinate Submissions of 70-strong for presentation to Lord Carlile

Dec 27 2016 – “2016 in front pages” – The Argus [Feb 3 2016 Front Page “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me”]

Dec 27 2016 – Unpublished Letter from Martin Sewell (in response to The Argus “2016 in front pages”)(“He told me it was our little secret because God loved me” – Feb 3 2016)

Dec 30 2016 – “2016 really was a year to talk about” – The Argus – Spotlight Argus – Reporter Joel Adams’ ‘favourite quote’ on Week 5’s Front Page (Feb 3): “He said it was our little secret, because God loved me” [The word “allegedly” is inserted in the write-up – which was missing in the Dec 27 write-up]

2017

Jan 3 2017 – “Stories of 2016” – The Argus – [Feb 3 2016 Front Page “He told me it was our little secret because God loved me”][Write-up prompts formal complaint to Argus Editor by Richard W. Symonds]

Jan 3 2017 – Formal Complaint (1) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds

Jan 6 2017 – Formal Complaint (2) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds

Jan 6 2017 – Letter Submission by Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Jan 7 2017 – Revised Formal Complaint (3) to Argus Editor from Richard W. Symonds [Revision of Complaint (1) & (2) – and re-submitted]

Jan 10 2017 – The ‘Bishop Bell’ Submission to Lord Carlile Q.C. from the 70-strong – New Year Update from Graham Toole-Mackson

Feb 3 2017 – Peter Ball, former Bishop of Lewes, released from jail after serving 16 months of a 32-month sentence

Feb 5 2017 – “John Smyth, the school predator who beat me for five years” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 5 2017 – A Poetry Evening to mark the Birthday of Bishop George Bell – Friends Meeting House – Chichester – 6.30pm

Feb 6 2017 – “Dear Archbishop of Canterbury: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?” – An Open Letter – Daily Telegraph

Feb 6 2017 – “He should have died in prison / Victim’s disgust as priest abuser is freed” – The Argus – Front Page / Page 2 – regarding Peter Ball (former Bishop of Lewes within the Diocese of Chichester) – Reporters: Siobhan Ryan and Andre Rhoden-Paul

Feb 7 2017 – Bishop George Bell and The General Synod – Christian Today – Reporter: Harry Farley

Feb 7 2017 – “Seven per cent of Australian Priests accused of Child Sexual Abuse” – Christian Today

Feb 9 2017 – Archbishop denounced by Bishop of  Buckingham – Virtue Online

Feb 10 2017 – Poetry Evening – Chichester Post 

“After the Poetry Reading at the Quaker Meeting House, there was a retiring collection for the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture [MFVT] – raising £210” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 12 2017 – Archbishop of Westminster says decision to end child refugee scheme ‘shocking’

“In 1936 Bishop Bell was appointed Chairman of the International Christian Committee for German Refugees” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Feb 16 2017 – “No coverage of city event” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Richard W. Symonds

Feb 19 2017 – “Police Chief : Heath WAS a Paedophile” / “Is he guilty? Yes, I’m 120% sure” / “[Wiltshire] Police refuse to call off the dogs after VIP child sex ring fiasco” – Mail on Sunday – Front Page and Pages 4 & 5 – Simon Walters [Political Editor]

Feb 19 2017 – “[Wiltshire] Police chief ‘120 per cent convinced’ Edward Heath was a paedophile” – The Independent 

Feb 19 2017 – “Top bishop’s diocese under fire over child abuse ‘cover-up'” – Mail on Sunday – Simon Walters [Political Editor]

Feb 20 2017 – “Police chief hits out at tabloid over Edward Heath claims” – The Guardian

Feb 21 2017 – “Refugees” by Brian Bilston

Feb 25 2017 – “Jailed sex predator priest (Gordon Rideout) handed additional sentence” – The Argus [See ‘May 2013’ entry] 

Feb 26 2017 – “Report due soon on historical child abuse” – Jersey Evening Post

March 2 2017 – “Unreserved apology” from Diocese of Chichester in 2012 regarding Roy Cotton & Colin Pritchard – The Argus – ‘On This Day – Five Years Ago’ [See March 2 2012]

March 5 2017 – “We always start from the position of believing the victim” – ‘Broadchurch’ Police TV Drama – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

March 22 2017 – “On Leaving The Church of England” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Video (subtitles)

March 2017 – Publication of ‘The House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy Statement – Promoting a Safer Church for Children, Young People and Adults

‘Responding to, Assessing and Managing Safeguarding concerns or Allegations against Church Officers’ [published October 13 2017] – Disclosures or allegations of abuse – Section 2 – First Response (Page 25) – “a person receiving a safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer should ‘respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard and taken seriously.’

April 26 2017 – “‘Paedomanic Media’ to relegate Bishop Bell Report to back pages as Jersey Care Inquiry hits front pages?” – Gatwick City Times

May 30 2017 – Judge orders BBC to name source in Sir Cliff Richard case

June 7 2017 – Jersey Inquiry Report on July 3 2017 at 3pm. No questions will be allowed.

June 9 2017 – “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – ‘Trump’s Meddlesome Priest’ – New York Times

June 21 2017 – Jersey Inquiry Report – Ben Shenton [and John Lennon] on the critical need to tell the truth…or else

June 22 2017 – “Church [of England] ‘colluded’ with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball” – BBC

June 22 2017 – Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball and The Gibb Report: A Personal Reflection by Richard W. Symonds of The Bell Society

June 23 2017 – “Church Protected Paedophile Bishop” [Peter Ball] – The Argus – June 23 2017 + Guardian

June 23 2017 – Argus Letter [not yet published] – Richard W. Symonds [Peter Ball, Lambeth List, Caution List]

June 25 2017 – Unholy Trinity ? Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG] – Allchurches Trust Limited [ATL] – Church of England [CoE] 

“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers)…With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it” – Excerpts from House of Bishops confidential document – 2007

June 26 2017 – Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey resigns after Gibb Child Abuse Report

June 28 2017 – “Church resignations” – The Argus – June 28 2017

June 29 2017 – “Would Bishop George Bell do the same as Cardinal George Pell, if he was alive today?” – Richard W. Symonds

June 29 2017 – “The Safeguarding Industry has become a Witch Hunt” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Jules Gomes

June 30 2017 – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – Jersey Evening Post – “Those cited for wrongdoing will face justice…”

July 3 2017 – Jersey Child Abuse Report “lifts lid” at Haut de la Garenne; but the stones are left unturned and undisturbed ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

July 12 2017 – Law protects liars in Jersey

July 13 2017 – “I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m ashamed” – Comment – Jersey Evening Post

July 14 2017 – Politician stands down amidst allegations he lied to Jersey Inquiry – ITV News

July 21 2017 – “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way'” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Yes, the inquiry was about child care, but at its heart is the Jersey Way in its sinister, controlling manifestation: ‘protection of powerful interests and resistance to change, even when change is patently needed’”

~ Richard Digard [Jersey Evening Post – “Complacency over Inquiry’s report has been astonishing” – July 21 2017]

July 21 2017 – “Church of England ‘withdrew emotional support for abused'” – BBC News

July 29 2017 – “The Jersey Way” and Stuart Syvret

July 2017 – General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

Aug 4 2017 – “The Jersey Way”, Doublethink and Andrew Lewis

Aug 12 2017 – “The Jersey Way” – When a Lie is not a Lie

Aug 13 2017 – Historic Child Abuse Panel Member: “I was silenced…”

Aug 14 2017 – Legal protection for lying politicians may be removed

Aug 15 2017 – “Charges for priests who don’t report child abuse?”

Aug 22 2017 – “Reporter Who Exposed BBC Pedophilia Cover-Up Found Dead” – News Punch [+ Jersey Evening Post]

Sept 1 2017 – Charles Henry Gordon Lennox – the 10th Duke of Richmond – dies aged 87 – one of the signatories of the Bell Petition delivered to Lambeth Palace on Oct 19 2016

Sept 2 2017 – “[Roman Catholic] Bishop remained deeply ashamed over his handling of sex abuse claims” – The Argus (written by Editor Arron Hendy)

Sept 6 2017 – “Rotherham Sex Abuse Survivors Still Seek Answers”

Sept 8 2017 – Carlile Review on Bishop Bell imminent

Sept 9 2017 – Heritage Open Day – Chichester Cathedral

Sept 9 2017 – “Sex Abuse Inquiry To Probe Ted Heath” – The Mail on Sunday – Front Page

Sept 11 2017 – ‘Cliff Richard’s agony: “I’ve been hurt so much by false sex abuse claims, I just don’t think I’ll ever recover”‘ – Daily Mirror – Front Page

Sept 12 2017 – “Abuse victims ‘need specialist help'” – Jersey Evening Post

Sept 24 2017 – “Police: If Heath was alive today we’d quiz him under caution on child abuse” – The Mail on Sunday – Page 12

Sept 25 2017 – “Why did the authorities not act any sooner?” – The Argus

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

Oct 1 2017 – Commemoration Service at St Martin-within-Ludgate [Ludgate Hill] to mark Bishop Bell’s 59th Anniversary – Wednesday October 4 (5pm)

Oct 1 2017 – “Heath ‘abused boys young as 11′” – Mail on Sunday – Oct 1 2017 + Oct 5 Breaking News Updates

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

Oct 3 2017 – Bishop Bell Day to mark the 59th Anniversary of his death

Oct 4 2017 – “A Service of Evensong – To observe the day on which Bishop George Bell is remembered by the Church of England” – St Martin-within-Ludgate – Ludgate Hill – City of London [5pm] – Readings by Peter Hitchens and Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

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

Oct 5 2017 – “Heath ‘abused boys young as 11′” – Mail on Sunday – Oct 1 2017 + Oct 5 Breaking News Updates

Oct 6 2017 – “Sir Edward Heath had a case to answer on sex abuse allegations, Wiltshire Police say” – Church Times

Oct 6 2017 – “Complexity does not imply criminality” – Church Times

Oct 6 2017 – “Former Prime Minister would have been interviewed under caution for allegations of sexual abuse if he were still alive” – Christian Today

Oct 6 2017 – “We don’t know if Ted Heath abused boys , but it’s right to try to find out” – The Guardian – Gaby Hinsliff

Oct 6 2017 – Edward Heath – A Range of Articles

Oct 6 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 25 2016] – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges'” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Oct 6 2017 – “The Police report on Ted Heath is a tissue of baseless innuendo and craven self-protection” – Daily Telegraph – Matthew Scott

Oct 6 2017 – From The Archives [July 21 2017] “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way’” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society – “The Jersey Way: Protection of powerful interests – thus lack of protection of non-powerful interests – and resistance to change”

Oct 7 2017 – Lord Carlile submits his Review to the Church of England 

Oct 8 2017 – “Ted Heath police chief: Now probe ‘cover-up’ in Westminster” – Mail on Sunday [Simon Walters] + “At last…a policeman who isn’t just a political pawn” [Maggie Oliver]

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

Oct 8 2017 – “Celebrated Church of England bishop accused of child abuse ‘will have his good name restored’ by an inquiry” – Mail on Sunday

Oct 8 2017 – “Child abuse in the Church of England: Justin Welby must either accelerate the change or carry the can” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog – Guest writer: Martin Sewell [Deleted on Request]

Oct 8 2017 – “The Exculpation of Bishop Bell – 4 Resolutions” – The Lychgate – Ifield Village – Wednesday Oct 11 2017 – 2pm to 5pm

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

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

Oct 11 2017 – From The Archives [Aug 26 2016] – “The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – The Church Times – Letter – Gabrielle Higgins (Diocesan Secretary of Chichester)

Oct 11 2017 – “The Lychgate Resolution” – The Lychgate – Ifield Village – 2pm to 7pm

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 22 2015] – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 7 2015] – “The Church of England’s shameful betrayal of bishop George Bell” – The Spectator – Peter Hitchens

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [Jan 1 2016] – “The Church, the police and the unholy destruction of Bishop Bell” – The Daily Telegraph – Charles Moore

Oct 13 2017 – From The Archives [March 2017] Publication of ‘The House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy Statement – Promoting a Safer Church for Children, Young People and Adults

‘Responding to, Assessing and Managing Safeguarding concerns or Allegations against Church Officers’ [published October 13 2017] – Disclosures or allegations of abuse – Section 2 – First Response (Page 25) – “a person receiving a safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer should ‘respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard and taken seriously.’

October 14 2017 – Request to Archbishop for a Statement regarding Bishop Bell on October 22 2017 [as a follow-up to the Statement on October 22 2015]

October 15 2017 – “‘Presumption of innocence’ – innocent until proven guilty – is a high standard of justice. ‘On the balance of probabilities’ – guessing – is a low standard of justice. Bishop Bell was judged by those with a low standard of justice. This led to a miscarriage of justice. Restoration of justice is therefore required by those with a high standard of justice” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Oct 15 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologises to sexual abuse survivor ‘Gilo’ for C of E failings” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Oct 15 2017 – “Bishops damn church insurers Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG] over ‘horse-trading’ with child abuse survivors” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog [Deleted on Request]

Oct 15 2017 – “Ted Heath sex abuse expert: I’d never let him near children” / “Met DIDN’T probe claim by 11-year-old” – Mail on Sunday – Simon Walters

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2010] – Statement: “Archbishop Chaput defends reputation of falsely accused priest” – Catholic World News – July 16 2010

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [June 30 2009] – “No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

Oct 16 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 28 2015] – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2015] “Church of England could return to defrocking rogue priests after child abuse scandals” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [July 13 2015] – “Anglican Church could bring back the power to defrock priests because of sexual abuse of children” – Independent – Ian Johnston

Oct 18 2017 – Anglican Communion Sexual Abuse Cases

Oct 18 2017 – “Former Bishop of Chester Hubert Whitsey investigated over abuse allegations” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Oct 18 2017 – From The Archives [Aug 21 2016] “Church of England warned bishops not to apologise too fully to sex abuse victims” – The Telegraph – John Bingham

Oct 18 2017 – “Act promptly” – Bishop George Bell – ‘The Caution List’ – January 1939

Oct 19 2017 – “The right royal cover-up continues” – Morning Star – Peter Frost

Oct 20 2017 – “Let the Chronology speak” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society [adapted from Page 167 of “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Church, State, and Resistance in the Age of Dictatorship” by Andrew Chandler: “it is as well to let chronology speak for itself” and Dennis Potter: “Let The Past Speak”]

October 21 2017 – “O pray for the peace of Jerusalem” – A Prayer by George Bell, Bishop of Chichester – Published in the Chichester Diocesan Gazette – 1936

Oct 21 2017 – From The Archives [July 29 2016] – “The C of E smears saints and shields scoundrels” – Rev Jules Gomes

Oct 21 2017 – From The Archives [June 29 2017] “The Safeguarding Industry has become a Witch Hunt” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Jules Gomes

Oct 22 2017 – ‘”I need a friendly bishop”, said the child abuse survivor, as the prelate passed by on the other side’ – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ Blog – Guest Writer: Martin Sewell [Deleted on Request]

Oct 22 2017 –2nd Anniversary of the Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Oct 22 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 22 2015] – “Revered Bishop George Bell was a paedophile – Church of England” – Daily Telegraph – John Bingham [Religious Affairs Editor]

Oct 22 2017 – “The Lychgate Resolution”

Oct 27 2017 – From The Archives [Jan 16 2016] – “Bishop’s memorial to remain in place” / “The Church itself has tried to satisfy both camps and in doing so has pleased neither”– The Argus – Spotlight – Joel Adams

Oct 27 2017 – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait 

The Portrait is, at present, in storage within the Cathedral Library
The Plaque below the Portrait reads:
“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation”

Oct 29 2017 – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait imminent ?

Oct 30 2017 – From The Archives [June 9 2017] – “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” – ‘Trump’s Meddlesome Priest’ – New York Times

Oct 30 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 3 2016] – Reading of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” in Chichester [as part of the “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester” Campaign]

Oct 31 2017 – “Bishop Bell declared peace on war. We silence him at our peril. His exculpation may well prove a critical pre-condition for our very survival” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 23 2016] – “Ex-terror reviewer Lord Carlile to re-examine Bishop Bell sex abuse decision” – Daily Telegraph

“Bishop Bell, who served the diocese for 30 years until his death in 1958, is regarded by some as one of the great peacemakers of the 20th Century and had been granted the closest thing Anglicanism has to a saint’s day, an annual commemoration” – John Bingham – Telegraph Religious Affairs Editor

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 28 2015] – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 1 2017 – “What matters is the Conclusion to Lord Carlile’s Review – and that is already known. The rest are just ‘footnotes'” ~ Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [October 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 1 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 25 2016] – “Bishop George Bell case: ‘A perfect storm from which injustice emerges’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 1 2017 – “Call for ‘living memorial’ to child abuse victims” – Jersey Evening Post

Nov 2 2017 – Justice for Bishop Bell hindered by further delay in Church Statement

Nov 2 2017 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell and the Carlile Review – Expected Release Date (Delayed)

Nov 4 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 4 2015] – “Sussex school named after disgraced clergyman Bishop Bell may change its name” – Crawley Observer

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 8 2017] – “It’s never ‘tough’ to pick on the dead” – Mail on Sunday – Peter Hitchens

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 8 2017] – “Celebrated Church of England bishop accused of child abuse ‘will have his good name restored’ by an inquiry” – Mail on Sunday

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 10 2017] – “Bishop George Bell review to criticise Church’s handling – reports” – Christian Today

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [June 25 2017] –  Unholy Trinity ? Ecclesiastical Insurance Group [EIG] – Allchurches Trust Limited [ATL] – Church of England [CoE] 

“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers)…With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it” – Excerpts from House of Bishops confidential document – 2007

When raised with two trustees of ATL last year after the Elliott Review, an irritated retort from one senior cleric was “We don’t own our own insurer”. This senior cleric sits on the board of Trustees that owns the insurer, and also on the Archbishops’ Independent Safeguarding Panel. If that’s not a conflict of interest – I don’t know what is. It’s not surprising that many survivors feel the CofE National Safeguarding is in place to safeguard institution and hierarchy!  – ‘Sea of Complicity’

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [March 15 2016] – “Damning report reveals Church of England’s failure to act on abuse” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Nov 5 2017 – From The Archives [July 21 2017] – “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way'” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Yes, the inquiry was about child care, but at its heart is the Jersey Way in its sinister, controlling manifestation: ‘protection [‘safeguarding’ – Ed] of powerful interests and resistance to change, even when change is patently needed’”

~ Richard Digard [Jersey Evening Post – “Complacency over Inquiry’s report has been astonishing” – July 21 2017]

Nov 6 2017 – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’. Deleted on request.

Nov 6 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 28 2015] – “The rule of the lynch mob” – Church of England Newspaper

“Beware of throwing someone under the bus. Remember: the bus can shift into reverse” ~ Janette McGowen

“The professional approach is to neither believe nor disbelieve the complainant and their allegation. There is no right or entitlement for a complainant to be believed, but there is a right and entitlement for a complainant to be treated with respect, to take their allegation seriously, to listen with compassion, and to record the facts clearly. It would appear the Church regarded ‘Carol’ as a victim to be believed at all costs. There seems to have been a panicked rush to judgement in which an astonishing lack of judgement was made manifest. Bishop Bell was an easy target, disposable and dispensable…’thrown under the bus’ for reasons unknown” ~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 6 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 13 2017] – Publication of ‘The House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy Statement – Promoting a Safer Church for Children, Young People and Adults

‘Responding to, Assessing and Managing Safeguarding concerns or Allegations against Church Officers’ [published October 13 2017] – Disclosures or allegations of abuse – Section 2 – First Response (Page 25) – “a person receiving a safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer should ‘respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard and taken seriously.’

Nov 6 2017 – Justice for both Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’ hindered by further delay in Church Statement – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society]

Nov 7 2017 – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’. Deleted on request.

Nov 8 2017 – “Guard against hysteria” – West Sussex Gazette – Letters – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Nov 9 2017 – “Victim Must Be Believed” versus “Victim Must Be Taken Seriously” [See Nov 6 2017]

”Must Be Believed” vs. “Must Be Taken Seriously”
The key passages seem to be this – an Oct 13 2017 re-draft of the House of Bishops Policy & Practice Guidance: [a re-draft which appears to have been made less than a week after the Church received the Carlile Review – Oct 7 2017 – a Review which has yet to be released ‘in the public domain’ (although its “flawed and unfair” conclusion has been ‘leaked’)

* NEW – as of Oct 2017 – Responding to, assessing and managing concerns or allegations against church officers practice guidance 

Page 23 – 2. Responding to a safeguarding concern or allegation against a Church Officer
 
Page 25 – First Response – The person receiving a Safeguarding concern or allegation against a church officer
2. Respond well to the victim/survivor to ensure they feel heard AND TAKEN SERIOUSLY (please see sections 2.2 – 2.5)
 
Page 30 – 2.2 Responding to an adult a safeguarding concern or allegation
 
In a Preface, +Peter Hancock says “This guidance substantially updates and replaces the ‘Responsibilities of Church Organisations’ section in ‘Protecting all God’s Children 2010’. It is in line with ‘Promoting a Safer Church’ : The Church of England policy statement for the children, young people and adults.
 
I was hoping to find the phrase “must be believed” in these old policy statements but, alas, no – unless I’ve missed it. These old policy statements are very generalised, so make for wide and open interpretation. I think this is what has happened, and the phrase “must be believed” has crept into the unwritten language of Safeguarding.
It would appear the phrase “To ensure they feel…taken seriously” is the new post-Carlile guideline, introduced on Oct 13 2017 – thus erasing the unwritten pre-Carlile “must be believed” idea which somehow crept into proceedings.
~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 9 2017 – Martin Sewell on ‘Must Be Believed’ vs. ‘Must Be Taken Seriously

“Many people claim to have been abused. but you cannot know for sure if these claims are true. I’m not suggesting that people in making these claims are lying or being malicious. Their stories may be true, but equally they may be mentally ill and delusional. You simply cannot know without proof. The point is that people – who may be innocent – are defamed and have their lives destroyed by these claims” ~ Anonymous

Nov 10 2017 – James Macintyre and George Santayana

“The treatment by the Church of England of the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, and that of the late former Bishop George Bell, needs further scrutiny and reflection…” ~ James Macintyre

Nov 10 2017 – “Act Promptly” – Bishop George Bell

It’s a sad sad situation
And it’s gettin’ more and more absurd…
Always seems to me
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

~ Elton John

Nov 12 2017 – Resignation of Lorna Ashworth who “has represented the diocese of Chichester on the Synod for 12 years and elected to the Archbishops’ Council last year”

Nov 12 2017 – From The Archives [July 4 2016] – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – “Charles Moore Notebook” – The Daily Telegraph

Nov 13 2017 – “Many Big Brothers are Watching You” – ‘All Things Considered’ – Rev Dr Peter Mullen

Nov 14 2017 – From The Archives [July 2017]  General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

The Bishop of Bath & Wells [Safeguarding Bishop Peter Hancock]: At the meeting on Thursday of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, we will already be giving consideration as to how and when we might consider the report when it is made available to us in order that there may not be any delay once the report
is published.

Nov 16 2017 – Church of England launches new-style Website and News Releases [but not a new Statement on Bishop Bell or the Carlile Review Release Date]

Nov 16 2017 – “As the C of E still sits on the report into his unfair trial – the story of how George Bell’s reputation was ruined” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Nov 17 2017 – Richard W. Symonds. The Bell Society

Is the Church of England, as an institution, capable of a public ‘we were wrong & we are sorry’ apology, genuine repentance and humility- especially in the case of Bishop Bell and George Bell House ?

Martin Sewell has noted the “extraordinary lack of curiosity as to whether there was a case for the defence”.

There was also an extraordinary lack of concern and care for basic justice regarding both Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’.

Carl Jacobs has said: “The Church of England deliberately threw George Bell under the bus because he was dead. It sacrificed his reputation to protect the institutional reputation of the CoE. It wanted the story buried, and George Bell’s grave was a convenient place to bury it….the CoE knew an investigation would produce no conclusive result. An unresolvable accusation that remained in the public domain was the worst possible outcome – especially given the current climate where an accusation against a church is sufficient to establish guilt. Pursuing an investigation would guarantee the problem would never go away. So to make the problem go away, they decided to presume George Bell was guilty. You can’t libel the dead. Only his family would be affected, and they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. That beyond any reasonable doubt is what I think happened”

~ Richard W. Symonds

Nov 17 2017 – “Publish the Carlile Report Now! We have waited long enough” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Nov 18 2017 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letter by Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson – Church Times – Nov 17 2017

Nov 18 2017 – Meeting of the Chichester Diocesan Synod – Sussex Downs College, Lewes

Nov 20 2017 – National Safeguarding Steering Group [NSSG] and National Safeguarding Panel [NSP]

Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Lead Bishop for Safeguarding (Chair)

Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham, Deputy Bishop for Safeguarding (Vice Chair)

“The Rt. Revd. Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham in the Diocese of Chichester is available for interview today. Please use the above numbers or contact his office on 01403 211139” [October 22 2015 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883-1958]

Nov 20 2017 – An Open Letter to William Nye and the National Safeguarding Steering Group [NSSG] and National Safeguarding Panel [NSP] – Church of England

Nov 20 2017 – Church of England Statement on George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

Nov 20 2017 – “Row as Church of England hits back over claims it is ‘delaying’ George Bell report” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

“The report concerns one issue, one case and its message that the secret trial of George Bell was wholly unfair is quite clear. There is no real reason for any further delay. There has been quite enough delay in the Church acknowledging that it made a grave and severe mistake by treating allegations against George Bell as proven facts back in October 2015. They then sought to claim, falsely, that critics of their action were attacking the complainant. It really is time they grew up and owned up. If the Church had spent as much time thinking about whether to publish the smears against George Bell as it is about publishing the Carlile report, we could have been saved a lot of trouble”  ~ Peter Hitchens

Nov 20 2017 – “C of E tries to defend its delay over publishing the Carlile Report, which severely criticises its handling of the Bell case” ~ Peter Hitchens

“For what I care, those responsible for this nasty episode can remain anonymous with their shame, and be left to seek forgiveness in private,  through contrition. All I want to see is an admission that the procedure was (as it was) quite unjust, and immediate steps taken to re-establish the good name of George Bell, including the restoration of his name where it has been expunged from buildings, schools and guidebooks. And the recognition by several media organisations that they treated an allegation as a proven charge and were wrong to do so. It took quite long enough to persuade a reluctant church even to admit there was anything to worry about. But if they are so keen on delay and caution, why did they not pause for a little longer before publicising the original claims, as they so energetically did?” ~ Peter Hitchens

Nov 21 2017 – “Bell review imminent” – The Argus – November 21 2017

Nov 21 2017 – The Church Times Letter by Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson that helped ‘turn the tide’ in the Bishop Bell case

Nov 21 2017 – Photo – George Bell House – 4 Canon Lane – Chichester

Nov 22 2017 – “Terms of Reference” of the The Carlile Review ?

Nov 23 2017 – “This delay is intolerable” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Nov 23 2017 – The Reclamation, Restoration and Repatriation of the Bishop Bell Legacy [Part 1] – “George Bell Bishop of Chichester” by Ronald C.D. Jasper (OUP 1967) and “George Bell, Bishop of Chichester” by Andrew Chandler (Eerdmans 2016)

Nov 23 2017 – “This delay is intolerable” – Midhurst and Petworth Observer – Letter – Meriel Wilmot-Wright

“It is now eight weeks since the eminent QC Lord Carlile delivered to Archbishop Justin Welby the report of his investigations into the unproven allegations against the late Bishop George Bell. Eight weeks – and the report is still unpublished. This delay is intolerable and there is now a large body of people nationwide calling for its immediate publication – one hopes, without redactions” ~ Meriel Wilmot-Wright

Nov 25 2017 – From The Archives [April 2 2016] – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – Petition closed in Oct 2016 with 2169 signatures, and delivered to The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock at Lambeth Palace by Richard Symonds & Marilyn Billingham on October 19 2016]

Nov 25 2017 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – The Spectator

“Just over two years ago, the Church of England authorities hurriedly condemned George Bell because of claims that he had abused a child nearly 70 years ago. They paid money to the alleged victim. Bell, Bishop of Chichester and the leading British supporter of Christian resistance to Hitler, died in 1958. Many protested at the process by which Bell had been condemned. No contemporary documents seemed to have been studied and no surviving witnesses, such as his domestic chaplain, had been asked for their testimony. The mere accusation carried all before it. So great was the anger that the Archbishop of Canterbury courageously decided to review the decision to which he had been party and called in Lord Carlile QC to review the process which damned Bell. Lord Carlile reported in early October, and the steer was that the church would release his report roughly now. On Monday, however, a C of E press release said that the authorities ‘are at the stage of responding with feedback from those who contributed’. ‘This is the process with all independent reviews, there is a period of a few months between receiving the first draft and final publication,’ it explained. A few months! Obviously those criticised should be allowed to comment privately on what the report says, but there was only one accuser and only one supposed perpetrator. This is not the Chilcot report. Two thoughts occur. The first is that the delay strongly suggests that Lord Carlile has found the process to have been severely wanting. The second is that the ‘safeguarding’ team at the heart of the process are being much better safeguarded than ever poor Bell was” – Charles Moore

Nov 25 2017 – Memorial Service in Chichester Cathedral for the Duke who signed The Bell Petition

Nov 26 2017 – “What good is a church without justice?” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell – Mail on Sunday

“What good is a church without justice? As Mrs Merton might have asked: ‘So, Archbishop Welby, why have you now sat for 50 whole days on a report which says the Church of England did a wrong and unjust thing?’ I am repeatedly disgusted by the way in which our country has forgotten the basic rules of English justice. And I have written before here about the case of George Bell, the saintly and brave Bishop of Chichester who repeatedly risked unpopularity rather than remain silent about wrongdoing. If only there were more like him. He died in 1958, much mourned. Yet two years ago, on the basis of a single uncorroborated accusation made many decades after the alleged crime, the Church of England publicly denounced him as a child abuser. Somehow, the allegation became a conviction and was blazed abroad on the BBC and in several newspapers which should have known better. Despite huge publicity nationally and locally, no other accusation has been made in the years since. I had long revered Bell’s memory, and, with several allies, sought to get justice for him. We found that he had been convicted by a slapdash and inconsiderate kangaroo court. They made no serious effort to consult Bell’s huge archive (or his biographer, who knew his way around it) to check the claims against it. They never found or warned Bell’s living niece, Barbara Whitley, who was astonished and appalled to see her uncle suddenly smeared in public, and is still livid. They never looked for or consulted Adrian Carey, Bell’s personal chaplain, who lived in the Bishop’s Palace at the time of the supposed crimes. We did. Until the day he died, Canon Carey rejected the charges as baseless and impossible. The Church’s main response was to accuse us, quite falsely, of attacking the complainant, which we never did. Then, very grudgingly, it announced a review. Then, with glacial slowness, it appointed a QC, Lord Carlile, to undertake it. Lord Carlile delivered his report on October 7. You can imagine what it says. The C of E is still making excuses for not publishing it. How quick they were to condemn another. How slow they are to admit their own fault. Publish it now” ~ Peter Hitchens

The entrance door to george bell house in chichester partly open

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

Nov 26 2017 – “Refugees” – A Poem by Brian Bilston

Nov 26 2017 – Anglo-German “Reconciliation” Tapestry in Chichester Cathedral by Ursula Benker-Schirmer – commissioned for the centenary of Bishop George Bell’s birth in 1983.

Nov 26 2017 – “Piety and Provocation: A Study of George Bell” by Andrew Chandler – Humanitas – George Bell Institute [2008]

Nov 26 2017 – Accuracy and “On reading and seeing what is not there” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

Nov 29 2017 – From The Archives [April 2 2016] – The Bell Petition opens – “Justice for Bishop George Bell of Chichester – To: Archbishop of Canterbury” – Petition closed in Oct 2016 with 2169 signatures, and delivered to The Rt. Rev’d Nigel Stock at Lambeth Palace by Richard Symonds & Marilyn Billingham on October 19 2016]

Nov 29 2017 – New Bell Petition – “Publish the Carlile Review on Bishop Bell – Now!”

Nov 29 2017 – “If you like justice and loathe injustice, then please sign this petition” – Peter Hitchens

Comments

It’s naive to imagine that good people can’t do bad things, of course, but there has to be evidence. In cases like this, it seems impossible to even obtain evidence, let alone determine guilt or innocence. And yes, it’s a very dangerous situation if we get to the stage where people are assumed to be guilty unless proven innocent.

Posted by: Persephone | 30 November 2017 at 12:02 PM

I have signed the petition. The C of E’s horrible statement irritated me because it referred to ‘Carol’ as ‘the survivor’, and did so over ten times. This is deeply wrong, and isn’t much different from a barrister referring to a defendant as ‘the murderer’. If such a thing happened, the judge would have something to say about that kind of language. The problem with it is obvious.
I suggest that everyone now refers to Bell’s reputation ‘as if’ it has been restored.
The damage to his reputation should be written and spoken about in the past tense. Can’t we should just assume this, as if it’s a given, as in ‘Now that Bell’s reputation is restored we can relax until the next attack on the presumption of innocence comes along…’ or something like that….
Posted by: John Aspinall | 30 November 2017 at 08:53 AM

It’s very important that when an organisation decides that someone is guilty without a fair hearing they are held to account for that decision.
Posted by: Jacob Chase | 29 November 2017 at 05:43 PM

Nov 30 2017 – ‘Bishop Bell’ Letter – Martin Sewell – The Spectator

Dec 1 2017 – “Justice” – Joanna Bogle

Dec 2 2017 – “Bishop Bell delay…What delay?” says Church – Letters – The Spectator

Dec 2 2017 – From The Archives [July 2017] – General Synod – The Carlile Review – Bishop of Bath and Wells – Martin Sewell & David Lamming

14. Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) asked the Chair of the House of Bishops: The
Terms of Reference of the Carlile Review provide that: “The Church of England will
determine whether the full report can be sufficiently redacted or otherwise anonymised to
enable its publication without risking disclosure of the complainant’s identity.”
So that there may be complete confidence in our transparency, how will it be ensured that
those whose original judgements may be criticised are suitably distanced from the
redaction of the report, and will Lord Carlile be free (should he so choose) to indicate
whether he agrees or disagrees with the redacted format when published?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells (Rt Revd Peter Hancock) replied on behalf of the Chair of the
House of Bishops: The redaction of the Carlile Review will be undertaken solely by
reference to the normal principles, including where appropriate the need to honour
assurances of confidentiality and to comply with the Data Protection Act. The redaction
will be overseen by the Secretary General to the Archbishops’ Council [William Nye – Ed] who was not involved in the decisions being evaluated by the Carlile Review. It will of course be
62 entirely up to Lord Carlile to state whether he agrees or disagrees with the format upon
publication.
Mr Martin Sewell: The Carlile Review arose partly because the Church allegedly used
victim confidentiality to shield its own self from criticism. The answer that you have given
refers to confidentiality assurances having been given in the plural. Is that intended to
imply that the complainant to the Bishop Bell case will not be alone in the witness
protection programme?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: By now General Synod is aware that Martin Sewell knows
a lot more about the Lord Carlile Review process than I do. It is right that I do not know
that level of detail. Where there is an independent review, it is very important that I stand
– and others stand – back from it. I am here to help the archbishops and the House of
Bishops respond to those reviews. So the answer, Martin, is that I do not know the
answer to that very detailed question, but I will get a written reply for you.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich): In the light of the answer referring to
the redaction of the report being overseen by the Secretary General to the Archbishops’
Council [William Nye – Ed], are you able to give Synod a timetable as to when that is going to happen and when the report is to be published, particularly bearing in mind your answer to the last
question that it is to be considered at the next full meeting of the House of Bishops?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: You are talking about the Lord Carlile Review?
Mr David Lamming: Yes.
The Bishop of Bath & Wells: My understanding is that the work of the review itself will be
completed by the end of this month. It will then be down to Lord Carlile when he publishes
the report. At the meeting on Thursday of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, we
will already be giving consideration as to how and when we might consider the report
when it is made available to us in order that there may not be any delay once the report
is published.

Dec 2 2017 – Lord Carlile: “A complete loss of authority…the whole conduct of the police in this case [of Damian Green MP] is quite extraordinary”

Dec 2 2017 [Postponed until Church releases Carlile Review] – “Bishop Bell and Re-Building Bridges” – Venue: Dresden and Bonhoeffer Rooms – 4 Canon Lane – George Bell House – Chichester – Keynote Speaker: Martin Sewell [General Synod Member and Child Protection Lawyer – Retd]

Dec 5 2017 – “Justice for George Bell” Poster [distributed outside Chichester Cathedral on Sunday April 3 2016]

Dec 5 2017 – From The Archives [Oct 27 2017] – Restoration of George Bell House and The Bishop’s Portrait 

img_9510 (2)

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

The Portrait is, at present, in storage within the Cathedral Library
The Plaque below the Portrait reads:
“Bishop Bell has a worldwide reputation for his tireless work for international reconciliation, the arts, education, and church unity. The House that bears his name provides a place where work in these areas can continue and prosper. The generosity of an Anglican Order, the Community of the Servants of the Cross (CSC) has enabled the purchase of the House. Canon Peter Kefford (Treasurer of Chichester Cathedral 2003-2009) was the prime initiator in establishing George Bell House as a centre for Education, Vocation and Reconciliation”

Dec 12 2017 – From the Archives [Nov 29 2017] – “If you like justice and loathe injustice, then please sign this petition” – Peter Hitchens

Comments

Signed it just now and glad to be able to do so and would like to say thank you for your own hard work in making this case known to more and more people who should be very concerned by what has been done here.
***PH writes: Thank you. It is quite hard to get most people interested, as George bell doesn’t have the profile other wronged figures such as Lord Bramall have. Yet the principle is the same. I was rather moved last night at the annual Anglo-German Advent Carol service in the Church of St Mary the Virgin (where Anglicans and Lutherans join in singing Advent hymns from both countries, and the Bible is read in English and German, a result of the arrival, 80 years ago, of a group of German Lutheran refugees in Oxford). There were German Christians there who revere George Bell because of his links with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and who were appalled by what had happened, but as yet did not know that there was a group acting in George Bell’s defence. Now they do.***
It’s naive to imagine that good people can’t do bad things, of course, but there has to be evidence. In cases like this, it seems impossible to even obtain evidence, let alone determine guilt or innocence. And yes, it’s a very dangerous situation if we get to the stage where people are assumed to be guilty unless proven innocent.
Posted by: Persephone | 30 November 2017 at 12:02 PM
I have signed the petition. The C of E’s horrible statement irritated me because it referred to ‘Carol’ as ‘the survivor’, and did so over ten times. This is deeply wrong, and isn’t much different from a barrister referring to a defendant as ‘the murderer’. If such a thing happened, the judge would have something to say about that kind of language. The problem with it is obvious.
I suggest that everyone now refers to Bell’s reputation ‘as if’ it has been restored.
The damage to his reputation should be written and spoken about in the past tense. Can’t we should just assume this, as if it’s a given, as in ‘Now that Bell’s reputation is restored we can relax until the next attack on the presumption of innocence comes along…’ or something like that….
Posted by: John Aspinall | 30 November 2017 at 08:53 AM

Dec 7 2017 – Lord Carlile “produced a damning report calling for tougher rules” in 2011 – BBC

Dec 7 2017 – “Why is the C of E still messing around with the Carlile Report?” – The Spectator – Letter – Peter Hitchens

Dec 7 2017 – “Mud sticks to the innocent too” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Marion Somerville

Dec 9 2017 – “Bell Society Notes” by Richard W. Symonds

Dec 9 2017 – “A shocking indictment of complacency and complicity” – Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Report – Senator Ian Gorst

Dec 9 2017 – From The Archives [Nov 5 2017 and July 21 2017] – “Let us hope and pray ‘The Jersey Way’ does not also become known as ‘The Chichester Way’ or ‘The Lambeth Way’” ~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

“Yes, the inquiry was about child care, but at its heart is the Jersey Way in its sinister, controlling manifestation: ‘protection [‘safeguarding’ – Ed] of powerful interests and resistance to change, even when change is patently needed’”

~ Richard Digard [Jersey Evening Post – “Complacency over Inquiry’s report has been astonishing” – July 21 2017]

Dec 14 2017 – Petition Presentation to Lambeth Palace

Dec 14 2017 – BBC South East Today – Short item on Bishop Bell and the Petition [“Blink and you’ll miss it!” – RWS]

“The Church of England is expected to publish tomorrow a long-awaited report into the handling of a sex abuse case involving a former Bishop of Chichester. The Church accepts the late Bishop George Bell abused a girl during the 1940’s and 50’s and has paid her compensation, but he never faced criminal charges. Today, a 1000 signature petition was delivered to Lambeth Palace, calling on the Church to publish its review, of the way the case was handled, as soon as possible”

Dec 14 2017 – C. of E. set to publish report into the handling of George Bell ‘abuse’ case, but will it satisfy the critics?” – Christian Today – James Macintrye

Dec 14 2017 – From The Archives [October 9 2017] – “Church of England’s handling of allegations against Bishop Bell ‘flawed and unfair’” – The Justice Gap – Jon Robins

Dec 14 2017 – “An apology and explanation for my recent absence from here” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog

Dec 15 2017 – From The Archives – [Oct 22 2015] – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

“Moral, legal and common sense appears to have deserted the Church of England. The Presumption of Innocence has been described as ‘the golden thread that runs through British justice’. That thread was broken by the October Statement, and replaced with the Presumption of Guilt. The Media – including the BBC – assumed Bishop Bell’s guilt on the basis of the Church’s Statement, and their subsequent headlines reflected that assumption. No attempt was made by the Church, immediately after the headlines, to correct the media interpretation of the Statement. This would strongly suggest a Presumption of Guilt on the Church’s part towards Bishop Bell” – Richard W. Symonds

Dec 15 2017 – Church of England Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883-1958)

Dec 15 2017 – Bishop George Bell – The Independent Review by Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBC, Q.C. [The Carlile Review] – Published: 15 December 2017 

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Bishop%20George%20Bell%20-%20The%20Independent%20Review.pdf

Dec 15 2017 – “Bishop besmirched by the Church” – Front Page Headline – Page 1 – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Dec 15 2017 – “Restore the good name of George Bell, demand bishops” – Page 2 – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Dec 15 2017 – “George Bell verdict – Church’s botched handling unfairly destroyed reputation of bishop” – Christian Today – Harry Farley 

Dec 15 2017 – “Traducing George Bell’s name was ‘just wrong’ says Carlile review” – Church Times – Tim Wyatt

Dec 15 2017 – “George Bell review: Justin Welby refuses to apologise as row over ‘innocent until proven guilty’ rages” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Dec 15 2017 – BBC 1 – South East Today – News – 6.30pm

“For Bishop Bell’s reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way that occurred was just wrong” ~ Lord Carlile

“I am appalled by the Church’s behaviour, particularly by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement ‘there is still a cloud over George Bell’s name’. They should admit entirely what they did was wrong. They dragged his reputation through the dirt, and they should now ‘make of penitential efforts’ – to use a term they will be familiar with – to put right what they have done” ~ Peter Hitchens

Dec 15 2017 – “Anglican church ‘rush to judgement’ in George Bell child abuse case” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 15 2017 – “‘An example of human goodness’: how child abuse claims shredded George Bell’s reputation” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 15 2017 – “Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard & Robert Mendick

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s friend Franz Hildebrandt, said Bishop Bell’s family deserved a personal apology from the Archbishop and the Bishop of Chichester. 

“The Church can’t have its cake and eat it. Either he is innocent, in which case they must apologise, or he is guilty, which they can’t prove, and the report makes clear that they have not proved,” she told this newspaper. 

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bell’s biographer, said the Archbishop’s statement was “wrong” and “illogical”. 

“It fails a basic test of rational justice,”he said. “It lacks an understanding of all kinds of dimensions which require compassion, not least in Chichester, where people feel deeply upset by this.”

Dec 15 2017 – “C of E says sorry for its response to child abuse allegations against Bishop George Bell” – Anglican Communion News Service [ACNS]

Dec 15 2017 – The Church has lost its sense of truth and morality in the Bishop Bell case” – Charles Moore – Daily Telegraph

Dec 15 & 16 2017 – Press Reader – Media coverage on Bishop George Bell and the released Carlile Review

Dec 16 2017 – “Welby criticised over handling of historic child abuse case” – Newburgh Gazette

Dec 16 2017 – “‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts'” – “A person of dignity and integrity” – “Legal expert pointed to overlooked evidence” – The Argus – Spotlight – Reporter: Joel Adams

Dec 16 2017 – “Victim: ‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts” – The Argus Online – Joel Adams

Dec 17 2017 – “If a saintly man can be branded a sex abuser, none of us is safe” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – Mail on Sunday column

Dec 17 2017 – BBC Radio 4 Sunday Morning with Ed Stourton and Guests – including Chichester’s Marilyn Billingham on Bishop Bell.

Dec 17 2017 – “Sorry’s not enough for Church’s betrayal of a hero falsely accused” – Rev Jules Gomes [A Keynote Speaker at the “Re-Building Bridges” Morning Conference on February 1 2018 at Church House Westminster]

Dec 18 2017 – “The Archbishop of Canterbury comes under fire; but there are things to celebrate too” – The Daily Telegraph – Heathcliff O’Malley

Dec 18 2017 – “Former Archbishop of Canterbury lashes out at Justin Welby in letter / Carey lambasts Welby over church sexual abuse case – [Welby’s] decision is unjust and eventually will be judged as such” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Dec 18 2017 – “Carey attacks Welby for ‘unjust’ sacking / Archbishop will be judged for decision, says Lord Carey” – The Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard & Hayley Dixon

Dec 18 2017 – “Archbishops at war. George Carey attacks Justin Welby over ‘unjust’ resignation demand” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Dec 18 2017 – “Archbishop of Canterbury criticised by Lord Carey” – BBC

Dec 19 2017 – “The Kangaroos of Canterbury” – The Salisbury Review – Peter Mullen

“Hung out to dry,” those are the words of Lord Carlile in his judgment on how the Church of England authorities treated Bishop George Bell

The Church operated a kangaroo court. Here are the facts…

Bishop George Bell (1883-1958), Bishop of Chichester, has been judged and condemned without any case brought for his defence. An elderly woman came forward in 1995 and claimed that Bishop Bell had sexually abused her fifty years earlier. The authorities took no action. The woman complained again in 2013, by which time Bishop Bell had been dead for fifty-five years. The police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify their questioning Bishop Bell, had he been still alive. Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, discussed the matter with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and in 2015 the Church of England offered a formal apology to Bishop Bell’s accuser, paid her an undisclosed sum in compensation – now revealed to have been £31,000 – and allowed her to remain anonymous. Memorials to Bishop Bell were removed and institutions – such as the Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne – changed their names.

Unsurprisingly, there was outrage. On 13th November 2015, Judge Alan Pardoe QC described the way the allegations against Bishop Bell had been handled as “slipshod and muddled.” Judge Pardoe’s criticisms were followed by further censure from a group of historians and theologians led by Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Bishop of Chichester replied with insouciance and a volley of jargon to these criticisms: “The Church is seeking to move on from a culture in which manipulation of power meant that victims were too afraid to make allegations, or allegations were easily dismissed. We must provide safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.”

But there were no “safeguards of truth and justice” for Bishop Bell who was condemned without a hearing.

The outrage did not subside and a committee of senior church people, distinguished lawyers and members of both the Lords and the Commons calling itself The George Bell Group was formed. On 20thMarch 2016, this group published a review in which they challenged the Church’s evidence against Bishop Bell and attacked it for failing to find or interview a key witness or examine Bell’s own extensive personal archive.

On 30th June 2016, the case formed a large part of a debate in the House of Lords on historical child sex abuse.

On 28th June 2016, the Church of England announced that it would hold an independent review of the procedure used. On 22nd November 2016 it announced that Lord Carlile QC would chair this review

Meanwhile, the George Bell Group declared that they had discovered in the Church’s initial case against Bishop Bell “…enough to establish its severe limitations which render it quite inadequate as a basis for assessing the probability of Bishop Bell’s guilt. The scope of the independent experts’ inquiries was limited to a degree that made a proper analysis of the complainant’s allegations virtually impossible. What is more, little or no respect seems to have been paid to the unheard interests of Bishop Bell or his surviving family – a serious breach of natural justice.”

“In view of the evidence that we have gathered and examined, we have concluded that the allegation made against Bishop Bell cannot be upheld in terms of actual evidence or historical probability.”

Lord Carlile’s report was handed to the Church authorities two months ago and they kicked it into the long grass until last Friday.

So much for Bishop Martin Warner’s vaunted “…safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.” All along, the only interests being safeguarded here were those of the Church’s highest authorities in Chichester and Canterbury. We know very well why these authorities leapt so precipitately to condemn Bishop Bell out of hand: it was because they had previously had to admit to the existence of so many perpetrators of sexual abuse among the senior clergy they wanted desperately to appear to be doing something.

Thus the reputation of Bishop George Bell was tarnished because the Church’s highest authorities are seeking to cover their own backs.

Let us be in no doubt as to the seriousness of the Church’s conduct so eloquently set out in Lord Carlile’s report. To that phrase “hung out to dry,” he adds that the Church’s procedures were “deficient, inappropriate and impermissible”; “obvious lines of enquiry were not followed” and there was “a rush to judgement.”

In the light of this scandalously incompetent behaviour, the least that might be expected from the Archbishop of Canterbury is a profuse apology to Bishop Bell’s descendants, family, friends and numerous supporters for the distress his decisions have caused them. Is such an apology forthcoming? It is not. Instead Justin Welby persists in his mood of arrogant vindictiveness, saying, “……..A significant cloud is left over George Bell’s name. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones…”

This is outrageous. True, Bishop Bell was “accused of great wickedness” – but he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. And there is no “significant cloud” over his name. There is, however, certainly a very dark cloud over Welby’s name after his lamentable performance in this matter.

Well, there is still time: a whole week in which Justin Welby has opportunity to make his Confession before he celebrates Christmas Holy Communion.

Dec 19 2017 – “How can Archbishop Welby leave Bishop Bell’s name ‘under a cloud’?” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – William Jupe

Dec 19 2017 – “Welby was wrong to leave a stain on Bishop Bell’s memory” – Andrew Chandler – The Times

Dec 20 2017 – “Why the Church’s response to the George Bell inquiry is so shocking” – The Very Revd. Professor Martyn Percy – Dean of Christ Church, Oxford [Christian Today]

Dec 20 2017 – Acquitted and Vindicated – but his Reputation is Still in Prison. The Church’s Duty to George Bell” – Peter Hitchens’s Blog – MailOnline

Dec 20 2017 – A Call for the Archbishop to “carefully consider his position” – Letter Submission – The Guardian – Richard W. Symonds [The Bell Society] – Dec 18 201

Dec 21 2017 – “Welby ‘should resign’ over Bishop George Bell abuse claims” – BBC

Dec 21 2017 – “Chichester under fire over George Bell claims” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Dec 21 2017 – “What the Bishop Bell Case Reveals about Our #MeToo Moment” – National Review – Douglas Murray

Dec 22 2017 – “Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Dec 23 2017 – “Whatever has happened to British justice?” – Frederick Forsyth – Daily Express

Dec 26 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (1)” – Bats in the Belfry – Christopher Hill

Dec 28 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (2)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Dec 28 2017 – “‘Me-Too Movement – The Silence Breakers Time Magazine Overlooks” – WND News (US)

Dec 28 2017 – “Restore all the memories” – Chichester Observer Letters [Fiona Lunch]

Dec 30 2017 – “Bishop George Bell (3)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Dec 31 2017 – “Who’s really preaching fake news, Archbishop?” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

“I see the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has been complaining about ‘fake news’. As well he might, since ‘fake news’ is a good description of the statement which Archbishop Welby’s church put out to the media, insinuating incorrectly that the late George Bell was a child molester.
Lord Carlile has now produced a devastating report which shows that statement was full of false claims. It said Bishop Bell would have been arrested if he’d still been alive, when he wouldn’t have been. It said there had been a thorough investigation, when there hadn’t been.
It said experts had found no reason to doubt the charges, when one expert most definitely had found such a reason and clearly said so.
Yet despite this total demolition of a case that any court would have thrown out, Archbishop Welby continues to claim (more fake news?) that there is a ‘cloud’ over George Bell’s name, like some dim wiseacre in a pub, utterly defeated in an argument by facts and logic, intoning doggedly that ‘there’s no smoke without fire’.
The only cloud over Bishop Bell’s name hangs there because Justin Welby’s pride prevents him from admitting he got it wrong. He knows what he needs to do” – Peter Hitchens

Dec 31 2017 – From The Archives [June 30 2009 – “No Smoke, No Fire” by Dave Jones]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

Dec 31 2017 – “Bishop George Bell: the saga continues (4)” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

2018

Jan 1 2018 – “Justin Welby’s astonishing refusal to accept the outcome of a report he commissioned” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 5 2018 – “What ought to happen after the Carlile report” – Church Times – Letters – David Lamming & Alan F. Jesson

Jan 7 2018 – From The Archives [October 22 2015] – Church of England ‘Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883-1958’

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/5-january/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

From Mr David Lamming – Lay Member of General Synod
Sir, — Lord Carlile’s report of his review of the handling by the Church of England of the claim by “Carol” that she was sexually abused by the late Bishop George Bell (News, 15 December) is devastating in its criticisms of the Core Group that agreed the settlement with the claimant (involving the payment of £16,800 damages plus £15,000 costs). Utterly demolishing the claim (made in the statement announcing the settlement on 22 October 2015) that “the settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process,” he shows that it was anything but “thorough”. Moreover, the statement disingenuously claimed that this included the commissioning of expert independent reports “none of [which] found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim”.
Although, as he is careful to point out, Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not include making a finding as to the truth or otherwise of Carol’s claim, the extracts that he publishes from the report of Professor Maden (commissioned by the Core Group), far from showing no reason to doubt Carol’s claim, give every reason to doubt it.
The obvious conclusion (or it should have been obvious to the bishops who commented publicly on the Carlile report) ought to be that if the investigative process was so fundamentally flawed, any finding, explicit or implicit, that Bell committed the alleged abuse cannot stand, with the consequence that the important presumption of innocence (for some reason, pejoratively described as “emotive” by the Bishop of Chichester in his public statement) applies, in the same way as it would apply to a defendant whose criminal conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on the basis of a finding that he had not had a fair trial.
According to the General Synod timetable issued on 14 December (the day before publication of the Carlile report), “Safeguarding” is to be the subject of a “Presentation under SO 107 — with Q&A” on the morning of Saturday 10 February. In the light of Lord Carlile’s report, that is not good enough. Time must be found for a proper debate when the issues arising from the report, and its implications for the Church and the National Safeguarding Team, can be properly discussed.
From the Revd Alan F. Jesson
Sir, — Shakespeare had Mark Antony say of Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interrèd with their bones.” Comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester ensure that this is also shamefully applied to Bishop Bell.
It also raises another important point, which seems to have been overlooked.
I have read Lord Carlile’s report, and the Annexes thereto, and, in the light of the botched inquiries of the Core Group (I cannot call them incomplete), it seems that, if Bishop Bell is innocent, as circumstances suggest, and if “Carol” is truthful, as the Core Group assume them to be, then clearly there must be somebody who has escaped any consequence of his actions.
The comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester render it imperative that a full independent investigation is urgently but thoroughly undertaken.
That tired cliché “Lessons learned” is too often an excuse for little further action. In justice to Bishop Bell, this must not happen.

Jan 7 2018 – “The Seven Resolutions” – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster – Thursday February 1 2018

The Seven Resolutions
1. Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for his “significant cloud” comment concerning Bishop Bell. Any effective ‘rebuilding of bridges’ is almost impossible without this Apology.  
2. Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner to invite Barbara Whitley, Bishop Bell’s niece, for a “face-to-face” meeting [she has already requested such a meeting]. The Bishop of Chichester has already met ‘Carol’.
3. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter to restore 4 Canon Lane back to George Bell House – and to invite Lord Rowan Williams to re-dedicate the new plaque at George Bell House.
4. Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor and Canon Librarian, Revd Dr Anthony Cane, to permit the display of Bishop Bell’s Portrait (in storage within the Cathedral Library) at Church House on Feb 1.
5. Chichester Cathedral’s Dean, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, to correct Page 37 of the Cathedral Guide “Society and Faith”:
6. General Synod to undertake a Full Debate at the earliest opportunity, regarding the serious implications arising from Lord Carlile’s report.
7. Prayer

Jan 9 2018 – Letter from Anne A. Dawson from Northolt

Jan 10 2018 – Is the Archbishop of Canterbury in serious breach of Article 10 and Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “The Foundation of International Law”

Jan 11 2018 – “Hope outcome is a positive one” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Anne A. Dawson

Jan 17 2018 – “Bishop George Bell was a hero who saved Jewish children. It is time his reputation was restored” – Dr Irene Lancaster – Christian Today

Jan 18 2018 – “Archbishop criticised for ‘dangerous’ paedophile claim / Welby under pressure for besmirching bishop’s name” – Daily Telegraph – Front Page / Page 2 – Hayley Dixon

Jan 18 2018 – The Jasper-Loades ‘Bishop Bell’ Statement – Scotland

Jan 19 2018 – “Welby under fire from academics over ‘dangerous’ handling of Bishop George Bell” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

“Both Archbishop Welby and Bishop Hancock just don’t seem to get it, do they? There seems to be a moral blindspot in their ecclesiastical eyes. Is it a simple case of Matthew 7 v 5 about removing that mighty plank out of one’s own eye before taking that speck out of someone else’s? Can’t believe it’s just a simple case of a wilful ‘hardness of heart’. I’m all too aware about the dangers of pointing a finger when three are pointing back at me, but I’m really left scratching my head. Elton John was right: ‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word'” – Richard W. Symonds

Jan 19 2018 – “Welby is urged to withdraw George Bell ‘cloud’ statement after Carlile report” – Church Times [online only] – Reporter: Adam Becket

“It was a real pleasure meeting you as I was making my way to Gatwick. I have registered on your forum although unsure of what I can do to help, but after listening to you and the carriage of injustice which befalls a man, George Bell who cannot defend himself and voice his innocence is a worthy and just cause…Very little the Archbishop of Canterbury can do now with the enormity of what has been released aside from perhaps do the right thing which is resign! – David to Richard

Jan 20 2018 – “Defending the dead – The case of Bishop Bell” – The Economist – ‘Erasmus’ – Religion and Public Policy

Jan 20 2018 – “Justice for Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – His Honour Anthony Nicholl

Jan 21 2018 – “Imagine…….” – Peter Hitchens – The Mail on Sunday

Jan 22 2018 – “Bishop George Bell” – The Times – Letters to the Editor – 10 Chichester Cathedral Choristers

Jan 22 2018 – STATEMENT FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Jan 22 2018 – “What does the Archbishop think he is doing?” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 22 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury stands by statement saying there is a ‘significant cloud’ over Bishop George Bell’s name” – Christian Today

Jan 22 & 23 2018 – Full Media Coverage and House of Lords – Thinking Anglicans

Jan 23 2018 – “Bishop Bell not to be cleared of ‘abuse'” – BBC

Jan 23 2018 – “Welby declines to lift the cloud hanging over Bishop Bell” – Church Times

Jan 23 2018 – “Justin Welby: Coward?”

I have been angered this week to see the response of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to the George Bell case. Mr. Welby has long made it known that he does not wish to uphold the presumption of innocence and this mealy-mouthed statement to a group of leading historians and theologians only confirms this.

He seeks to right the wrongs of the past by digging in his heels against the finding of a report that he commissioned. Rather than do that which Our Lord commands of us, to repent of our sins, he has plunged his fingers into his ears and proceeded to shout over these seekers of justice.

I’ve written before about the anarchic state of justice in Britain and how this is failing to serve our society. But it should be a given that the leaders of the Established Church will do all in their power to uphold that which is right. Instead, his pride and arrogance have gotten in the way and Mr. Welby is unfit to sit on that ancient and hallowed throne.

The excellent Peter Hitchens has proved to be a great advocate for the George Bell Group, as has the wonderful Archbishop Cranmer. You should read their accounts of this disgraceful event. I urge you to do what you can to support this vital campaign, for one day it could be your memory that is trashed to provide an easy get-out for a cowardly, lifeless bureaucracy.

Mr. Welby can save what is left of his reputation if he does the right thing now and then resign, because in the end “people care more about the late, great George Bell than they probably ever will about Justin Welby.”

Why is that? Because Bell did good and was good. I’m sure that Welby is a decent and kind man, but he seems to be proud and unwilling to do what all of us must. His grey administration of the dying Church of England is leaving it mired in scandal. It should not end this way, but it might.

Jan 23 2018 – “Justin Welby under fire over refusal to say sorry over ‘trashing’ of Bishop George Bell’s name” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Jan 23 2018 – “Archbishop refuses to retract George Bell statement” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

Jan 23 2018 – “The Church of England’s Bishop Bell battle” – The Spectator – Tim Wyatt

Jan 24 2018 – “Mr Bunker is back in his Bunker” – Peter Hitchens – MailOnline

Jan 24 2018 – “Welby’s Will-To-Power: Pride & Ego – Sanity & Sanctity – in the Saga of George Bell” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Missionary Bishop for the Christian Episcopal Church – Former Chaplain to the Queen and Canon Theologian at Chichester Cathedral

 

Welby pic

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Jan 24 2018 – “Bishop of Peterborough breaks ranks over Church’s handling of George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Jan 25 2018 – “The importance of Bishop George Bell” – F.A.C.T.

The importance of Bishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell (1883 – 1958) is famed for being one of the first to speak out against the dangers Hitler posed in the 1930s and for saving many lives during these years by guaranteeing refugees from Germany. He was one of the few to condemn our government’s obliteration bombing of German cities during the Second World War. He has been, and is, a revered and respected figure.

In 1995 (37 years after he had died) a complaint was made that Bell had abused a child in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The complaint was not passed to the police at the time but was passed to them when the complaint was repeated in 2013. The Church paid compensation to the complainant in 2015 and in 2016 the Church of England commissioned Lord Carlile to review their procedures concerning the investigation into the case. The resulting review was scathing in its criticism of the Church’s handling of the allegations against Bell. Lord Carlile concludes “The Core Group was set up in an unmethodical and unplanned way, with neither terms of reference nor any clear direction as to how it would operate. As a result, it became a confused and unstructured process, as several members confirmed” and “There was no organised or valuable inquiry or investigation into the merits of the allegations, and the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or proportionality.”

In spite of Carlile’s criticisms the Church remains undeterred in holding Bell responsible. Bell’s name stays removed from buildings, colleges and institutions and his reputation traduced. The problems inherent in a system, like the Church, concerning safeguarding and issues of justice affect all who work or are involved in a church. The case concerning Bishop George Bell has highlighted the flaws and gives no assurance that justice will be done for the accused as well as for the complainant.

As the George Bell Group writes, “Lord Carlile’s report has now left the Church with many searching questions, including how best to remedy the many defects in the current Practice Guidance so as to ensure that such an injustice can never recur.” Unfortunately this injustice is already happening to innocent people in the Church.

Lucy

Jan 25 2018 – “Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case, as Bishop of Peterborough calls for a ‘major review of anonymity'” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Jan 25 2018 – “Archbishop refuses to lift ‘significant cloud left over Bishop Bell'” – Chichester Observer – Anna Khoo

Jan 25 2018 – “Church of England must exonerate Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Martin Sewell and Jill Davies

Jan 25 2018 – “George Bell will not go away” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Jan 26 2018 – “Saint, tarnished” – Church Times – Leader Comment

Jan 26 2018 – “Church loses legacy over paedophile bishop ‘myth'” – Daily Telegraph (Robert Mendick) + Letters: “Welby must change his stance on Bishop Bell”

Jan 26 2018 – “It is quite unnecessary and truly sad…….” – The Spectator – The Spectator’s Notes – Charles Moore

Jan 28 2018 – “‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes: Deluded beyond belief – why Welby can’t say sorry over Bishop Bell” – ‘Conservative Woman’

Jan 31 2018 – “New Bell material sparks fresh investigation” – Church Times

Jan 31 2018 – “Fresh information sparks new Bishop Bell investigation” – Chichester Observer – Stephen Pickthall

Feb 1 2018 – “Lord Carlile denounces ‘foolish’ Church of England for casting further doubt on the name of Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Feb 1 2018 – “Church accused of launching new shameful attack on memory of Bishop George Bell” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick and Olivia Rudgard

300px-rebuilding-bridges-logo-cutout

Feb 1 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster

http://rebuildingbridges.org.uk/

Feb 1 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Morning Conference – Church House Westminster

Jules_01 (2)

Speaker on Feb 1: Revd Dr Jules Gomes

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishop blasts disgraced priest allowed to defend George Bell at Church of England’s headquarters” – Christian Today

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishops try to blow up bridge, as George Bell Conference tries to build bridge” – David W. Virtue, DD

View story at Medium.com

https://medium.com/@jules.gomes/bishops-try-to-blow-up-bridge-as-george-bell-conference-tries-to-build-bridge-1a77cc0c8869

Feb 2 2018 – “Police should have no truck with the hounding of Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph

Feb 2 2018 – “New investigation into former Bishop of Chichester George Bell” – SpirtitFM

Feb 2 2018 – “Bishop Bell – The Church fights back” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

Feb 2 2018 – “Lord Carlile says new statement about Bishop George Bell is unwise and foolish” – Church Times

Feb 3 2018 – “Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarrassment” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Feb 4 2018 – “The Bridge on the River Chaos” – ‘Rebel Priest’ Jules Gomes – ‘Conservative Woman’

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 3 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds – ‘Spotlight’ & Bell Petition]

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 10 2016 – “I treated kids Bell ‘abused’. A young man tried to kill himself, says retired nurse” – Chichester Post – Reporter: Sian Hewitt]

Feb 4 2018 [From The Archives – June 10 2016 – Chichester Post Letter – Richard W. Symonds – Kincora, “Who Framed Colin Wallace?”]

Feb 4 2018 – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Website Launch [following the Bishop Bell Rebuilding Bridges Conference at Church House Westminster on Feb 1]

Feb 4 2018 – Events in Chichester to mark the 135th Anniversary of the birth of George Bell, Bishop of Chichester

Feb 5 2018 – “Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Martin Sewell

Feb 6 2018 – “Welby under attack as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Feb 6 2018 – “Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby” – Church Times

Feb 7 2018 – “Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late Bishop’s reputation” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

Feb 7 2018 – “Judges join call for Welby to apologise over Bell claims” – Daily Telegraph – Robert Mendick

Feb 8 2018 – Church of England is facing more than 3000 complaints over sexual abuse…which could see it having to pay millions in compensation” – Daily Mail – Steve Doughty

Feb 8 2018 – “Church of England facing more than 3000 abuse cases” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Feb 8 2018 – “Church of England dealing with thousands of sex abuse allegations” – The Times – Kaya Burgess

Feb 8 2018 – General Synod – Questions 40 to 60 – Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report 

Feb 9 2018 – Bishop Bell is still being defamed by the Church of England” – The Times – John Charmley

Feb 10 2018 – Transcript about George Bell – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ – Saturday Morning – Feb 10 2018

Feb 12 2018 – “Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3000 sexual abuse complaints” – Christian Daily (US)

Feb 12 2018 – “Rebuilding Bridges – News Alert – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ with Lord Carlile [ 10] – Comment by ‘GTP'”

Feb 12 2018 – “Church of England bullies George Bell’s elderly niece by denying her choice of lawyer” – Martin Sewell writes here.

Feb 13 2018 – “Church defends its position on Bishop Bell amid mounting pressure” – Chichester Observer

Feb 13 2018 – “Church ‘facing two years of abuse revelations'” – The Week

Feb 13 2018 – “Release of Bishop Bell document – A Critical Analysis by His Honour Charles Gibson [distributed by Tom Sutcliffe to General Synod in Feb ’18]

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to an Archbishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to a Bishop – Hugh Wyatt CVO – Former Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex

Feb 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Feb 16 2018 – “Barry Bennell: Crewe ‘brushed scandal under carpet’ says Lord Carlile” – BBC Sport – Dan Roan

Feb 17 2018 – “With piety and steel, Justin Welby has the church in his firm grip” – The Guardian – Andrew Brown

Feb 18 2018 – Hitchens on Bell – Mail on Sunday

Feb 20 2018 – “Why it is all our duty to prioritise child safety” – Daily Telegraph – Paul Hayward

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives – June 30 2009 – “No Smoke, No Fire” – The Autobiography of Dave Jones [Know The Score Books 2009]

“No doubt there will be people who are going to think there is no smoke without fire. I can do nothing about that except to say such an attitude would be wrong” – Judge David Clarke (on the David Jones case)

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [May 2001 – Terence Banks – Head Steward at Chichester Cathedral – jailed for 16 years for sexual abuse of children ] – Released 2017 – Carmi Report published in 2004 – but only recommendations published – Terence Banks not named until 2014

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [2004 – Carmi Report published (not released by Church until July 8 2014 – following the jail sentence of Terence Banks in 2001 – only the recommendations were published – Terence Banks not named until 2014 ]

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [July 8 2014 – “Chichester child abuse victims wait 12 years for report” – BBC News ] – Carmi Report 2004 released – Terence Banks named in 2014 – not 2004

Feb 20 2018 – From The Archives [July 14 2014 – “Diocese and Cathedral turned deaf ears to victims’ complaints” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies ] – Terence Banks named in 2014 but not in 2004

Feb 20 2018 – The CARMI Report – Recommendations only in 2004. Fully published in 2014 – including the name of child sex abuser Terence Banks, the Saturn Centre Crawley, and two Chichester Observer Letters

Feb 20 2018 – Report of a Case Review by Edina Carmi commissioned by John Hind Bishop of Chichester in 2004 – The CARMI Report

Feb 21 2018 – Transcript about George Bell – BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ – Saturday Feb 10 2018

Feb 22 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 3 2018 – “Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarrassment” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard ]

Feb 22 2018 – “No smoke, no fire” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Richard W. Symonds – Bell Society

Feb 22 2018 – Archbishop of Canterbury to be quizzed in person into Church of England’s handling of sexual abuse allegations” – MailOnline

Feb 23 2018 – Petition – To Re-Instate Bishop Bell as a House Name at Bishop Luffa School in Chichester

Feb 23 2018 – “Position is not defensible” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Feb 23 2018 – “The overreaction of Oxfam’s failings is part of a deeper, and more damaging, malaise” – The Independent – Patrick Cockburn

Feb 24 2018 – “Proof, not reputation, is crux of Bell affair” – Church Times – Letter – Marilyn and Peter Billingham

Feb 24 2018 – “Position is not defensible” + “‘Safer hands’ for royal wedding” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson + Noel Osborne

Feb 24 2018 – “Crux of Bell affair: proof” – Church Times – Letters – Marilyn and Peter Billingham

Feb 26 2018 – “The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell” – OXSTU [Oxford Student]

Feb 28 2018 – “The Importance of Bishop Bell” – F.A.C.T. [Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers]

March 2 2018 – “IICSA hearing likely to prompt more disclosures of abuse, Church of England safeguarding officials say” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

“We have to…be genuinely transparent and honest, and we have to be repentant”
– Archbishop Justin Welby
“I’m afraid this makes me reach for my ecclesiastical sick bowl – especially after reading Matthew 7 v 5 this morning…all about taking the log out of one’s own eye before taking the speck out of someone else’s. I am acutely aware when I point a finger there are three pointing back at me – but this is beyond hypocrisy”
~ Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

March 2 2018 – “Church of England faces ‘deep shame’ at child abuse inquiry” – The Guardian – Harriet Sherwood

March 3 2018 – “Poor treatment of moral figure” – Chichester Observer – Letters – Tim Hudson

March 3 2018 – IICSA and Bishop Bell – The Times

March 4 2018 – “Discombobulated by Welby? You will be!” – The Conservative Woman – Rev Jules Gomes

March 5 2018 – IICSA Update – Monday March 5 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Richard Scorer [Counsel for the complainants, victims and survivors represented by Slater & Gordon]: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

March 5 2018 – “‘Culture of amateurism’ among possible problems with Church of England safeguarding, IICSA told” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 5 2018 – “‘Amateur’ and ‘shameful’ Church of England under intense scrutiny over abuse” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 5 2018 – “Bishops accused of ‘arrogance which equates the church with God'” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

“The Church of England considered itself above the law and only accountable to God…”

March 6 2018 – “‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears” – West Sussex County Times – Michael Drummond

March 6 2018 – “Sentamu ordered ‘no action’ against paedophile priest – leaving him to abuse again and commit suicide” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

March 7 2018 – “Absolutely corrupted by their absolute power, the monsters in mitres” – ‘Rebel Priest’ – Rev Jules Gomes

March 7 2018 – IICSA Update – Tuesday March 6 – ‘Thinking Anglicans

March 7 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 6

March 8 2018 – IICSA Update – Wednesday March 7 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 8 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 7

March 8 2018 – “Bishop Hind apologises to IICSA hearing over Chichester diocesan safeguarding practices” – Church Times

March 9 2018 – David Virtue – Viewpoints – VirtueOnline

March 9 2018 – IICSA Update – Thursday March 8 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Call for Archbishops resignation

March 9 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 8

Page 154 – Paras 1-25 – Roger Meekings: There are one or two things I would like to say, chair. I think there have been a number of crises and difficulties that the Church of England have experienced, and I think it probably is time for some fairly radical action to be taken by the church, and I know they are thinking carefully about that, but I think my problem is the amount of time it does seem to be taking. I would like to ask a question, really, about whether they should be stripped of their exemption under the Equality Act to help stamp out a culture of abuse and homophobia and sexism, because under the 2010 Act, the church, as a religious institution, has special permission to insist that those it appoints are Christians, but it can also discriminate over sex, sexuality, marital history and gender identity if they conflict with strongly held religious convictions.
Secondly, I would probably support the development now of an independent safeguarding body. Operationally, I’m surprised that the church has not already set up a national database to record cases of concern and to upload case notes and allow a proper audit trail. I think I said in my witness statement I think that the Clergy Discipline Measure does require a complete overhaul to be able to hold people to account.

March 9 2018 – “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is either untruthful or incompetent [or quite possibly both]” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Matthew Ineson calls for Archbishop’s resignation

March 9 2018 – From The Archives – May 23 2016 – “Spotlight” DVD Film release in the UK [Boston Globe investigation of Child Sexual Abuse in Roman Catholic Church]

“A small team of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe (US) – known as ‘Spotlight’ – investigate allegations of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, and expose the scandal that the Archdiocese of Boston knew of the abuse, but did nothing – or not enough – to stop it. Disturbing parallels with the Church of England’s Diocese of Chichester” – Richard W. Symonds

March 10 2018 – IICSA Update – Friday March 9 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 10 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Friday March 9 

March 10 2018 – Psychotherapist Anthony Stadlen on Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’: “It is not at all easy to find the right words to respect both the presumption of the Bishop’s innocence until proven guilty, and the presumption of Carol’s integrity of character and memory until proven otherwise”

March 10 2018 – “The Slow Death of Patriarchy” – Jayne Ozanne

March 11 2018 – Private Members’ Motion [PMM] – David Lamming – General Synod – July 2018 ~ Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report

Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report
MOTION DETAILS

March 11 2018 – Timetable for IICSA Hearings this week – Monday March 12 to Friday March 16

March 11 2018 – “Are conservative evangelicals more likely to protect child abusers?” – Christian Today – Mark Woods

March 12 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Monday March 12

March 12 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 12

March 12 2018 – “Don’t blame me for safeguarding blunders, former Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn, tells IICSA hearing” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 12 2018 – “Bishop claims he was ‘scapegoated’ over child sex abuse allegations” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

“…the damning extent of dysfunctionality and chaos in the diocese of Chichester was laid bare at the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse today” – Harry Farley

March 12 2018 – “Revealed: How former bishop failed to report paedophile priests” – Chichester Observer – Michael Drummond

March 12 2018 – “Church on the ropes…” – Revd Dr Jeremy Morris

March 13 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Tuesday March 13

March 13 2018From The Archives [Dec 29 2011 – “Dr Williams orders visitation” – Church Times]

March 13 2018 From The Archives [Dec 11 2015 – “An abuse survivors tale” – Julie Macfarlane]

March 18 2018 – “IICSA Monday and Tuesday – Reflections on ‘Harm Awareness'” – Stephen Parsons

March 14 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 13

March 14 2018 – “Abuse survivor tells IICSA of her battle for justice” – Church Times – Hattie Williams

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 14

“The area which he [Lord Carlile] has rightly…identified is that there was nobody there [in the Core Group] to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again…is something that I think was wrong…” ~ The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner – Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018 – Page 21 Paras 14-18

Fiona Scolding QC and Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

Q. Can I turn now to the allegations made against
3 George Bell. An independent review was published
4 in December by Lord Carlile of Berriew. Paul, would you
5 mind getting that up? It is not in your bundle, chair
6 and panel, so we will get it up on screen. ANG000152,
7 Paul. Then we need page 64, which should be section K.
8 This is some conclusions that I am going to ask you
9 to comment upon that Lord Carlile made in respect of
10 the core group.
11 Maybe if I explain, what happened in respect of
12 the George Bell case is that something called a core
13 group was set up, which was a group of individuals. Did
14 that include you? I can’t actually remember?
15 A. I was present at some meetings, but not at others.
16 Q. So there were a number of people — so Colin Perkins was
17 involved, and we will hear some quite detailed evidence
18 from him about his view about the Carlile Report. So
19 I am not going to take you through it in any detail.
20 I just want to deal with this bit, as you were a member
21 of the core group at some point in time.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. They met regularly in order to, firstly, investigate,
24 and, secondly, to reach conclusions.
25 There is criticism of the core group. It is
Page 20
1 described by Lord Carlile as “unmethodical and
2 unplanned” and “it was a confused and unstructured
3 process at which members had no coherent notion of their
4 roles and what was expected of them”. Would you like to
5 comment upon that? Is that your understanding?
6 A. These are stringent and harsh observations which largely
7 we accept. We were in a situation here of breaking new
8 ground. The formation of a core group was something
9 which we were unfamiliar with, which has subsequently
10 been regulated for us, and we were also, of course, very
11 aware of working in the context of a serious criminal
12 allegation against a person of a massive international
13 and national reputation.
14 So I think the failures of consistency, of sense of
15 purpose and how we were to function, those
16 allegations — those criticisms are valid against us.
17 I don’t think, however, that that means we were
18 cavalier or unaware of the seriousness of
19 the responsibilities that we were trying to carry out.
20 Q. Paul, could we turn to the next page, because that’s in
21 fact where my quotation comes from. Yes. So we have
22 254(i). The other matter I want to put to you is, it
23 further comments down at (v):
24 “There was no organised or valuable enquiry or
25 investigation into the merits of the allegations, and
Day 8 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 14 March 2018
6 (Pages 21 to 24)
Page 21
1 the standpoint of Bishop Bell was never given parity or
2 proportionality.”
3 What is your response to that?
4 A. The question of an organised or valuable inquiry is
5 something of a value judgment, I think, and we certainly
6 didn’t feel that there was no serious inquiry into that
7 which was undertaken through our insurers and their
8 legal representative in whom we had considerable trust
9 and regard and who Lord Carlile also recognises as
10 a responsible and able person.
11 I see him to say that the standpoint of Bishop Bell
12 was never given parity or proportionality. It was
13 certainly given proportionality. We understood
14 absolutely that was the case. I think the area which
15 he’s rightly also identified is that there was nobody
16 there to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again, with
17 the benefit of hindsight, is something that I think was
18 wrong and we have welcomed —
19 Q. That’s (ix), chair and panel, just so that you know.
20 A. We would recognise it would represent best practice now
21 in the ways in which we have outlined our procedures.
22 Q. Can I ask, why was the decision taken to issue a public
23 statement about the George Bell case, because that’s
24 something that Lord Carlile does also critique?
25 A. Yes.
Page 22
1 Q. Perhaps you would like to explain?
2 A. We were very aware of working in the light of
3 the recommendations in the interim report of
4 the archbishop’s commissaries, which had been very clear
5 that no settlement with a survivor should include
6 a gagging clause. Of course you could say there’s
7 a difference between a gagging clause and making
8 a public statement, but it was very strongly felt that
9 to settle and to write a letter of apology and to make
10 no public statement, with no indication as to whether or
11 not those actions would become public, would look very
12 quickly like coverup. Therefore, we felt that there was
13 an obligation on us to be open about what it was that we
14 were proposing to do.
15 Q. If I can just identify that Lord Carlile at
16 paragraphs 267 and 268 of his report — ANG000152, Paul,
17 at page 68, says:
18 “I am sure that the archbishop does not think it
19 appropriate to support the publication of what may be an
20 unjustified and probably irreparable criticism of
21 anyone, whether a celebrated bishop or not.”
22 And at 268:
23 “I regard this as a case, perhaps a relatively rare
24 one, in which steps should and could have been taken to
25 retain full confidentiality, with a clear underlying
Page 23
1 basis for explaining why it was done. For Bishop Bell’s
2 reputation to be catastrophically affected in the way
3 that occurred was just wrong.”
4 Do you have any comment you wish to make about that?
5 A. The first comment I would want to make is that, I think
6 we have learnt a painful lesson about the difficulty of
7 communicating through the media a very fine legal
8 nuance, and it’s recognised by Lord Carlile that we
9 never asserted the guilt of Bishop Bell, but to
10 communicate that in terms that the general public are
11 going to understand through the media is a very
12 difficult thing to do. Therefore, I think he does raise
13 an important question here about dealing with posthumous
14 cases, but also about being fair, I think, and
15 recognising the legitimacy and substance to an
16 allegation which we certainly felt was necessary with
17 Carol, the name that’s used for the person who brought
18 the case.
19 Q. Can we turn now, if we may, to another topic

March 15 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Thursday March 15

Q. Can I ask you now — I think begin to ask you — about
25 the situation in respect of Bishop George Bell. You
Page 184
1 have provided a — you provided some details about it
2 within your first witness statement. But you also have
3 a supplementary statement in which you comment upon your
4 views about the report of Lord Carlile of Berriew.
5 I want to mainly take you, because I will say again, as
6 I have said several times, we are not interested in the
7 truth or otherwise of the allegations concerning
8 George Bell. I also understand from information which
9 has been — which is in the public domain that there is
10 another allegation. I will not be asking you about
11 that.
12 So if I can just identify, what happened in respect
13 of the George Bell case is that there was a core group,
14 you were part of that core group, consistently, which
15 was set up. What was your understanding of the purpose
16 of the core group?

17 A. If I may, I should say that the core group first met
18 13 months after the first email from Carol came in. She
19 emailed initially to Lambeth Palace April 2013. That
20 was forwarded to me.

21 Q. I think you set out — I don’t think we need to turn it
22 up, but paragraphs 392 to 398, chair and panel, of
23 the statement deal with what steps were taken.

24 A. Exactly. So the steps were essentially to offer support
25 and Gemma Wordsworth was the person who was doing all of
Day 9 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 15 March 2018
Page 185
1 that throughout the rest of 2013, and actually
2 throughout.
3 A civil claim was entered in I believe it was early
4 2014 and the core group was essentially — I think it
5 met in early — in May 2014, essentially to respond to
6 the matters arising from that. I don’t think we
7 initially called it a core group, because practice
8 guidance was still emerging at the time. So it was
9 effectively a meeting between key diocesan and national
10 personnel. It became called the core group because that
11 was the term in the emerging guidance. But I don’t
12 think it was initially called one.

13 Q. At paragraph 6 of your supplementary witness statement,
14 which is, just for the record, ACE0262843_003, chair and
15 panel, of that document, you refer to three documents:
16 a briefing note; a George Bell review timeline of key
17 decisions; and a safeguarding timeline overview.
18 Now, if we could get the first one of those up,
19 ACE026290. So this is the briefing note that took place
20 prior to the first core group meeting, which, as you
21 have said, wasn’t actually called that, in May 2014, and
22 this was just to inform everybody about the nature of
23 the case?

24 A. Yeah, myself and Gemma wrote this to make sure that
25 everyone in the meeting had an appraisal of where
Page 186
1 things — where we were at.

2 Q. Just to — I mean, I think everyone is familiar probably
3 in this room with the allegations in respect of
4 George Bell, but there was an allegation made by Carol
5 of inappropriate touching in the late 1950s. It would
6 appear that the complainant wrote to Eric Kemp in 1995.
7 That letter was on a file. That was then not
8 discovered. Then she then wrote again in 2013 to
9 Lambeth Palace and it was then discovered that the
10 letter had taken place in 1995 and that matters then
11 progressed from there. But it does appear that the file
12 had not been subject to the 2008/2009 past cases review.

13 A. That’s so.

14 Q. I understand there is some reference in one of
15 the documents — and I’m afraid I couldn’t find it —
16 that somebody called it — it was found in the “naughty
17 boys’ cabinet” or something like that. What is that?

18 A. Gosh, that’s an unfortunate phrase, isn’t it?

19 Q. Yes.

20 A. In the corridor in Bishop’s Palace, there is a cabinet
21 to the right which is effectively closed disciplinary
22 cases, so that’s — someone has called it the “naughty
23 boys’ cabinet”. So that’s what’s in there.

24 Q. I understand the reference, if we want to see it, is
25 ANG000030_017 to 018. Thank you, Mr Greenwood.
Page 187

1 A. Opposite that is a cabinet of largely administrative
2 files that are nothing to do with personnel; maybe to do
3 with a particular trust or a particular building. Upon
4 receiving Carol’s letter, Gemma and I went to the palace
5 to see if we could find, well, anything on George Bell,
6 and so we happened to look in that cabinet, not really
7 expecting —

8 Q. Is that the “naughty boys’ cabinet” or the trust deed
9 cabinet, so to speak?

10 A. No, I would have already seen it if it was in the
11 disciplinary cabinet, because I’d gone through that when
12 I first arrived —

13 Q. Right.

14 A. — for obvious reasons. The administrative cabinet, we
15 found just a loose manila folder of — that contained
16 almost all correspondence about George Bell. It was
17 things to do with the 50th anniversary of his death. It
18 was largely people writing in, “I was visiting the
19 cathedral. I was thinking about George Bell and his
20 work in World War II”, et cetera, et cetera. It was
21 that kind of material. We really therefore had no
22 expectation of finding anything, and then we did find
23 this letter from 1995 and the associated material.

24 Q. So this briefing note was given to everyone. Could we
25 just look briefly through the briefing note. Can you
Page 188
1 just talk us through it. I don’t think you need to talk
2 us through — could we go to — is it just one page or
3 does it go over to the next page? It goes over to the
4 next page. Right. It sets out basically the
5 chronology, what’s happened when and the fact that there
6 have been some difficulties. Is that right?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. There is then a timeline of key decisions. So this was
9 prepared in advance of a review meeting held
10 in June 2016. This is ACE026297, tab 50.
11 I’m assuming that this is prepared for
12 Lord Carlile’s benefit?

13 A. Not — sorry, not at that point, no. This was the
14 meeting at Lambeth Palace, as far as I remember, this
15 was the meeting at which it was decided to commission
16 a review which then was the review that Lord Carlile was
17 asked to do. So this was that meeting. He hadn’t been
18 asked.

19 Q. Do you mind, Paul, if we just switch forward slightly on
20 this. There is more than one page. In other words,
21 it’s a chronology which says what happened when. So
22 you’ve got “Email” and then “Detail and comment” and
23 then where it comes from; is that right?

24 A. Exactly.

25 Q. Thank you very much. The third document is
Page 189
1 “Safeguarding timeline overview”, which is, again,
2 another summary also produced for the June 2016 meeting.
3 That’s ACE026288, please, Paul. Again, what’s this?

4 A. I think it — I believe it was a summary of the previous
5 documents.

6 Q. So this is kind of, “We know that some people are not
7 going to read the entire document, so I’m going to give
8 you the headlines”?

9 A. Essentially.

10 Q. An executive summary, I believe is the word that’s
11 usually used?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. That’s fine. Can you describe the approach that you
14 considered what then became known as the core group were
15 taking when they were looking at the situation in
16 respect of Carol? I mean, you detail this in your
17 submission to Lord Carlile in July 2017, but it would be
18 useful to have that precised, really?

19 A. Yes, I’m trying to think how to precis it. The approach
20 of the core group was — it was effectively to — or the
21 approach of the meeting that became the core group was
22 effectively to decide how to respond to the perhaps
23 fairly unique situation we were presented with. As
24 I said, by that point, support to Carol had been offered
25 for over a year. She’d spoken to the police. There’d
Page 190
1 been some counselling provided, and so on and so forth.
2 But I suppose it was the situation that really arose
3 from the receipt of the civil claim, and it was — we
4 were very mindful of —

5 Q. Can I just check. In fact, the civil claim — one of
6 the difficulties with the Carol situation is the fact
7 that the church is not insured in claims against
8 bishops — well, I think it probably is now but it
9 wouldn’t have been at the relevant time that the
10 insurance arose?

11 A. Yes, and that was, I think, one of the prompts for that
12 meeting. I think that for me that is an essential part
13 of understanding what happened here, that we were in
14 a very unusual situation of a civil claim coming in that
15 was uninsured, and, therefore, it wasn’t clear to whom
16 that effectively — to whom the liability belonged.
17 I should say, as I think I allude to in my
18 supplementary statement, there was a backdrop here, and
19 the backdrop was that we would also — well, the church,
20 that any civil claim with regards to Peter Ball would
21 have been in that same position.
22 I wasn’t involved in any of the discussions around
23 this, but I was aware that discussions were taking
24 place, that there could have been a very —
25 a potentially large number of civil claims coming in
Page 191
1 from around Peter Ball that would have also been
2 uninsured. So I think — as I said, I wasn’t involved
3 in any of those conversations, but there was an
4 awareness that any decision made around the George Bell
5 claim, there was a wider context.

6 Q. The approach that you have taken may — some people may
7 perceive it as a “believe anyone” approach. What were
8 you trying to do, or what do you think the core group
9 was trying to do? Because obviously Lord Carlile
10 thought that you were approaching it in the same way as
11 you would approach any other civil claim, so you were
12 trying to make a decision, you know, “Should this
13 individual be believed on the balance of probabilities
14 or shouldn’t they?” Was that the aim and objective of
15 the core group?

16 A. If I could just take those points in order?

17 Q. Of course.

18 A. In terms of the “believe anyone” approach, that’s
19 actually never been the approach that — I can only
20 speak for my team, but that — said in those terms, it
21 sounds quite pejorative. It sounds quite —

22 Q. That’s —

23 A. No, no —

24 Q. I’m saying it to challenge you.

25 A. I understand.
Page 192

1 Q. Because that’s what critics of it would say?

2 A. Exactly. So I understand the caricaturing of that kind
3 of approach is a sort of naive, believing anyone no
4 matter how fantastical the allegation, that has never
5 been the approach of my team. But the approach of my
6 team has very much been a willingness to take very
7 seriously anyone making an allegation and to offer the
8 support that would be offered essentially if the
9 allegation is true. So it’s not assessing the
10 allegation before support is offered, but it’s
11 essentially offering the support on the assumption that
12 it could be true. I’m probably articulating that quite
13 badly, but that’s the approach of my team.
14 In terms of, by the time the core group met, we were
15 aware that the civil claim would have to be assessed, so
16 almost by definition, the core group didn’t meet with
17 that kind of “believe anyone” approach because it was
18 meeting to start thinking about how were we going to
19 assess that claim.

20 Q. But was it meant to be an investigative process, kind of
21 a way of saying — or was it — I mean, please explain?

22 A. Yes. The first meeting, May 2014, was essentially, how
23 are we going to proceed? The second meeting, I believe
24 it was in July 2014, was — the advice received from the
25 lawyer who — the lawyer who was acting in the civil
Page 193
1 claim, although by that point it wasn’t entirely clear
2 who was instructing her because of this concern about
3 with whom did liability rest, but the lawyer acting in
4 that situation effectively — we were quite soon getting
5 into conversations about, should there be some kind of
6 publicity, should there be some kind of, you know,
7 acknowledgement that this claim or this allegation has
8 been made against this huge historical figure, and her
9 advice was very clear: you don’t have much ability to
10 test the claim, because it’s so old, but you do have —
11 sorry, to test the allegation, but you do have a civil
12 claim, so if you were to go public in any way before you
13 have tested that claim, before that claim is settled or
14 resolved, then you will be open to, you know, exactly
15 the kind of allegation of, “Well, you just — you know,
16 you jumped the gun”. So her advice was, allow this
17 claim to run, effectively; let’s do all of the things we
18 normally do in civil claims, instruct psychiatrists and
19 verify what can be verified and so on and so forth.
20 Once that is done, if the claim is settled, then
21 consider what to do about publicity.
22 So that’s what happened.

Really, looking back, we’d
23 all acknowledge that I think this was where the problem
24 arose, that at that point, very unusually indeed, the
25 core group became quite intricately involved with the
1 civil claim and the response to the civil claim —
2 perhaps not quite that they became synonymous, but it
3 was getting there. I think we’d all look back and say
4 that should have been held much more separately.

Page 94

5 MS SCOLDING: I don’t know whether, chair, this might be an
6 appropriate moment to break, because I’m about to start
7 on the response to the Carlile Report which I think will
8 take us past a reasonable hour. So I don’t know whether
9 now might be an appropriate moment?

10 THE CHAIR: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you very much,
11 Mr Perkins.

12 MS SCOLDING: Don’t forget, Mr Perkins, you are under oath.
13 Thank you.
14 (4.24 pm)
15 (The hearing was adjourned until
16 Friday, 16 March 2018 at 10.00 am)

March 15 2018 – Letter submission to the Daily Telegraph from Richard W. Symonds of the Bell Society

Dear Editor
Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner states (IICSA hearing, March 14):
“The area which he [Lord Carlile] has rightly…identified is that there was nobody there [in the C of E Core Group] to speak for Bishop Bell, and that, again…is something that I think was wrong”
Then right the wrong which was unthinkable at the time.
This is the time to ensure the long-dead Bishop of Chichester George Bell is represented by a lawyer in the new Core Group – such as Desmond Browne QC – and someone known to Bishop Bell’s long-living niece.
Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

March 15 2018 – IICSA Update – March 14 & 15 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

March 16 2018 – IICSA Highlights – March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

March 16 2018 – IICSA Transcript – March 16

Page 30

Fiona Scolding QC – Q. He [Lord Carlile] identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?

Perkins – 2 A. I accept that critique,

Page 24

15 Q. Was it the situation that there was scant, if any,
16 regard to Bishop Bell’s good character? Because that
17 comes out of this at various other points in his
18 conclusions? Paragraph 56 of Lord Carlile’s conclusion,
19 he says:
20 “… scant, if any, regard to … Bishop Bell’s good
21 character [was paid].”
22 Again, he also argued that there was deliberate
23 destruction of the reputation of George Bell. What do
24 you say to those two things?
25 A. In terms of the regard given to his good character, the
Page 25
1 esteem, he also talks about that —
2 Q. You deal with this at paragraph 70 and onwards of your
3 witness statement. Maybe if you would like to turn that
4 up for your own benefit. Chair and panel, that’s
5 page 25 of Mr Perkins’ supplementary witness statement?
6 A. We were very mindful indeed of the reputation of
7 George Bell, and in many ways the reputation of
8 George Bell is why we were holding the core group in the
9 first place. I have just mentioned a number of other
10 allegations we’d received about deceased clergy. Most
11 of those are obscure clergy, and didn’t generate this
12 level of action. Because we were aware of the weight of
13 his reputation and the likely impact of people reacting
14 to any actions we took, to some extent that was the
15 reason that we were having this nationally chaired
16 meeting involving staff from both the national church
17 and Chichester.
18 But I am very surprised at the extent to which,
19 certainly throughout the last two and a half years,
20 there have been many calls, and I am concerned that some
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser.
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against
Page 26
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 —
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace,
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”.
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
15 Q. I think at paragraph 70 of your witness statement you
16 identify some research that the NSPCC did in educational
17 settings which often found that those who sexually
18 abused students are often the most competent and popular
19 of staff and are often — I think the word used by the
20 NSPCC is “adored”?
21 A. Yes. The evidence — much of the evidence this inquiry
22 has heard, much of the academic evidence throughout the
23 world, suggests, again, going back to Nigel Speight’s
24 quote, that people find it extremely difficult to
25 believe that especially their admired leaders, or
Page 27
1 admired teachers within that educational setting,
2 sometimes the teachers that are the most popular could
3 also be guilty of abuse. We know that’s worldwide
4 research.
5 Q. There are two technical issues I want to raise.
6 Lord Carlile criticises the core group, and this is at
7 paragraph 167 of his report, page 044, chair and panel,
8 if you want to get it up, B47. He identifies — he says
9 that one of the things that you got wrong was not
10 understanding that he wouldn’t — had he been alive, he
11 wouldn’t have satisfied the arrest conditions, is what
12 he says.
13 So you mistakenly — what I think he indicates is,
14 having read the minutes, he believes that what happened
15 was, you all thought he would be arrested, he would have
16 been arrested, and therefore that was something which
17 fed into your consideration of whether or not the civil
18 claim should be settled?
19 A. Firstly, I’m not sure that he’s correct about that,
20 having worked with Sussex Police on a large number of
21 cases. I’m actually just not sure that he’s correct.
22 I think he may well have been.
23 But he largely suggested that we were so
24 inexperienced within the criminal justice system that we
25 conflated arrest with charge with conviction. As I say
Page 28
1 in my statement, that is simply not the case. There
2 were plenty of very experienced safeguarding
3 professionals with, between us, decades of experience
4 within the criminal justice system who were perfectly
5 capable of separating those things out.
6 Q. Thank you. He also identifies that you hadn’t followed
7 the basic prosecutorial process of looking at whether or
8 not something had happened and whether or not — you
9 know, the two-stage test which the CPS identified. Do
10 you have any comment that you wish to make about that?
11 A. Well, he specifically criticises that Sussex Police
12 hadn’t communicated properly to us that process. He
13 identifies Detective Inspector EF as the person who
14 should have, but didn’t, correctly communicate that to
15 us. He identifies that from one email exchange in 2013,
16 right at the start, when we were arranging Carol’s
17 interview with Sussex Police.
18 As I say in my statement, between certainly myself
19 and Gemma, we probably had weekly contacts with DI EF
20 across a five-year period between Operation Perry and
21 Operation Dunhill, and I think it highlights my point
22 that making that conclusion based on one email exchange
23 rather than discussing that with us, where we could have
24 explained that level of contact, is one of my concerns
25 about the process of the report.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

Page 29
1 Q. He also recommends, Lord Carlile, at paragraph 170, that
2 there should have been specialist criminal law advice
3 provided to the group. What’s your view about that?
4 A. If I can just —
5 Q. It is page 44 of B47, chair and panel. Thank you very
6 much, Paul.
7 A. I’m just trying to find within my own statement —
8 Q. Oh, you deal with it at paragraph 57, Mr Perkins.
9 A. Thank you.
10 Q. Paragraphs 56, 57 and 58.
11 A. Thank you. Firstly, this was a civil claim, so tested
12 to the civil standard. So it’s still not clear, and
13 I believe not clear to others who are responding to
14 this, why a comment about whether or not it could have
15 been proved to the criminal standard would necessarily
16 help us in deciding whether it could have been proved to
17 the civil standard.
18 But, again, that comment seems to have ignored my
19 submission from July 2016, where I make really clear,
20 and the minutes make really clear, and the legal advice
21 provided to the core group makes really clear, we were
22 making a choice to believe.
23 There was — never at any point, in my recollection,
24 at any point in the core group, did anyone say, “He
25 would have been convicted for this, so we have no
Page 30
1 choice”. That just wasn’t part of the discussion, which
2 I say in that paragraph.
3 Q. Which, again, Lord Carlile in his report at
4 paragraph 171 seems to identify that one of
5 the criticisms of the core group is they didn’t think
6 about whether or not he would have been prosecuted had
7 he been alive, and he identifies that the prospects of
8 successful prosecution were low. I think at
9 paragraph 57, you say —
10 A. Thank you.
11 Q. — “Well, we wouldn’t necessarily have asked ourselves
12 that question”?
13 A. We were fully aware that the chances of a conviction,
14 were he alive, were low, and, as I say at the end of
15 paragraph 57, external advice on that particular point,
16 was a criminal conviction likely, was not sought, not
17 because it never occurred to us to ask, but because the
18 answer was relatively obvious.
19 Q. Can I ask you just about two further points that he
20 raises at paragraph 155, if we can go back to that,
21 please, chair and panel, 038, please, Paul. Page 38,
22 chair and panel, of B47.
23 He identifies that one of the other issues is that
24 there wasn’t adequate engagement and involvement of
25 Bishop Bell’s family or people speaking on Bishop Bell’s
Page 31
1 behalf. I think you accept that critique, don’t you?
2 A. I accept that critique, although in the submission from
3 the National Safeguarding Steering Group, I would also
4 emphasise the separation in that submission from the
5 action — between the actions of the core group, the
6 work of the core group, and the work of — I think it’s
7 called — a group — a body thinking about the
8 litigation. I am not sure that there should be within
9 the core group a person doing that, because the core
10 group is really managing a different situation. I think
11 that obviously and clearly should happen, but perhaps
12 within that different body. I think that’s the advice
13 from — or that’s the response from the National
14 Safeguarding Steering Group, which I would agree with.
15 Q. Two further issues: one about limitation; the second
16 about non-disclosure agreements. Obviously you are not
17 a lawyer, so I’m not going to ask you this. One of
18 the points that Lord Carlile raises is that nobody
19 seriously considered the limitation issue and/or that
20 the limitation issue should have been considered. Just
21 for the public, the usual rule is that such claims have
22 to be brought within — well, actually, in cases of
23 sexual violence, it is six years, but in cases of breach
24 of duty, ie negligence, it’s three years but with an
25 equitable time limit under section 33 of the Limitation
Page 32
1 Act, which involves, in effect, looking at all the
2 circumstances and saying, is it there or isn’t it there.
3 Now, we understand from the Ecclesiastical Insurance
4 Office’s guiding principles that in an insured claim —
5 we dealt with this with Professor Macfarlane earlier in
6 the week — they only raise limitation exceptionally, so
7 to speak?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Was limitation something which was considered and
10 discussed within the context of the group?
11 A. It was —
12 Q. Just to say, “It was just too long ago. We can’t
13 possibly settle a claim on this basis”?
14 A. It was considered and discussed extensively in the
15 second core group, July 2014. The minutes make that
16 very clear. In fact, the explanation you’ve just given
17 is possibly almost verbatim the explanation that was
18 given to that core group, and, as the minutes show,
19 there was then an extensive discussion.
20 I think, again, that goes back to my problem about
21 the process of the Lord Carlile review.
22 What the minutes do not say is, “The purpose of
23 limitation was clearly explained”, largely because
24 everyone was fully aware. They were clearly explained
25 but the minutes don’t clearly say that.
Day 10 IICSA Inquiry – Chichester 16 March 2018

9 (Pages 33 to 36)
Page 33
1 Q. Of course, the issues of vicarious liability have
2 changed markedly over the past 10 years in respect of
3 cases of sexual violence against individuals?
4 A. Exactly.
5 Q. To make them a lot more generous than they were, shall
6 I put it that way?
7 A. Yes. But, as I say, the very fact that we had an
8 extensive discussion suggests that that — the point of
9 limitation was fully understood. That is certainly the
10 case: it was fully understood.
11 Q. Non-disclosure agreement. The other significant
12 criticism that Lord Carlile makes is, why wasn’t there
13 a confidentiality agreement put to this in order to
14 avoid what he considers to be unfair besmirching of
15 Bishop Bell’s reputation. I mean, that’s probably
16 putting it slightly higher than Lord Carlile puts it in
17 his report, so I’m slightly overegging that, but he
18 considers that it’s unfair. I think the church has
19 responded and said, “We think it was right that there
20 wasn’t a non-confidentiality agreement and we don’t
21 agree to — confidentiality agreements, I think, rather
22 than non-confidentiality agreements — think about NDA,
23 the US word for them. What’s your view about that, if
24 you have any?
25 A. As you said, the church has already rejected that
Page 34
1 proposal. I was very glad to see that. As you said,
2 I’m not a lawyer, so I possibly shouldn’t stray into
3 this, but my understanding of —
4 Q. Well, from the perspective of somebody — you’ve
5 identified that you started this process trying to work
6 from the perspective of providing compassionate support
7 to victims and survivors?
8 A. Exactly.
9 Q. From that perspective, that’s your view?
10 A. From that perspective, my understanding of
11 Lord Carlile’s recommendation with regards to the
12 non-disclosure agreement or the confidentiality
13 agreement, he also suggests — my understanding of his
14 report is — that we should have settled the claim
15 with —
16 Q. Sort of no admission of liability?
17 A. No admission of liability. From my point of view, from
18 the perspective you just described, that would have
19 effectively been saying, “We are not accepting your
20 claim. We are not going to apologise. We are going to
21 perhaps provide some monetary settlement and we are
22 going to require you to sign a non-disclosure
23 agreement”. That is exactly the opposite of where
24 I think the church should be on this issue, from my
25 perspective.
Page 35
1 Q. Can we now — that’s been very helpful, and I think we
2 have got a very clear view from you of your critique of
3 that, which I know you were very clear that you wanted
4 to give to this inquiry.
5 Can we now turn to the more mundane topic, or maybe
6 more exciting topic, of what you actually do on
7 a day-to-day basis?….

March 17 2018 – “‘Painful lesson’ learned from Bishop Bell investigation, chief bishop says” – Chichester Observer – March 16

March 17 2018 – “A shambles is no safeguard” – Church Times

March 18 2018 – From The Archives [2012 – “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. [Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, USA – 2012]

March 19 2018 – “Bishop George Bell: still no action” – ‘batsinthebelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – Richard W. Symonds

 
Page 25
“…I am concerned that some 
21 of those calls have correctly or otherwise perceived 
22 a high level of support from within Lord Carlile’s 
23 report for the suggestion that a great man such as Bell 
24 cannot possibly have also been an abuser. 
25 As I outlined in my statement, that runs against 
Page 26 
1 a lot of the evidence that I’m aware of internationally 
2 with regards to child sexual offenders within 
3 institutions. If I may, I think there’s one other point 
4 that I particularly want to make on that, and for me 
5 this is quite an important point: Carol gave an 
6 interview to the Brighton Argus in February 2016 — 
7 sorry, 2014 — no, I’m getting my dates wrong, it was 
8 2016, in response to the controversy. In that interview 
9 she said, “I know that George Bell was a man of peace, 
10 but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do these things to me”
11 It always struck me as very powerful that, of all of 
12 the people in this narrative, she has managed to keep 
13 the balance and she has managed to articulate very 
14 powerfully that it’s possible that he was both.
 
Ignoring the fact Mr Perkins was mistaken on the Argus dates – it was December 16 2017 when ‘Carol’ made that statement – how could he say she “has managed to keep the balance…”! Incredible. ‘Carol’ was five years old at the time! How could she have known it was definitely Bishop Bell at that age! 
 
May I also suggest Mr Perkins reads the book “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” by David F. Pierre, Jr. – especially page 150 – before pontificating about the John Jay Report [Page 11 & 12 IICSA March 16].
CORRECTION
I stand corrected on the Argus dates – my apologies:
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported this on February 3 2016:
“Because he did good things, they automatically assume that he couldn’t do anything wrong, which was rather hurtful because a lot of men who have done good things have also done very evil things. He might be a man of peace but that doesn’t take away the fact of what he did to me,” said the woman, using the pseudonym ‘Carol’.
I confused this quote above with the quote made by ‘Carol’ on December 16 2017:
“He (Lord Carlile) can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts”
But neither quote helps the Diocesan Safeguarder Colin Perkins. It just confirms he might be seriously mistaken about the “balance” of ‘Carol’.
Also, Mr Perkins shows a serious lack of understanding of False Memory Syndrome (FMS) – “One of the features is that over a period of time – in this case a considerable time – the false accuser has convinced herself that her memory was correct”
Personally, I have little to no doubt ‘Carol’ was sexually abused. What I seriously doubt is that it was Bishop Bell. In other words, a case of mistaken identity.
‘Carol’ is an unreliable witness, and for Colin Perkins to put such faith in her recollections is not just seriously unprofessional for someone in his position, it is also seriously misplaced.
~ Richard W. Symonds

March 19 2018 – IICSA Reflections – David Lamming

“While IICSA should be given full marks for the production of the daily transcript (available to download from about 6 pm each day), the website is both woeful and impenetrable. There is no easy way to find a document, since they are indexed only by the URN allocated to them by the Inquiry. More seriously, witness statements and documents referred to by witnesses (and appended to their statements) are not uploaded in advance, which makes it difficult to follow the oral evidence.

A prime example is the evidence given on 15th-16th March by Colin Perkins. At the beginning of his evidence last Thursday, counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, asked that Mr Perkins’s three witness statements be “placed upon the website at a convenient and appropriate moment.” (Transcript, 15 March 2018, page 82). That moment should have been no later than when Mr Perkins took the oath, yet now, Sunday lunchtime, 18th March, they are still not available for the public to read.

“An illustration of the need for the statements to be published in advance is in the evidence Colin Perkins gave to the Inquiry about the Carlile report on Friday morning (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 1-34). Ms Scolding refers to certain passages in Mr Perkins’s witness statement in which he criticises aspects of Lord Carlile’s review. Those criticisms (at least so far as they appear from the extracts set out and commented on in the transcript) are selective and self-serving. One must ask whether Lord Carlile was done the courtesy of bring provided with a copy of the statement, or even being warned that he would be criticised at a public inquiry where he is not represented. One sentence in Mr Perkins’s evidence is telling: “… it is my job to try and articulate these things from the perspective of the victim.” (Transcript, 16 March 2018, pages 15-16) Where is the necessary objectivity, when Carol is regarded as victim, not complainant? No wonder one of Lord Carlile’s conclusions was “… the clear impression left is that the process was predicated on [Bell’s] guilt of what Carol alleged.” (Carlile Review, para 254(vi), page 65.)

~ David Lamming

March 20 2018 – Peter Hitchens – The Mail on Sunday – March 18

“The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, admitted last week it had been a mistake not to give the late Bishop George Bell a defending counsel at the kangaroo court which wrongly convicted him of child abuse. When will he admit that he has made a similar mistake by refusing to allow Bell’s niece, Barbara Whitley, to pick a lawyer to defend him against the mysterious second allegation now levelled against him in secret? Too late, for sure” 

March 20 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 19 

March 20 2018 – “Abuse inquiry reveals Church’s ‘stupidity, incompetence and lying’, says bishop” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 20 2018 – “Safeguarding – reconciling two perspectives” – Stephen Parsons [and Rebuilding Bridges]

March 20 2018 – “Eastbourne school headteacher to step down” – Eastbourne Herald

March 21 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Tuesday March 20

Graham Tilby (National Safeguarding Adviser)
Page 98
6 Q. Do you agree with the conclusion that Lord Carlile
7 reached that you put the reputation of the church as
8 a whole above the untarnished reputation of Bishop Bell?
9 A. I don’t agree with that. I think this was always about
10 trying to come to a process with objectivity. When
11 I arrived, I didn’t actually know who George Bell was,
12 and that’s actually important on one level because that
13 brings an objectivity to the process, but also it is
14 about gathering evidence and making — and forming
15 a judgment based on a balance of probabilities.

March 21 2018 – “Clergy burnt file after being accused of covering up abuse, inquiry hears” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

March 21 2018 – Livestream – IICSA Hearing – Wednesday March 21 – Archbishop Justin Welby

March 22 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Wednesday March 21

Archbishop Justin Welby

Page 119-120 [Paras 21-25]

and at the heart of this has to be justice, and justice is a very, very difficult thing to find, as you know much better than I do, but we have to have a system that delivers justice. That is so important. And if it doesn’t, it’s not good enough.

Fiona Scolding QC

Page 123 [Paras 14-25] Page 124 [Paras 1-8]

One of the points that Lord Carlile makes is that the church didn’t take a good enough account of…George Bell’s reputation. Now, we have heard from several individuals about their views about that. But what he seems to suggest is, you have to start — you know, this was such a Titanic figure that one must assume that his reputation is unblemished and, therefore, that has to be weighed very heavily in the balance. Do you have any response to that?

Archbishop Justin Welby

I think the greatest tragedy of all these cases is that people have trusted, very often, those who were locally, in diocesan terms, or nationally Titanic figures, and have then found that they were not worthy of their trust. The fact that someone is a titanic figure doesn’t tell you anything at all, except that they have done remarkable things in one area. It doesn’t tell you about the rest of their lives. And it is not something that we can take into account.

‘If Bishop Bell’s good reputation ‘is not something that we (The Church of England) can take into account’, then the Church of England [and Archbishop Welby as its leader] are breaking the law. As Lord Carlile has said, taking someone’s good reputation into account “is the law. In criminal cases especially, but also in civil cases, where the character of an alleged perpetrator is impugned by the allegation made, the court takes into account evidence of his good character. It does not mean that he can do no wrong. It is a factor to be weighed in the balance”‘

~ Richard W. Symonds

March 22 2018 – From The Archives [1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ [Series 5 Disc 2) – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral [‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

March 22 2018 – An Archbishop on Justice and Presumption of Guilt – Rumpole on Justice and Presumption of Innocence

March 23 2018 – “Church has failed to protect children from abuse, says Archbishop of Canterbury” – ‘Sight’ [Australian Christian Magazine]

“Archbishop Welby, the leader of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion – who himself has come under some criticism for his handling of abuse cases – told the commission Wednesday that the church needs new powers to safeguard children…

“The decision by IICSA to turn the spotlight on Chichester Diocese comes amid controversy over the way Archbishop Welby had handled a case that involved a former bishop of Chichester, George Bell, who was accused of abuse. Bishop Bell’s supporters and others say the accusations against him lacked proof.

“Another inquiry last year, specifically into Chichester and chaired by Lord (Alex) Carlile, said the Church of England had rushed to judgement against Bishop Bell, who had died in 1958. But Archbishop Welby has refused to retract his statement that Bishop Bell, who was a leading churchman during World War II, had a cloud over his name because of the allegations. Lord Carlile warned that the Church of England’s processes were deficient and that it did not give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

“But at the IICSA hearing Wednesday, Archbishop Welby focused on the victims…

“David Greenwood, a lawyer representing victims at the inquiry, claimed that Church of England officials had covered up abuse. ‘There is a strong suspicion of an organised conspiracy between clergy and bishops in the Diocese of Chichester to enable children to be abused,’ he said.

~ Catherine Pepinster – ‘Sight’ Magazine

March 23 2018 – Livestream – IICSA hearing  – Friday March 23

March 23 2018 – From The Archives [March 5 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5 ]

Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC: “…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

March 23 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley

Dear Mark Woods – Editor (Christian Today)( mwoods@christiantoday.co.uk )

Please register this as a formal complaint.

I think your headline – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – is one of the most disgraceful I have ever read.

Shame on you.

If this unbalanced article by Harry Farley is not corrected by 16.00 this Monday – 26th March 2018 – a formal complaint will be made to IPSO at 9am the following day (27th).

Richard W. Symonds ~ The Bell Society

March 25 2018 – “Case for Bishop Bell” – Daily Telegraph Letters – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson – Saturday March 24 

Case for Bishop Bell

Sir – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is not alone in being ashamed of the Church in its handling of child abuse cases in the Diocese of Chichester (report, March 22). So are quite a few others. And some of us would add that we are ashamed of Archbishop Welby too.

At the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearing on Wednesday, the Archbishop was questioned about his continuing attack on the late Bishop George Bell, whose reputation has been besmirched by what Lord Carlile, the Church’s own eminent appointee to examine its legal processes, has described as a very misguided rush to judgement on a single accusation of historic child sexual abuse.

The continued anger that the case has aroused has nothing to do with Bishop Bell’s eminent reputation. It has everything to do with the fact that no one has ever been allowed to present a case in his defence.

The recent effort by the family to appoint its own lawyer in a new investigation has been turned down by the Chichester authorities. And once again, the Archbishop missed a chance to affirm his belief in Bishop Bell’s innocence as presumed by the law.

When will the Archbishop have the grace to admit that the Church leaders responsible for handling the George Bell case – including himself – have made the most colossal error of judgement in this instance?

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sheffield, South Yorkshire

March 25 2018 – “Truth is the scapegoat for Pilate Welby” – Rev Jules Gomes

March 25 2018 – “Where’s the headline: ‘Welby slams Sentamu’s lack of humanity and leadership?'” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ 

March 25 2018 – “IICSA – Final reflections” – Stephen Parsons

March 25 2018 – From The Archives [March 10 2018 – Psychotherapist Anthony Stadlen on Bishop Bell and ‘Carol’: “It is not at all easy to find the right words to respect both the presumption of the Bishop’s innocence until proven guilty, and the presumption of Carol’s integrity of character and memory until proven otherwise”]

March 25 2018 – “If Archbishops and Bishops don’t have enough wisdom and prudence to discern justice from injustice, who the hell does? Thank God for the law and the philosophy of jurisprudence” ~ Richard W. Symonds 

March 25 2018 – “Chichester and Child Abuse” – Independent on Sunday – Andreas Whittam Smith

March 25 2018 – “Chichester child abuse: How did one small Church of England diocese produce so many paedophile reverends?” – The Independent

March 26 2018 – “In Holy Week we should hold our Archbishops’ feet to the fire” – Martin Sewell

March 26 2018 [Re: March 23 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley ] 

March 26 2018 – “@BishopGeorgeBell: episcopal responses” – ‘batsinthebelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 27 2018 – “Church of England ‘no longer competent to manage safeguarding’ says senior cleric” [Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy] – Modern Church

“Everyone knew a little, but no-one chose to do enough. It seems that the cultures of abuse were ultimately no-one’s fault. So no-one did anything [Or not enough – Ed]. Everyone else was to blame” – Martyn Percy

“Everyone was to blame so no-one was to blame. Everyone was responsible so no-one was
responsible. The ultimate cop-out. So Bishop Bell’s reputation remains destroyed”
Richard W. Symonds

March 27 2018 – “Church safeguarding” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Arthur Vandell – Storrington, West Sussex

March 28 2018 – “Assuming guilt” – Daily Telegraph – Letter – Colin Bullen of Tonbridge

March 29 2018 – “The Archbishop’s Rocket” – ‘BatsInTheBelfry’ – Christopher Hill

March 29 2018 – “Presumption of guilt” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Graham Toole-Mackson JP and Laurence Anderson

March 30 2018 – Unpublished Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – It is right for the the Justice Secretary to be called upon to resign in his “attempt to divert blame…” (‘Worboys victims accuse minister…’, DT Front Page, 29 March).
More so the Archbishop of Canterbury in his attempt to divert blame on to Bishop George Bell for his own shortcomings (‘Presumption of guilt’, Letters, 29 March).
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

March 31 2018 – “Bishop Bell not guilty” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – John Drysdale and His Honour Anthony Nicholl

April 1 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – Contributors to your letters pages last week repeatedly questioned how it was possible for the late George Bell to prove his innocence when he is no longer with us (“Bishop Bell not guilty”, Letters, March 31).
Of course it is not possible.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to speak up for those who cannot, and to demand of Archbishop Justin Welby complete exoneration for this wartime Bishop of Chichester.
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

April 1 2018 – “Apologies, Forgiveness & IICSA” – ViaMedia.News – Revd Canon Rosie Harper

“The horror of what we learnt in the three weeks of the hearing is that the Church is run by the sort of people who are prepared to cover up and lie…” ~ Revd Canon Rosie Harper

April 1 2018 – “Misuse of power is disgusting. But do you do a balance sheet?” – Archbishop Justin Welby Interview – Observer-Guardian – Rachel Cooke

And what of his position on George Bell, the former bishop of Chichester? Bell, who died in 1958, was, and still is, a heroic figure, for his support of the German resistance during the war, and for his opposition to area bombing by the allies. But in 1995, an allegation of child sexual abuse was made against him – a complaint that was not passed to the police by the church until 2013 (after a second complaint was made to what was now Welby’s office). The police concluded that, had Bell been alive, he would have been arrested, and the diocese went on to pay compensation to the victim. But the church’s handling of the case was widely criticised, mostly for its lack of due process. Last year, an independent review of the case by Lord Carlile said that the church had rushed to judgment, perhaps because it wanted to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. The church then announced that it had passed new evidence about Bell to the police. The row, however, rumbles on. In January, a group of leading historians, among them Professor Sir Ian Kershaw, urged Welby to withdraw comments he made following the publication of Carlile’s report, in which he said “a significant cloud” still hung over Bell. The archbishop’s comments were “indefensible”, they said; the allegation against Bell is uncorroborated, and in their eyes contradicted by considerable circumstantial material. Welby has so far refused to do so. Is he likely to shift his position?
“Not for the moment. Following Lord Carlile’s report on what was a badly handled inquiry, we had further information which is being investigated, and that will take a long time. Nothing could be better for the church, and for Chichester, than if we were able to say there was nothing to it, but you can’t do that until it is properly investigated. We say that if someone makes an allegation, we always take it seriously.”

April 2 2018 – “It would appear Archbishop Welby is playing God, considering himself above the law regarding Bishop Bell acting both as judge, jury and executioner, and making decisions ‘above his pay grade’. Others might consider the Archbishop more an April Fool of the Church of England who has brought this centuries-old institution into disrepute” ~ Richard W. Symonds

April 2 2018 – “Clergy assumed guilty” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Hugh Whittle and Alison Lambie

April 2 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir – In a recent interview*, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was asked whether or not he would change his opinion regarding the late Bishop of Chichester George Bell. 

“Not for the moment” he replied.

Since when have Archbishops been allowed to ride roughshod over British justice – not least the Presumption of Innocence – and become a law unto themselves?

This Archbishop appears to be ‘playing God’ and passing judgement above his ecclesiastical pay grade.

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

April 2 2018 – “‘It isn’t ALL about victims’ – Met Police to abandon practice of believing all sex crimes complaints” – Evening Standard

London police are ditching guidelines to automatically believe sexual assault complaints, the Met Police Commissioner has said.

After heavy criticism over a series of failed sex crimes cases, the force will now put their role as investigators first, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said.

Ms Dick said: “I arrived saying very clearly that we should have an open mind when a person walks in and we should treat them with dignity and respect and we should listen to them and we should record what they say.

“From that moment on, we are investigators,” she added…….”our job is not all about victims. Our job in investigations is to be fair, to be impartial and when appropriate to bring things to justice.

In 2016, Sir Richard Henriques, a retired judge, remarked on failings in Operation Midland and said that “the presumption of innocence appears to have been set aside”.

April 3 2018 – “There is a malaise in criminal justice/Young lives were ruined and justice was betrayed…” – Daily Telegraph – Editorial/Allison Pearson

“Guilty until proven innocent. The tenure of Alison Saunders at the Crown Prosecution Service [2013-2018 – Ed] will be remembered for a monstrous inversion of that fundamental principle of British justice…Let her passing see an end to cruel zealotry and a return to the first principle of justice. You may remember it: innocent until proven guilty” ~ Allison Pearson

“In 2016, Sir Richard Henriques, a retired judge, remarked on failings in Operation Midland and said that “the presumption of innocence appears to have been set aside” [See above – April 2]

April 3 2018 – Archbishop Cranmer/VirtueOnLine

“So the Archbishop of Canterbury is clear when it comes to allegations of child (sexual) abuse and safeguarding: passing the buck by insisting ‘It’s not my job, mate’ evidences a lack of humanity and leadership — deficiencies in integrity and gifting which certainly ought to disqualify someone from holding a senior ministerial office in the Church of England” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ (Source: VirtueOnline – March 30 2018)

April 4 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Sir: As Rowan Pelling rightly says (‘She told me he’d coerced her into sex. But did she lie?’, Opinion, 4 April):
“…there’s no doubt we must cling to the central tenet of justice: guilt must be proven beyond reasonable doubt”
Pity the Church of England hierarchy has let go of this obvious truth in the case of Bishop George Bell.
 Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

April 5 2018 – Submitted Letter – Daily Telegraph – Richard W. Symonds

Ed: Spanish ‘Zorro’ actor recalls (‘Antonio Banderas: his Grey Period’, DT Arts, 5 April):

“When Franco died…I remember running in front of the police and fighting for our first democratic government to prove the fact that we were innocent until proven guilty”

Perhaps we should consider doing the same in front of Lambeth Palace in the fight against the Archbishop’s ‘presumption of guilt’ regarding Bishop George Bell?

Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

April 5 2018 – “Bishop George Bell: round two” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

April 6 2018 – “Forget culture. It’s a new theology we need” – Church Times – Linda Woodhead

Linda Woodhead reflects on deeper problems revealed by the IICSA hearings

The IICSA panel

“LISTENING to the evidence of abuse and cover-up in Chichester diocese has been a miserable experience. The experiences recounted by survivors were harrowing, the explanations offered by senior clergy were shocking, and the juxtaposition of the two was a lesson in inhumanity”

~ Linda Woodhead

April 7 2018 – Safeguarding – The Next Steps

Leader comment: Safeguarding: the next steps

…These pages contain a range of different perspectives on how to tackle sexual abuse; and yet there is a common desire to make safeguarding comprehensive and effective. This sounds like stating the obvious. There is a danger, however, pointed out most clearly by Josephine Anne Stein, that the type of safeguarding being promoted throughout the Church is modelled on a pattern designed to protect institutions from prosecution. A Christian organisation must do better than this…

Martin Warner Safeguarding: what we got wrong, and the steps we are taking to put it right, Church Times – April 7 2018

“Bishop Martin, you got it wrong safeguarding clergy falsely accused, such as Bishop George Bell. What steps are you taking to put that right ?”Richard W. Symonds ~ The Bell Society

Josephine Anne SteinThe safeguarding overhaul that’s needed

…Safeguarding in the Church of England has burgeoned into a procedural, bureaucratic, and bloated industry that does not appear to be effective either in responding to abuse or in preventing further abuse. When checked earlier this year, the C of E’s safeguarding policy posted on the National Safeguarding Team’s website consisted of 364 separate pages…

…THERE are alternative approaches to safeguarding within the healthcare sector, grounded in the development of professional ethics, the regular assessment of fitness to practise, and professional discipline.

There are also alternatives to formal safeguarding complaints procedures that combine knowledge and experience from occupational psychology, specialist social work, and restorative justice, much of which is unfamiliar within the Church.

Furthermore, there are inexpensive and empowering ways to improve knowledge and understanding of both the causes of and responses to abuse in different constituencies within the Church — a bottom-up approach in contrast to current centralised, top-down training. If everyone in the Church is responsible for safeguarding, everyone is also responsible for ownership of safeguarding…

April 8 2018 – “It’s always easier to see the plank in someone else’s eye than the log in your own”Janet Fife 

April 9 2018 – “Lambeth Awards: Why is the C of E patting itself on the back over Safeguarding?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

The Church of England has just been through a traumatic fortnight of the Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Those who are responsible for safeguarding are apparently devoid of compassion: “The cruel and inhuman treatment I have received from the National Safeguarding Team in Church House, and others in the Church of England hierarchy, makes what Peter Ball did to me pale into insignificance,” said one victim. It is impossible not to read some pronouncements and not conclude that the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is either untruthful or incompetent (or quite possibly both).

And the consequent headlines bring shame upon us all: ‘Church of England put reputation first, child abuse inquiry told‘; ‘Church may have “conspired to enable child sex abuse”‘; ‘Church of England faces “deep shame” at child abuse inquiry‘; ‘Clergy resign from Church of England rather than face criminal records checks, abuse inquiry told‘; ‘Church “facing two years of abuse revelations”‘, and on and on…

The failings aren’t just historic; they are present and ongoing.

So who at Lambeth Palace thought it was a good idea to honour the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev’d Paul Butler, with the Hubert Walter Award “for his outstanding service to the church as Lead Bishop on Safeguarding”?

Bishop Paul might be a lovely, faithful, compassionate and pious man, but why this citation now? Why honour a bishop for his safeguarding genius just a few weeks after the appalling IICSA revelations? Isn’t it rather like awarding Captain Smith the Blue Riband for Outstanding Service as a Merchant Navy Officer in April 1912? It isn’t merely bizarrely inopportune; it is crassly insensitive for the Church of England to be blowing its own trumpet over safeguarding at all.

If the Archbishop of Canterbury is to make awards (as indeed he ought), might he not reflect on the fact that in some spheres of church life – such as safeguarding – that the last shall be first? Might he not perhaps consider honouring one or two representative survivors for their contributions to truth and services to reform? If the world can see the very obvious virtue in honouring the victims before indulging in self-congratulation, why couldn’t those advising the Archbishop?

April 9 2018 – “Church investigations” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Gabrielle Higgins – Chichester Diocesan Secretary

“Nor does the Church routinely investigate allegations itself; they are reported to the police or local authorities as appropriate. However, if no one else will investigate fully – for example, if a civil claim is brought in respect of a deceased person – the Church has no option but to investigate as it must answer the claim” – Gabrielle Higgins (Diocesan Secretary. Diocesan Fund and Board of Finance, Hove, East Sussex
“Investigations are useless if investigated by a bunch of amateurs with little understanding of the law. They simply become ‘kangaroo courts’ (“Church investigations”, Telegraph Letters, April 9). Chichester Diocesan Secretary Gabrielle Higgins seeks to assure correspondents: “Nor does the Church routinely investigate allegations itself; they are reported to the police or local authorities as appropriate”. In 1995 – 37 years after George Bell Bishop of Chichester had died – one complaint was made by ‘Carol’ that he had abused her as a child. The complaint was not passed to the Sussex Police or West Sussex County Council at the time. It is beyond a disgrace to see a Church of England representative – in the form of a Chichester Diocesan Secretary – accept the unacceptable, defend the indefensible, and justify the unjustifiable”.
~ Richard W. Symonds 

April 9 2018 [From The Archives: Aug 26 2016 – “The Bishop Bell affair; and the plea to unfrock” – The Church Times – Letter – Gabrielle Higgins – Diocesan Secretary of Chichester]

April 10 2018 [From The Archives: Feb 5 2018 – “Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Martin Sewell]

April 10 2018 – “Proving innocence” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

IMG_0935

April 11 2018 – IICSA Letter to Richard W. Symonds

2018-04-10 Outbound IICSA-0002624

April 14 2018 – “Church non-Transparency” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – Christopher Hill

April 22 2018 – “The significant failure of Archbishop Welby’s ‘Smear No. 2’ against Bishop Bell” – Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

IMG_1026

Wicked Welby smear No2 fails

Peter Hitchens

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5643095/PETER-HITCHENS-real-villain-Windrush-scandal-BLAIR.html

Bad news for Archbishop Welby’s continuing attempt to smear the name of the great Bishop George Bell, whose self-sacrificing courage in standing up for truth when it was unpopular utterly overshadows today’s trivial bishops.

Just after its kangaroo court condemnation of Bishop Bell was torn to pieces in a report in January, the Church proclaimed that new accusations against him had emerged.

What were they? Nobody would say.

To make these look important, the Church reported them to Sussex Police.

Justin Welby, pictured is continuing to try to smear the name of Bishop George Bell +5
Justin Welby, pictured is continuing to try to smear the name of Bishop George Bell

But Sussex Police, who made fools of themselves by getting too deeply involved in the first, discredited allegation, now tell me that they have finished their inquiries and the matter is closed.

Could this be because there is nothing to say?

Mr Welby’s spokesman cowers behind a wall of silence.

It would be bad if this were an oil company. But it is worse when it is a Christian church.

Poor Barbara Whitley, 93, the Bishop’s surviving niece, has had enough of this…

April 22 2018 – Reaction of ‘L’ to the Mail on Sunday article by Peter Hitchens (above)

“That mendacious spiritual and intellectual pygmy Welby …are there no depths to which he will not sink? How long has he known that the Sussex police have closed their inquiry into Smear 2? Why the **** has he not made a grovelling apology to Barbara Whitley for his vile behaviour and that of the cabal which supports him in the hierarchy?
Do we infer that if Peter Hitchens had not approached the police we should never have learned the truth? Surely there must be some kind of legal action Mrs Whitley can take – and I hope that she does” ~ ‘L’

April 23 2018 – “Police drop investigation into bishop besmirched by Church / Archbishop urged to retract statement smearing bishop” – Olivia Rudgard – Daily Telegraph

IMG_1023

April 23 2018 – “Police close Bishop Bell abuse inquiry” – Charlie Parker – The Times

“If they (the Church Heads – Ed) are determined to persevere in their own private investigations and processes, many people will wonder what they can possibly be worth. The church caused deliberate, calamitous damage to George Bell’s reputation in October 15 by deliberately inciting a public judgement that he was a paedophile” – Andrew Chandler – Bishop Bell’s biographer

IMG_1025

April 23 2018 – “Police drop sex abuse investigation into Bishop Bell” – Michael Drummond – Chichester Observer

April 23 2018 – “Police drop latest investigation into George Bell” – Tim Wyatt – Church Times

April 23 2018 – “Police investigate archbishop for ‘failures’ over child abuse claims – Did Archbishop Sentamu fob off the Clergy Discipline Commission to protect bishops from allegations of misconduct” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

April 24 2018 – “Police close investigation into ‘fresh information’ over George Bell abuse allegations” – Harry Farley – Christian Today

April 24 2018 – ‘Police’ Media Coverage

April 24 2018 – Andrew Chandler, FACT and Bishop Bell.

April 24 2018 – F.A.C.T. Spring Conference – Birmingham – May 12 2018

April 25 2018 – “Cardboard cutout bishops stand silent as their leader makes an ass of himself” – ‘ Rebel Priest’ – Jules Gomes

April 26 2018 – “Bell: Second sex abuse complaint inquiry dropped” – The Argus – Joel Adams

April 26 2018 – “IICSA Interim Report: Main points” – Law & Religion UK

April 27 2018 – Bishop Bell cleared – Daily Telegraph – Letter 1 – Tim Hudson – April 24 2018

IMG_1030

April 27 2018 – “Bishop Bell cleared” – Daily Telegraph – Letter 2 – Christopher Hoare – April 24 2018

IMG_1029

April 28 2018 – “Apologise and Resign” – Rev Dr Peter Mullen –  The Freedom Association

April 29 2018 – “Bishop Bell is still being denied justice” – The Spectator – Charles Moore

Charles Moore

29 April 2018 8:00 AM
In January, the Church of England announced a new child abuse accusation against the late Bishop George Bell. They handed it to the police. This weekend, the police said that the case is now closed. Their spokesman added, ‘Of course further police investigation or action is not possible as Bishop Bell died 60 years ago.’ Indeed so. The date of his death was known to the police when they received the information. Why did they not at once tell the church authorities to go away, on the grounds that it is not their job to investigate crimes allegedly committed by people who, being dead, cannot be tried? Three months have been wasted. The police involvement allowed the church to refuse to say anything further. Now that this cloak has fallen away, we may find out if anything lies beneath. We do not yet know what the accusation is, nor what process is being used to establish its truth. Lord Carlile’s report about the first accusation revealed that the process was utterly inadequate. The church says it has learnt its lesson, though the logical conclusion is that it must exonerate Bell. If this second process is to be credible, it must not be conducted by any bishop or official who was involved in the first. Yet the authorities still will not say what is happening. Justice for Bell is delayed and denied.

This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes, which appears in this week’s magazine

May 2 2018 – “Truth Decay – Why is the General Synod of the Church of England so poor at holding Bishops (and Archbishops – Ed) to account?” – Martin Sewell

Comments

May you continue to ask the important questions Martin, but may I suggest there are six, not five questions to ask. Kipling put it like this: “I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who” [From the “Elephant’s Child” 1899]
It seems to me and I’m sure to you, the “Who” question is rather important in Safeguarding, even if the “Who” is an Archbishop. Please keep pressing for the answers to these questions and thank you for all you are doing to ensure the truth is revealed.

~ Athestan

May 5 2018 – “Bishop Bell” – A Poem by Brian Worsfold of Chichester

“BISHOP BELL”

I raise my glass to Bishop Bell
Is he really now in hell?
And if it be so then I pray,
That I may join him there one day!
For then eternity would pass
Much quicker, and we’d raise a glass
And raise it to the place
Where those who never sinned
Sit smug and never look within.
Does his life’s work now count for nought?
It seems this now is what we’re taught.
God bless the Bishop now I say
I’ll sing his praises every day.

May 5 2018 – From The Archives [2 Years Ago] – May 5 2016 – “George Bell – The battle for a bishop’s reputation” – BBC News Magazine – Reporter: Justin Parkinson

May 11 2018 – From The Archives [May 19 2016] – “The absurd fiction of the need for secrecy in the trial of Bishop Bell” – Archbishop Cranmer

May 13 2018 – Freedom of Information Request to Sussex Police – Peter Hitchens

Dear Sussex Police,
Can you please supply details of the allegations made against the late Bishop George Bell, which were passed to you by the Church of England on January 2018, specifically what the allegations were, and where and when the alleged crime was said to have been committed. As your enquiries are complete and the Bishop has been dead for 60 years, I can see no legal or procedural bar to releasing this information.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Hitchens

Date: 19.04.2018

Your Ref: Details of the allegation made against the late Bishop George Bell

Our Ref: FOI 400.18

Contact Name: Roger Brace FOI Officer

Contact number: 101 ext 545251

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your request which has been received by Sussex Police.

This request will be dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, from the date of receipt. In some circumstances Sussex Police may be unable to achieve this deadline. If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

Please Note:
Sussex Police are currently receiving a high volume of FOI requests at a time of reduced staffing levels to process them. Every effort is being made to comply with the statutory 20 working day response deadline but on occasions this may not be possible – we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.

Yours sincerely

D Hilton sent on behalf of the FOI Officer

Sussex Police HQ
Lewes
BN7 2DZ

May 16 2018 – Freedom of Information Request – Refusal by Police

May 16 2018 – Freedom  of Information Request – Delay by Church of England

Dear Church of England,
On January 31st you announced that there had been new allegations against the late Bishop George Bell. Could you please give an outline of these allegations, and state when and where the alleged actions are supposed to have taken place.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Hitchens

Link to this
Peter Hitchens 16 May 2018

Dear Church of England,

You should by law have responded by now to my request for information about your inquiry into new allegations against the late Bishop George Bell. Please can you respond to this? If you do not do so within seven days, I shall refer the matter to the Information Commissioner.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Hitchens

May 18 2018 – Archbishop Welby Interview

The way to protect the church’s reputation, he says, is by “being utterly truthful and transparent and honest. No cover-up. Justice for complainants and justice for those who are complained against. We have to love and care for those who are the vulnerable and weak in this. We have to find – and, of course, we haven’t got there yet – ways of acting rightly on it”
His determination that there should be no cover-up has led to an acrimonious confrontation with those who feel Welby unjustifiably trashed the heroic reputation of bishop George Bell, a revered figure in the 20th century, after allegations were made of sexual abuse dating back six decades. Lord Carlile, who last year carried out an independent review of the church’s handling of the claims, concluded that Bell had been “hung out to dry” and the church had “rushed to judgment”. Welby refused to back down, however, saying a “significant cloud” was left over Bell’s name. The poisonous row shows no sign of going away, and may yet cause Welby real difficulty.

May 17 2018 – Letter 1 – Sunday Herald – Scotland

“The morality of “terror bombing” had been questioned in Britain in early 1944. The Rev George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and probably the greatest Christian prophet to speak to the British people in the last 100 years, stood up in the House of Lords and said that if we allowed the RAF to continue carpet bombing German cities we were no better than the Nazis”

Dan McPhail, Secretary, the Phoenix Friendship Club, 1 Rockmount Avenue, Thornliebank, Glasgow.

May 17 2018 – Letter 2 – Sunday Herald – Scotland (Unpublished)

Dear Editor
As Dan McPhail rightly points out (“Hiroshima may have saved two weeks but it was still mass murder”, Sunday Herald Letters, May 17):
“The morality of ‘terror bombing’ had been questioned in Britain in early 1944. The Rev George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and probably the greatest Christian prophet to speak to the British people in the last 100 years, stood up in the House of Lords and said that if we allowed the RAF to continue carpet bombing German cities we were no better than the Nazis”
The present Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, not only has a serious problem with this brave wartime Bishop of Chichester, he also has a serious difficulty with the 9th Commandment and the foundational law relating to Presumption of Innocence.
Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

May 19 2018 – Spartacus on Bishop Bell

May 19 2018 – Wiki on Bishop Bell

May 20 2018 – Church Times Letters

The House of Bishops and abuse survivors

From Mr Andrew Graystone

Sir, — At the General Synod in February, the House of Bishops once again promised a “new culture” in the way that the Church relates to victims of its abuse (News, 16 February). Since then, there has been no indication of what that new culture might look like, or how or when it will be realised. Indeed, since February there has been minimal contact between the bishops and victims.

The suggestion in a private letter that the National Safeguarding Team is “in the process of developing the terms of reference for a Working Group on Cultural Change” caused hearty laughter among weary victims.

When pressed, individual bishops have dropped hints that “something is being worked out” and will be revealed in due course. This is inadequate for at least two reasons.

The first is that it fails to recognise that the climate of nods and winks, secrecy, and fixing things up in private, is precisely the environment in which abuse thrives. Bishops working things out behind closed doors is the problem; it cannot also be the solution.

The second is that the bishops have yet to face the fact that they are neither qualified nor equipped to fix the Church’s problems in this area. By definition, many have risen to the top through abusive cultures. They are unable to recognise their own privilege and are unwilling to admit their own victimhood. They are horses trying to muck out their own stable.

Until the Bishops admit their inadequacy in this area and call on victims and independent experts to advise, all they will succeed in doing is spreading the muck around.

ANDREW GRAYSTONE
17 Rushford Avenue
Manchester M19 2HG

May 20 2018 – Resignation of Bishops … in Chile

The bishops’ move came after Francis said the Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for “grave defects” in handling sexual abuse cases and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the church.

He accused them of destroying evidence of sexual crimes, putting pressure on investigators to downplay abuse accusations and showing “grave negligence” in protecting children from paedophile priests.

May 20 2018 – The George Bell Group

George Bell Group

We are an independent group whose members represent a concentration of experience in public life, in the fields of law, policing, politics, journalism, academic research and church affairs. This group began to meet in response to the 22 October 2015 statement issued by the Church of England about Bishop George Bell. See this BBC report for the original story.

On 15 December 2017 the Church of England published the independent review of Lord Carlile and issued three statements made in response by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath & Wells. On the same day the George Bell Group issued the following statement:

The George Bell Group, together with admirers of the Bishop worldwide, heartily welcomes Lord Carlile’s independent review of the process which led to the statement by the Church in October 2015 painting Bell as a paedophile. Lord Carlile deserves congratulations for producing such a comprehensive and authoritative report.

In his response to the report Archbishop Welby has chosen to emphasise that Lord Carlile has not sought to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the alleged assaults. That is not surprising, it was no part of Lord Carlile’s terms of reference from the Church to say whether Bell was innocent or not. But his devastating criticism of the Church’s process shows that Archbishop Welby was wrong in 2016 when he described the investigation as ‘very thorough’ and the finding of abuse as clearly correct on the balance of probabilities. A close reading of the detail of Lord Carlile’s report can only lead to the conclusion that he has thoroughly vindicated the reputation of man revered for his integrity across the Christian Church.

It is no wonder that the Church’s investigation has been compared by Lord Carlile to the discredited police investigation of Lords Brittan and Bramall. The Safeguarding Group appear to have gone about their work looking for reason to doubt the veracity of the complainant. A proper investigation would have looked to see whether they could find independent corroboration of the complaint. That Bishop Bell had been dead for over half a century did not justify depriving him of the presumption of innocence or of due process. As Sir Richard Henriques pointed out in his report for the Metropolitan Police on historic sex offence investigations, the policy of believing victims shifts the burden of proof onto the suspect and ‘has and will generate miscarriages of justice on a considerable scale’.

The misconceived approach of the Safeguarding Group, described by Lord Carlile as neither fair nor equitable, was aggravated by the failure of their investigation to reveal easily discoverable evidence:

They failed to speak to Bell’s domestic chaplain during two of the four relevant years, who lived with the Bells in the Bishop’s Palace. He could have explained to them precisely why the complainant’s account did not add up; nor did they speak to Bell’s biographer, the historian Professor Andrew Chandler, who has studied the layout of the Bishop’s Palace at the relevant time; they did not interview former choristers of Chichester Cathedral who might be thought to have been aware if Bell had been a paedophile. Eleven of them wrote to The Times complaining that the Bishop had been smeared to suit a public relations need.

Lord Carlile’s report has now left the Church with many searching questions, including how best to remedy the many defects in the current Practice Guidance so as to ensure that such an injustice can never recur. But most important of all, the time has now come for the Church of England to redress, without hesitation or qualification, the immense damage done to the fine reputation of a man who served it for so long and with such courage and devotion. Those institutions which summarily removed Bell’s name from their titles should now fully restore it.

Archbishop Welby, who has said in his response to Lord Carlile that he realises that ‘a significant cloud’ is left over Bell’s name, should join with the Bishop of Chichester in removing that cloud. The Church deprived the Bishop of due process, they should not deprive him of the presumption of innocence. There is not just no fire, there is no smoke. We share Lord Carlile’s disappointment that the Church has rejected the protection of innocence as a clear and general principle.

As Bishop Bell said in a broadcast to the German people in December 1945, now engraved in the Bell Chapel at Christ Church in Oxford: ‘Without repentance and without forgiveness, there can be no regeneration.’

May 20 2018 – From The Archives [May 5 2016 – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell]

May 21 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 5 2018 – Martin Sewell on the ‘2nd Allegation’]

May 21 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 26 2018 – “The Church of England should stand up for Bishop Bell” – OXSTU – ‘Oxford Student’]

May 22 2018 – ‘The Chronology’ – Bell Society

May 23 2018 – House of Bishops Report

“The House discussed the emerging themes of the last set of hearings from the Independent Inquiry into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), reflecting on…”

May 25 2018 – General Synod [July 6-10] and Bishop Bell

COMMENTS

The timetable for the General Synod group of sessions includes, on the Saturday morning, 7th July, a “Presentation on Safeguarding with questions” at 9.45 am, followed, at 10.30 am, by “Debate on a motion on Safeguarding from the House of Bishops.” 1½ hours have been allocated for this debate, but the terms of the motion have not yet been made public. It would be of interest to know now the terms of the motion and who is to propose it. Given the criticism in February that then there was only a presentation (with Q&A) and no debate, it seems likely that whatever the wording of the motion at York, it is likely to attract a number of amendments.

Unfortunately, the report from IICSA on the Diocese of Chichester case study (to be combined with that on the Peter Ball case study, the hearing for which is at the end of July) is not to be published till the autumn, so we shall not have the benefit of any recommendations the panel may make to inform the debate. It is also not clear at the moment whether the investigation into the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell (“Bell 2”), announced by the National Safeguarding Team on 31 January 2018, will be completed by July. If not, that, too, is likely to inhibit discussion.

Posted by: David Lamming on Thursday, 24 May 2018 at 10:03pm BST
Not more workshops! We will have to wait and see what they are about, but we are there to debate and legislate. More time could be given to debating safeguarding…

Posted by: Charles Read on Friday, 25 May 2018 at 12:42am BST
“Fresh information” by the time the 7th July comes around this information will be far from fresh but rather stale after a period of over six months delay when no one is any the wiser as to the nature of this mysterious information concerning Bishop George Bell.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 25 May 2018 at 3:38am BST

This Synod agenda shows a total failure of leadership in my opinion, and a desire to “overly manage” Synod with regards to sexuality issues. Indeed there is not one mention of the word ‘sexuality’ despite all the calls there have been for debates. I am sure we will be fobbed off with some form of group work – but that is not what any of the synod members have been asking for, from either side.

One day, the House of Bishops (who are ultimately the power behind the throne in all this) will realise they need to treat their fellow synod members as equals and not children!

Posted by: Jayne Ozanne on Friday, 25 May 2018 at 8:17am BST

One day, the House of Bishops (and Archbishops) will realise they don’t always know best. But in the precious meantime…

Posted by: Richard W. Symonds on Friday, 25 May 2018 at 12:36pm BST

‘Sexuality’ covers a wide range of issues, including safeguarding. Sexual abuse is more about power than it is about sex, but nevertheless sex is involved – as it is in cases of sexual harassment and indecent assault.

But it does seem odd, given the furore over the Nye letter, that there is to be no debate or presentation on the issues around same-sex attraction and marriage. The powers that be seem to labour under the erroneous impression that if a contentious issue isn’t officially given space for an airing, it will evaporate. They’re wrong.

The Persians have a traditional saying, ‘You can shut the gates of a city, but you can’t shut the mouths of the people.’ You can keep a subject off Synod’s agenda, but you can’t stop Synod members discussing it. And tabling questions, writing to the press, blogging, and Twittering.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Friday, 25 May 2018 at 12:33pm BST

David Lamming’s ‘Bishop Bell’ Motion [see below – July 6-10 General Synod] has not secured the requisite 100 hundred signatures to be considered and even if he had, it isn’t automatically the case that it would be. The Business Committee is powerful and listens to the Bishops.

The Bishop Bell ‘2nd Allegation’ has clearly affected people’s view; hesitation is not unnatural.

~ ‘M’

May 28 2018 – “What’s is Safeguarding?” – Survivingchurch.org

Martin Sewell May 28, 2018 at 4:23 pm
One of the oddest things is that so far as I can ascertain, the Church does not employ a single specialist Lawyer with what I would regard as a Child Protection background. It is like setting up a maternity hospital and employing no midwives.

When I worked in the field, I would in the course of an ordinary week, represent a child victim, a mother married to a perpetrator, an innocently accused father, intervenor grandparents etc ; I used to represent Local Authorities and the NSPCC. This breadth meant that you were constantly reminded that an open mind was needed, it preserved you from assuming all cases were alike.

The Association of Lawyer’s for Children have a couple of thousand members all over the country, yet we never tap their vast reservoir of experience, largely because if you do not do this work routinely you “ don’t know what you don’t know”.

If you have specific matters to raise at the York Synod….

May 29 2018 – “Bishop George Bell – the latest investigator” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – CR Hill

Ray Galloway

May 30 2018 – “General Synod Agenda for July” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Comments

Posted by: David Lamming on Tuesday, 29 May 2018 at 10:06pm BST

I have noted, but do not accept, the somewhat ungracious comments (above) critical of my PMM about the Carlile report and the ‘significant cloud’ statement made by the Archbishop of Canterbury following its publication in December 2017. This blog is not the place to answer those criticisms: that will be for the debate in General Synod, if and when it takes place, though I shall be very willing to discuss the issues with Synod colleagues at York.

Also, I do not accept Richard Symonds’s ’14 word summary’ as an accurate summary of my PMM (comment today timed at 2.26pm): my motion says much more than that.

I do, however, accept that the ‘fresh information’ the National Safeguarding Team received in December 2017 (shortly after publication of the Carlile report), the fact of the receipt of which was made public by the NST in a press statement on 31 January 2018 (just a week before the General Synod meeting in February), is likely to have been a significant factor causing Synod members to hold back from adding their signatures to the motion. Effectively, I recognised this as being the likely impact of the ‘fresh information’ in an e-mail I sent to Synod members on 5 February 2018. It is also the case (contrary to what Richard Symonds is seeking) that we cannot expect Justin Welby to retract his ‘significant cloud’ statement while the outcome of the investigation into the fresh information remains unknown: he said as much in a long interview published in the Guardian/Observer on 1 April 2018.

What does concern me is the utter silence from the NST on the investigative process into ‘Bell 2’. We still do not know who has been appointed as the independent investigator (though I note RS’s revelation earlier today with ‘CH’ as his source), what the terms of reference are, and the timescale (if any) set for the investigation to be completed and a report published. Given that Sussex Police were able to carry out a “proportionate investigation”, doing so “thoroughly and sensitively” and reporting to the NST on 20 March, i.e. just 7 weeks after the fresh information was referred to them by the NST, the NST’s failure to say anything about the progress of their ‘independent investigation’ is unacceptable. It also defies an answer given in February to a supplementary question that Martin Sewell put to Bishop Peter Hancock (the lead bishop on safeguarding): “After Carlile, shall we see better transparency of process from start to finish in respect of the new Bell allegations than we did with the first?” Bishop Peter’s answer was an unqualified “yes”.

The NST have now had the ‘fresh information’ for 5½ months, and it is 4 months since they announced that they were commissioning an independent investigation. At the very least, the NST owe it to Bishop Bell’s surviving niece, 94-year-old Barbara Whitley, to announce who is conducting the investigation, on what terms of reference, and when the investigation should be completed and a report published.

‘G’
“Not enough votes to support David Lamming’s motion. Whatever the reasons for its failure in the House of Laity, the House of Bishops
should be actively concerned and press the matter…I can find no reason to excuse the Church’s injustice to Bishop Bell. For heaven’s sake, it is such a special case that no general condemnation of the Church for going soft on sexual abusers would have any plausibility if the church recognised the plain fact that the case against George Bell is fair rubbish. Even if there were general condemnation, which I doubt, the church should take its stand on the grounds of justice, whatever the consequences”

June 1 2018 – Charles Moore – The Spectator

“Since its first shocking error of accusing the late George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, of child abuse without proper process nearly three years ago, the Church of England has waded deeper in. Even when the Carlile report it had itself commissioned showed how worthless its processes had been, it refused to back down.

“On 31 January this year, it suddenly produced ‘fresh’ allegations against Bell. It would not say what they were, but handed them to the police, who eventually admitted, under pressure, that they were not investigating, since Bishop Bell had died in 1958 (a fact widely known since 1958).

“The church then promised an inquiry into the new claims which would follow Carlile-compliant methods. It tried to insist, however, that the ‘decision-maker’ in the inquiry would be the present Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner. Since Dr Warner had effectively staked his reputation on the proposition that the first accusation against Bell was true, and was himself part of the unjust investigation, there could scarcely be anyone less impartial to preside over round two.

“At last, defenders of Bell’s cause have forced Dr Warner to step aside. He is to be replaced by Timothy Briden, who has led a quiet life as a church lawyer, and editor, since 1989, of Macmorran’s ‘Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors’.

“Since Mr Briden is vice-chancellor of the Province of Canterbury, one hopes he will find the courage to be independent of his Archbishop, who made such a bad mistake by rushing to judgment against Bell. On Tuesday, the inquiry’s investigator, a retired North Yorkshire detective superintendent, Ray Galloway, began work. Please can the world be told the inquiry’s terms of reference and whether any of the ‘core group’ that got it so wrong last time will be involved?”

~ Charles Moore

June 2 2018 – RWS Note

“Since its first shocking error of accusing the late George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, of child abuse without proper process nearly three years ago, the Church of England has waded deeper in. Even when the Carlile report it had itself commissioned showed how worthless its processes had been, it refused to back down. On 31 January this year, it suddenly produced ‘fresh’ allegations against Bell. It would not say what they were, but handed them to the police, who eventually admitted, under pressure, that they were not investigating, since Bishop Bell had died in 1958 (a fact widely known since 1958). The church then promised an inquiry into the new claims which would follow Carlile-compliant methods. It tried to insist, however, that the ‘decision-maker’ in the inquiry would be the present Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner. Since Dr Warner had effectively staked his reputation on the proposition that the first accusation against Bell was true, and was himself part of the unjust investigation, there could scarcely be anyone less impartial to preside over round two. At last, defenders of Bell’s cause have forced Dr Warner to step aside. He is to be replaced by Timothy Briden, who has led a quiet life as a church lawyer, and editor, since 1989, of Macmorran’s Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors. Since Mr Briden is vice-chancellor of the Province of Canterbury, one hopes he will find the courage to be independent of his Archbishop, who made such a bad mistake by rushing to judgment against Bell. On Tuesday, the inquiry’s investigator, a retired North Yorkshire detective superintendent, Ray Galloway, began work. Please can the world be told the inquiry’s terms of reference and whether any of the ‘core group’ that got it so wrong last time will be involved?”
 
I’m not at all sure how Private Investigator Galloway is earning his money, given that Sussex Police completed a “proportionate investigation…thoroughly and sensitively” last March, and notified the Church authorities they would no longer be investigating the case.
The Church of England hierarchy is creating the unseemly impression of pursuing an unhealthy ‘witch-hunt’ against Bishop Bell – an impression it needs to correct before the General Synod early next month.
Not only does the Church of England hierarchy – led by Archbishop Justin Welby – continue to suspect Bishop George Bell ‘guilty until proven innocent’, they recruit a private detective, apparentlyto make the former Bishop of Chichester ‘guilty until proven guiltier’.
This moral and legal disgrace by the Church must stop now. 
Richard W. Symonds

June 2 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 23 2016 – “This is NOT justice – it’s a witch hunt” – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell]

June 2 2018 – Peter Hitchens – BBC Complaints – Bishop Bell

“Some years ago now I persuaded the BBC to admit that they had wrongly stated on air that the guilt of Bishop George Bell (after allegations of child abuse) was ‘proven’, when it was nothing of the kind.

“This was a very rare success in many attempts I have made to complain about instances of BBC bias. It was also achieved by persistence and some expertise in using the BBC’s complaints system. And this expertise comes only from repeatedly following the procedure. What you must know is this: The first complaint you make to the BBC website is fielded by Capita, an outside contractor. It is only if you reject that complaint, and make it the subject of a second complaint, that you reach the pathway to the Executive Complaints Unit, an actual BBC body.

“Complaints should be concise, polite, and based from the start upon divergence from the BBC’s own editorial guidelines (easily found on the web) and/or on the terms of its Charter and Agreement.

“I wish success to all genuine and serious complainers”.

~ Peter Hitchens

June 3 2018 – U.S. Catholic Sex Abuse, “Spotlight” and “Catholic Priests Falsely Accused” Revisited.

June 6 2018 – “NOT ME” launched  [A Resource for Clergy Wrongfully Accused]

June 6 2018 – “Sister Frances Dominica wants back in at Helen & Douglas House” – Oxford Mail

June 7 2018 – “Prince of Wales to provide evidence on letters he sent to paedophile bishop” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

Prince Charles has been approached by lawyers acting for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which is investigating the disgraced bishop Peter Ball….

 

Leading counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said the inquiry would examine whether “improper pressure” was placed on the police, CPS and Church of England by “individuals who were prominent in public life”…

At the time of the 2015 hearing a spokesman for Clarence House said: “The Prince of Wales made no intervention in the judicial process on behalf of Peter Ball.”

Last year Moira Gibb’s review into Ball’s offending found that he tried to use his contact with the Prince of Wales as leverage to influence the decisions made by then-Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. 

Ball “sought to exploit his contact with members of the Royal Family in order to bolster his position, particularly in the eyes of Lord Carey and others from whom he hoped to receive sympathetic treatment,” the report found…

Lawyer Richard Scorer from Slater and Gordon, who is representing complainants at the IICSA, said it should “leave no stone unturned”.

“If this means calling Prince Charles and other prominent establishment figures as witnesses then the inquiry should do so without fear or favour,” he said.

June 8 2018 – “The Dallas Charter” Revisited

June 8 2018 – Rights of  Accused Priests

June 9 2018 – Opus Bono

“Ruining the name of clergy is unfortunately rather easy and is even easier once the person is deceased.  Once the press picks it up and if it is outside the statute of limitations, at least in the USA, anyone can say anything.  The best way to counteract the attacks is to make sure your voice is heard and try to make it louder than the negative.  BUT the raw truth is once it starts and if it gets legs, then damage is done and cannot be undone” – PF

“Who controls the voices and the volume?” – Richard W. Symonds

June 9 2018 – From The Archives [July 20 2015 – “Vicar found hanged in woodland may have been under too much stress, say his bosses” – Daily Mail]

June 9 2018 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” by Monsignor William McCarthy [iUniverse 2010]

“Monsignor William McCarthy paints a picture embracing a situation that is almost impossible to comprehend. Had I not stood by him throughout the years of pure hell he experienced, I would not have believed the outright calumny by a detective, and how the subsequent action of his bishop and diocesan staff could have occurred. Child abuse is a terrible thing, but equally horrible is when innocent priests are unjustly condemned and destroyed by the hierarchy of their church.”

~ Arthur N. Hoagland, M.D. [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

“This book is a must read for any…who loves their Church but is concerned about its often self-destructive response to the tragedy of clerical pedophilia. It is a story about tragedy and triumph. The tragedy of the Church that Monsignor McCarthy loves deeply, and into which he has selflessly devoted his entire life, but is sometimes governed by people who have lost all sense of justice. It is a Church that betrayed him. In its attempt to protect the victims of child abuse, it established a new category of victims: its faithful priests. The triumph of Monsignor McCarthy is his faith and love of Jesus, which saw him through his terrible ordeal in spite of the evil that was perpetuated against him.”H

~ Deacon Joseph Keenan [‘The Conspiracy’ back-cover]

Justice demands that the guilty pay, but it also demands that the innocent not suffer. On June 15-18 [2011], the bishops will meet in Seattle, and one of the items they are expected to address is the issue of accused priests and fairness in dealing with them.”

Epilogue – Chapter 79 – “The Conspiracy – An Innocent Priest” – Monsignor William McCarthy

I wrote to the former Vicar General of the diocese, requesting an interview. I wanted to go face-to-face with the person who was directly responsible for my destruction … I was told he had strongly advised my former bishop to proceed with my censure.

On March 3, 2009, we both sat down in his office facing each other. I began by opening my Bible to John 7 : 51, and read: “Nicodemus spoke out, ‘Does our law condemn a person without first hearing him and knowing the facts?'”

I then asked him point blank: “Why did you condemn me without hearing me and knowing the facts?”

He replied, “Bill, we were following the system.”

“What system?” I pressed.

“Orders from Dallas,” he said, “when they hastily put together that charter.”

I looked him squarely in the eyes and stated, “That’s what they said at the Nuremberg Trials – ‘We were only following orders.'”

When he didn’t respond, I continued: “They were all convicted of crimes against humanity. In 2003, the diocese also committed a crime against humanity – me in particular. They did not lift a finger to help me. The diocese, particularly you as Vicar General, was reckless and impetuous in censuring me, and calling for my execution as a priest. You behaved badly! Instead of prudently investigating the accusation you rushed to judgement and as a result, you caused me extraordinary damage. You were reckless!”

Again he didn’t respond…

I asked him why I was not brought before the Board that was established for that very reason – why was I not given a chance to present my side of the story?

“One: You never spoke to the detective. Two: You never spoke to my accusers. Three: You never spoke to me, the accused. However, you proceeded in concert with the bishop and the promoter of justice to censure me. You put blind faith in the detective’s report…and accepted it as infallible…

“Bill,” the former Vicar General interrrupted, “we were acting in good faith.”

At that point I almost lost it…”How hypocritical!! You then published in the diocesan newspaper, over the entire front page, the whole sordid story which ruined my health, my reputation, my life. I suffered the humilation of being a censured priest for five long years until finally, through the conclusion of an ecclesiastical trial, I was unanimously declared innocent.”…

I asked the former Vicar General how he could justify his behavior.

Once again, he had no answer, except to meekly offer, “Sorry, Bill, we made a mistake.”

“I forgive you,” I said evenly, “but I will never forget. My life is irreversibly tarnished. I suffer from chronic flashbacks and panic attacks.

“So that my suffering will not be in vain, I want you to go public with an apology to the Press – and further, that you write to the apostolic delegate in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Sambi, and demand that he make a concerted effort to revise that weapon of mass destruction of our priests – that instrument known as the Dallas Charter.

The former Vicar General promised me he would do his best. I must give him credit for his calm demeanor and humility. I got the impression he was not just paying me lip service; and that he would indeed at least make the effort to correct the wrong that he had done. He not only acted like he knew he was guilty; he accepted the blame, which made me think deep down, he was doing what Jesus would want him to do.

June 11 2018 – “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests’ by James Valladares [iUniverse 2012]

“The Caiaphas Principle” – ‘Bishops, who are supposed to be fathers, brothers, and friends to their priests, have instead become mere managers with institutional damage control as their top priority’ (Foreword p. xiv – Rev Michael P. Orsi)

“The Caiaphas Principle” – ‘Do whatever it takes’

June 11 2018 – From The Archives [July 9 2010 – “False Accusations” by John Landry http://www.catholicity.com – Quoted in “Hope Springs Internal in the Priestly Breast – A Research Study on Procedural Justice for Priests” by Fr. James Valladares – Page 200 – “Where is Justice for Falsely Accused Priests?”]

June 11 2018 – “Cyclists to retrace route of Kindertransport that saved 10,000 from Holocaust” – AOL-PA

June 13 2018 – “Vatican team returns to Chile to ‘ask forgiveness’ for clerical sex abuse” – The Tablet

June 14 2018 – Church Times – June 1 2018 – Letters by David Lamming & Martin Sewell

Letters to the Editor

Safeguarding discussion at the York Synod sessions

From Mr David Lamming

Sir, — You kindly published my letter (5 January) arguing for time to be found at the February sessions of the General Synod for a debate when the issues arising from the Carlile review (of the Church of England’s handling of the claim by “Carol” that she had been sexually abused as a child by the late Bishop George Bell) could be properly discussed.

In the event, there was no such debate, and discussion of the Carlile report was effectively inhibited by the announcement by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) on 31 January (just a week before the Synod met) that “fresh information” had been received concerning Bishop Bell and that a Core Group was “now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments”.

The NST statement also said that Sussex police had been informed and that “we will work collaboratively with them.”

It was then reported (News, 27 April) that Sussex Police had closed the case, having assessed the information and carried out a “proportionate investigation”, and that this had been reported to the NST some time in March — i.e. within two months of the NST referral on 30 January.

Although there was no debate on the Carlile report in February, it was the subject of questions. In one supplementary question, Martin Sewell asked Bishop Peter Hancock (the lead bishop on safeguarding): “After Carlile, shall we see better transparency of process from start to finish in respect of the new Bell allegations than we did with the first?”

Bishop Hancock’s answer was an unqualified “yes”. Five months after the 31 Januarystatement, however, nothing has been published about the “Bell 2” investigation, who is conducting it, and the timescale set for it to be concluded. An email I sent to the National Safeguarding Adviser, Graham Tilby, on 8 March(by way of follow-up to an email from him on 5 March, in response to questions I put to Bishop Hancock at the Synod) remains unanswered, despite two reminders.

The timetable for the forthcoming Synod meeting in York was published last week. As in February, there is to be a presentation on safeguarding (with questions), on the Saturday morning, 7 July, but this time to be followed by a “Debate on a motion on Safeguarding from the House of Bishops”. The terms of that motion have not yet been disclosed.

Unless the “Bell 2” investigation is completed and a report published by 7 July, however, debate at York on the Carlile report and the episcopal statements that accompanied its publication (including the controversial “significant cloud” comment by the Archbishop of Canterbury) will again be inhibited. Perhaps more importantly, Bell’s surviving niece, 94-year-old Barbara Whitley, deserves to know the outcome as soon as possible.

If the Church is to be as transparent as Bishop Hancock indicated, details of the “Bell 2” investigation process should be published now, with a clear indication of when this will be completed. If not, or perhaps in any event, there are likely to be more difficult questions for the NST at York.

DAVID LAMMING (Synod member for St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)

From Mr Martin Sewell 

Sir, — The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has begun with tributes to 72 of the victims, which are being heard by those who will eventually reach decisions about what needs to be done to ensure that such a disaster never happens again.

In contrast, most members of the General Synod will never have personally met or heard the testimony of survivors of abuse within the Church. We have read quotations in the Stones Not Bread booklet, and February’s presentation contained some recorded testimony from two years previous, though much has changed in the mean time.

In my experience, such presentations do not do justice to the ordinary/extraordinary, brave, funny, intelligent, and compassionate individuals whom I have come to meet and know during my engagement with the issue. I would like all members of the Synod to have the opportunity to meet and engage with those who have broken through our institutional indifference, through commitment and pure strength of character.

This should not be at their expense. We should be inviting them to attend, not as passive observers, but as honoured guests, with the purpose of getting to know better those who are helping us to put right the historic wrongs that we inflicted on them. I am sure that funding some to join us on the campus at the University of York in July would be money well spent.

MARTIN SEWELL (Synod member for Rochester)

June 14 2018 – General Synod – York – July Group of Sessions – Saturday 7 July 2018

SATURDAY 7 JULY 2018
9.00 a.m – 12.40 pm
MORNING WORSHIP
6 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
The Archbishop of York will give a Presidential Address
SAFEGUARDING (GS 2092)
7 Presentation under SO 107.
Note: The Business Committee has determined under SO 107(3) that
this presentation should include an opportunity for questions.
8
The Bishop of Bath and Wells to move:
That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian
mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to
become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in
any context:
(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and
(b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure
that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority.

SPECIAL AGENDA III – PRIVATE MEMBERS’ MOTIONS
BISHOP GEORGE BELL AND THE CARLILE REPORT
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) to move:
That this Synod,
(a) express its appreciation to Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC for his
thorough review of the way the Church of England dealt with a
complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against
the late Bishop George Bell;
(b) acknowledge and accept unreservedly the serious criticisms of the
investigation carried out by the Core Group charged with investigating
the complaint, as set out by Lord Carlile in his conclusions at paragraph
254 of his report, dated 15 December 2017 [GS Misc 1173];
(c) note that the effect of those conclusions can only be that the process
was so fundamentally flawed that any finding, explicit or implicit, that
Bishop Bell committed the alleged acts of sexual abuse, cannot stand
or be sustained, regardless of the fact that determining the guilt or
innocence of Bishop Bell was excluded from Lord Carlile’s terms of
reference;
(d) accordingly, acknowledge that Bishop Bell’s reputation as one of the
great bishops of the Church of England is restored untarnished;
(e) regret the distress caused both to Bishop Bell’s surviving relative and to
‘Carol’ by the Core Group’s inadequate investigation;
(f) regret that the statement made by the Church of England on 22 October
2015, announcing the settlement of a civil claim by Carol against the
current Bishop of Chichester was, as is now revealed to be the case by
Lord Carlile, both inaccurate (in stating that the settlement followed a
“thorough” pre-litigation process) and disingenuous (in stating that none
of the expert independent reports commissioned “found any reason to
doubt the veracity of [Carol’s] claim”);
(g) regret that the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his public statement on 15
December 2017 following the publication of the Carlile report,
(i) failed to acknowledge expressly that the process was so
fundamentally flawed;
(ii) failed to accept Lord Carlile’s recommendation that where, as in
the case of Bishop Bell, a settlement is made without admission
of liability, it should generally be with a confidentiality provision,
and (iii ? Ed)
(iv) stated that “a significant cloud” was left over Bishop Bell’s name,
when the only basis for such statement was a single
uncorroborated allegation, first made over 40 years after the
alleged events, when Professor Anthony Maden (the expert
instructed by the Core Group) had said that “memory is not
reliable over such long periods of time” and that “after so many
years there is no way of determining without reference to
corroborating information whether or not recall is accurate”;
(h) accordingly, call upon the Archbishop to retract that particular
statement; and
(i) call upon those institutions that responded to the Church’s statement of
22 October 2015 by writing Bishop Bell out of their history, to reinstate
Bell’s name and restore him to their historical narrative.
26 signatures February 2018

June 15 2018 – “These Stone Walls” – ‘Musings Of A Priest Falsely Accused’ – Father Gordon MacRae

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [Dec 10 1948 – “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he had all the guarantees necessary for his defence” ~ Article 11, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly of the United Nations]

June 15 2018 – From The Archives [Sept 2001 – Nolan Report published ]

‘Guilty until proven innocent’ [Source: “Hope Springs Eternal In The Priestly Breast” – ‘A Research Study for Procedural Justice for Priests’ by Fr. James Valladares – iUniverse 2012 – Page 160-161]

In a very interesting article entitled “Guilty until Proven Innocent,” Fr. Austen Ivereigh, MA, DPhil, of Heythorpe College, Oxford, informs us of the Cumberlege Commission review of the Church’s child-protection policy [Nolan Report – Ed]. And this is his initial observation: “While treatment of the abused has improved, disturbing evidence has emerged that priests who have been accused and not charged are left in limbo, suspicion still hanging over them” [Ref 345: Austin Ivereigh, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Ever since a dithering Caiaphas [See ‘The Caiaphas Principle’ – June 11 2018 – Ed] succumbed to public pressure and maintained that the destruction of an innocent man was justified to save a nation, the law of Christian countries has consistently upheld the presumption of innocence, and the need for definite and incontrovertible evidence, before an accused can be convicted . In the Church’s legal tradition, this is known as ‘favor rei’ – the accused enjoys the benefit of the law and is deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. Said Pope John Paul II in 1979: “Due process and individual rights should never be sacrificed for the sake of the social order”.

In the wake of the explosive revelations of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy in 2002 (exposed by the Boston Globe and highlighted in the ‘Spotlight’ film – Ed), the bishops of the world reacted with drastic measures to repair the scandal and restore justice through penal sanctions. Quasi-judicial bodies were established and duly authorised to implement their policies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, there was COPCA (the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults), the child-protection agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, set up at Lord Nolan’s report on abuse in 2001.

Fr. Austen Ivereigh frankly confesses that Nolan was well aware of the possibility of false or malicious allegations, and the haunting danger of reputations being irreparably destroyed. Yet, continues Fr. Ivereigh, “COPCA’s policies have ridden roughshod over these qualms. ‘Nolan would be turning in his grave,’ more than one canonist has told me.” So there is a pressing need for a level playing field [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10].

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, the bishop in charge of COPCA, candidly acknowledged last year that an accused priest is unlikely ever to be reinstated. Of the 40 clergy in England and Wales who had been accused by 2005, only two had been restored to ministry; four were dismissed. Of the 41 reports made in 2006, 24 resulted in no further action by the police, while 14 are still being investigated. Ivereigh adds, “And what is the fate of those whose cases have been dropped by the police? Many of them live in limbo, their reputations and vocations cast to the wolves. All too often, they leave the priesthood”. ‘So a priest is guilty until proven innocent – and this is the deplorable stance of the very ones who brazenly preach about justice in season and out of season’.

Fr. Paul Bruxby, the Brentwood canonist who defends accused priests, informs us that most of the 20 priests he is defending have been assessed as ‘low risk’; yet, five or six years later, they are unable to return to their parishes. “They feel shunned by their bishops and describe themselves as lepers. They feel hopeless, and sometimes imagine committing suicide” [Ref 348: Paul Bruxby, ‘Justice for Priests and Deacons’, Vol. 1, no. 1 – September 2007, 10]

June 15 2018 – “Clergy Suicides in Sussex 1918-2018 – An Investigation by Richard W. Symonds [currently in progress]

June 16 2018 – RWS Note

May I bring to your attention what I believe to be the most dangerously ignored aspect of child sex abuse allegations – the lack of due process for wrongfully accused clergy.
 
I believe we are witnessing an abuse of power and privilege in which wrongfully accused clergy are not only given inadequate pastoral support, but also given inadequate protection under canon law and the laws of natural justice.
 
What can a local vicar do if wrongfully accused of child sexual abuse? Precious little it seems to me. The pastoral support and legal protection is simply inadequate.
 
In the rush to ensure a child is never sexually abused, another form of abuse has been allowed to surface – the abuse of wrongfully accused clergy by certain factions within the Church hierarchy.
 
There will be little to no improvements in ‘Safeguarding’ until we raise our voices to say we will not tolerate abuse in any form.
 
~ Richard W. Symonds
“…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

~ Fiona Scolding QC – IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5 – Page 129 -Paras. 2-19

“The topic of safeguarding adults from false allegations of abuse is the flip side of safeguarding children from adult abuse. It needs to be acknowledged that both exist and both cause deep suffering”
 
~ ‘A’

June 18 2018 – From The Archives [April 2016 – “False allegations, emotional truth and actual lies” – The Justice Gap]

The present preoccupation with sex crime and victims of crime has given rise to a new type of victim: the falsely accused…I believe that victims of false accusations now deserve more consideration…Various victims of false accusations, of whom the most high profile and outspoken is the well-known BBC radio presenter Paul Gambaccini (& Sir Cliff Richard – Ed) have voiced dismay at the authorities’ willingness to entertain complaints that in the past would have been seen as outlandish, even vexatious…It star witness is an anonymous accuser, whose multiple personalities include ‘Nick’, ‘Carl Survivor’ and ‘Stephen’…It’s time for a much more rigorous and open discussion about why some people…make false accusations. But first I should clarify what is meant by ‘false’. The word is ambiguous, covering a spectrum of claims that are simply unfounded, to those that are mistakes, to those that are dishonest.

In their 2012 paper, Jessica Engle and William O’Donoghue proposed 11 pathways to false accusations of sexual assault. These are: 1. Lying 2. Implied consent 3. False memories 4. Intoxication 5. Antisocial personality disorder 6. Borderline personality disorder 7. Histrionic personality disorder 8. Delirium 9. Psychotic disorder 10. Disassociation 11. Intellectual disability.

Crucially, they omit ‘the honest but mistaken person’: Pathway 12. A classic example of this is the rape victim who misidentifies her assailant in an identity parade (or the elderly ‘Carol’ who mistakenly identified Bishop Bell when she was very young? – Ed)…

People can also develop false memories of abuse, for example as a result of contact with therapists, pressure from peers or from significant others (such as partners or parents), or even from reading stories in the media. There is no space here to discuss this important topic in detail.

It is a sad fact that those with mental disorders or learning disabilities are disproportionately vulnerable to sexual assault. But it should also be recognised that third parties – such as care providers – may stand to benefit from a false allegation.

That mental problems could potentially lead to false allegations is rarely discussed. But it is a very serious issue, which would benefit from wider debate. Those with personality disorders may be motivated to make false accusations out of motives of revenge, ot attention-seeking. Some may misperceive non-sexual events as sexual. Those who are delusional may also make false accusations of sexual misconduct….”Testifiers do not inevitably speak the truth, as virtuous as they may perceive themselves to be” [Professor Janice Haaken]

~ Barbara Hewson 

June 18 2018 – Church of England Safeguarding: General Synod is being managed, manipulated, duped and disrespected” – Martin SewellI

Since the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse moved the focus of its hearings away from the Church of England until returning later in July, campaigners for the reform of Safeguarding and victim care within the CofE have had to be patient. On neither of the twin fronts of challenge has there been significant opportunities to bring the issues back into public debate.

second allegation against the late Bishop George Bell necessarily required those campaigners wishing to restore his reputation to allow proper procedures to take their course, and the broader movement within the church to improve both our safeguarding structures and engagement with victims has had to await opportunities offered at the July Synod. That is not to say that all is well, or nothing has been happening; it is simply that choosing one’s timing is a often a necessary part of making progress.

On the Bell issue, Sussex Police predictably declined to engage further with an investigation after what they carefully described as a ‘proportionate’ inquiry. They plainly have learnt lessons, but not so the Church of England. At Synod Question Time in February I asked a supplementary question of Bishop Peter Hancock. the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding. in the following terms: “After Carlile, shall we see better transparency of process from start to finish in respect of the new Bell allegations than we did with the first?” I received the reassuringly unqualified answer, “Yes”.

Unfortunately for us all, the writ of the Lead Bishop does not run very effectively within the Established Church, and we saw the old waysreassert the traditional destructive gravitational pull, akin to that of a black hole. We were not told who constituted the new Core Group, nor its terms of reference, nor its time frame. And when the Church addressed the Carlile recommendation that someone ought to be appointed to represent the deceased Bishop’s interests, the church immediately appointed one of its own to that role without consultation with the Bishop’s last living relative.

I understand that following robust representations, not insignificantly supported by Lord Carlile himself, a compromise solution was cobbled together so that the Bell Group currently has some confidence in the case against Bell being at least competently challenged, and we do now know the name of the lead investigator. Nevertheless we are still some way off the sunny uplands of ‘Transparency and Accountability’ to which we do occasionally pay lip service in our corporate documentation.

On the other side of the coin, listening to victims and developing serious debate about remedying our deficiencies, things are proving less than satisfactory.

The agenda for the July Synod has just been published and it indicates that the representatives of the Houses of Clergy and Laity will be given a short presentation on safeguarding developments including time for a few Questions and Answers. We had a similar structure in February. There was no significant challenge or dialogue. There was no debate on the Carlile Report or the Elliott Review then, neither will there be one now. At the February presentation, we heard testimony from four of our victims, but these remarks were pre-recorded – I understand some two years beforehand. Much has happened since.

So in two Synod sessions it appears that we lack the collective courage to invite our victims and critics to speak to us live and unmediated by ‘the powers that be’. Of course that would have been risky and uncomfortable, but a body that is serious about owning its failures and reaching solutions through hard engagement with the facts might have had the integrity to take such a chance.

The motion with which we are presented is anodyne:

That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:

a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and

b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority

As of now, we do not have the document GS2092, and will have but two weeks to consider it and liaise with outside interested parties. Even if this is a well drawn document, it is simply not a good practice for the Bishops and advisors – who have, after all, been in charge throughout the developing safeguarding debacle – to devise a rescue plan without having first invited the representatives of the wider church to have made their contributions. General Synod is being treated as an optional extra; the last to know and with no opportunity to contribute or amend.

It seems to me that the Bishops are inviting us to fast-track the acclamation having neglected to include members of General Synod in any meaningful way in the discussion of the problems, the identification of structural weaknesses which created the problems, and without any opportunity for us to have called them to account for their stewardship to date.

We heard from Bishop Peter Hancock in February that devising a suitable motion is difficult when there are so many strands to a problem, and one can have some sympathy with that view. However, if it is such a multi-layered conundrum, is that not all the more reason for taking a little time, consulting more widely, publishing proposals in good time, and, above all, giving a chance for the victim community to contribute?

Safeguarding problems are currently within the church’s power to fix if we concentrate and put our hearts, minds and resources into it. Had this Synod been substantially devoted to grappling with this solvable problem, we might have made good progress, not least in educating and engaging those whose record of taking responsibility for putting things right is certainly sub-optimal. We appear to have given up that chance: there will be a fringe meeting run by the National Safeguarding Team, which is deeply distrusted by the victims, but that will hardly affect how the matter is conducted on the floor of Synod where the votes are cast.

To the victims it looks like General Synod is being managed to enable the Church of England to present to IICSA an image of sincere engagement, yet by doing it in this present manner it is both disrespectful and bad practice not to have given its members the opportunity to have aired their thoughts and concerns before presenting ‘the solution’.

But what else will we be doing in York?

Apparently we have to discuss sexuality again, even though the Bishops have now told us that no decisions can be made until their teaching document is ready in 2020. So we will have ‘group work’ predicated on a document we don’t and won’t have, and will continue a conversation in which, as far as I can tell, everyone’s mind is already made up, and we evidently think this a more productive use of our time than addressing a problem without much theological or ‘party-line’ controversy which might actually prove both productive and unifying if we gave extended time to it.

We are also to discuss climate change and divesting from energy companies. Although we will hear the case against those who provide our energy needs, we will not be inviting any companies to address us with a balancing case.

Correct me if I am wrong, but there is currently no sufficient alternative to the carbon economy by which 7.6 billion of us are kept from poverty, yet we in the Church of England have apparently run out of patience with the energy companies for not having yet solved an immensely complex problem. So, while applauding ourselves for “continuing to become” a safer church, we will not give them credit for “continuing to become” greener, even though they are all engaged in the necessary complex and expensive research to reposition themselves.

It looks like a case of motes and beams.

June 19 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 18 2013 – “How far did [West Yorkshire] police go to protect Jimmy Savile?” – Daily Telegraph]

June 19 2018 – From The Archives – [May 29 2018 – “Bishop George Bell – the latest investigator” – ‘Bats in the Belfry’ – CR Hill – Ray Galloway]

June 19 2018 – BLUELight Investigations & Training

Ray Galloway is the Director of Blue Light Investigations and Training Limited. He retired from North Yorkshire Police in 2013 as a Detective Superintendent having previously worked for Merseyside Police, a total of 30 years in a range of investigative roles.

Ray Galloway is a fully accredited Senior Investigating Officer with a breadth of experience in the investigation of homicide, organised crime and covert operations. He is also a trained and experienced Hostage Negotiator…

Ray’s roles in the police service include those of Head of Major Crime, Head of Serious and Organised Crime and Director of Intelligence. He was the Kidnap and Extortion Champion for North Yorkshire and a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) national working group that identified best practice relating to the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences.

July 20 2018 – From The Archives [Jan 17 2018 – “Archbishop’s claims against Bishop George Bell ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ – Daily Telegraph]

July 21 2018 – From The Archives [1956 – “The Wrong Man” – A Film by Alfred Hitchcock with Henry Fonda]

July 21 2018 – From The Archives [2003 – “No Crueler Tyrannies – Accusation, False Witness…” by Dorothy Rabinowitz – Wall Street Journal Books 2003]

July 21 2018 – The George Bell Group

We are an independent group whose members represent a concentration of experience in public life, in the fields of law, policing, politics, journalism, academic research and church affairs. This group began to meet in response to the 22 October 2015 statement issued by the Church of England about Bishop George Bell. See this BBC report for the original story.

On 15 December 2017 the Church of England published the independent review of Lord Carlile and issued three statements made in responseby the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Chichester and the Bishop of Bath & Wells. On the same day the George Bell Group issued the following statement:

The George Bell Group, together with admirers of the Bishop worldwide, heartily welcomes Lord Carlile’s independent review of the process which led to the statement by the Church in October 2015 painting Bell as a paedophile. Lord Carlile deserves congratulations for producing such a comprehensive and authoritative report.

In his response to the report Archbishop Welby has chosen to emphasise that Lord Carlile has not sought to say whether George Bell was in fact responsible for the alleged assaults. That is not surprising, it was no part of Lord Carlile’s terms of reference from the Church to say whether Bell was innocent or not. But his devastating criticism of the Church’s process shows that Archbishop Welby was wrong in 2016 when he described the investigation as ‘very thorough’ and the finding of abuse as clearly correct on the balance of probabilities. A close reading of the detail of Lord Carlile’s report can only lead to the conclusion that he has thoroughly vindicated the reputation of man revered for his integrity across the Christian Church.

It is no wonder that the Church’s investigation has been compared by Lord Carlile to the discredited police investigation of Lords Brittan and Bramall. The Safeguarding Group appear to have gone about their work looking for reason to doubt the veracity of the complainant. A proper investigation would have looked to see whether they could find independent corroboration of the complaint. That Bishop Bell had been dead for over half a century did not justify depriving him of the presumption of innocence or of due process. As Sir Richard Henriques pointed out in his report for the Metropolitan Police on historic sex offence investigations, the policy of believing victims shifts the burden of proof onto the suspect and ‘has and will generate miscarriages of justice on a considerable scale’.

The misconceived approach of the Safeguarding Group, described by Lord Carlile as neither fair nor equitable, was aggravated by the failure of their investigation to reveal easily discoverable evidence:

They failed to speak to Bell’s domestic chaplain during two of the four relevant years, who lived with the Bells in the Bishop’s Palace. He could have explained to them precisely why the complainant’s account did not add up; nor did they speak to Bell’s biographer, the historian Professor Andrew Chandler, who has studied the layout of the Bishop’s Palace at the relevant time; they did not interview former choristers of Chichester Cathedral who might be thought to have been aware if Bell had been a paedophile. Eleven of them wrote to The Times complaining that the Bishop had been smeared to suit a public relations need.

Lord Carlile’s report has now left the Church with many searching questions, including how best to remedy the many defects in the current Practice Guidance so as to ensure that such an injustice can never recur. But most important of all, the time has now come for the Church of England to redress, without hesitation or qualification, the immense damage done to the fine reputation of a man who served it for so long and with such courage and devotion. Those institutions which summarily removed Bell’s name from their titles should now fully restore it.

Archbishop Welby, who has said in his response to Lord Carlile that he realises that ‘a significant cloud’ is left over Bell’s name, should join with the Bishop of Chichester in removing that cloud. The Church deprived the Bishop of due process, they should not deprive him of the presumption of innocence. There is not just no fire, there is no smoke. We share Lord Carlile’s disappointment that the Church has rejected the protection of innocence as a clear and general principle.

As Bishop Bell said in a broadcast to the German people in December 1945, now engraved in the Bell Chapel at Christ Church in Oxford: ‘Without repentance and without forgiveness, there can be no regeneration.’

June 22 2018 – Ray Galloway – BLUELight Investigations & Training – “Bell 2 Allegation”

Ray Galloway is the Director of Blue Light Investigations and Training Limited. He retired from North Yorkshire Police in 2013 as a Detective Superintendent having previously worked for Merseyside Police, a total of 30 years in a range of investigative roles.

Ray Galloway is a fully accredited Senior Investigating Officer with a breadth of experience in the investigation of homicide, organised crime and covert operations. He is also a trained and experienced Hostage Negotiator…

Ray’s roles in the police service include those of Head of Major Crime, Head of Serious and Organised Crime and Director of Intelligence. He was the Kidnap and Extortion Champion for North Yorkshire and a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) national working group that identified best practice relating to the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences.

June 22 2018 – Tracey Emmott – Child Abuse Lawyer and ‘Carol’

My legal life: Tracey Emmott

Principal solicitor, Emmott Snell, Bedford

My starting point was a social sciences degree with honours in social work from the University of Cape Town. I recognised that the injustice of the legal framework of apartheid South Africa was of more interest to me than working on the frontline in social work. It was about having a vehicle to try and change things at source rather than deal with the symptoms of unjust and immoral law. I converted to law.

Personal circumstances brought me to England soon after. I did the London University external LLB (the UK did not recognise my South African degree). It was so comprehensive, covering everything from constitutional law to jurisprudence, and forced me to do subjects I had no interest in (like company law). The LPC which followed gave me the basic skills I needed in practice, and my training contract built on that.

The hardest challenge I’ve faced as a lawyer is finding a way through the post-Jackson costs reforms, holding on to making my niche practice as a child abuse lawyer sustainable.

Memorable highlights include JGE v The Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 938. The Court of Appeal held that a bishop could be held liable for wrongdoings (sexual abuse) by priests in his diocese. It was a landmark case with potentially wide-reaching consequences extending to other organisations where quasi-employees commit wrongdoings for which their ‘employers’ can now be held liable.

Another is ABB & Ors v Milton Keynes Council [2011] EWHC 2745 (QB). The local authority was held liable for the shortcomings of social work provided in the early 1990s to a family whose children suffered sexual abuse by their father for many years. My clients were made the highest ever awards of damages in such a case in the UK.

All my clients are survivors of abuse, usually by someone in authority. The betrayal of trust they have experienced sometimes carries through into the solicitor-client relationship, which requires the highest level of client care possible.

My least favourite law is the Limitation Act 1980 which imposes a time limit on ‘historic’ abuse claims, which is the claimant’s 21st birthday. The nature of sexual abuse is such that it can take a person years to speak about their abuse, for reasons of shame, fear and simply because they have been so emotionally manipulated by their abuser. It is not uncommon for survivors to wait until their abuser is dead, by which time a civil action is almost impossible. This time limit rule does not apply in the criminal law (defendants can be prosecuted for sexual offences decades after the alleged events) so why can’t the civil law be consistent with this?

Survivors of abuse have remedies available to them which they did not have when I first started doing this work 15 years ago. In practice, however, their ability to access justice has been eroded by massive cuts to the legal aid budget and extortionate court fees. So funding their claims is becoming harder and harder.

June 22 2018 – “Church of England’s 2010 abuse inquiry was ‘flawed’ and ‘failed’ – BBC News

The Church of England ‘botched’ its investigation into alleged cases of abuse…”

“It seems beyond outrageous the Church of England hierarchy can dictate, control and manipulate an agenda in such a way that the Bishop Bell issue – and others like it – can be kept off the agenda”

~ Richard W. Symonds

Further Information

Singleton report on Past Cases Review published

The Church of England has today published a report into its handling of the 2007-2009 Past Cases Review [PCR]. The full text of the report can be downloaded from here.

There is a press release: Report into handling of Past Cases Review which explains the background. Sir Roger Singleton authored the report and chaired the independent scrutiny team.

…In November 2015, in his report to the Archbishops’ Council, the newly appointed National Safeguarding Adviser noted ‘growing recognition of shortcomings of PCR’; inconsistencies in the application of the House of Bishops Protocol designed to bring consistency and independence to the process, cases of abuse coming to light that should have been identified in the PCR and survivors not being engaged in the process.

Following an initial screening process by the National Safeguarding Team, Sir Roger Singleton was asked to independently review the adequacy of the Past Cases Review and makes recommendations to the Church of England.

The report sets out the findings of this independent scrutiny and makes nine recommendations. These have been accepted by both the Archbishops’ Council and House of Bishops, and action is now being taken to address both the shortcomings of the original PCR and to instigate a further review known cases and new appointments made since 2007.

Today’s report will be sent to the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) to which Sir Roger Singleton gave evidence during the Chichester Case Study public hearing in March of this year…

The BBC had a report about this earlier, Church of England ‘s 2010 abuse inquiry was ‘flawed’ and ‘failed‘, which currently notes that the report is not due to be published until next month. There were items on the Radio 4 Today programme about this too, including an interview with Sir Roger Singleton.

There has also been a Press Association report published at Care AppointmentsInquiry into Church of England historic sexual abuse was ‘botched’.

…The PCR looked at more than 40,000 case files relating to allegations of abuse dating as far back as the 1950s and concluded that just 13 cases of alleged child sexual abuse needed formal action.

After survivors complained that the report was inadequate, Sir Roger was commissioned to carry out an independent review of how it was conducted.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it was “botched in three ways”.

“The survey wasn’t completely comprehensive,” he said. “It didn’t include some cathedrals, it didn’t include employees working with children in some parishes.

“The attempts really to make the survey absolutely complete were flawed.

“In the public statement that it issued reporting on the review, (the Church) rather failed to give a comprehensive picture of the concerns that existed.

“It narrowed down the definitions of who had actually been responsible for abuse by limiting it to just new cases and cases where the Church took formal action. This had the impact of reducing the numbers from probably nearer 100 to just two which appeared in the public statements.”

Asked whether he found that Church officials were concerned to avoid reputational damage, Sir Roger said: “I think that is one of the factors that led those who prepared the press statement to emphasise the positive points for the Church and rather to downplay the negative aspects.”

He said it appeared “extraordinary” that some survivors were denied the chance to give evidence.

“There is no doubt that some victims and survivors came forward and offered to meet with the reviewers carrying out this work and that offer was refused,” he said.

Comments

“Case law”, as I read it (but I might be wrong), seems to define the clergy – and bishops – as “quasi-employees”

“JGE v The Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 938. The Court of Appeal held that a bishop could be held liable for wrongdoings (sexual abuse) by priests in his diocese. It was a landmark case with potentially wide-reaching consequences extending to other organisations where quasi-employees commit wrongdoings for which their ‘employers’ can now be held liable”

What is deeply disturbing in the Bishop Bell case is that an Archbishop – ++Welby – can say anything with immunity and impunity, and therefore puts himself above the law. His libellous “significant cloud” comment is a case in point.

June 23 2018 – “Wispers” – Stedham

St Cuthman’s School was established at Wispers in 1956 or 1957,[6] when the Wispers estate was bought by West Sussex County Council who ran a mixed-sex boarding school there for children aged from 7 to 16 with special needs.[5][7] During its life it was known both as St Cuthman’s Special School (i.e. in 1968 it is referred to by this name in official documents)[6] and as St Cuthman’s School. It closed on 31 August 2004, with 54 pupils on the roster.[8]

“Durand boarding school closes down at Stedham” – Midhurst and Petworth Observer -August 4 2017

June 23 2018 – ‘Bell 2’ Update

“Desmond Browne QC is dealing with ‘Bell 2’. It is not without complications and we need to be patient.  The Singleton intervention is justified, and shows again the chaotic way alleged and real sexual abuse has been dealt with”

~ ‘WC1’

June 23 2018 – ‘Opus Bono Sacerdotii’ [‘Work for the Good of the Priesthood’] – US

June 23 2018 – ITN Solicitors [for the Falsely Accused]

http://falselyaccused.law/false-allegations/

June 23 2018 – From the Archives [June 6 2018 – “NOT ME” launched – A Resource for Clergy Wrongfully Accused]

June 23 2018 – Singleton Review and The Caiaphas Principle

http://survivingchurch.org/2018/06/22/institutions-and-whitewash-making-sense-of-roger-singletons-report/

“General Synod, meeting next month, must decide where to take the next stage of Safeguarding. Whitewash, cover-up even outright lying will no longer do. The Synod must oversee not only good practice but also justice…”

~ Stephen Parsons

”Justice for those sexually abused as children. Justice for those wrongfully accused as adults”

Richard W. Symonds [on Safeguarding]

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/22/church-england-excluded-child-abuse-allegations-inquiry-downplayed/

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop said: “These criticisms have been taken very seriously and acted upon and the House of Bishops have offered full support to implementing the recommendations in the report and any subsequent actions. We are committed to making sure that any known individuals who have not been dealt with appropriately in the past are assessed…”

http://www.childabuselaw.co.uk/2018/06/past-cases-review-and-singleton-report-22nd-june-2018/

COMMENT ON PAST CASES REVIEW AND SINGLETON REPORT – 22nd June 2018

The past cases review (PCR) published in 2010 was announced with the following declaration in the church press release “We firmly believe that any concerns about a member of clergy or other office holder’s suitability to work with children have now been thoroughly examined in the light of current best practice by independent reviewers”

Contrast this with just one submission from one Diocese in which 390 personnel files were reviewed and 76 were found to have had no checks at all. 114 PTO files reviewed 12 had no checks at all. Of the 390 files reviewed and 24 needed further investigation. 1 person was ordained despite having a conviction for indecent assault; 1 person’s file had been taken by the Metropolitan police Paedophile squad. In another, “nasty” pornography discovered but no action taken. This information does not square with the quote above in bold. To our knowledge none of these cases were followed up, investigated further or reported to the police.

The true story is of vast cover up and avoidance of responsibility on an industrial scale.

The church set out in its review criteria to minimise any damage which could result from opening up the books. The criteria given to reviewers were that they should include (1) The number of files reviewed (2) The numbers referred to statutory authorities (3) The number dealt with formally internally. There seems to have been no concern that these three criteria ignored more detailed but still important safçeguarding concerns such as cases where clergy had been arrested without being internally disciplined, retired clergy who still pose a risk, clergy against whom no action has been taken despite allegations against them, clergy with no CRB checks. Parish employees and volunteers were ignored. Non-diocesan organisations such as Cathedrals and monastic Orders were excluded

The question has to be asked what has happened to all these cases which remained very much live but which were ignored and swept under Rowan William’s bulging carpet ?

In the closing weeks of the PCR while the final results were being tallied – there was an extraordinary process in which Archbishop’s Council and senior figures in both Lambeth Palace and Church House were inviting dioceses to whittle their numbers down to zero. So for example in their original return, Chichester returned over 50 cases – but were asked to reduce this to zero on confused criteria that seemed almost to have been invented in closing stages. Chichester’s final return was in fact 3. 3 out of 13. Another diocese returned nearly 40 but this was reduced to zero. This seems to have been the pattern. We now know that Lincoln diocese has sent many files to the police, perhaps as many as 50 – but only within the last two years. Presumably many if not all these files should have led to arrest and potential prosecution at the time of the PCR.

In short the PCR was a whitewash. It was never going to be anything other. It left vast numbers of clergy un-investigated, unreported to the police, free to continue abusing and effectively protected by the church. This amounts at best to misfeasance in public office and at worst perverting the course of justice and harbouring criminals. Church officials’ behaviour should be investigated by the police.

Roger Singleton in his evidence to the IICSA IN March 2018 was critical of the Past Cases Review, its methodology and how it created a false rosy picture about safeguarding problems in the church. He made the point that files are very poorly kept and the press statement on the Past cases review was “under-evidenced”.

Yet we heard this morning on BBC R4 Today Roger Singleton now defending the past cases review by denying there was any cover up by the church. How can we have any faith in the review chaired by him when he has been so soft on the ludicrous charade that was the PCR? His review of the PCR has now been published. It is another attempt to keep things “in house” and persuade IICSA that “they can handle it”. Mr Singleton and his reviewers don’t get it and have been far too lenient with the church.

Mr Singleton’s report amounts to another attempted cover up. He uses loose words, and fails to call the PCR what it was – organised massage of the figures which hid abuse and allowed perpetrators and the good name of the church to be protected. He misses the point which is that the PCR was largely a statistical exercise unconcerned with rigorous assessment of church responses. There was no assessment of whether the church response in each case was appropriate (ie whether the alleged perpetrator had been treated too leniently or whether a case was reported to the police).

The CofE shoehorned a massive problem into an eggcup and hoped to get away with presenting this as a misrepresentation of reality. It has taken 8 years for this story to come to light as Phil Johnson and other members of MACSAS tried to get both the Church and the media to attend to this at the time. And we are seeing now today a whitewash of a whitewash. The church has vowed to introduce limited independent oversight but their idea of independence (for example their use of Roger Singleton) is not our idea of independence.

We need a bold minister to step in and appoint an truly independent reviewer to do a thorough examination of the cases and make referrals to the police of abusers and those responsible for covering up for them – and the church should pay for it.

David Greenwood and Gilo

June 30 2018 – “The Guardian view on an Anglican cover-up: the church that didn’t want to know” – Editorial Opinion

A new report on sexual abuse ignores the voices of survivors and appears averse to the reality of past mistakes
Chichester Cathedral
‘Nearly 50 lost cases were sent in for consideration from the diocese of Chichester alone.’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

It’s not the scandal that does the damage, they say, but the cover-up. What happens if the cover-up is itself covered up? This is the question that the Church of England must face with the publication of an extraordinary report into the occasion, eight years ago, when it gave itself a pass mark on the issue of sexual abuse. A report then published, prompted by scandals earlier in the decade, was meant to measure the extent of historic sexual abuse known to the church. Instead it produced the frankly incredible claim that there were only 13 cases in 30 years that had not been dealt with properly.

Now that Peter Ball, a former bishop of Lewes and of Gloucester, has been convicted of indecent assault and been sentenced to 32 months in jail, while Lord Carey, who as archbishop of Canterbury attempted to rehabilitate him and suppressed some of the evidence against him, has been barred from working as a priest in retirement, it is time to review the church’s earlier self-examination. The Ball case is only the most visible of what is now obviously a considerable load of past cases. The archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, along with two of his bishops, has been formally reported to the police for alleged inaction over the case of one of their priests who was as a young man raped by an older priest.

So it is disappointing to see that the church has managed to produce another report that appears to argue that the original clean bill of health was the product of perfectly innocent misunderstandings. Sir Roger Singleton is a distinguished social worker and at the same time a charter member of the great and good. So his report is full of damning evidence of incompetence and obstruction within the original review, but it is written in a tone that suggests unflagging zeal hindered only by quite unforeseeable circumstances. It must be read with attention to the rotten steak and not the sizzle.

When the house of bishops first discussed the matter, in 2007, one bishop objected that “the real victims could include those clergy and church officials about whom unfounded allegations had been made”. On the other hand, something would have to be seen to be done: “It was noted … that a failure to proceed might be taken as evidence of a church culture which colluded with child abuse.” Perish the thought. In the event, those parts of the church that wanted to collude continued to do so. Seven bishops sent in no reports whatsoever: none are named in the report, although the church has since named their dioceses. All have now retired.

In keeping with this general aversion to reality, a decision was made early on to examine only files of cases, and not to talk to any survivors, on the grounds that to do so might be traumatic for them. None were asked if they would feel better for being ignored. The files were much easier to deal with, in part because they were haphazardly stored, in some cases in garages, and of varying age and completeness. Some records, says the report, referred merely to “an unfortunate saga” or “past difficulties”. “The state of many files does generate a risk that safeguarding concerns were not recognised as such,” writes Sir Roger in a magnificent understatement.

In the end, despite these hazards, nearly 50 lost cases were sent in for consideration from the diocese of Chichester alone (and there are 43 more dioceses). The compilers of the original report whittled these down to 13 for the whole country. It is difficult to understand how Sir Roger could be confident that there was no massaging of the figures.

June 30 2018 – “The Week That Shook The Church” – ‘Coffee Time’ – Donna Birrell

lambeth palace pic

Hello,

This morning a Guardian editorial was entitled : “Anglican cover-up : the Church that didn’t want to know.”

It follows an extraordinary week since my story for the BBC broke the news of how the  Church of England mishandled its review into past cases of sexual abuse.

My small team and I had seen emails which seemed to show a reduction of cases of concern, to just 13 across the whole of the Church, nationally, in 2010. Some of the cases not recorded were serious and we now know that that enabled abusers to continue unchecked. During the recording process, files were left unopened, often in garages and sheds and one Diocesan Bishop chose not to engage at all in the process.

Because of our work, the Church was forced into bringing forward Sir Roger Singleton’s report into the Past Cases Review, weeks ahead of schedule. Indeed, just two hours before its release, I had asked the Church for a time-frame and been told the report was still being revised.

Sir Roger himself said that the PCR had been “botched” and there is no doubt that it was “flawed”. But I think one of the most important aspects to all of this is the way in which the Church has responded to it in the past few days.

On Radio 4’s Sunday programme, the lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Peter Hancock, said there had been “no deliberate intention to cover-up, but that has happened.”   He went on to say that there had been “over concern to protect the Church’s reputation” and that “priorities were wrong”. Well done, these are very important words, Bishop Peter, but let’s remember that we’re talking about the Church of England here. One of our great National Institutions…like the BBC. And many would argue that the Church has an even greater moral responsibility than other institutions to be a beacon of transparency and openness.

Indeed, last September, Justin Welby criticised the way the BBC handled sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. He said the BBC had not shown the same integrity over accusations of child abuse that the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches had. But abuse survivors disputed that, took issue with how he categorised the Church’s response, saying they had experienced years of silence, denial and evasion.

Over the last few years and months, I have met and spoken with many survivors and they say that despite words to the contrary, that is still their experience of the Church’s handling of their claims. There is a frustration that words are not followed by actions and that documents such as “Responding Well” actually don’t do what they say on the tin.

So where does the Church go from here?

In his report, Sir Roger wrote of the need for “culture change” in the Church. My experience of meeting people at many different levels within the Church suggest this is true….many want to see real change. But the question survivors ask is : “Is there the will at the top to make that happen? And who is really in charge of the Church?”

Is it Justin Welby or the senior layer of Bishops beneath him? Either way, the structure of the Church needs a serious re-think if trust in the institution is to improve. And the senior layer needs to be held to account and be accountable.

It is interesting to think generally here of the culture of institutions and how mindsets and attitudes can change as individuals rise to the top of their organisation. As their status within the organisation changes, sadly it can be human nature for a sense of superiority to set in, especially when all those around you are behaving deferentially towards you. Everybody I suppose has some sort of ego and those within the Church are no different.

But this can make it difficult to speak truth to power. It is difficult, even as a jourrnalist sometimes, but how much more difficult to try to do that if you are a survivor?

But it is surely not difficult for the Church to now take this opportunity to look properly at itself. To look at its structures, to reach out to survivors, rather than shutting them out and regarding them as a problem. To meet people where they are and to stop being afraid of what true engagement may bring.

After all, it is Petertide, a time of new beginnings for many….so how about also for the Church itself?

lambeth palace pic

Thanks for reading this,

Donna.

June 30 2018 – RWS Notes

It seems beyond outrageous the Church of England hierarchy can dictate, control and manipulate an agenda in such a way that the Bishop Bell issue – and others like it – can be kept off the agenda.
 
Sir Roger Singleton’s report tells us the Past Cases Review had particularly inadequate responses from seven Dioceses, but more surprisingly there was one Bishop who was particularly un-cooperative to the Church of England’s initial efforts to ‘get to grips’ with the extent of its historic abuse.
Surprisingly that Bishop remains unidentified, adding weight to the accusation of victims the Anglican Church functions as a kind of ‘Living Bishops Protection Society’.
I am mindful in the case of Bishop George Bell, in which the presumption of guilt is looking increasingly unjust, Archbishop Justin Welby nevertheless felt moved to declare his reputation remains blighted, even though the evidence on which that slur is based was declared inadequate by the independent reviewer.
Why should not the reputation of the anonymous, obstructive Bishop – mentioned in the Singleton report – be similarly placed “under a cloud” by a Church that says it is committed to transparency and accountability; or does this only apply to Bishop George Bell ?
~ Richard W. Symonds

July 6-10 2018 – General Synod – York

July 7 2018 –  General Synod- ‘Safeguarding’ Saturday

GS 2092
GENERAL SYNOD
Report by the National Safeguarding Steering Group
Summary
This report is intended to resource the Synod debate on the motion on Item 8
“Safeguarding” (GS 2092) and provides an overview of the key themes emerging from
the first set of hearings on the Anglican Church by the Independent Inquiry into Child
Sexual Abuse (IICSA). It identifies priorities for work related to these themes that the
National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) plans to progress on behalf of the
House of Bishops and Archbishops’ Council….

Conclusion and Recommendations:
“Call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the
plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority”
81.The Inquiry has said that it will publish a report into the two case studies in its
‘Anglican Church’ investigation in autumn 2018 covering the Chichester case study
and Peter Ball case study (the hearing for the latter is due to take place next
month). A further hearing in respect of national church responses to safeguarding
will be held in 2019. In view of this, it is likely that subject to the decisions of the
Business Committee, Synod will receive further up-dates on progress being made
in respect of these and other priorities after the Inquiry’s interim report and final
reports relating to their investigation into ‘the Anglican Church’ has been published.
82.As we wrote at the start of this report, safeguarding is at the heart of the mission
of the Church. The Church has failed in many ways to live out this mission in the
past, but our vision for the future is to make the Church a safe place for all and a
beacon to the rest of society. We are asking Synod to endorse the action set out
and to commend it to the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council.
We believe that, with the help and grace that God supplies, that this vision and the
associated actions can be achieved.

The Rt. Revd Bishop Peter Hancock, Lead
Bishop for Safeguarding
For and on behalf of the National Safeguarding Steering Group
June 2018
Members of the NSSG
Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Mrs Mary Chapman, Member of the Archbishops’ Council
William Featherby QC, Member of the Church Commissioners
Rt Revd Jonathan Gibb, Bishop of Huddersfield
Revd Daphne Green, Chaplain to the Archbishop of York
Dr Jamie Harrison, Member of the Archbishops’ Council
Ven Gavin Kirk, Archdeacon of Lincoln
Very Revd Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester
Revd Malcolm Macnaughton, Chief of Staff to the Archbishop of York
Ruth Marlow, Chief Executive, Diocese of Coventry
Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester
Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham (Vice-Chair)
Ven Mark Steadman, Archdeacon of Stow, Diocese of Lincoln
Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop at Lambeth

July 4 2018 – Lord Carlile

July 5 2018 – Singleton Report – Comments [Jeremy]

“Following on the Symonds comment about the Scolding reference to Sewell….
Does the Church of England _never_ require any complainant or plaintiff to maintain confidentiality, as a condition of the Church of England making a payment to settle a litigation of any kind?
Or does the Church of England insist, at the same time, on confidentiality in some types of cases, and on very public “clouds” in others?
Might we wonder whether the Church and its current officials get confidentiality, whereas intended scapegoats do not?”

~ ‘Jeremy’

July 5 2018 –  “It is time for General Synod to protest: victims of sexual abuse deserve better than ‘adequate’” – Martin Sewell

COMMENTS

Are we any further forward in receiving Justice for Bishop George Bell?
Surely, it is to be hoped that the significant cloud will be lifted from his name by the time we commemorate the 60th anniversary of his passing on 3rd October 2018

gadjodilo 

Apparently Bishop George Bell is a legitimate target, being dead and all

July 5 2018 – “Time for General Synod to protest?” –  Thinking Anglicans

July 5 2018 – “Whether or not to Dis-Establish the Church of England” – Guardian

July 5 2018 – General Synod Questions tomorrow [Friday]

The questions to be asked at General Synod tomorrow evening have been published.

Questions Notice Paper

The notice paper contains the answers as well as the questions. The questions and answers will not be read out, but Synod members have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions [See July 6 entry below – Ed – General Synod Questions this evening – Friday – Questions 55-61 ]

July 6 2018 – Stephen Lynas – ‘BathWellsChap’ – General Synod – Analysis & Commentary

Definitely with me in paper form will be the Bible to all this stuff – the Agenda Document.Decoding it is infinitely easier if you also have to hand the ‘Synodipedia’ – otherwise known as GS2091: A Guide to the July 2018 group of Sessions. Between them they tell you what’s on when and why, and give you the all-important GS or GS Misc number that enables you to quarry the paper mountain for the right document. Whether you are a Synod member of not, you can see all the papers electronically on the C of E website here. (Alternatively, you could rely on me to know what’s happening, but I do not claim to tell the whole story. Other …

Saturday morning looks like being quite a set-piece. Archbishop Sentamu will give a Presidential Address. Even bathwellschap, with 12 years on Synod, will not attempt to predict where he will go with that. But he’ll be followed by a formal motion on the Church’s safeguarding progress (or lack of it, depending where you stand). There are enough issues swirling around here to make this quite a difficult morning.

  • The IICSA inquiry spent three weeks looking at the diocese of Chichester,, which was not a pretty sight. They will spend another week on Bishop Peter Ball at the end of the month, with implications for the dioceses of Chichester, Gloucester, Bath and Wells, and more than one Archbishop. I’ve posted extensively on IICSA here.
  • There is a long-running row about Carlile Report into the way the church handled allegations made about Bishop George Bell: this has exercised several Synod members and media figures. We had twenty questions about it in February, and it hasn’t gone away.

Just issued is Sir Roger Singleton’s independent report into how dioceses managed (or mis-managed) a Review of Past Cases in 2007-8. Seven dioceses are to do the work again – the Church Times has produced this handy map so you can work out which ones they are for yourself.

Church Times map

There was an acerbic Guardian leader about this (“the church that didn’t want to know”), and Bishop Peter Hancock was given a hard time on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme about it – listen to it here.

For bathwellschap’s background on the Ball and Bell cases, go here and scroll down . The Singleton report is here. It’s a long read, but essential for anyone involved in safeguarding or diocesan or episcopal administration.

peter-hancock

As Lead Bishop on Safeguarding, Bishop Peter Hancock (disclaimer: my boss until I retired in December) will doubtless touch on all the above, and if he doesn’t, you can bet Synod members will in their questions or speeches.  It’s going to be complicated, and will stretch the ‘big tent’ as people with strong views on what has been done badly in the distant past and in the various enquiries press for more action and for justice. UPDATE (Thursday 5 July): Synod member Martin Sewell has posted a characteristically trenchant review of where we are up to on the Archbishop Cranmer blog.

The format is to be a presentation with questions. Victims and survivors of abuse, who are increasingly finding a voice (and, I hope, being listened to) will be part of the presentation. That will be followed by a formal motion endorsing the current plans for safeguarding work.

York chamber GVs (2) rpt

More change is on the way…

As ever, we have to ask whether – as with so much in the current safeguarding situation – we are looking at events of ten years and more years ago through today’s spectacles. But too much looking back is probably not helpful when the actual report from the National Safeguarding Steering Group (GS 2092 – read it here) is about what we do now and what we do next. It sets out a range of new policies and changes to existing ones, covering (for example) a national clergy register, and new ways of looking at potential ordinands and supervising retired ‘Permission to Officiate’ clergy….

Well, that covers about 1 of the 3½ inches of paperwork. I hope I’ve taking the waiting out of wanting for you, but you can download all the papers here if your interest has been excited . (You don’t need a Dropbox account, there’s an option to download without signing up.)

If all the above is impenetrable to you, then those nice people at the Church Times have produced a handy infographic explaining Synod, They will do proper grown-up objective reporting on paper, and electronically here.

  • I’ll report, as usual, at the end of each day’s proceedings with my usual unbiased, cheery and selective account of how we’re doing.
  • I’ll post on twitter @bathwellschap when I put the next post up, or you can automatically be alerted by clicking on the ‘follow’ button – go to the right hand column at the top of this post.
  • You can follow proceedings yourself on a live video stream on the C of E’s Youtube channel.
  • There are official tweets through the day @synod and unofficial, sometime very funny ones @GSMisc. Or you can just follow the #synod tag on Twitter, though it can be a bit episodic.

July 6 2018 – Church Times – Letter – Richard W. Symonds – The Bell Society

Letters to the Editor – Church Times

Why this exception to safeguarding transparency?

From Mr Richard W. Symonds

Sir, — Sir Roger Singleton’s report (News, 29 June) tells us that the Past Cases Review had particularly inadequate responses from seven dioceses, but, more surprisingly, that there was one bishop who was particularly uncooperative with the Church’s initial efforts to get to grips with the extent of its historic abuse.

Surprisingly, that bishop remains unidentified, adding weight to the accusation from victims that the Anglican Church functions as a kind of “Bishop Protection Society”.

Why should not the reputation of the anonymous, obstructive bishop — mentioned in the Singleton report — be placed “under a cloud” by a Church that says it is committed to transparency and accountability; or does this apply only to Bishop George Bell?

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

July 6 2018 – General Synod Questions this evening – Friday – Questions 55-61

Mr Stephen Hofmeyr (Guildford) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q55 What national guidance (i) was in place in 2007-2009, (ii) was in
place subsequently and (iii) is being proposed (if any) for the conduct
of reviews of alleged safeguarding failures?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A (i) There was no formal guidance in respect of the conduct of
reviews of alleged safeguarding failures during this period.
(ii) The first guidance issued on learning lessons from alleged
safeguarding failures was incorporated into ‘Managing serious
safeguarding situations relating to church officers’ (June 2015),
which has now subsequently been revised and strengthened
within ‘Responding to, assessing and managing safeguarding
concerns or allegations against church officers’, published in
October 2017 (section 9). This can be found on the Church of
England website.
(iii) A ‘Lessons Learnt case review guidance’ is currently in
development and following a consultation exercise and
agreement by the National Safeguarding Steering Group will be
issued later in 2018.

Mrs Katharine Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q56 Given the discrepancies in numbers between the original (‘around
3300’) and corrected (‘around 2600’) answers to my question in
February 2018 regarding the number of safeguarding cases and
allegations of abuse, please could an explanation be given as to why
the National Safeguarding Team finds such difficulty in stating the
number of safeguarding concerns/ allegations and the breakdown of
the number relating to church officers?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Each diocese is asked to collate and complete an annual
safeguarding self-assessment. Since February, an NST Associate
has been commissioned to analyse the data from 2016 and 2015 and
the format for its collation. The analysis of this will be presented to
the NSSG on July 12th. The self-assessment for 2017 data is
currently with dioceses and as a result of the Associate’s work the
guidance has been strengthened and clarified to minimise data
quality issues. The return is due by the end of July. Following the
report to the NSSG and in the light of evidence given to IICSA, the
NST will consider other ways to strengthen both the accuracy and
regularity of monitoring and reporting arrangements.

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q57 At the February Group of Sessions I asked the supplementary
question “After Carlile (ie the Report of Lord Carlile’s Independent
Review of the Bishop George Bell case) shall we see better
transparency of process from start to finish in respect of the new Bell
allegations than we did with the first?”. I received the reassuringly
unqualified answer “Yes”.
Five months later, why are the terms of the second Bell review still
unavailable in the public sphere, and can you give us an estimated
time for conclusion and an outline progress report on process, not
substance?

[The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops: No reply yet received – Ed]

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q58 With reference to the answer given by the Bishop of Bath and Wells
to my supplementary questions at General Synod in February 2018
regarding the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell received
by the National Safeguarding Team in December 2017 (Q58), and
his answer that “the questions are being noted; I’ll make sure you get
a reply”, and given (i) that the identity of the independent investigator
(Ray Galloway) and the decision-maker (the Rt Worshipful Timothy
Briden) have now been revealed in The Spectator magazine, and (ii)
32
that the Bishop answered ‘”yes” to Martin Sewell’s supplementary
question, “After Carlile, shall we see better transparency of process
from start to finish in respect of the new allegations than we did with
the first?”; will you please now inform Synod of (a) the terms of
reference for the new investigation and (without revealing any
confidential information) what Timothy Briden is to be asked to
decide, and (b) the timescale (if any) set for the investigation to be
concluded and a report published?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Mr Galloway is performing a role analogous to an investigating
officer, were this a secular criminal investigation. He will provide a
report on the results of his investigation. Consistent with Lord
Carlile’s recommendations, the Core Group will not decide whether
allegations are made out, i.e. whether they are assessed to have
occurred on the balance of probabilities. The Bishop of Chichester
has asked Tim Briden to come to an independent judgment. Mr
Briden will hear representations from all those with a proper interest.
As the body which instructs the investigator, members of the Core
Group have a legitimate interest in questions about Mr Galloway’s
terms of reference. They will, as soon as practicable, be asked to
consider their publication. Given previous criticisms, the Church has
put in place a thorough process which allows for a fair and robust
decision. I am therefore not able to give a fixed completion date.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q59 At the July 2017 General Synod group of sessions Martin Sewell
asked (Q13), “Given the importance of transparency and
accountability in raising public confidence in our safeguarding culture,
will the House seek the co-operation of the Business Committee to
ensure that members of Synod may extensively evaluate the
Church’s responses to [the Gibb and Carlile] reports by no later than
February 2018?” The Carlile report had not then been published but,
in his reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops, the
Bishop of Bath and Wells said that both reports would be considered
“at the next full meeting of the House.” The Carlile report was
published on 15 December 2017 and issued to General Synod
members in January 2018 as paper GS Misc 1173. In February 2018,
in answer to a question from the Ven Julie Conalty (Q50), Bishop
Hancock said that that the National Safeguarding Steering Group
were “working through its consideration of how to give effect to the
33
recommendations of Lord Carlile’s independent review into the case
of George Bell” and that “the NSSG will report to the House of
Bishops as soon as this process is complete.” In February 2018, the
NSSG’s “Response to the George Bell Independent Review
Recommendations,” was published on the Safeguarding pages of the
Church of England website. However, there is no reference to that
document in GS Misc 1192 (Summary of decisions by the House of
Bishops and Delegated Committees, dated June 2018) and the only
reference to the Carlile report is at paragraph 27 recording that the
House of Bishops Standing Committee (HBSC) “considered a
number of Safeguarding matters, including the Independent Reviews
from Dame Moira Gibb and Lord Carlile QC…” at its meeting on 14
March 2018. Further, there is no reference to the Carlile report, or to
the NSSG’s February 2018 paper in response to it, in paper GS
2092.
In the light of the above, what is the current status of the paper
“National Safeguarding Steering Group Response to the George Bell
Independent Review Recommendations”, when will the various
‘responses’ be implemented, and why is there no reference to those
responses in paper GS 2092?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The response of the National Safeguarding Steering Group to Lord
Carlile’s independent review was published in February 2018 [and
has been approved by the House of Bishops in accordance with its
procedures]. In order to ensure a consistent approach where
allegations are made against a posthumous office holder, the
NSSG’s response sets out the principles which the National
Safeguarding Team currently applies to the investigation and
management of such allegations whether or not there is a civil
claim. The paper GS 2092 relates to the key themes and priorities
identified by the NSSG as a result of evidence given to IICSA to
date and is not intended to have in view the matters considered by
Lord Carlile.

Mrs Isabel Adcock (Chelmsford) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q60 Given the recent correspondence circulated to members of the
Synod by a complainant concerning her dissatisfaction with the
Church’s response to her, what steps have been taken by the
House of Bishops and the National Safeguarding Team to secure
the publication of the Gladwin report regarding Jersey and the
Diocese of Winchester and the implementation of its
recommendations?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The Bishop of Winchester has sent the relevant recommendations
of the review to the National Safeguarding Steering Group for
consideration as to what actions are necessary to implement
learning at a national level.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q61 The completed report of Sir Roger Singleton on the Past Cases
Review was only released shortly before Synod although it was
evidently available some weeks beforehand. This joins GS 2092,
the Elliott Report, the Carlile report and the terms of the Bell 2
Inquiry as subjects which Synod has not been given adequate time
or opportunity to address at an appropriate time. Are these
unfortunate timings entirely accidental, or are the early views of the
Houses of Clergy and Laity not wanted by the House of Bishops?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Following evidence given to IICSA in March by Sir Roger Singleton,
a draft independent report into the adequacy of the Past Cases
Review conducted by the Church of England in 2008-09 was
presented to the National Safeguarding Steering Group in April
2018. At this point there were two outstanding dioceses upon which
the Independent Scrutiny Team (IST) had yet to finalise their views.
The findings of the report were agreed by the Archbishops’ Council
and House of Bishops in May 2018. The judgement of the IST in
respect of the two outstanding dioceses was confirmed to the NST
in mid-June and the report published at the earliest possible
opportunity on 22 June. The NSSG, supported by the NST, is now
working to implement the recommendations of the report and will
consider an action plan at its next meeting on 12 July.

July 6 2018 – General Synod Live [Hat-Tip: ‘Thinking Anglicans’]

Watch the live stream of General Synod here.

Official General Synod Twitter account

July 7 2018 – ‘Safeguarding Synod’ –

  • On safeguarding, similarly, people wanting details answers (to some very detailed Questions) about Bishop Bell or the Singleton Report (see yesterday) were politely held at bay. But they will get another chance tomorrow, when there is a substantive safeguarding debate. There was a top comedy moment when Bishop Peter Hancock was passed a note from the lawyers delaying his reply to a tricky question from Martin Sewell about the George Bell case. Wonderfully, he couldn’t read the lawyerly scrawl! Much laughter and applause – and it broke the tense mood.

~ Stephen Lynas – ‘BathWellsChap’

https://bathwellschap.wordpress.com/2018/07/07/football-crazy-football-mad/#comments

July 7 2018 – Archbishop John Sentamu on “Zero–tolerance”

  1. : The Church has zero tolerance to all forms of abuse of children and vulnerable adults, John Sentamu tells the General Synod # archbishop John 

    RWS Note – “Zero tolerance” is a piece of US-imported jargon – a lethal ambiguous expression used in the Dallas Declaration by American Roman Catholic Bishops in an attempt to deal with child sexual abuse. Practical policies implemented with “Zero tolerance” proved beyond catastrophic for the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. It is almost certain to be the Church of England experience. “Zero tolerance” breeds a dangerous intolerance, resulting in monstrous injustices, which can spread like an aggressive malignant cancer, not just within the Church but also throughout the wider community” ~ Richard W. Symonds

    July 7 2018 – Archbishop Sentamu

In his presidential address, before the presentation, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, asked what hope might look like for survivors of abuse. “Answer: ‘We are with you.’ Total solidarity,” he said.

“A willingness to stand in their shoes — which will be very uncomfortable. Justice also demands that alleged abusers are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But they must tell of the truth and nothing but the truth.”

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/13-july/news/uk/synod-hears-from-abuse-survivors-and-pledges-reform

July 7 2018 – RWS Note

The Church Times reports:

‘In his presidential address, before the presentation, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, asked what hope might look like for survivors of abuse. “Answer: ‘We are with you.’ Total solidarity,” he said. “A willingness to stand in their shoes — which will be very uncomfortable. Justice also demands that alleged abusers are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But they must tell of the truth and nothing but the truth.”

https://www.churchtimes.co….

Regrettably, the Church Times failed to report Archbishop Sentamu’s “Zero tolerance” remark.

I say regrettable because if they had reported that remark then they might have spotted the danger.

If “Zero tolerance” is applied as a policy, then a culture of ALWAYS believing the accuser will be created, and the accused will almost ALWAYS be disbelieved.

In other words, there will be almost always be a presumption of guilt of clergy accused of sexual abuse – whether alive or dead.

This will mean, almost inevitably, to clergy being wrongfully and falsely accused.

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, has clearly been wrongfully accused of child abuse, and been a victim of the dark side of a rigid, intolerant “Zero tolerance” culture.

But there have been, and there are, many ‘Bishop Bells’ out there – and there will now be many, many more.

~ Richard W. Symonds

July 8 2018 –  “Reconsidering the Dallas Charter” – Opus Bono

https://opusbono.org/opus-bono-sacerdotii

https://opusbono.org/hope-springs-eternal-in-the-priestly-breast

The Clergy Abuse Crisis has posed the greatest threat to the traditional understanding of the Catholic priesthood since the Protestant Reformation. Now, as then, the deadliest attacks are coming from within the Church. In an attempt to ameliorate a system that allowed a small minority of the clergy to violate children and minors and the gross negligence of some bishops who recycled these predators, the American bishops instituted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, in 2002. It is, unfortunately, doing the Church more harm than good.

By adhering to the Charter’s provisions the American hierarchy has unwittingly undermined the Church’s sacramental theology regarding Holy Orders and Her ecclesiology which depends on a priest’s relationship with his bishop. This breakdown has encouraged present day Modernists, who believe that truth is culturally conditioned and that the Faith is based merely on sentimentality, to try to remake the Church according to their own lights. Intra-ecclesial groups like Future ChurchVoice of the Faithful (VOTF), and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) have subsequently formed challenging the hierarchical nature of the Church, Her non-fallible teaching on the male-only priesthood, and the Western tradition of priestly celibacy.

A major factor responsible for a large number of the sex abuse cases, according to the 2011 John J. College of Criminology Report to the bishops, is attributed to the sexual confusion which reigned in society and the Church in the 1960’s and 70’s. The teaching of moral relativism and the acceptance of popular psychological theories over traditional theological principles led to the excess of bad behavior during this period. No doubt bad thinking led to bad actions. The lesson is that orthodoxy is necessary for orthopraxis.

The Dallas Charter was a response to the deep regret felt by the bishops for the perverse crimes that had occurred against minors and a recognition that strong safeguards must be in place protect them. But, the remedies that they enacted were influenced by the secular solutions of lawyers and public relations experts which compromised the Gospel. They do not reflect justice, charity and forgiveness towards priests. Dangerous procedural measures, such as, administrative leave, zero tolerance and a one-size-fits-all policy for accused priests and for punishing malefactors have lent themselves to violations of canonical due process and a mockery of time-tested principles of jurisprudence. This is especially evident when dioceses publish the names of defenseless dead priests as sex abusers on their websites. But, most egregious is the forced laicization imposed on those deemed to be guilty. This action clouds in the popular mind to the permanency of the indelible character of Holy Orders conferred at ordination.

The present state of affairs has caused mistrust and fear in the priest-bishop relationship. The collaboration of a priest with his bishop is vital since he participates in the bishop’s priesthood. Bishops who are supposed to be fathers, brothers and friends to their priests have instead become mere managers with institutional damage control as their top priority. Many priests have dubbed this the Caiaphas Principle. A recent survey in an unpublished dissertation found that most priests don’t believe that they can count on the support of their fellow priests in the event of a false accusation. Presumably, out of fear of retribution from their bishop or from victims advocacy groups. This too is extremely dangerous because priests of the diocese form a presbyterate in union with their bishop. It has devastating pastoral consequences.

“Credible evidence,” the nebulous standard of used by Diocesan Review Boards, has effectively made priests guilty until proven innocent. This has forced priests to shy away from human interactions, especially expressions of pastoral warmth and concern which were the hallmarks of Jesus’ public ministry. Now a fatherly touch may be interpreted as a sexual advance, or an act of kindness toward a young person misconstrued as “grooming.” As one so priest so poignantly stated, “If I meet a woman, I’m having and affair, if I meet a man, I’m gay, and God forbid I’m with a child, I’m an abuser.” In the current climate, any human action of a priest is suspect. Naturally, this has had a devastating toll on the effectiveness of the ordained ministry.

In Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast, Father James Valladares shows how justice and charity have been violated by some bishops in dealing with accused priests. He examines the pertinent canons that guide the Church’s justice system and finds that these are often ignored or wrongly applied. He provides true cases which highlight the injustice of the process and the agony of priests who have been subjected to the Charter’s draconian mandates.

The Church has incurred tremendous financial losses because of settlements rising from both legitimate and false claims. Her image has been marred by the secular media which has taken advantage of the crisis. However, we often fail to understand how trivial these are in comparison to the damage done to the priesthood by the enactment of the Charter’s policies. This is now the pressing issue that the bishops need to address.

The present scenario reported by Father Valladares is dark. Yet, he has surprisingly chosen a title for his book which speaks of hope. For sure, it is a hope based on Jesus’ words to his disciples, “I will be with you always”. Therefore, far from being pessimistic, Father Valladares presents the facts with confidence that “the truth will set us free.”

For his hard work, born out of love for the priesthood, Fr. Valladares is to be commended.

To purchase the book: http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Springs-Eternal-Priestly-Breast/dp/1462072410

July 8 2018 – RWS Note

“Having immersed myself, not totally, in certain General Synod proceedings over the last few days – very much as an outsider – I can’t help but wonder what percentage of what is said, done and promised is moral posturing and virtue signalling” – Richard W. Symonds

July 10 2018 – General Synod Round-Up

“Yesterday’s round-up has attracted some critical below-the-line comment grumbling that I did not say anything about the Bishop Bell issue. I try hard to only report and comment on things I know about or have special interest in. The point of bathwellschap is to explore and explain Synod for those who aren’t there but might be interested. I don’t do campaigning here” – Stephen Lynas – ‘BathWellsChap

“For Stephen Lynas to sniffily dismiss and reduce the Bishop Bell issue to mere “campaigning” is ……. interesting. This critical issue was formally debated on Friday evening and Saturday morning at General Synod” ~ Richard W. Symonds

July 11 2018 – Charles Moore on Bishop Bell – The Spectator

”… George Bell, the Bishop of Chichester, now posthumoussly libelled by his own church for unproved child abuse”

IMG_1406

July 12 2018 – RWS on Bishop Bell

“The Archbishop has made a dreadful mistake regarding Bishop Bell, and he isn’t yet man enough to admit it. Bishops, don’t make the same mistake. Please grasp the enormity of this error and injustice – and grab the opportunity to right the wrong which is in your power so to do”

~ Richard W. Symonds

July 14 2018 – “Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey allowed to preach [in] his church again” – Premier 

July 14 2018 – “Lord Carey permitted to resume public ministry” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Simon Sarmiento

As the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has said himself, it was “unjust” for the present Archbishop, Justin Welby, to strip him of his Assistant Bishop position. It was also “unjust” for the present Archbishop of Canterbury to say there was still a “significant cloud” hanging over George Bell, Bishop of Chichester. As Charles Moore of the Telegraph has said in the Spectator this week, Bishop Bell has been “posthumously libelled by his own church for unproved child abuse” The only “significant cloud” hanging over anybody on this critical issue is Archbishop Justin Welby. Archbishop Welby can’t escape this moral maze of his own making – unless he apologises…or resigns. To apologise would be just. To resign would be regrettable.

IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5
Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC:

“…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

The Church of England is being investigated for its failure to solve a fundamental problem of injustice, created, as Martin Sewell says, “by a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience, gained in a practical safeguarding context”.

To right the wrong of this injustice within the Church, both those who have survived abuse AND those who have been wrongfully accused of abuse must be listened to.

I am growing in the conviction that former Archbishop George Carey is being ‘scapegoated’, and those covertly manipulating the process are ‘rogue elements’ within the Church of England whose motives are far from Christian.

“‘Fall guy’ is a colloquial phrase that refers to a person to whom blame is deliberately and falsely attributed in order to deflect blame from another party”

This seems to apply, and to fit ‘hand in glove’, especially regarding the present cases of both the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey (still living) and the former Bishop of Chichester George Bell (now dead).

It would be naive to think the buck of blame stops with the Archbishop at the time (If that was the case, Justin Welby would be in an extremely precarious position).

So where does the buck stop in this unholy mess if it’s not the Archbishop? William Nye is a strong contender – or his bosses above him. Most TA readers here know of Mr Nye, but if any do not, look it up – he’s on Wiki.

Peter Ball was protected by people far, far more powerful than Archbishop Carey [eg Prince Charles]. Will they “go and retire quietly”? I think not. Former Archbishop George Carey has been ‘thrown under the bus’ to protect a State-controlled Church – just like Bishop George Bell.

FrDavidH asked on the ‘Thinking Anglicans’ website: “Which churchmen are more powerful than the Archbishop of Canterbury?”
The Church of England is the Established Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor.

~ Richard  W. Symonds

July 14 2018 – “Cover-Up of a Cover-Up” – Private Eye

Cover-up of a cover-up
CofE abuse cases

IN a report published two weeks ago, former Barnardo’s chief Sir Roger Singleton concluded that the Church of England’s previous review of child abuse cases was “flawed”. He is too generous by half. It is clear that from start to finish the church’s primary concern was protecting its own reputation, even to the extent of arranging a cover-up of a cover-up.

The Past Cases Review (PCR) was initiated by Archbishop Rowan Williams in 2007 after a nasty spate of church child abuse revelations. When the Methodist Church ran a similar review, all serving ministers were mandated to report whatever they knew about past or present abuse in the church. The CofE review was limited to an audit of clergy personnel files to check there were no outstanding abuse cases that hadn’t been dealt with adequately.

Even this limited project did not go down well with Williams’s fellow bishops, who fought ferociously to limit its scope. Pearl Luxon, then head of safeguarding for the church, observed that “the bishops and the CofE as a whole were averse to exposing themselves to any greater scrutiny than was strictly necessary.” They agreed to take part only when Bishop Anthony Priddis, who was then the bishop in charge of safeguarding, promised that the completed review would be slipped out as quietly as possible. Even so, several dioceses refused to allow anyone external to audit their files, and one bishop did the job himself.

Down to zero
When the results were in, the numbers of clergy abuse cases reported by the dioceses was more than the church could bring itself to publish. In the weeks before publication, the Archbishops’ Council and senior figures in both Lambeth Palace and Church House sent the returns back to dioceses, asking them to whittle the numbers down to zero if possible.

They agreed that dioceses could exclude clergy who had been arrested without being internally disciplined, clergy who still posed a risk but were retired or not currently in post, clergy who worked in cathedrals or training colleges rather than parishes, clergy against whom no action had been taken despite allegations against them, and youth and children’s workers who were employed by a local church rather than a diocese. They also excluded cases that had arisen after the launch of the review, and clergy who had been disciplined by their bishops but whose “ministry had not been impeded” by the action.

In its original return, Chichester diocese reported more than 50 cases for concern; its revised return had just three. Another diocese reported nearly 40 cases, but under instruction from head office reduced this to, er, zero. According to the Eye’s sources, at one stage it looked as if the review of 40,000 files was going to return only two cases for concern in the entire Church of England. Then someone from the communications team pointed out that this might look less than credible, so the number was increased to 13.

None of this is mentioned in Sir Roger Singleton’s report, which says he found “no evidence of a planned and deliberate attempt to conceal information”. He thinks the PCR was flawed only in the sense that it “wasn’t completely comprehensive”.

‘Best practice’
In truth, it was downright dishonest. It was eventually published in 2010 with this confident declaration: “We firmly believe that any concerns about a member of clergy or other office holder’s suitability to work with children have now been thoroughly examined in the light of current best practice by independent reviewers.” Eight years later, seven dioceses have now been ordered to go through the whole process again. They include Sheffield, whose bishop at the time was Steven Croft – currently the Bishop of Oxford, and one of five senior clerics waiting to be interviewed by South Yorkshire police about their alleged failure to deal properly with abuse claims against a vicar.

Now the Eye learns that Croft has quietly restored former archbishop George Carey’s Permission to Officiate (PTO), which allows him to function as a priest. It was withdrawn in June 2017 after the disclosure that he had failed to act on accusations against Bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed in 2015 for sexual offences against 18 teenagers and young men. Carey also had to stand down as an honorary assistant bishop in the Oxford diocese, a punishment he called “unjust”.

There doesn’t seem to be any new information to justify giving Carey back his PTO: indeed, more embarrassing evidence is expected when his involvement in the Peter Ball case comes up at IICSA, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, at the end of July. But Croft was in a difficult position because of the mounting evidence that as Bishop of Sheffield he too failed to act against a clerical abuser, the Rev Trevor Devamanikkam. If Carey remained debarred, it might imply that Croft should lose his own Permission to Officiate – and that would never do, since the very same Steven Croft is now a strong contender to succeed John Sentamu as Archbishop of York!

July 19 2018 – “Letters to a Broken Church” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Comments

Peter Milligan
Jeremy

Your accusation that “the reputation of a dead bishop trumps the cries of the children” is a pure canard.
I agree that it is the weak who suffer at the hands of the strong–but that statement can apply to living adults, as strength and weakness can depend on power dynamics other than age.

Fiona Scolding QC has a more balanced view – which I think is worth repeating again:

IICSA Transcript – Monday March 5
Page 129 -Paras. 2-19 – Fiona Scolding QC:

“…this is not simply an issue of attitude but of competence too. This is a point which has been made powerfully by Martin Sewell, who is both a lay member of the General Synod and a retired child protection lawyer. He points out that diocesan staff are typically trained in theology and Canon law, not in safeguarding or child protection law. As a result, he says, many of those making a decision about safeguarding in the Church of England have no credible claim to expertise in this increasingly complex situation. Interestingly, Mr Sewell makes that point both in relation to the treatment of complainants of abuse, but also in regard to the mishandling, in his view, of the George Bell case. He sees the failings on both of those aspects as two sides of the same coin, a fundamental problem, in his view, being a lack of competence and specialist knowledge, particularly legal knowledge and experience gained in a practical safeguarding context”

Janet Fife

I have no problem with those campaigning to clear Bishop Bell’s reputation, and have considerable sympathy for any who have been falsely accused. That is a terrible ordeal to go through. I know of at least two people that has happened to.

The independent investigations which many of us survivors are campaigning for would also assist those who are subject to mistaken or malicious allegations – this is not the expertise of Church personnel and it shows. We need investigations to be carried out by those who are skilled in this area and can operate without fear or favour.

Perhaps someone would consider putting together a book by and about those falsely accused? The Bishop Bell case alone deserves a full and competent treatment for the general reader.

In the meantime, I am happy to report that in just a few days we have raised over 80% of the funding needed for ‘Letters to a Broken Church’. Thanks to all who have contributed or shown interest.

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

But I must warn the ‘general reader’, this Chronology is not a quick-read; it requires careful thought, prayer and analysis. I would suggest a quiet corner somewhere, with a mug of coffee in hand!

James Byron

I’m glad the book’s going ahead: it’s crucial that voices of survivors are heard, and the church (let’s dispense with euphemisms here) making herself an accessory after the fact is exposed.

Regarding false accusations, as I’ve said before, and Janet rightly says here, it’s a false choice to present due process as being in conflict with justice for survivors: the two go hand-in-hand, with due process for all being the only path to justice for all. Given that authoritarians frequently hijack the cause of victims’ rights to bend the law to their will, it’s crucial that this point is repeatedly and vigorously made. The alternative’s not only injustice for the falsely accused, it’s public sympathy turning against those who deserve it most.

July 19 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 31 2016 – “An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations, alleged against persons of public prominence” – Sir Richard Henriques ]

“1.39. In the case of prominent people, it appears that they are more vulnerable to false complaints than others. The cases I have reviewed involve individuals, most of whom are household names. Their identities are known to millions. They are vulnerable to compensation seekers, attention seekers, and those with mental health problems. The internet provides the information and detail to support a false allegation. Entertainers are particularly vulnerable to false allegations meeting, as they do, literally thousands of attention-seeking fans who provoke a degree of familiarity which may be exaggerated or misconstrued in their recollection many years later. Deceased persons are particularly vulnerable as allegations cannot be answered.

…”1.94… It is difficult, if not impossible, to articulate the emotional turmoil and distress that those persons and their families have had to endure. The allegations have had a profoundly damaging effect upon the characters and reputations of those living and those deceased. In differing ways those reputations have been hard-won, over several decades, and yet in Operation Midland they were shattered by the word of a single, uncorroborated complainant… In short, these men are all victims of false allegations and yet they remain treated as men against whom there was insufficient evidence to prosecute them. The presumption of innocence appears to have been set aside.”

July 19 2018 – F.A.C.T. – “Member of our advisory group makes submission to Justice Committee ‘Inquiry on Disclosure of Evidence'”

July 19 2018 – “The BBC destroyed Sir Cliff Richard, just like the Church of England dishonoured Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

“Short of flying a helicopter over his grave in Chichester Cathedral, how does what the BBC inflicted upon the good name of Sir Cliff Richard differ from the disgrace and dishonour the Church of England has heaped upon the reputation of Bishop George Bell?” ~ ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Comments 1 – ‘Not a machine’

“The judge is at least mindful that in most cases there is no public interest in guilt or innocence, until the courts have concluded or judgment given”

Comments 2 – ‘Father David’

July 19 2018 – “IICSA announces timetable for hearings on Peter Ball” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 19 2018 – Cliff Wins £5m BBC Privacy case – Ruling Threatens To Gag Free Speech – It’s not funny…we can’t talk anymore” – The Sun – Front page

“What the BBC did was an abuse. They took it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner. I hope the press don’t think freedom of speech is in danger here. It’s not. It’s their abuse of it that’s in danger. I’d rather ten guilty people get away with it than one innocent person suffer”

~ Sir Cliff Richard

July 20 2018 – Ray Galloway – Blue Light Investigations

“Ray Galloway is the Director of Blue Light Investigations and Training Limited. He retired from North Yorkshire Police in 2013….”

“£400,000 paid to him [Sir Cliff Richard] by South Yorkshire Police, after admitting liability in respect of their disclosure to the BBC he [Sir Cliff] was under investigation for alleged sexual offences involving a minor” [2014]

July 20 2018 – From The Archives [April 23 2018 – “Police investigate archbishop for ‘failures’ over child abuse claims – Did Archbishop Sentamu fob off the Clergy Discipline Commission to protect bishops from allegations of misconduct” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ ]

July 20 2018 – RWS Note

“After the IICSA hearing next week, former Archbishop George Carey may well join Bishop George Bell and Sir Cliff Richard in being found to have been very seriously wronged. That would be under the watch of the present Archbishop, Justin Welby…”

~ Richard Symonds

July 20 2018 – From The Archives [August 18 2014 – “BBC’s Cliff Richard raid coverage driven by pressure for exclusives” – The Guardian]

July 20 2018 – “‘Cliff’s Law’ is a blow for press freedom, warns police chief” – Daily Telegraph

“‘Cliff’s Law’ which would guarantee a suspect’s anonymity until charged”

July 21 2018 – Lord Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner on George Bell, former Lord Bishop of  Chichester – Maiden Speech in the House of Lords [in which  Bishop Bell was also a Member]

“I often feel overwhelmed by the scale of this inheritance and by the best accomplishments of my predecessors.

“Bishop George Bell made Chichester famous for its contribution to learning and the arts, and he was building on solid foundations…….

“My Lords, I have no sense of being equal to the noble achievements of my worthy predecessors. “But, encouraged by your Lordships’ welcome, I look forward to playing an active role in the work of your Lordships’ House in the years to come.”

July 21 2018 – “Peter Ball and the Dynamics of Church Power” – ‘Surviving Church’

A major threat to Ball after his police caution and his resignation from the see of Gloucester in 1993 was the possibility of having his ministry curbed by some form of inhibition from Lambeth Palace and Archbishop George Carey. The avoidance of a public trial in that year had been a close-run thing. This escape from the full force of the law was arguably assisted by the bombarding the Director of Public Prosecutions with 2000 letters of support. Now Ball had to prevent the Church stopping him exercising a ministry among his supporters. These included public-school headmasters and others high up in terms of social position and status. George Carey’s reluctance to take decisive action against Ball may possibly be read as the conflict of two power systems. Although Ball’s institutional power had been weakened, he still retained considerable social power through his links and friendships with members of the Establishment. Many of these were still mesmerised by his charismatic power. Carey seems to have not wanted to be on the wrong side of the power that Ball could still muster to support him, even though as Archbishop, he could be said to have considerable institutional authority. He must have dreaded the problem for Lambeth Palace if even a small fraction of the supporters who had rallied to Ball’s support at the time of the caution had turned their attention on him. Carey, having risen to the top in the church from fairly humble social origins, seems to have been fairly easily intimidated by the disapproval of his social ‘betters’. I am, of course, speculating at this point, but in summary it is a reasonable reading of the available evidence to suggest that Archbishop Carey was simply afraid of the power that Ball could muster against him. The weak responses made by Carey, including the failure to share relevant letters with the authorities, are the actions of someone who is frightened of a power greater than his own.

Social power, institutional power and charismatic power are phenomena to be found in every institution, including the church. It is when they operate without being identified and understood that they can become a real problem. Ball, in possessing all three types of power, could and did become an extremely dangerous individual in the church. There were few checks and balances on his behaviour and the use of his power. Abusing this power was at the heart of his offending. He was also too powerful to challenge, even after his resignation and police caution. Even when the secular authorities caught up with him, the church still seemed not to understand how they had been manipulated by his narcissism and charismatic charm over a long period. What is likely to be revealed next week is a history of gullibility and naivety in the face of a predator who knew how to exercise power effectively for his own ends and fool everyone else in the process.

~ Stephen Parsons

July 21 2018 – David Virtue Online

On a brighter note, former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey was invited back to Oxford to preach this past week. He is allowed to preach again just weeks before a child sex inquiry looks into allegations that he ‘covered up’ and colluded with Bishop Peter Ball over the sexual abuse of vulnerable young men and boys. Ball was convicted in 2015 of sexually abusing vulnerable young men and boys. You can read more here: https://tinyurl.com/y7r2rgfl

July 22 2018 – Peter Hitchens on Sir Cliff Richard and Lord Bishop Bell…and Peter Ball

I hate his cheesy hits, but I’ve just joined the Cliff Richard fan club after his court victory

This is Peter Hitchens’ Mail On Sunday column Cliff richard

My congratulations to Sir Cliff Richard. By taking the BBCand the police to court over their shocking treatment of an unproven allegation against him, he has struck a mighty blow for justice.

I wish all my journalistic colleagues would recognise this and stop carping about a mythical threat to press freedom.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/media/commentisfree/2018/jul/22/cliff-richard-v-bbc-terrible-precedent-media-must-fight-back

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16369918.angela-haggerty-congratulations-sir-cliff-youve-just-done-sex-offenders-a-big-favour/

I sympathise with Sir Cliff because I have spent quite a lot of the past few years trying to restore the reputation of a great Englishman, Bishop George Bell, unfairly besmirched after the Church of England publicly revealed ancient and uncorroborated allegations of child sex abuse against him, and appeared to have accepted them.

George Bell has nothing to do with the modern Bishop Peter Ball, by the way, who is a convicted abuser and whose disgusting acts I condemn. By contrast, George Bell (who died in 1958) was never tried, and had no chance to defend himself. Accusations made more than six decades after the alleged offence were lazily accepted by various prelates and apparatchiks, after a sloppy and prejudiced apology for an investigation.

Many otherwise intelligent people assumed his guilt, largely due to an incorrect claim that he would, if alive, have been arrested by the police, who were dragged into the matter by the Church. This would not have been proof of guilt even if true, but it did what it was intended to do, and poisoned many minds against him.

It also helped that several supposedly responsible newspapers, and the BBC, proclaimed prominently that his guilt was established, when it was not. Only the BBC have ever admitted that they were wrong. A dead man has no rights.

My small role in getting justice for Bishop Bell (a battle that is still not over) taught me a lot about the tattered, decrepit state of justice in this country. And here is what I learned. Hardly anyone understands British justice any more, especially the vital presumption that all of us are innocent until proven guilty.

Police actions can prejudice fair trials. Well-publicised arrests and spectacular raids (often, absurdly, at dawn) on homes serve no serious purpose except to shatter the morale of the target and to prejudice the public mind.

Can anyone tell me what South Yorkshire Police actually hoped to find when they searched Sir Cliff’s home in conditions of total publicity in 2014?

The accusation, since dismissed, was that the singer had abused someone at a Billy Graham rally in 1985. I am shocked that any magistrate with any self-respect could have granted a warrant for such a grotesque invasion of a man’s privacy, on such evidence.

I cannot imagine such a thing would have happened 50 years ago, when more people were properly educated and understood what freedom is. But the state has recently gained extraordinary and uncontrolled powers to punish people without proving anything against them.

An allegation, especially of abuse, will ruin the accused person’s reputation forever because millions of people wrongly believe the silly old saying that there is no smoke without fire. He will probably have to spend his entire life savings to fight it. Even if a jury throws out the charges, he will not get a penny of that back. How can this possibly be just? It cannot be, yet we permit it.

I am told that if we are not allowed to report this sort of thing, it will allow the state to persecute people in secret. A simple provision, that such searches may be made public only if the accused person gives written permission, solves that in a second. I believe that the police, deprived of the oxygen of publicity, will simply stop behaving like this.

What is the point of turning up at dawn with a dozen cars with flashing lights if it can’t be shown on TV? You might as well do what you should have done in the first place, and ask the accused to come round to the station.

AS FOR the argument that these actions cause ‘other victims’ to come forward, the claim itself is an example of the ignorant prejudice of our times. Not all accusations are true, as we have learned quite a few times lately.

They are not ‘victims’ but ‘alleged victims’, until the case is proven beyond reasonable doubt in a fair court of law. And why can they not come forward when the accused is formally charged and arrested?

I may in the past have wondered whether Sir Cliff was worth the fantastic amounts of money he has earned from his long career. Now I don’t begrudge him a penny. It was only thanks to his huge wealth that he was able to fight and win a battle that badly needed to be fought.

Now everyone who cares for liberty and justice must see that his efforts are not wasted.

July 23 – IICSA Hearing – Day 1 –  Monday

  • Public Hearing

    Public Hearing – Peter Ball case study – Day 2 Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

  • Public Hearing

    Public Hearing – Peter Ball case study – Day 3 Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

  • Public Hearing

    Public Hearing – Peter Ball case study – Day 4 Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

  • Public Hearing

    Public Hearing – Peter Ball case study – Day 5 Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

    July 23 2018 – IICSA – Livestream

  • July 23 2108 – Transcript – Day 1 – Monday – July 23 2018

  • Excerpts – Fiona Scolding QC
  • Page 13
  • This case study will seek answers to the following
    19 questions:
    (1) why did Bishop Peter Ball escape detection as an
    abuser, despite, as it has now emerged, the fact that he
    made sexual advances to a significant number of young
    men who came within his ambit of influence?
    (2) how did the church permit him to run a scheme
    25 where young people came to stay with him for extended
    Page 14
    periods of time in his home without any supervision or
    oversight and without any real sense of what was
    happening or who was there over a more than ten-year
    period whilst he was a suffragan bishop?
    (3) why was he given a caution, rather than
    prosecuted, for the offending that the police
    investigated in 1992/1993 in respect of Neil Todd and
    others? Why were other complaints brought at that time
    not prosecuted or subject to any form of disposal at
    that time?
    (4) why was Peter Ball represented by a lawyer
    during the criminal proceedings in 1992 who was also the
    diocesan registrar, that is, an official lawyer for the
    diocese in religious matters? This individual discussed
    the case and Peter Ball’s defence with various senior
    members of the church during the course of
    the investigation. Why was this potential conflict of
    interest not identified or acted upon?
    (5) was it wrong for the church to become involved
    in seeking to defend Peter Ball by employing a private
    detective on his behalf?
    (6) were the church, police or prosecution put under
    undue and improper pressure by individuals who held
    positions of power and influence within society to try
    and quash the criminal allegations made against
    Page 15
    Peter Ball and return him to ministry?
    (7) should a caution ever have been administered?
    (8) why was he not subject to any disciplinary
    action by the church until 2015? Were the disciplinary
    powers of the church at the time in question, 1992
    through to 2015, fit for purpose to manage the sorts of
    allegations that this case study raises? Why, given the
    frustrations expressed by senior individuals within
    Lambeth Palace about Peter Ball’s lack of insight into
    his own offending behaviour was no risk assessment
    process undertaken of him until 2009?
    (9) why was he allowed to return to public ministry
    and even granted permission to visit schools and
    undertake confirmations in the light of what was known
    about his offending behaviour within the church at the
    time?
    (10) why didn’t the church refer letters received
    from various individuals which made allegations similar
    to those that Neil Todd had made to the police
    in December 1992 and why in fact did it take until 2010
    for the majority of those letters to be passed to the
    police?
    (11) was the internal investigation conducted by the
    Church of England in 1992/1993 adequate?
    (12) why did the prosecution decide to accept the
    Page 16
    guilty pleas entered into by Peter Ball in 2015 and why
    were other offences not pursued to trial?
    (13) would the church approach a similar matter
    concerning a senior member of its ranks in a like manner
    today and, if not, what steps have been nut in place to
    create a consistent approach to dealing with such
    allegations?
    (14) what steps does the church, police, Crown
    Prosecution Service and society need to undertake to
    overcome the problems that this case study may
    demonstrate?
    We have sought and obtained evidence from Peter Ball
    himself. He has provided two witness statements to the
    inquiry. We have received medical evidence that he is
    too unwell to give us evidence either in person or by
    way of videolink. Both his witness statements will be
    placed upon the website. He has provided an apology in
    the second of those witness statements and has
    identified that he has neither been open nor shown
    penitence in the past. He also identifies that
    previously he has not had the courage to be forthright
    about his sexuality that maybe he should have had…….

Page 90 MR GIFFIN: Chair, members of the panel, the
Archbishops’ Council is grateful for this opportunity to
make some brief opening remarks. The inquiry of course
heard longer submissions from us at the start and finish
of the Chichester case study, and we also filed detailed
written submissions at the close of the Chichester
hearings, and all of those are publicly available and
I needn’t repeat any of the detail of them now.
Rather, I shall confine myself to three matters.
The first and foremost is to say, clearly, that the
church is sorry and ashamed. At the Chichester
hearings, the Archbishops’ Council offered an
unqualified apology to those vulnerable people, children
and others, whose lives have been damaged by abuse, and
who were not cared for and protected by the church as
they should have been. We repeat that apology now,
specifically to those who suffered abuse at the hands of
Peter Ball, and the families and others who have been
affected by that abuse.
In 2015, after Ball, as you have heard, pleadedguilty to offences and was sentenced for them, the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote to
individuals known to have been abused by Ball to offer
Page 91
his apologies and the church made a public statement,
including these words, which bear repeating. Shall
I pause?
MS SCOLDING: I’m terribly sorry. I don’t know what is
going on. I will ask Mr Fulbrook to go and see if
whatever is happening can be desisted from immediately.
MR GIFFIN: Shall I continue, chair? I will, if I may,
repeat my previous words….

Page 99

Mr Bourne

Now, this does not excuse the error of not passing
on the letters, but the inquiry will see that the police
back then had abundant evidence of a wider picture of
Peter Ball’s abusive activity and the inquiry can be
reassured that the addition of one further allegation
would not have altered that picture in any significant
25 way.
Page 100
My second comment on Dame Moira’s report is that, on
three key points, it will benefit from some
clarification. Unfortunately, those key points have
attracted as much attention as anything else in the
report. They are the references to collusion, coverup
and deliberate concealment.
In fairness to Dame Moira, her report is actually
expressed in very measured terms; so measured, in fact,
that any conclusions drawn about collusion, coverup or
deliberate concealment are not easy to pin down. The
problem, however, is that the report’s use of those
words has already had serious consequences, and that’s
not surprising because there is a crucial difference
between mistakes, however blameworthy, and
conspiratorial acts carried out for a guilty purpose.
We have no doubt that this inquiry will wish to
distinguish carefully between those two things.
There are, therefore, questions for Dame Moira Gibb
about those specific areas. All I will add now in
opening is that Lord Carey’s hope is that this week’s
hearing will make some important matters clearer for
everyone. The clearest possible understanding is, of
course, for the benefit of all of the public and
especially for victims and survivors.
Chair, thank you…….

Reverend Graham Sawyer

Page 171

A. Let me make this very clear. The sexual abuse that was
perpetrated upon me by Bishop Peter Ball pales into
insignificance when compared to the enduringly cruel and
sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by
officials, both lay and ordained, in the
Church of England, and I know from the testimony of
other people who have got in touch with me over the last
five or ten years that what I have experienced is not
dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and
I use those words “cruel and sadistic”, because I think
that’s how they behave.
Q. How much of that do you attribute to the lingering
effect, shall we say, of Peter Ball, because the events
you describe sort of postdated Peter Ball’s caution and
resignation?
Page 172
A. Well, there’s an expression used in Australia to refer
to the bench of bishops, they don’t refer to the bench
of bishops, but they refer to the “purple circle”, andthe purple circle exists pretty much in every national
church within Anglicanism. It no doubt exists in other
episcopally-led churches. They support one another in
a sort of club-like way.
If anyone attacks one of them, they will, as
a group, as a sort of collective conscience and in
action, seek to destroy the person who is making
complaints about one individual.
Now, don’t take my testimony alone from this. There
is former — in fact, the recently retired bishop of
Newcastle in NSW, Australia, who was a victim of sexual
abuse there, and he described his treatment — he said
it is like an ecclesiastical protection racket. That is
the culture within Anglicanism and no doubt within other
episcopally-led church. It is an ecclesiastical
protection racket, and anyone who seeks in any way to
threaten the reputation of the church as an institution
has to be destroyed. That is the primary thing, and
that is the culture within Anglicanism.

July 23 2018 – “Lawyers argue over format of Charles’s evidence to [IICSA] abuse inquiry”

July 23 2018 – “Probe into leak of Prince Charles statement to Peter Ball [IICSA] abuse inquiry” – BBC

July 23 2018 – From The Archives – [1988 – “Rumpole of the Bailey” with Leo McKern – Episode: ‘Rumpole and the Age of Miracles’ – Series 5 Disc 2 – Filmed on location at Chichester Cathedral – ‘The Diocese of Lawnchester’ – Ecclesiastical Court]

Rumpole: “I happen to have a good deal of faith”

Ballard: “Yes, in what precisely?”

Rumpole: “The health-giving properties of Claret. The presumption of innocence…that golden thread running through British justice”

July 23 2018 – From The Archives – [Oct 6 2015 – “‘Deeply corrupt’ Church of England Tried To Silence Abuse Victim” – Rev Graham Sawyer of MACSAS – Video (subtitles) ]

July 23 2018 – From The Archives [March 22 2017 – “On Leaving The Church of England” – Bishop Dr Gavin Ashenden – Video (subtitles) ]

Public Hearing  – Day 2 – Tuesday

Public Hearing – Peter Ball case study – Day 2  Child Sexual Abuse in the Anglican Church

July 24 2018 – David Lamming on the IICSA – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

What today’s hearing also revealed was the lengths to which Prince Charles and/or his solicitors went to avoid providing a signed witness statement to the Inquiry (see transcript, 23 July 2018, page 86, line 21, to page 89, line 24.) Mr Scorer, in his opening statement, said that “with all due respect to His Royal Highness”, his clients (six survivors of abuse by Peter Ball) found the explanations for the Prince’s interactions with Ball “frankly astonishing.” (see transcript, page 83, line 24, to page 86, line 6). He urged that the panel hold to account “senior figures in the establishment [who] aided and cosseted a serial sex offender and in many cases did so with knowledge” (transcript, page 86, lines 13-19). The panel will need to consider whether or not, on the evidence, the Prince of Wales has shown himself to be a fit person to be a future Supreme Governor of the Church of England”

~ David Lamming

July 24 2018 – “Church was ‘cruel and sadistic’ in its response…….” – Independent

“The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by 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”

~ Reverend Graham Sawyer

July 24 2018 – RWS Comment

I think the words of Reverend Graham Sawyer are worth repeating here, shedding light not just on how the Church//CPS/Police have treated victims of sexual abuse (eg Neil Todd & Reverend Graham), but also how ‘they’ have treated victims who have been wrongfully/falsely accused of abuse (eg Lord Bishop Bell and Sir Cliff Richard):

IICSA Transcript – Monday July 23 2018

Page 171-172

Reverend Graham Sawyer:
Let me make this very clear. The sexual abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Bishop Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to the enduringly cruel and sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by officials, both lay and ordained, in the Church of England, and I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with me over the last five or ten years that what I have experienced is not dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and I use those words “cruel and sadistic”, because I think that’s how they behave.

Fiona Scolding QC
How much of that do you attribute to the lingering effect, shall we say, of Peter Ball, because the events you describe sort of postdated Peter Ball’s caution and resignation?

Reverend Graham Sawyer
Well, there’s an expression used in Australia to refer to the bench of bishops, they don’t refer to the bench of bishops, but they refer to the “purple circle”, and the purple circle exists pretty much in every national church within Anglicanism. It no doubt exists in other episcopally-led churches. They support one another in a sort of club-like way. If anyone attacks one of them, they will, as a group, as a sort of collective conscience and in action, seek to destroy the person who is making complaints about one individual. Now, don’t take my testimony alone from this. There is former — in fact, the recently retired bishop of Newcastle in NSW, Australia, who was a victim of sexual abuse there, and he described his treatment — he said it is like an ecclesiastical protection racket. That is the culture within Anglicanism and no doubt within other episcopally-led church. It is an ecclesiastical protection racket, and anyone who seeks in any way to threaten the reputation of the church as an institution has to be destroyed. That is the primary thing, and that is the culture within Anglicanism.

July 24 2018 – “Ex-Archbishop ‘appalled’ by Downing Street aide’s letter” – BBC

July 25 2018 – IICSA – Day 2 – Tuesday – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 25 2018 – IICSA Transcripts – July 25 2018

July 26 2018 – IICSA – Day 3 – Wednesday – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 26 2018 – From The Archives [May 20 2018 – Resignation of Bishops … in Chile]

“The bishops’ move came after Francis said the Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for “grave defects” in handling sexual abuse cases and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the church. He accused them of destroying evidence of sexual crimes, putting pressure on investigators to downplay abuse accusations and showing “grave negligence” in protecting children from paedophile priests”

July 26 2018 –  RWS Note

What has emerged from the ‘Peter Ball’ IICSA hearing this week is an unbelievable account of chaos, cover-up, callousness, and incompetence within the dark corners of the Church of England’s highest echelons.
Maybe it is time for the Bishops’ “purple circle”, as described by the abused Reverend Graham Sawyer, to collectively take responsibility and follow the example of the Bishops of Chile, by offering their resignations en bloc to the Church’s Supreme Governor – Her Majesty the Queen.
“The bishops’ move came after Pope Francis said the Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for ‘grave defects’ in handling sexual abuse cases, and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the church. He accused them of destroying evidence of sexual crimes, putting pressure on investigators to downplay abuse accusations and showing ‘grave negligence’ in protecting children from paedophile priests”
~ Richard W. Symonds

July 26 2018 – “BBC Agree To Pay Sir Cliff Richard £850,000 Over Police Raid Coverage” – Huffington Post

July 26 2018 – “BBC refused permission to challenge Sir Cliff Richard’s privacy ruling” – AOL/PA

July 26 2018 – “Disgraced bishop’s indecency caution decision wrong, abuse inquiry told” – AOL/PA

July 26 2018 – IICSA Letter to Richard W. Symonds

26 July 2018
Our reference: IICSA-0002624
Dear Mr Symonds,

Thank you for contacting the Inquiry via email on 20 July with your query about the Peter Ball hearing.
The Inquiry is not intending to call Mr Nye to give evidence at the Peter Ball hearing as he has already provided a witness statement to the Inquiry in relation to the Anglican Church investigation, which you can read about here.
You can find all the documents and videos relating to this investigation on our website at:
http://www.iicsa.org.uk/investigations/investigation-into-failings-by-the-anglican-church?tab=hearing
The timetable for the hearing can be found here.
Thank you once again for making the time to contact the Inquiry and for your interest in the Anglican Church investigation.
Yours sincerely,
Liz Long
Head of Inquiry Network, IICSA Operations
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

July 27 2018 – IICSA – Day 4 – Thursday – ‘Thinking  Anglicans’

July 27 2018 – “Peter Ball abuse inquiry: Prince Charles ‘misled’ by bishop” – BBC

In his letter, the prince said: “I first became aware of Peter Ball during the 1980s. He was later appointed Bishop of Gloucester when he became my local diocesan bishop.

“Peter Ball told me he had been involved in some sort of ‘indiscretion’ which prompted his resignation as my local bishop.

“He emphasised that one individual that I now understand to be Mr Neil Todd had made a complaint to the police, that the police had investigated the matter, and the Crown Prosecution Service had decided to take no action.

“That sequence of events seemed to support Mr Ball’s claim that the complaint emanated from one individual and that individual bore a grudge against him and was persecuting him, that the complaint was false, but that the individual had nonetheless profited from the complaint by selling his story.

“Events later demonstrated beyond any doubt, to my deep regret, that I, along with many others, has been misled.”

July 27 2018 – “Charles told accused ex-bishop he would ‘see off this horrid man'” – AOL-PA

The Prince of Wales has told the child abuse inquiry he could not “shed any light” on who he was referring to in a letter to disgraced bishop Peter Ball when he wrote: “I will see off this horrid man if he tries anything again.”

Ball had told the prince a single accuser was behind allegations which led to him having to quit as Bishop of Gloucester.

In a letter to the inquiry, the prince said Ball had told him the complaint against him was false and had arisen from someone who had a grudge against him and was “persecuting” him.

Peter Ball
Peter Ball (John Stillwell/PA)

In extracts from one letter between the prince and Ball, Charles says: “I can’t bear it that the frightful and terrifying man is on the loose and doing his worst.”

But in his letter to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) on Friday, the prince, who said he regrets having been “deceived” by Ball, said: “I regret that I am unable to shed any light on references made in a letter dated 23rd March 1997 to a ‘horrid man’ or a `frightful and terrifying man’.

“This seems to be a manner of speaking in the midst of a long letter written more than twenty years ago.

“I do recall that Peter Ball felt that numerous individuals, including his critics in the media, were doing all in their power to disadvantage him unfairly.

“I suspect, but cannot be certain, that the reference is to this issue in some way.”

Charles maintained a friendship with Ball for more than two decades after Ball accepted a caution for gross indecency, only stopping contact when Ball was convicted in 2015 of sexually abusing 18 young men over 30 years.

The prince says he did not know about the nature of the complaint against Ball and had not appreciated the meaning of a caution.

A lawyer for some of the former bishop’s victims has said it was difficult to see that “as anything other than wilful blindness”.

In another letter from the prince to Ball in 1995 – two years after Ball’s caution – the future king said he wished he could “do more”.

He said: “I feel so desperately strongly about the monstrous wrongs that have been done to you and the way you have been treated.”

Charles also said he had been told by the then Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey that the church was looking at bringing Ball back into public ministry.

In the 1995 letter he said it was “appalling” that the Archbishop, now Lord Carey, had “gone back on what he told me”.

He said it was clear the Archbishop was “frightened of the press – what he calls ‘public perception’.”

Another letter from Charles the following year referred to the process of getting a Duchy of Cornwall property for Ball and his brother Michael, Bishop of Truro.

It said: “I long to see you both settled somewhere that suits you and gives you peace and tranquility – and not too far from here so you can come over more easily.”

The pair rented a Duchy property between 1997 and 2011.

Charles’s letter to the inquiry said: “My heart goes out to the victims of abuse and I applaud their courage as they rebuild their lives and, so often, offer invaluable support to others who have suffered.

“It remains a source of deep personal regret that I was one of many who were deceived over a long period of time about the true nature of Mr Ball’s activities.”

Charles said Ball told him his resignation as Bishop of Gloucester had been prompted by an “indiscretion”, but the prince said: “When this exchange took place, I did not know about the nature of the complaint.”

He also said, in the six-page statement read by counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding, that he had not appreciated the meaning of a caution and that at the time the word of a bishop was generally seen as trustworthy.

He said he did not realise the truth of what had gone on until Ball’s conviction, adding that his main source of information until then had been the bishop himself.

Dismissing any suggestion he had ever tried to interfere in the police investigation into Ball, Charles said it was possible his name had been taken “in vain”.

In his statement, dated July 10 this year, Charles said: “At no stage did I ever seek to influence the outcome of either of the police investigations into Peter Ball and nor did I instruct or encourage my staff to do so.”

Ball, the former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, is too ill to give evidence in person, the inquiry has heard.

But in a statement he referred to his relationship as having been one of “support and respect”.

He added: “I would strongly resist any suggestion that in some way I could bring pressure to bear on him to act on my behalf and have certainly never made a request for him to do so.”

On Monday the inquiry heard there had been lengthy discussions between Charles’s lawyers and the inquiry in which his legal team initially argued that the future king could not be compelled to produce a statement.

Clarence House has since said Charles was willing to help the inquiry and had voluntarily answered all questions asked of him.

Richard Scorer, a specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon who represents a number of Ball’s victims, said Charles’s explanation that he was not aware of the meaning of a caution left his clients “dissatisfied”.

He said: “Prince Charles had access to the best legal advice that money can buy and, as a man in his position, a particular responsibility to check the facts.

“It is difficult to see his failure to do so as anything other than wilful blindness.

“His evidence, together with that of Lord Carey, the then archbishop of Canterbury, and other establishment figures who have given evidence this week, will do little to dissuade survivors from the conclusion that the British establishment aided and protected Ball and even now have failed to give a transparent account of their actions.”

Ball was released in February last year after serving half of his 32-month sentence behind bars.

July 27 2018 – “IICSA reveals how Prince Charles took Peter Ball’s side: ‘We trusted bishops in those days'” – Church Times

July 28 2018 – Independent Front Page – “Future king ‘misled’ by paedophile bishop”

_102728618_iweekend-front-page-28-july

July 28 2018 – Sun Front Page – “Charles: My shame over perv bishop”

July 28 2018 – Daily Telegraph Front Page – “Prince’s regret over support for abuser bishop”

July 28 2018 – The Times – “Charles: Monstrous wrongs were done to sex abuse Bishop” / “The sinful bishop and a very English cover-up”

July 28 2018 – The Guardian – “Prince said disgraced bishop suffered ‘monstrous wrongs’”

July 28 2018 – Daily Mail: “Charles And The Pervert”

July 28 2018 – Daily Mirror: “Charles: I did not try to fix bishop probe”

July 28 2018 – ITV – “Prince Charles expresses ‘deep personal regret’ over supporting former Bishop convicted of sex offences”

July 28 2018 – RWS Note

“The Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Her Majesty the Queen, will no doubt be calling Archbishop Welby to the Palace” ~ Richard W. Symonds

July 28 2018 – IICSA – Day 5 [Final] – Friday – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

July 28 2018 – IICSA Transcript – Final Day – July 27 2018

Mr William Chapman, counsel for complainants, victims and survivors represented by Switalskis and also who represents MACSAS:

Page 135-136: “He [George Carey], in the words of Andrew Nunn, did try to sweep it under the carpet. If George Carey thought by doing so he served the reputation of the church, it was a gross misjudgment. The tactics deployed by the church were at the very edge of lawfulness. We heard how Bishop Kemp attempted to compromise Mr Murdock. We heard how several bishops telephoned Ros Hunt to ask her to tell the young men who had made complaints not to speak to the police or the press. We heard how Michael Ball, Bishop of Truro, had been contacting witnesses and, in Mr Murdock’s view, trying to influence them. We do encourage the police to review whether any of these matters, in particular the actions of the bishops who contacted Ros Hunt, disclose offences of perverting the course of justice”

Mrs Kate Wood

Page 89-92

Q. How would you characterise the emails you received from Neil Todd? You received a number I think at this time?

A. I did. He, I think, was surprised this was being raised again. He was very calm about it, I felt. He wanted information, and why wouldn’t he? I wanted to give him as much information as I could, but, for the reasons you have outlined, I had to be a bit careful. I didn’t have any emails from him that showed any great distress at that point. He was obviously anxious, and he wanted information. But he was very calm and composed with his emails. I could tell he was also very angry at the church, and, again, why wouldn’t he be? So I tried to support him through that.

Q. In your witness statement at paragraph 149 you refer to the fact that in his later emails in particular he was clearly angry with the church —

A. Yes.

Q. — and was feeling anxious. You refer to an email — I think the reference is wrong, but the correct reference is ACE001870. This is an email to Jeremy Pryor. Why is it that you have this email, Mrs Wood?

A. I can only think that Jez, Jeremy, copied me in on it, I think.

Q. You think Jeremy copied you in or did Neil Todd copy you in? The reason I say that is in your summary you seem to think that Neil copied you in when he wrote this to Jeremy?

A. I don’t know, sorry.

Q. That’s all right. Don’t worry about that. If we can go down to the fifth paragraph of the long email that begins, “So the difficulty”. I think this is the email you are referring to in your witness statement:

Neil Todd’s Email to Mrs Kate Wood/Jeremy Pryor

“So the difficulty of the black-and-white events of Peter Ball’s behaviour are not in the acts themselves — but the fact that he corrupted my genuine search for something good with acts which were obviously intentional for his own sexual gratification in the guise of a wise teacher nurturing and caring of a young seeker, aspiring to good intentions.

“When he denied his behaviour, this struck at my deepest conscience — it was then that the reality of what I allowed him to do — was not moral. The reality that his behaviour was not for my good or inspirational guidance.

“He only had to admit that what he did — actually occurred — this would then have made some sense to me. If he could admit that lying on top of me naked, his ejaculations, the naked showers under his instruction, the threat of physical beatings was all part of his unique path to spiritual guidance, was normal, then maybe we could have accepted that his intentions were good, just unusual. But his denial of all that occurred resulted in deep disillusionment. I personally felt ashamed for allowing this behaviour to occur, for allowing myself to be so gullible and not question or seek guidance earlier. This could have redirected my path. I could have joined a true community and been guided appropriately. The church should also have showed a greater deal of support but to dismiss me after the incident with no due care, simply resulted in full disillusionment with the institution as a whole. I genuinely felt the church was covering up, but at the worst it affected my personal relationship with God and my genuine search in faith. When Peter accepted a caution, he stated with penitence and sorrow he was accepting the police caution, but, again, the church was saddened by his resignation.

“All I want is the truth to be known without suspicion. I want Peter to admit in black and white that the events that took place did take place — that none of this was my imagination — nor my fault. I want the black-and-white questions to be answered.

“I would also request that the church take responsibility for not acknowledging nor supporting nor investigating my concerns.

“I heard that Peter had a new candidate when I was based in London — I wonder if he too experienced similar behaviour.

“I have survived all this, led a normal life — I changed direction after a few years of rebellion, to say the least, and commenced training as a registered nurse. I have been qualified since 1999 and have been working as director of nursing for indigenous communities in Australia. I have a loving and supportive partner of 18 years and am generally considered normal.

“Unfortunately, I never had counselling to deal with nor work through the emotions that occur after such a personal incident — but, yes, I can accept that Peter Ball’s behaviour has left its mark. I am not a vindictive person — I only wish for an acknowledgement that my experience was a reality and that all Church of England hierarchical parties take a share in the responsibility of their inaction.

“Regards, Neil.”

Closing remarks by Fiona Scolding QC

Page 175-176

Chair and panel, obviously it is not the role of counsel to the inquiry to sum up. I just have a very few brief remarks. I would like to thank everybody — in particular the legal teams and all the witnesses who have attended — for their patience and cooperation. I would also like to thank everyone for the courteous and respectful way in which this hearing has been conducted and in their approach and role towards us as counsel to the inquiry.
Just a few statistics, so that everyone can feel that they have earned their fees: 108,000 pages of documents were received by the inquiry during this investigation, and 53,244 pages were disclosed; 118 witness statements were obtained from 23 97 individuals; we have heard 14 live witnesses and three read witnesses.
Last, but by no means least, we want to hold and remember Neil Todd and his family and hope that they are able to find peace and solace after what must have been a painful reawakening of their memories.
We also wish to thank all the other victims and survivors, whose courage in speaking to us and whose insight, wisdom and understanding is both central and essential to the work of this inquiry. We apologise for any distress and upset that this week may have caused to them. Thank you very much

July 29 2018 – “Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Scandal” – New York Times

July 29 2018 – Vickery House – Peter Ball – Berwick

July 29 2018 – Peter Hitchens on Bishop Bell and Berwick

IMG_1472

“The Revd George Mitchell, wearing his monocle, stands behind Bishop George Bell” – ‘The Bloomsbury Group in Berwick Church’ by Peter Blee [page 100] – Mural Painting by Duncan Grant c. 1941 – Photo by Richard W. Symonds – August 1 2018

A Lovely, Gentle Way of Striking a Blow for Truth and Justice

Here is a possible counterblast to the Church of England’s horrible Stalinist attempt to suppress and obscure the memory of the late Bishop George Bell, whose memorial in Chichester Cathedral was for some months disfigured with prejudicial ‘safeguarding’ notices, whose name has been stripped from several institutions and schools which it used to adorn and whose statue lies unfinished in a stoneyard at Canterbury cathedral, where he was for some years a most distinguished Dean. All this without anything remotely resembling a fair trial, let alone a finding of guilt.

If you dislike this sort of behaviour, you can do something constructive and rather wonderful, by helping to preserve some unique and rather lovely wall-paintings at the Church of St Michael and All Angels at Berwick (no, not that one) a village in East Sussex close to Virginia Woolf’s old home at Charleston. The Virginia Woolf detail is important, as you will see.

For some months now the campaign to get justice for George Bell has been treading water. Many of you will remember the devastating verdict which Lord Carlile QC pronounced on the Church of England’s kangaroo-court condemnation of the late Bishop.

For anyone unfamiliar with the case, the neccessary information is here . To begin with for the really keen, are almost all the necessary documents

http://www.georgebellgroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/bishop-bell-compendium-21062016.pdf

Here is a long account of the case:

http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2016/03/murder-in-the-cathedral-the-casual-wrecking-of-a-great-name.html

Here is a brief summary of Bell’s life and of the case against him

https://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/11/in-defense-of-george-bell

Here is an account (in a newspaper which initially wrongly assumed Bell’s guilt)  of the vindication,  and of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s miserable failure to accept it

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/15/george-bell-anglican-church-rushed-to-judgment-child-abuse-carlile-report

And here is the report by Lord Carlile QC, after which Lord Carlile said to me that, having reviewed the case very thoroughly, this distinguished advocate did not believe he could have won a prosecution on the evidence provided. This is as near as he could come to saying he thought Bell not guilty (since he was specifically not asked to rule on Bell’s guilt or innocence, I wonder why?)

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Bishop%20George%20Bell%20-%20The%20Independent%20Review.pdf

So now let us go back to Berwick, a small, not-very-old church on the edge of the chalk downs of Sussex, chosen by George Bell for an artistic experiment in the 1940s. The full details of this are here

http://berwickchurch.org.uk/

You can discover how George Bell (who loved all the arts and sought to harness them to the cause of Christ in the modern era) persuaded three Bloomsbury artists (not famous for their piety) to decorate the church with wall-paintings depicting Biblical themes. You can see pictures of what they did, many of which I find rather splendid and extraordinarily English, in a way that seemed to die out of our painting after about 1945.

Among them are, as a war memorial, pictures of a soldier, a sailor and an airman which I find extremely evocative. There is the birth of Christ in a Sussex stable, the Supper at Emmaus (to me the most moving moment in the entire Bible ‘Abide with us, for it is towards evening and the day is far spent’) with the chalk hills in the background, and an Annunciation with an English garden visible through the window.

And, which was only just, there is a representation of George Bell himself, his plain clergyman’s face well-depicted, resplendent in his Bishop’s robes. Gosh, I bet there are people who would be happy if that were to crumble away.

Anyway, they are all getting old and badly in need of repair. The website http://berwickchurch.org.uk/

tells you how, if you are moved to do so, you can help achieve this.  You might want to visit as well, I am told it is a very pleasant part of the country. I certainly plan to do so. But if you can help, what a lovely, quiet, good way of supporting truth justice and the English way of doing things, which does seem to be so very much under attack.

IMG_1481

‘Christ In Glory’ – Mural painting by Duncan Grant [1943] – St Michael & All Angels, Berwick – Bishop George Bell [below right]

July 29 2018 – From The Archives [May 28 2012 – “Church of England inquiry into Sussex abuse bishop” – BBC – Colin Campbell]

Ball, Peter

Cotton, Roy

House, Vickery

Pritchard, Colin

Rideout, Gordon

Michael Ball (Truro )

Jeremy Dowling

July 29 2018 – Lord Lloyd of Berwick – Wiki

He was a successful barrister, and “took silk” as a Queen’s Counsel in 1967. In 1969 he was appointed Attorney-General to the Prince of Wales, serving until 1977.

July 29 2018 – Peter Ball – Wiki

July 30 2018 – Archbishop Welby & his ‘Paymasters’ vs The Rest – “Thinking Anglicans” – Comments

“Archbishop Carey acted arrogantly (a not uncommon trait among bishops) but without malice and is not the only eminence to fall for Ball’s undoubted charisma. He is not a danger to children or the vulnerable, but the Church of England under Welby is on a mission to show off its whiter than white safeguarding credentials and to that end, scapegoats it must have. Welby is not finished with his predecessor and we have not seen the end of the humiliation of an old man, to the eternal discredit of the Church of England” ~ Jill Armstead

July 30 2018 – RWS Note

“It seems that to better understand what is going on (eg how the Peter Ball Abuse scandal has somehow turned into “Lord Carey Abuse scandal”), it is important to understand Royal Prerogatives and their application to the State-controlled Church of England in a constitutional monarchy. But don’t be surprised if greater understanding leads to greater confusion – Royal Prerogatives are ‘masonic’ in terms of power and secrecy” ~ Richard W. Symonds

July 30 2018 – From The Archives [May 20 2018 – Resignation of Bishops … in Chile]

“The bishops’ move came after Francis said the Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for “grave defects” in handling sexual abuse cases and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the church. He accused them of destroying evidence of sexual crimes, putting pressure on investigators to downplay abuse accusations and showing “grave negligence” in protecting children from paedophile priests”

July 30 2018 – From The Archives [June 13 2018 – “Vatican team returns to Chile to ‘ask forgiveness’ for clerical sex abuse” – The Tablet ]

July 30 2018 – Peter Ball Abuse Scandal turns into “Lord Carey’s Abuse Scandal”

July 30 2018 – “Carey’s return to ministry sparks row among top Church leaders” – Daily Telegraph 

July 30 2018 – Charles Moore Notebook – Daily Telegraph

IMG_1459

“Twenty-five years ago, the Church was too inclined to believe the denials of clergy in abuse cases [Peter Ball – Ed] because it feared for its reputation. Today, it is too inclined to believe any criticism thrown against clergy now retired [George Carey – Ed] or – as in the wrongs done to the name of George Bell, the former Bishop of Chichester – dead. Such self-protective behaviour was wrong then. Today, it takes the opposite form, but it is still self-protective and still wrong.

“To the justified anger of all abused people who have not received justice must now be added the justified anger of all those falsely accused of child abuse itself, or falsely accused of covering it up”

~ Charles Moore

July 31 2018 – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ – Comments

Janet Fife

It’s such a complex story, and only Ball’s victims seem to have been completely innocent. But rather than struggle with the complexities and their implications for the Church we’re part of – and for ourselves – it’s easier just to heap all the blame on one elderly man. Much more convenient…

adarynefoedd
Simon Bravery

Peter Ball’s role in the Woodard Corporation assisted him in this. I am not sure if any part of the Inquiry is focusing on schools but perhaps it should, particularly i the light of the John Smyth allegations as well.

Peter Ball had a double status, both as old boy of Lancing and local Bishop. As he was actively involved in the governance of the Corporation that gave him access to the Corporation’s schools. Headmasters of other public schools though he was obviously a Good Thing or he wouldn’t be involved with the Woodard Corporation.

There is a wonderful scene in Alan Bennett’s play ” A Question of Attribution.” The Queen ask Anthony Blunt how he knows if a painting is genuine. She dissects what is meant by ” provenance” and comes to the conclusion that if enough of the right sort of chaps say it is genuine then it is accepted as such. Blunt of course suspects that she is talking about something other than painting and becomes increasingly uncomfortable. Something similar seems to have happened to Peter Ball. He could hide in plain sight because his provenance was attested by a wide cross section of the great and the good.

August 1 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 28 2016 – Boston Globe/‘Spotlight’ – “Sex and power in the spotlight”]

August 2 2018 – “A Lovely, Gentle Way of Striking a Blow for Truth and Justice” – Peter Hitchens Blog – Comments

Actually, if there is any peotic justice in this world, then Welby and his collaborators of this farce should ideally end up accused of something they didn’t do and be the ones on the receiving end of a karangoo court while they are still living. Maybe then they will recant and see the error of their ways vis-a-vis Bishop George Bell.

As much as I would like to help by monetary donation, I simply cannot afford to do so at this current time. I’m glad to see a revived blog post on this subject and one that is to some minor extent positive, as I recall the last update here was regarding the CofE’s renewed assault on Bishop Bell’s reputation soon after Lord Carlile’s report on the initial mishandling of the case, and the subsequent reprehensible denial of the right to choose representation by his only remaining living relative. It really makes me despair that the supposed moral guardians of our times are instead the very ones peddling mendacious deceit. Clearly they have no understanding or no care of the religion they purport to live by and represent. Utterly contemptible behaviour – more in league with Beezlebub than Christ – and I can only wish the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his duplicitous cohorts the very worst for the future.

August 2 2108 – From The Archives [March 23 2018 – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – Christian Today – Harry Farley]

Dear Mark Woods – Editor (Christian Today)( mwoods@christiantoday.co.uk )

Please register this as a formal complaint.

I think your headline – “George Bell was ‘fond’ of paedophile bishop Peter Ball and sponsored him through ordination” – is one of the most disgraceful I have ever read.

Shame on you.

If this unbalanced article by Harry Farley is not corrected by 16.00 this Monday – 26th March 2018 – a formal complaint will be made to IPSO at 9am the following day (27th).

Richard W. Symonds ~ The Bell Society

August 2 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 9 2015 – “Jimmy Savile and Prince Charles’ very close friendship with sex abuse bishop Peter Ball” – Daily Mail ]

August 2 2018 – From The  Archives [July 12 2016 – “Update On Peter Ball Establishment Cover-Up: FOI Documents Reveal Ball Investigated In 2008 For Being Part Of A Suspected Paedophile Ring” – Goodness and Harmony ] – Jeremy Dowling, Michael Ball, Peter Ball ]

August 2 2018 – Rev Vickery House – Berwick

August 2 2018 – Nine O’Clock Service and Chris Brain

August 3 2018 – Paul Vallely – Church Times

August 3 2018 – Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’

August  3  2018 –  Church Times – Letter – Richard W. Symonds

Letters to the editor

From Mr Richard W. Symonds

Sir, — What has emerged from the IICSA hearing about Peter Ball is an unbelievable account of chaos, cover-up, callousness, and incompetence within the dark corners of the Church of England’s highest echelons.

Maybe it is time for the Bishops’ “purple circle”, as described by the abuse survivor the Revd Graham Sawyer, collectively to take responsibility and follow the example of the Bishops of Chile, by offering their resignations en bloc to the Church’s Supreme Governor, the Queen.

“The bishops’ move came after Pope Francis said the Chilean church hierarchy was collectively responsible for ‘grave defects’ in handling sexual abuse cases, and the resulting loss of credibility suffered by the church. He accused them of destroying evidence of sexual crimes, putting pressure on investigators to downplay abuse accusations and showing ‘grave negligence’ in protecting children from paedophile priests” (The Guardian).

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

August 6 2018 – RWS Letter to the Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen, The Supreme Governor of the Church of England

IMG_1527

August 6 2018 – “John Smyth tortured Christian boys at Iwerne – Where’s the CofE inquiry?” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’ – Martin Sewell 

Comments – Martin Sewell

However the Church has not been terribly active after it received the Ruston report in 2012/3 ( it is unclear) As far as we know, nobody living or dead has ever been called to account or had their reputation placed “ under a cloud” for the cover up or exporting the alleged abuser to Africa. Contrast this with Bishop Bell placed “ under a cloud” on a single uncorroborated allegation. In this case, there are over 20 in UK maybe 70 in Africa and those we primarily criticise had a plain report which they believed sufficiently to act upon it.

Comments – Len

One is hoping that the Church (other Institutions as well)(see Aug 9 2018) are going to learn that attempting to conceal the criminal activities of some of their members will cause the whole Institution to be brought into question.
Comments -Dominic

It is staggering that no-one else actually did anything about it, bar banishing the perpetrator.

On a more positive note it appears that Downside and Ampleforth RC schools are about to go under, due in no small part to the reluctance of parents to send their children to schools who similarly protected abusers.

August 6 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 5 2017 – “John Smyth, the school predator who beat me for five years” – Daily Telegraph]

August 6 2018 – John Smyth – Channel 4

August 8 2018 – “Bishop Bell wronged” – Daily Telegraph – Letters – Lord Lexden

IMG_1536

Sir – Will “the wrongs done to the name of George Bell” (Charles Moore, Notebook, July 30) ever be corrected by the Church of England authorities who committed them nearly three years ago on the strength of a single, uncorroborated allegation by “a victim”, as they described her, against a great man who died 60 years ago?

They brushed aside the withering criticism of their conduct by Lord Carlile QC  in his independent review last December, and then, disregarding his advice, began another secret investigation into a second complaint of sexual abuse which conveniently reached them in January. Its terms of reference remain unknown. Though highly placed Church sources originally gave June as the expected date of completion, it drags on, with a blackout on all news of its progress.

There was a possibility at one stage that the Rt Rev Martin Warner, the current Bishop of Chichester, might take charge of it. That he should even have been considered was astonishing.

It was Bishop Warner who in 2015 said, “we face with shame a story of abuse of a child” after an investigation which Lord Carlile later found to be fatally flawed. The Bishop ordered that his great  predecessor’s name should be removed from buildings and institutions in the diocese. Yet, in his maiden speech in the House of Lords in July, he praised the very man to whom he has done such wrong for making Chichester “famous for its contribution to learning and the arts”.

Lord Lexden, London SW1

August 9 2018 – Unpublished Letter to Daily Telegraph (in response to Lord Lexden’s letter – above)

Dear Editor

Perhaps Archbishop Justin Welby should offer a formal apology to the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Her Majesty The Queen, regarding George Bell Bishop of Chichester (“Bishop Bell wronged”, DT Letters, Aug 8)?

Richard W. Symonds
The Bell Society

August 9 2018 – From The Archives [“Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign” – Daily Telegraph – Dec 21 2017 – Olivia Rudgard]

August 9 2018 – “Police kept in dark about abuse at two top Catholic schools, inquiry finds” – AP-AOL

August 10 2018 – From The Archives – [Feb 9 2017 – Archbishop denounced by Bishop of  Buckingham – Virtue Online]

August 10 2018 – From The Archives [June 22 2015 – Clergy call for resignation  of Bishop of Buckingham – Virtue Online]

August 10 2018 – Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton/Permission to Officiate [PTO] – Letters – Church Times

Lord Carey’s permission to officiate after IICSA

From Mr Andrew Purkis

Sir, — Paul Vallely adds his voice (Comment, 3 August) to those calling for Lord Carey to be deprived of permission to officiate in church services. As one who worked with Lord Carey at Lambeth Palace in 1992 onwards, I have a different perspective.

By his own admission to the IICSA review, Lord Carey made serious errors of judgement in handling the Peter Ball case. Mr Vallely singles out the former Archbishop’s support for Ball after the latter accepted a caution for a single offence of gross indecency which the police and CPS decided did not warrant prosecution.

The Bishop resigned at once when the caution was accepted — and the resignation of a diocesan bishop was no small thing. Against that background, the voices of those suggesting that the Archbishop was treating Ball too harshly in subsequent years were probably louder than those who thought that he was being too lenient — until the eventual prosecution and conviction threw a radically different light on the matter.

It is a big jump of logic to say that, because an Archbishop made admitted serious errors of judgement (shared to a greater or lesser extent with many others at the time) in the Ball case, the Church should now regard him as soiled goods, unworthy to exercise the ministry of priest (or honorary assistant bishop).

Hands up, all bishops — indeed, all clergy — who have not made a serious error of judgement. How many would be left if they were all stripped of their priestly or episcopal ministry?

Ah, but this one is different, runs the argument, because this particular series of misjudgements, together with the mistakes and omissions of others, caused additional pain and suffering to those who had been abused by Ball. Moreover, it brought the Church into disrepute. It is so important to convey the message to suffering victims, and to society at large, that the Church is now fully aware of the horrors of abuse and heeding the voice of victims, that unfrocking, even a bit of rough justice to a former Archbishop, is a necessary price to pay.

I understand that way of thinking, but am unhappy with it for two reasons.

First, we should be consistent and fair about the criteria for exercising episcopal and priestly office. The desire to send a message to somebody else should not interfere with those criteria. It would be worrying if admitted errors of judgement in the past were to become a determining factor without the most careful qualification, because otherwise it won’t be the pews that are empty: it will be the pulpits and Bishops’ bench.

Second, it is wrong to define a whole person, even a whole archbishop, by a particular set of errors that he or she has made. It is an unjust way of “othering” and diminishing a human being, against which in other contexts the Church stands firm.

Lord Carey is not to be defined as the man who messed up aspects of the Ball case. He also led the Church into a definitive decision to ordain women to the priesthood. He led the Decade of Evangelism. He played his part in lifting the Church’s ambition in its place in the educational system. He led reforms of the Church Commissioners and what is now the Archbishops’ Council. He raised the spirits of Christian people in South Sudan and in many other troubled parts of the world. He helped keep alive the principles of restorative justice in the prison system in the dark days of “Prison Works”. He challenged the privatisation of morality.

There are many more examples. He worked his heart out for the Church, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Soiled goods?

ANDREW PURKIS
44 Bellamy Street
London SW12 8BUi

August 11 2018 – “Sexual Abusers and the Abused – The Cost of Forgiveness” – ‘Surviving Church’ –  Stephen Parsons

August 11 2018 – “Religious power and privilege failed the victims in the Peter Ball affair” – National Secular Society

August 12 2018 – Peter Hitchens – Wiki  – Bishop Bell

But it is a mild taste of what it must be like, in reality, to face obdurate authority of this kind, nasty and dispiriting. It dims the sunshine, and nags at the mind….

Oddly, you can face the same problem in what appear to be wholly uncontentious areas. I once attempted to add a short reference to what I thought of as an important book, which had not been given much space, on the Wikipedia page about a favourite author. Again, my change was wiped out within minutes by a furious guardian, who seemed to think that she, and nobody else, should control the entry. Life’s too short to qyarrel with people like this….

have kept myself pretty strictly to correcting factual errors, which in some cases nobody else could possibly do. Who else knows when I joined and left the International Socialists? Who else would be troubled by, and put right, a foolish mistake about my late father’s naval career? Who else recalls the day I broke into a government fall-out shelter in Cambridge, more than 50 years ago? But then again, why let a silly mistake survive, where it might be believed, cited and repeated? One day it could just be important….

You can do these things if you’re more or less on the side of conventional wisdom and don’t work for the Mail on Sunday. My opponent on the Bishop George Bell’ entry (the source of all my troubles) is extraordinarily rude without provocation, calling me a ‘loudmouth’, describing my articles as ‘rants’, dismissing the highly distinguished, disinterested and multi-party group of people who seek basic due process for the late Bishop Bell as a ‘fan club’ and claiming wrongly that they are ‘right-wing’ in the clear belief that this would be a bad thing if so, (so simultaneously disclosing his own partiality and his ignorance of the subject). Nothing whatever happens to him for this behaviour. Indeed, he has a ‘Platinum medal’ for his services to Wikipedia….

. If you wish to discuss this matter with me, treat me fairly. If (as seems to be the case in some comments) you take a special pleasure in blocking a Mail on Sunday columnist, feel free. If that is your idea of a good time, then I can only say that we’re all different. But do not pretend you are doing this in pursuit of the truth. The fact remains that my much-frowned-on edits, though satirical and not intended to stand (I made their purpose plain on the talk page), were entirely factual, an undeniable truth which I have yet to get any administrator or editor to notice, acknowledge or address. Fact One: The police, in England, have precisely no statutory role in the investigation of crimes allegedly committed by the dead; Fact Two: it is a legal absurdity for any English tribunal to say it has found no reason to doubt an allegation. Reason to doubt is actively embodied in the principle of presumption of innocence, is the basis of jury trial and is embedded in both civil and criminal procedure. If you are ready to listen, then I’m ready to defend myself. If I am treated with fairness, an open mind and civility, you will find I respond in the same way. If I am muzzled and silenced, then I just remember how my English ancestors would have responded to such treatment. Please do not delete this. I have of course kept a copy.’….

The dispute is about the description of controversy about the late Bishop George Bell. My view is this. whatever anyone may have believed about this in the past (and the  C of E made great efforts to persuade people that they had serious evidence against Bishop Bell when they did not), the charges were dealt a devastating blow (the lovely old  English word ‘Whirret’ seems right in the circumstances) by the report of Lord Carlile QC, which you may read in full here.

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-12/Bishop%20George%20Bell%20-%20The%20Independent%20Review.pdf

Amazingly, until I put it there last week, the Wikipedia entry on the George Bell case did not even contain a direct link to this report.

Now, Lord Carlile was specifically debarred from giving any opinion on the charges against George Bell in his conclusions. Archbishop Welby put that in the terms of reference.

But that did not stop him giving an opinion elsewhere in the document. And lo:

Paragraph 171: ‘Had the evidence my review has obtained without any particular difficulty (see section[H] below) been available to the Church and the CPS, I doubt that the test for a prosecution would have been passed. Had a prosecution been brought on the basis of that evidence, founded upon my experience and observations I judge the prospect of a successful prosecution as low. I would have expected experienced criminal counsel to have advised accordingly.’

Lord Carlile must be one of the most experienced lawyers of his generation. Coming from him, this judgement is quite devastating, and only people who don’t understand English legal understatement could miss its import. I have known this since Christmas and waited for other Wikipedia editors, unburdened by being me, to discover it and include it, because I am aware of preposterous prejudices against anyone with knowledge of the matter, daring to tinker with the sacred Wikipedia.

Yet the Wikipedia version, while giving a wholly inadequate account of the Carlile Report,  *still* contains tendentious rubbish, dating from the C of E’s original slippery attempt to smear Bishop Bell in the eyes of public and media, driven by the fact that it wasn’t anything like as sure of his guilt as it was claiming to be.

Most especially is the redundant, outdated, and discredited section about how the police had said they had enough evidence to arrest George Bell, had he not been dead for some decades. To my own direct and painful personal knowledge, this inaccurate claim poisoned the minds of many people, often highly educated ones, especially in the media, against George Bell. It created a great solidified wall of slime, which had to be cleared out of the way before the case could be properly debated.  It should never have been said. Now that it is discredited, it has no place in a tightly-edited and concise account of the case *unless* it is qualified by a strong rebuttal. The questionable, indeed legally needless and ultra vires, involvement of the police should certainly not be the opening stage of the story.

This claim that Bell would have been arrested was clearly stated by Carlile to be wrong in law in his paragraph 167, which everyone interested in the case should read to the end, especially the bit about the C of E taking ‘ an exaggerated view’ of the use of the word ‘arrest’

The police have also admitted to me, in their formal response to a complaint I made to them on behalf of GB’s niece, that the C of E diocese persuaded them to get involved. Detective Superintendent J.D. Graves wrote :

‘… the Diocese of Chichester notified Sussex Police that they planned to release a statement to the media. It was never our intention to be proactive (my emphasis); in other words, there was no intention to release a police statement about the alleged criminality of Bishop Bell (my emphasis). However, we were asked by the Diocese to make a statement as they had decided to make this information public and so we provided them with a statement for inclusion in their press release on the basis that once the Diocese published their statement a natural consequence would be a media request to the police for comment’.

It later repeats ‘the press release was driven by the Diocese’.

This was an extraordinary admission, though of course one that could have been foreseen by any informed person, since the Police in England have absolutely no statutory role in the investigation of criminal allegations against the dead, who cannot, in English law, be prosecuted. Anyway, since ‘Carol’ first made her claim in 1995 (as Carlile records) her concern has always been to make a civil claim against the C of E, not a criminal charge against Bishop Bell.

As for the stuff about some secret tribunal ‘finding no reason’ to doubt the claims against George bell, that was just a confession of legal incompetence. The presumption of innocence is always a reason to doubt any charge. And there was a good deal more, as any reader of the long paragraph 178 shows.

That’s what it was all about. But at the end of it, the Wikipedia account is still hopelessly biased against the truth. Perhaps someone else unburdened by being me, is prepared to become as knowledgeable as I am about the case, and set the matter right. If they do, I warn them not to make any jokes.

August 12 2018 – Smyth dead

August 12 2018 – “John Smyth dies – just as the CPS gives Police go-ahead for his extradition and prosecution” – Martin Sewell

Comments – Carl Jacobs

“In regard to the Bishop Bell case, I have long thought that the CoE (at the behest of its lawyers) deliberately sacrificed Bishop Bell in order to protect the CoE from the possibility of a PR disaster that might end up in court. After all, Bishop Bell was dead. The accuser was alive. And the public is pre-disposed to believe accusations against clergy. Best to make it go away at the expense of a dead man”

Comments – ‘Happy Jack’

“One notes victims are considering legal action against Justin Welby for allegedly failing to act decisively enough after he was informed of the claims against Mr Smyth in 2013 and are also pursuing civil cases against the organisations involved”

Comments – Brian

“There is no “collective CoE ” just as there is no “collective Evangelicals “. But there is a collective of bishops- and their silence on Bell is culpable. Time for Welby to reveal his alleged information that prevented synod discussion”

Comments – Anton

Gavin Ashenden points out with his characteristic combination of unfailing courtesy and irrefutable logic that Justin Welby disciplined George Carey for his inactivity over Peter Ball yet was equally inactive over John Smyth:

https://www.youtube.com/wat…

August 12 2018 – “SA [South Africa] legal campaigner accused of abusing boys for decades dies” – TimesLive – Africa

August 13 2018 – Smyth dead – Media reports

News from the Church of England 

Statement from lead safeguarding bishop on report of the death of John Smyth


Media Coverage 

BBC/Tel/Times/Guard/Mail/Ind

Reports on death of John Smyth who was accused of brutally beating boys and young men linked with the Iwerne Trust between 1978-82 and died before police could question him. (See Statement from lead safeguarding bishop, above)

August 13 2018 – “Christian camp abuse: ‘I regret that I will never see John Smyth face justice. The brutality haunts me'” – Daily Telegraph – Andrew Morse

August 13 2018 – “John Smyth victim calls for independent inquiry after he claims church ‘marks its own exams'” / “John Smyth’s abuse victims incandescent rage” – Daily Telegraph 

August 13 2018 – “As in the case of John Smyth QC, an abusive theology can lead to terrible actions” – Daily Telegraph – Charles Moore

August 13 2018 – Statement regarding Smyth and Titus Trust

The statement below has been issued by three victims of the late John Smyth and the Titus Trust, and refers to a statement on the website of the Titus Trust, which is copied below the fold.

We are amongst the scores of victims viciously beaten by the late John Smyth QC whilst he was Chair of The Iwerne Trust.

We are appalled by the statement issued on Monday 13th August by the Titus Trust, which now runs the Iwerne network.

The statement says that the Titus Trust has “done all that [it] can to ensure the matter is properly investigated by the relevant authorities.” This is untrue.

The statement further says that the board of the Titus Trust was only informed of the allegations against John Smyth in 2014. This is also untrue.

The Revd The Hon David Fletcher was employed as the senior officer of the Iwerne Trust from 1967 until 1986, when he became a trustee. He served in that capacity continuously until August 2016, only resigning his post when the Iwerne Trust was closed in a bid to distance it from its successor. Revd Fletcher was also a trustee of the Titus Trust from its foundation in 1997 until the same date.

It is a matter of record that Revd Fletcher and numerous leaders of his movement have been fully aware of Smyth’s abuse for 36 years. Revd Fletcher commissioned a comprehensive report of Smyth’s abuses in the UK in March 1982. From 1993 he was in possession of a further report of Smyth’s abuse in Zimbabwe. These reports, which were stored in the loft of the Chair of the Titus Trust Giles Rawlinson, were not made available to any secular authorities until 2017, when they were requisitioned by Hampshire Police under warrant.

An earlier statement from the Titus Trust website says that Smyth’s abuse took place between 1978 and 1981. They know this to be untrue. Smyth’s abuse in the UK started in 1975 and continued until 1982 and probably until 1984. Rev Fletcher and other Iwerne Trustees then facilitated Smyth’s move to Africa, where he abused at least 60 children between 1985 and 2017.

The Titus Trust, under the leadership of Fletcher and Rawlinson, took over the Iwerne network in its entirety in 1997. Titus has continued to run holidays under the Iwerne brand until as recently as last week. To suggest that the two are completely separate is simply deceitful.

Since Smyth’s horrific abuses were publicly exposed in February 2017, the Titus Trust has flatly refused to engage with his victims, or even to enquire after our well-being, let alone to offer any form of support or redress. Their protestation of sympathy is cynical and disingenuous.

Had the Titus Trust acted on the information that was available to it since its foundation, Smyth’s abuse could have been stopped long ago. Our hearts go out to the 60 or more children of Zimbabwe and South Africa who suffered at the hands of John Smyth as we did, but needlessly.

We have no interest in the “thoughts and prayers” of the Titus Trust. We do not believe they are fit to work with children.

/ENDS

Statement from the Titus Trust

John Smyth
“It is deeply regrettable that John Smyth’s death has robbed his victims of the opportunity to see justice done. Since 2014, when the board of the Titus Trust was informed of the allegations, we have done all we can to ensure the matter is properly investigated by the relevant authorities. We sympathise deeply with Smyth’s victims and continue to pray that they find healing and freedom from the harm that was so unjustly inflicted on them. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the news of John Smyth’s death.”

The Titus Trust, 13/8/18

August 13 2018 – ‘Goodness and Harmony’ Analysis on Smyth and Welby Et Al

August 14 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 6 2017 – “Dear Archbishop of Canterbury: Can you look yourself in the mirror and honestly say you did everything you could to expose John Smyth?” – An Open Letter – Daily Telegraph]

August 14 2018 – Calls for Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise or resign

Following the Smyth Scandal
and Bishop Bell Debacle 
there are now calls for Archbishop Welby to apologise or resign.

August 15 2018 – “John Smyth’s death – the aftermath” – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

August 15 2018 – From The Archives [Jan 26 2018 – “Saint, tarnished” – Church Times – Leader Comment ]

August 16 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 20 2012 – “I haven’t handed over a sex offender to the police – ‘because I was told in confidence’ – A leading agony aunt makes an explosive confession” – Daily Mail – Anne Atkins]

August 17 2018 – Peter Hitchens – The Spectator

War of words: my battle to correct Wikipedia

I signed up as a Wiki-editor but have, finally, given up

18 August 2018

How can you be attacked by an encyclopaedia? Until last week I would have thought the idea as absurd as being savaged by a tree frog. Now I know better. Wikipedia bites. Fortunately it can only do so in the electronic dreamland of the internet. But as we all increasingly discover, that world is growing fast alongside the real one: millions spend much of their lives within it, and for many people it is almost as solid as reality.

I signed up some years ago as a Wikipedia ‘editor’, thinking that, as I knew a little about some subjects, I could help to straighten out the online encyclopaedia a bit. Heaven knows, it needs some help. Its worst failing, much like BBC Radio 4’s Todayprogramme, is to portray subjects that are racked with unresolved controversy as if they were settled.

But I soon found out why nobody else had managed to put this right. Almost every significant article is guarded by powerful forces that appear from nowhere if you dare to make changes. Unless you have unlimited time, and a squadron of determined helpers, they will simply remove any alterations you make, and put things back the way they were.

In the end, I did not care enough to fight these battles. And I made it hard for myself by being open about who I am. Most Wikipedia ‘editors’ use pseudonyms. I do not.   I have always thought that anonymity, or pseudonymity, ensures that the internet is often spiteful and nasty. But the internet is also quite left-wing, so being the Hated Peter Hitchens makes anything I do a target.

Wikipedia’s rules, full of acronyms and jargon, are like four-dimensional algebra and often feel like the private language of a cult. I have the strictly limited computer skills of my newspaper generation — just enough to research, write and file copy. Wikipedia demands a familiarity with those worrying symbols at the edge of the keyboard, which in my experience should only be used if you actually want to delete everything you have written or turn it irrevocably into inch-high letters in lurid purple.

So for some years I have stuck almost entirely to correcting errors of fact in the entry about me. These were small matters where I, probably alone in the universe, knew the truth. But then came the terrible allegations of child sex abuse against the late Bishop George Bell, in which the Church of England and many others threw justice out of the window. Bishop Bell’s defenders know a lot about law, liturgy, politics, history, misericords, crocketed finials and rubrics, but not about computers. Among them, I was the nearest thing we had to an electronic wizard. The task of trying to keep Wikipedia fair fell to me.

This is the complicated bit. You can look up the George Bell affair somewhere else (I suggest, not Wikipedia), but the case against him made heavy (and mistaken) use of the police. It was of course a civil case, of a complainant against the church, and always has been. But the C of E, which for reasons of its own decided to trash the reputation of one of its greatest figures, persuaded the police to declare they would have arrested the bishop if he had not been dead since 1958. This was ridiculous in itself. Why say you would have done an impossible thing? Secondly, it wasn’t true and was wrong in law. But I know that the involvement of the police persuaded far too many people of Bishop Bell’s utterly unproven guilt.

For two years I tried to change the Wikipedia entry to remove this damaging stuff about the police and arrests. I argued, I pleaded, I waited. A rude pseudonymous person responded by calling me a ‘loudmouth’ and sneered at Bishop Bell’s defenders as a ‘fan club’ which he ignorantly judged was ‘right-wing’ and came from the ‘establishment’. These things were not just bad-mannered and untrue. They revealed my opponent as partial and obstructive. He was also unresponsive. When I tried to argue for alterations, he ignored my case and deleted my changes. Nothing happened to him. Thinking justice must be on my side, I precipitated a small crisis in the hope of bringing about a helpful intervention from the ‘Wikipedia community’. I added to the item, which continued to say absurdly that the police had not been called. I pointed out that of course they hadn’t — you might as well say the fire brigade, or Tesco, had not been called. This is, by the way, true and — in my view — obviously satirical. I appealed for help and was instantly kicked in the teeth, as if I had put in a good word for the Ku Klux Klan.

Some Wikicrat, armed with enormous powers, parachuted down from the Wikisphere and, having apparently examined the whole two-year quarrel for all of 90 seconds, pulled out bell, book and candle and banned me from further editing or from explaining my position. If this had been reality, instead of the internet, it would have been terrifying. I immediately became an unperson, unable to defend myself and told that any attempt to do so would make my position worse. Appealing for due process (I cited the Bill of Rights) was itself a further crime. I was told I must humbly confess before anyone would listen to me. No Englishman of my generation would consider such a surrender, so I am out of Wikipedia for ever. While it lasted, and while I was inside it, it was a tiny, infuriating nightmare of totalitarianism. One day soon, I suspect this particular dream is all too likely to come true in the solid world. As it happens, it has already come true for Bishop Bell, presumed guilty and cast into a pit of shame from which he cannot speak for himself. That is why I and others still fight for justice for him.

Peter Hitchens is a columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

August 17 2018 – From The Archives [August 12 2018 – “John Smyth dies – just as the CPS gives Police go-ahead for his extradition and prosecution” – Martin Sewell]

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELBY – FORMER ARCHBISHOP LORD CAREY – PETER BALL – JOHN SMYTH – BISHOP BELL

OK, fine. So you will now doubtless tell us in what that ‘evidence’ for Justin Welby’s alleged cover-up consists, and how you came by it.

  •  

    ‘Evidence’ is already in the public domain.

    The Church Times has mention it – in a staggeringly understated way – on page 5 of this week’s issue (“Smyth, accused of shed beatings, has died abroad”, Aug 17):

    “Mr [Andrew] Morse said that he and other survivors were concerned about the position of the current Archbishop of Canterbury…”

    https://www.churchtimes.co….

    Here is more – devoid of understatement:

    https://www.pressreader.com…

August 11 2018 – Daily Mail

https://www.google.co.uk/am…

“Allegations against Mr Smyth first emerged in the early 1980s in an internal report by the Iwerne Trust, which organised the camps – but the allegations were not reported to the police.

“An alleged victim went public with concerns that there had been no inquiry five years ago, but it was only after a TV investigation screened last February that police launched an investigation.

“Victims are considering legal action against the Archbishop for allegedly failing to act decisively enough after he was informed of the claims against Mr Smyth in 2013…

“Richard Scorer, a solicitor acting for the alleged victims, said: ‘I have been instructed by a number of Smyth’s victims to pursue civil cases against the organisations involved…”’

 

“Accusations, even if they be justified, that he left undone other things that he ought to have done will not do instead”

Pardon me. Are you saying if there is clear evidence that an Archbishop has repeatedly, deliberately and wilfully “left undone…things that he ought to have done” (ie took no action), then that does not count as evidence of a cover-up?

Avatar

I didn’t say “repeatedly, deliberately and wilfully”; that is your gratuitous addition. IF he left undone OTHER things which he ought to have done – and I do stress IF – that does not of itself amount to evidence of a cover-up.

In fact, it is far from clear what Welby should or could have done in the case of John Smyth, over whom he had no jurisdiction. There was nothing whatever to stop the complainants from going directly to the police. They had nothing to gain by trying to use Welby as an intermediary since he had no responsibility of any kind for Smyth, who, unlike Peter Ball, was not a bishop or a priest of the Church of England, and held no official lay position either in that church, and in any case was no longer in the UK. Nor could Welby have supported their complaints with his own testimony, since he had not been a witness to Smyth’s misconduct and had previously been unaware of it.

Avatar

Yeah, just another one who ‘passed by on the other side’ while victims were suffering…just another one who could have done something but did nothing…just another one

August 13 2018 – Daily Telegraph – Front Page – “Victims furious with Church for failing to expose abuser”

“Andrew Morse, who twice tried to take his own life after years of savage beatings, said: ‘I’m generally a very forgiving person, but Justin Welby was the Archbishop of Canterbury. Jesus would not have silently protected the abusers, he would have stood with the abused’”

IMG_1543

August 18 2018 – “Secrets, Transparency and the Age of the Internet” – ‘Surviving Church’ – Stephen Parsons

One of the major changes that has taken place in our lifetime is the free availability of information through the internet. There are very few people who avoid completely traces of their lives appearing somewhere online. It is also possible to research one’s own family tree without ever leaving one’s home. All this information means that it is very hard for negative/positive facts about people’s lives to be completely hidden. In spite of data protection laws and all the other safeguards which try to stop too much private information circulating, there is an enormous of material about the past available at the click of a button.

This new 21st-century era of readily accessible facts means that institutions need to operate in a new way. If any group wishes to hide evidence of wrong-doing in the past they need to take into account that there are countless press records available on the Net. When a public figure makes a statement about some past event, a check can be quickly made to see if what is said is corroborated by contemporary press accounts.

I can give a live example of a serious discrepancy between the recent public declaration of The Titus Trustees about the death of John Smyth and what is revealed by a newspaper cutting. One of the comments to my post about John Smyth drew attention to a story written by Anne Atkins, the broadcaster and columnist for the Daily Telegraph. In a column dated October 29th 2012, at the time of the Savile scandal, Anne revealed her discomfort at hearing about the case of abuse against another individual and her unwillingness to do anything about it. She then went on to mention knowing about John Smyth (not mentioned by name in the article but clearly identifiable) and his abusive activities in the garden shed at Winchester. He was apparently a family friend and she had known him since she was a child. Some of Anne’s friends were due to go out to see Smyth in South Africa but Anne kept her mouth shut about his behaviour as she did not want to be accused of ‘malicious gossip’. The whole way the story is told implies that many people in Anne’s social circles also knew the facts about his abusive behaviour in both England and Africa. She does not indicate that it was in any way secret information at the time. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how even a hint of this story would have reached her column if Anne had ever thought it had to be kept under wraps. She tells the story as though she had learnt the details soon after 1982 when the Ruston report was produced. She and others also knew about the cloud that was attached to Smyth over the subsequent Zimbabwe death. We may conclude that among the circles of well-connected evangelicals, of which Anne is one, the Smyth story was well known. It was embarrassment, not secrecy that prevented Anne sharing her knowledge to these other friends who were off to see Smyth in South Africa. How are we to square up this publicly available information from 2012 with the claim that the Titus Trustees were only informed of the facts of Smyth’s crimes in 2014? All the Trustees both of the Iwerne Trust and its successor, the Titus Trust were prominent members of exactly the same social and church circles as Anne Atkins and her family. It stretches credulity to think that the revelations of 2014 could have been fresh news to such a prominent group of supporters of the Iwerne camps.

One person, here a humble blogger, can, by consulting the internet locate awkward facts which call into question the veracity of statements being made by official bodies. I am not going to push this point any further. I just hope that this discrepancy about when different individuals learnt the facts of Smyth’s behaviour will be resolved by some future enquiry. The ease through which this discrepancy was uncovered suggests that anyone making statements to the Press need to take far more care that their claims will not be undermined by an act of checking the internet to see if they are credible. The Titus Trustees statement of the 13 August has already made several survivors extremely distressed and angry as they know it is based on a falsehood. They see it as an attempt to distance the Trust from any responsibility. So how should the Church or a Trust behave when faced with credible information of past abuses?

At the IICSA hearing in March we heard that one way of dealing with the past abuses is to physically destroy files. The bonfire in the Chichester Deanery garden remains a vivid metaphor of the way that some parts of the Church have attempted to deal with awkward past episodes. The Deanery bonfire took place in 1999. Somehow one feels that date symbolises a 20th century approach to the record-keeping of past infamy. In the present century one looks for professional record keeping with the realisation that it is seldom possible to destroy evidence of the past when so much information is stored on the internet and in people’s memories. The truth now has a habit of coming out even when there are determined attempts to eliminate it.

Of the all advantages given by the internet to those who pursue justice and accountability in the church is the gift of networking. In the past many survivors were kept in isolation from one another. This was help to the authorities who were faced with claims. The authorities could see the wider picture, but the enforced isolation of each abused individual deprived them of any real clout. It is not difficult to manipulate or intimidate one person on their own. Now the internet has made this ‘divide and rule’ procedure far more difficult to implement. Survivors are finding each on Facebook, Twitter and through blogs such as this one. Joining together for mutual support gives survivors real power. There is nothing so powerful as a group which comes together with a common cause and a common purpose. I myself am witnessing the extraordinary strength and stamina of some of these survivors, especially when they cooperate and work together. It is a privilege to know some of them.

If the Church is to develop a strategy for the 21st-century in dealing with the legacy of abuse, then it needs to change its tactics. There is no room anymore for secrecy and trying to hold back information through, for example, confidential agreements. It is no longer going to be so easy to intimidate the survivors who have found each other on the internet. Of course, they will be encouraging each other, sharing stories and notes. It is no longer realistic for any group, whether the Titus Trust or the Church of England to expect that future scandals can be hidden. What is the alternative strategy for the Church? The alternative is to acknowledge at an early stage what are the facts and then be prepared to deal with them in an open and transparent way.

Transparency, openness and repentance are all gospel values. The problem for the Churches is that they are also values that are likely to be incredibly expensive in financial terms. It is however hard to see realistically that the church has a future at all if it tries to manage the terrible legacy of past abuses using other dishonest or deceitful methods. As I write this I have in mind the picture of Inspector Murdock interviewing the former Bishop of Chichester in the Ball case. Although daytime, the curtains in the Bishop’s study were pulled shut as part of an attempted ruse which was supposed to trap the Inspector and undermine his case against Ball. The Church has for too long pulled the curtains shut in dealing with abuse cases. It needs to pull them back and deal with them with the full light of day. Light, transparency and loving respect for those who have been harmed are the only way forward. Somehow the 21st century internet age makes it hard to see how there are any realistic alternatives.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2220693/I-havent-handed-sex-offender-police–I-told-confidence-A-leading-agony-aunt-makes-explosive-confession.html

Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen is a retired Anglican priest living at present in Northumberland. He has taken a special interest in the issues around health and healing in the Church but also when the Church is a place of harm and abuse. He has published books on both these issues and is at present particularly interested in understanding the psychological aspects of leadership and follower-ship in the Church. He is always interested in making contact with others who are concerned with these issues.

6 thoughts on “Secrets, Transparency and the Age of the Internet”

  1. It’s greatly to be hoped that all the positive features of the internet for information and networking amongst survivors will critically tip the balance towards honesty and transparency as you suggest. This will be aided by the fact that the churches need to be seen at least as acting with truth and integrity. Everyone is aware that being caught out in lies is damaging. But another side of the internet is that it is awash with disinformation, trolling and fake news factories. For the Trumpesque type of politician it’s always worth disseminating propaganda and lies on the internet, because at least some people will believe them – many people don’t have sophisticated research skills, or in any case they’re just waiting to be persuaded – and so you’ve shifted the climate of opinion favourably. It seems to me that the Titus Trustees were hoping to do a bit of PR fudge along those lines, and it remains to be seen if it will have helped or damaged their defence. So it’s very important that there are people and places such as this blog with the skills and energy to call them out on their deceit.

  2. I am told the above link gives names of several victims not previously identified, and the person who posted it on the internet had no permission to do so. If I’d know that earlier I wouldn’t have posted it here. Please don’t share it further. Stephen, can you delete the link? Thanks.

  3. Indeed the information is out there and being collected and disseminated more easily than pre-internet times and that’s all to the good. It’s not that I’m disputing that at all. I’m just pointing sadly to the other side of the coin, the rank undergrowth of disinformation and lies all over the internet, which allows falsehood to flourish and spread like weeds in rank corners of the garden, smothering the truth. People like these Trustees clearly think it’s still profitable to muddy the waters with deceitful excuses which some will want to latch onto, rather than come clean. The internet is an ideological battlefield and victim groups or warriors for justice aren’t the only ones trying to use it and control the narrative.

  4. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. I make no value judgments here.

    I refer of course to the effect of an abuse scandal on an American mega church, information delivered to me via Twitter, with links to a senior pastor’s resignation statement on his blog.

    A small church with two old people and half a dozen mice in attendance: no one cares. Mega church, with 10,000 people: everybody’s watching, reading, writing, telling.

    Information spreads like a virulent virus. Is it true? Did it happen? Is there more?

    Phase 2: others chip in with similar experiences, or worse.

    Size breeds attention. Attention brings followers. Followers attract talent, wealth and celebrity. The cycle repeats. The brand grows. The books sell, the message spreads.

    The pyramid of power grows taller and taller. Those at the tip of the pyramid get closer and closer to the clouds and it becomes more and more difficult to hear the earthly wisdom of the people on the ground.

    One jenga strut at the bottom pulls out and tells all. The structure is weakened. Another speaks out. And another. The pyramid begins to collapse.

    It is a human thing to build towers in the air. Sometimes they are really great, masterfully made. But they have a biblical habit of collapsing. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

    Could this happen here in little old UK? We don’t really have mega churches, but we do have mega brands: “New Wine”, “HTB”, “Soul Survivor” etc

    Are we concentrating power at the top of our networks, our affiliations, our mother church?

    Does the big boss have unlimited tenure? Is he (and it usually his a “he”) unimpeachable?

    I suggest we know the warning signs now.

August 18 2018 – “Why we need a new law to prevent churches from covering up abuse” – MACSAS (Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) – Phil Johnson and David Greenwood

Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, has become the most senior Roman Catholic cleric to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse. The news of his sentencing was followed just days later by a grand jury report which documented how paedophile priests in the American state of Pennsylvania were often protected by church hierarchy. As the world looks on at yet more church abuse scandals, Phil Johnson and David Greenwood from Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors explain why they believe a change to UK law is urgently needed

This week’s news that a Grand Jury in Pennsylvania has identified more than 300 abusive priests from the Diocese is shocking but sadly it is not surprising.

The Catholic Church in particular has operated a system of secrecy when it hears about allegations of abuse. Clergy and complainants are often sworn to secrecy and action is decided on in Rome. This has allowed cover ups and clergy avoiding detection by the police and prosecutors for decades. And worse, it has allowed abusers to continue to abuse, unfettered and unpunished.

There is in many large established churches a culture of cover-up. A culture that is far more concerned with maintaining the image and power of the clergy than preventing abuse or addressing the needs of the victims.

We at MACSAS (Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) have continually observed governments and law enforcement agencies avoid tackling church organisations partly through a sense of deference and disbelief that clergy would commit sexual abuse of children but mainly because so many allegations are not routinely passed to the police by churches.

Our work has exposed the movement of accused priests secretly between parishes, dioceses or even countries, with the slate being wiped clean with each move and new congregations having no idea that their new priest poses a risk.

Unbelievably there is no legal duty to report the sexual abuse of children in England and Wales

Successive Popes could have required all reports of abuse to be turned over by Rome and Bishops to the police, yet despite pressure from survivor groups and even the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child they have failed to do so, instead favouring the protection of clergy and Bishops rather than children and the vulnerable.

Sadly, the Anglican church in the UK is no different. At the recent IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) inquiry hearings the Church of England has been found to have covered up, burnt and destroyed files, moved priests around and even helped one Bishop, Peter Ball, back into public ministry despite him admitting his sex crimes to police and the church knowing about many more victims.

IICSA also showed us in March how numerous abusers were protected by the Diocese of Chichester and evidence of abuse was consistently withheld from the police by successive bishops.

Eventually several priests were brought to justice but this was not due to any pro-active initiative from the church, it was due to the tenacity of the survivors who simply would not give up in their quest for truth and justice, often at enormous cost to themselves and their families.

Even more astounding is that no bishops in the UK have been held to account for their failures to report abuse or to protect children, not by the criminal justice system or even by the churches’ own disciplinary measures.

We are beginning to see state authorities attempting to address this issue in other territories such as Pennsylvania and in the recent prosecution of Archbishop Wilson in Australia but this simply cannot happen in this country.

The case for mandatory reporting

Unbelievably there is no legal duty to report the sexual abuse of children in England and Wales and withholding evidence and knowledge of abuse is not a crime either.

Throughout the IICSA hearings we have heard many times the call for ‘cultural change’ in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches and it is clear that without it there is nothing to stop abuse continuing to go unreported and there will always be an inclination for bishops to protect their friends, colleagues and their institution.

If one looks at other areas of dramatic shifts in culture in the secular world it is clear that the main motivator for change is legislation, this has been clearly demonstrated with issues such as the requirement to wear seat-belts, the banning of smoking in public places and, most recently, the law preventing drivers from using their mobile phones while at the wheel.

It seems that only when people are required by law to do something (and there is a penalty if they fail to do so) that real change is achieved and that change becomes permanent and part of the culture.

We at MACSAS believe that there needs to be the introduction of law to require those who are responsible for other people’s children to report suspicions or allegations of abuse to the statutory authorities, outside of their institutions.

The churches and their bishops have been a law unto themselves for far too long. It’s time for change

This would mean that the veracity of allegations are assessed by the police or safeguarding professionals and not bishops and their employees, it would also mean that those who fail to report abuse or cover it up could be readily prosecuted.

We believe that such a law would better protect children by uncovering abuse much sooner, bringing abusers to justice and thus preventing further abuse.

We applaud law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and Australia for using the powers they have to seize documentation and to prosecute offenders and to go after those who have covered up for them but we fear that this will not happen here.

Failure to report abuse is not a crime, covering it up is not a crime and nobody can be held to account.

The churches and their bishops have been a law unto themselves for far too long. It’s time for change, it’s time for a change in the law, it’s time for Mandatory Reporting.

Children have suffered enough.

Phil Johnson and David Greenwood are members of MACSAS (Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors)

COMMENTS

  • There is no end to the invention of new laws to cover perceived gaps. As the law stands, knowledge of an offence without the reporting of the offence is cooperation after the offence with the offender. It matters not what the offence is. In a hierarchical organisation, when a senior person knows his junior has committed an offence and fails to ensure that it is reported they should be prosecuted.

    •  

      I agree, they should be prosecuted but under the current law NOBODY has been prosecuted despite the multitude of cases that have been exposed where bishops had knowledge of abuse and failed to report it.

August 18 2018 – “The Royals are just like Scientologists” – The Sun

“Meghan Markle’s dad has likened the Royal Family to Scientologists because of their ‘cult-like’ secrecy. Thomas Markle, 74, said the royals must become more modern and open to scrutiny…”

August 18 2018 – “Cardinal Burke: We face a grave crisis, touching the heart of the Church” – ‘Crux’

August 18 2018 – SC Strategy – Guardian-Observer

Lord Arbuthnot, a former Tory MP for Wanstead and Woodford, and then North East Hampshire, and chair of the defence select committee, was nominated for a peerage by David Cameron in 2015. He was until 31 December last year, three weeks after the start of Uber’s London appeal, a director of SC Strategy Ltd. Little is known about the private intelligence company, founded by Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, and Sir John Scarlett, the head of MI6 between 2004 and 2009. It has no website and eschews publicity. One of its few known clients has been the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the giant sovereign wealth fund that invests billions around the world.

August 20 2018 – “Pope’s child abuse intervention too little too late – campaigner” – AOL

August 21 2018 – “Peter Ball – legislation then, and now” – Peter Owen – ‘Thinking Anglicans’

August 22 2018 – “Victims Launch Claim Against John Smyth Camp Leaders” – ‘Thinking  Anglicans’

August 23 2018 – “There are none so blind as those who will not see”

“None so blind” – ‘Church Abuse’ – Private Eye – 24 August – 6 September 2018 [No. 1477] – Page 37

Two weeks ago, after 18 months of consideration, the Crown Prosecution Service instructed Hampshire Police to summon John Smyth QC for a formal interview about allegations that in the late 1970s he beat young men in his garden shed until they bled. Eight days later Smyth died, apparently of heart failure, in his Cape Town hiding place. His death robs 80 or more alleged victims of the chance to see him in court.

They are left asking why so many senior clergy who knew what Smyth was up to chose to do nothing to stop him. The abuse was documented in painful detail as long ago as 1982 by Revd Mark Ruston, who interviewed 19 victims and reported his findings to the Iwerne Trust, which Smyth had chaired between 1974 and 1981 (see “The C of E and the Sado-Evangelist”, Eye 1438). Ruston’s report made clear that Smyth’s actions were criminal. But instead of reporting him to the police, members of the Iwerne network facilitated him going to Africa. He went on to abuse scores of children there.

Despite their failure to deal with Smyth, several clergy who were on the distribution list for the Ruston report have gone on to enjoy high profile careers in the Church. Chief among them is Revd David Fletcher, who commissioned the report while he was senior officer at Iwerne Camps, where Smyth groomed his victims. He then became Rector of St Ebbe’s church in Oxford, and remained a trustee of Iwerne and its successor body [Titus Trust – Ed] until 2016.

Another recipient of the Ruston report, the Ven. Roger Combes, was mark Ruston’s curate in Cambridge at the time. He rose to become Archdeacon of Horsham, and is still ministering in retirement in the Chichester diocese. 

Also on the distribution list was Revd Tim Sterry, a former prep school headmaster and a team leader in at Iwerne from 1981 until his retirement, who still has permission to officiate in Salisbury diocese.

Why did none of them think to speak out about their abusive colleague over 36 years?

The same question might be asked of the Very Revd David Connor. Now Dean of Windsor, he was senior chaplain at Winchester College when headmaster John Thorn was told of the abuse. Is it conceivable he didn’t know why Smyth had been banned from the college grounds and the Christian Forum group closed down?

Revd Hugh Palmer, currently rector at All Souls, Langham Place, must have had his suspicions too. He visited one of Smyth’s victims in hospital on the day he attempted suicide to avoid a beating by Smyth in 1982. This man’s suicide note was one of the triggers for the original inquiry.

The other trigger was a visit to Ruston by two Cambridge students who knew what was going on. One was Andrew Watson, now Bishop of Guildford. The other was Alasdair Paine who, ironically, now resides in the very vicarage where he disclosed the abuse, having succeeded Ruston as Vicar of St Andrew the Great in Cambridge.

Had any one of these good Christian men spoken out about what they knew, upwards of 60 African children might not have been viciously beaten, and Smyth might have faced the justice he deserved.

There is no possible explanation for their collective failure to deal appropriately with what they knew, except their blind loyalty to the elite evangelical club that was, and is, Iwerne.  

August 23 2018 – “Catholics ‘cannot turn eyes away from revelations of sex abuse'” – AOL-PA

Catholics can no longer ignore revelations of clerical sexual abuse, a Trinity College Dublin (TCD) expert has said. Fainche Ryan said she was shocked by the “cover-up” of abuse and called for a system of checks and balances…

August 23 2018 – “Meeting between Pope and sexual abuse survivors will be sacred moment – bishop” – AOL-PA

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland says meeting sexual abuse survivors is difficult for all involved, as victims do not trust the church.

Speaking at the World Meeting of Families media briefing on Thursday, Bishop Eamon Martin, the Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland, said he never doubted Pope Francis would meet with survivors of clerical abuse during his visit to Ireland this weekend.

He said: “Hearing Pope Francis speak on this issue, he has always been very clear that he wants to reach out to survivors.

“It is a difficult thing to do, as I have found in my own experience, while meeting with survivors is not easy for any of us, but survivors sometimes simply don’t trust us.

“I think it’s important that the meeting is seen as a sacred or special moment for the survivors and Pope Francis.Alongside Bishop Martin was Bishop of Chicago Blase Cupich, who referenced the recent Hollywood #MeToo movement in regards to the church’s own scandals which he labelled an infected boil.

“People are finding freedom to come forward when they see accusations against certain individuals.

“This might seem threatening to people within the church as it could prompt others to demand justice in their circumstances, but I feel this is the only way we can lance this boil that is so infected.

“This is a dark moment for the church, a black moment, it’s causing us shame.

“The real darkness is within the victims, that is where Jesus is, and we must always put the victims first.”

Pushed on the topic of LGBTQ+ people within the church, the bishops were asked their view of a recent speech by Father James Martin, who said those who promoted conversion therapy were wrong.

We’re all sexual beings, we want to make sure a so-called a conversion model doesn’t start from the premise that the individual is in some way deformed or sick

Bishop Blase Cupich

Bishop Martin said he was not aware of Catholic conversion therapy for LGBT people in Ireland.

“Conversion, change and repentance is something that is offered to all Christians but I don’t fully understand the idea of conversion therapy.

“I think a call to chastity, which is there for all Catholics with regard to sexual activity outside of marriage is something that is very real, but I wouldn’t support this idea of some kind of psychotherapy within a church setting.”

Bishop Cupich was in agreement with the Primate who said that adults who choose to “other” young people because of their sexuality are not living by the gospel.

“We want to make sure when we’re talking about people’s intimate sexual lives, and there are aspects in all of our lives that need redemption, that we need to make sure that we’re going to make sure to use the gift of our human sexuality which goes beyond genital experiences.

“We’re all sexual beings, we want to make sure a so-called a conversion model doesn’t start from the premise that the individual is in some way deformed or sick, like someone else who needs therapy.

“That’s a message that so often that in dealing with young people who are struggling with sexuality questions are so sensitive to.

“If that’s the first message that we as adults are giving to young people we’re setting them on the wrong path.

“Let’s make sure we’re very clear and sensitive to the fact everyone struggles with how they live out their sexuality and we are always in need of redemption, and that calls for chaste lifestyle, but to stigmatise one over the other is very damaging and is not the gospel.”

August 23 2018 – “CofE clergyman tells suicidal sex-abuse victim to ‘crawl back under a stone’, and that he ‘probably enjoyed it'” – Martin Sewell

Survivors STILL receive similar versions, although superficially more polite, to this comment from bishops and others in positions of church leadership. Sadly, the shocking attitudes revealed at IICSA towards victims are still alive and well.
I agree with Savi that they should be picked up and dealt with as they certainly are pastorally damaging behaviour – but the problem is that the senior leadership is unaccountable so dangerous attitudes and a dysfunctional system remain.

~ JayKay8

August 24 2018 – RWS Note

“I’m sure people like an Archbishop pray without ceasing, but it’s as if they pray for the miracle of being right. They can’t seem to admit to the possibility – especially in the Bishop Bell case – of being wrong”

~ Richard W. Symonds

August 24 2018 – Church Times – Letters

Review Smyth case, but not just ‘lessons learnt’

From Mr David Lamming

Sir, — The Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, C of E lead bishop on safeguarding, in the statement he issued on 12 August after news of the death of John Smyth QC in Cape Town, said that it was “important now that those organisations linked with this case work together to look at a ‘lessons learnt’ review” (News, 17 August).

The Ruston report, now in the public domain after the Channel 4 documentary in February 2017, shows clearly that the criminal offences of malicious wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm committed by Smyth — namely, the beatings administered by Smyth in his garden shed — were known to the Iwerne Trustees in 1982. Instead of being reported to the police at the time, as they should have been, Smyth was effectively banished to Zimbabwe, where he was able to resume his abuse.

The lesson to be learned from the failure to report Smyth’s criminal abuse in and after 1982 (what, effectively, amounts to a cover-up) is surely obvious: never again must those who know of or suspect abuse of the kind perpetrated by Smyth fail to report it to the police or the appropriate authorities, whether out of intended kindness to the victims, mistaken or perverted theology, or concern to avoid reputational damage.

Sadly, Smyth cannot now face justice in a temporal court. Bishop Hancock is right to seek a review, but its focus should not be a “lessons learnt” review: rather, it should be one that enables those survivors of Smyth’s abuse who wish to do so to speak about their experiences, and also one where those responsible for the cover-up (in particular, those Iwerne Trust and Titus Trust trustees who are still alive) explain what they knew and when, and offer apologies for their conduct over the past 30-plus years,

DAVID LAMMING
Member of the General Synod
20 Holbrook Barn Road, Boxford
Suffolk CO10 5HU
From Mr Steve Vince

August 25 2018 – “Campaigners: Victims abuse files should be opened” – AOL-PA

The Vatican’s files should be opened to prove it is serious about tackling child abuse, a veteran campaigner has said.

Blue ribbons were tied on the Ha’penny Bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin city centre in a symbol of solidarity with victims and survivors of clerical wrongdoing, which has rocked the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Soline Humbert, 62, from Versailles, near Paris, said: “Unless the truth comes out, and we know that as Christians, and we know that as Catholics, there is no movement forward, there is no resurrection, there is no transformation and trust cannot be re-established until the truth is acknowledged.

“It is very painful and it will be very disturbing but the truth is buried in the bottom, in the secret archives, of a lot of dioceses and especially in the Vatican.”

August 25 2018 – “President Higgins tells Pope of anger felt by clerical abuse victims” – AOL-PA

Irish President Michael D Higgins has told Pope Francis of the anger felt by those in Ireland who were abused as children by Catholic clerics…

The Irish greeting party also included Irish government minister for children and youth affairs Katherine Zappone…

In a statement issued after the meeting, the spokesman said Mr Higgins also told Pope Francis of the “anger which had been conveyed to him at what was perceived to be the impunity enjoyed by those who had the responsibility of bringing such abuses for action by the appropriate authorities and have not done so”…

“He conveyed to Pope Francis the widely-held view that all would benefit from a set of actions that gave the necessary assurances to all citizens past, present and future, of all faiths and none.”

The two men also agreed on the importance of protecting vulnerable communities and individuals, and discussed issues including homelessness, health, education and nutrition…

August 25 2018 – “I share pain and shame of church’s failure on clerical abuse, Pope tells Ireland”

The Pope has spoken of his pain and shame at the failure of church authorities to tackle the grave scandal of clerical abuse in Ireland.

On the first day of his historic Irish visit, the pontiff said people had a right to be outraged at the response of senior figures in the Catholic Church to the “repellent crimes” inflicted on young people.

In a speech at Dublin Castle, he also expressed hope that remaining obstacles to reconciliation in Northern Ireland could be overcome.

With the reverberations of a litany of church sex abuse scandals casting a shadow over the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, Francis confronted the issue in his address inside the castle’s St Patrick’s Hall…

“With regard to the most vulnerable, I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection and education,” he said.

“The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community.

“I myself share those sentiments.”

The pontiff’s predecessor, Pope Benedict, has also addressed the issue.

“His frank and decisive intervention continues to serve as an incentive for the efforts of the church’s leadership both to remedy past mistakes and to adopt stringent norms meant to ensure that they do not happen again,” Francis added.

He said the Church in Ireland had played a role in child welfare which could not be obscured.

“It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasise the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole,” he said.

“In this regard, all of us are aware of how urgent it is to provide our young people with wise guidance and sound values on their journey to maturity.”

The Pope said he also wished to acknowledge women who in the past had “endured particularly difficult circumstances”…

In an apparent reference to the political deadlock in Northern Ireland, which has seen the region without a properly functioning devolved government for 20 months, Francis said: “We can give thanks for the two decades of peace that followed this historic agreement, while expressing firm hope that the peace process will overcome every remaining obstacle and help give birth to a future of harmony, reconciliation and mutual trust.”

The speech came after a private meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and later the Irish premier urged the Pope to “listen to the victims” in his own address at Dublin Castle…

In the coming 36 hours, the Pope will witness a country that has undergone seismic social changes in the four decades since the last papal visit in 1979, when John Paul II was lauded by a nation shaped by its relationship with an all-powerful Catholic Church...

While the Pope is sure to receive a warm reception from the thousands of pilgrims who have travelled to be part of the occasion, he will also be met by protesters angry at how the church dealt with the sex abuse scandals that have damaged trust in the religious institution and seriously weakened its influence on Irish society…

Mr Coveney acknowledged that many people had mixed feelings about the visit.

“I think it’s been difficult for many people, for victims, for Catholics and many of the clergy,” he said.

“But I hope and expect that this weekend will be a very powerful moment. He has a personality that can reach out to Irish people.”

At some point over the weekend, the Pope will meet a number of abuse victims in a private meeting.

Earlier this week, he wrote a 2,000-word letter to Catholics in which he condemned the crime of sexual abuse by priests and subsequent cover-ups.

He demanded accountability in response to fresh revelations in Pennsylvania in the United States of decades of misconduct by clerics…

August 25 2018 – “Protests against clerical child sex abuse held near Dublin Castle” – AOL-PA

One of a number of protests against clerical child sexual abuse was held near Dublin Castle on Saturday morning.

The protest was organised by Margaret McGuckan, a survivor of historic child abuse who spent years in the Nazareth House children’s home and helped campaign for the introduction of the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry.

Ms McGuckan says the protest is a symbolic gesture to the Pope and the church that victims have not gone away.

She said: “The Pope now needs to stand up to the plate and do something for the survivors. We need redress, we need the church held to account.

“We want the bishops, Christian Brothers, nuns and anyone else who was involved in the abuse of children or covering up the abuse of children brought before the courts.

“We need zero tolerance, they cannot be allowed to investigate themselves. It should be zero tolerance, nothing more and nothing less.

“It’s not just Ireland, look what has happened in America, people fall away from the church because they don’t practice what they preach.”

During her time in Nazareth House, Ms McGuckan says she was beaten, starved, neglected, emotionally, physically and mentally abused at the hands of nuns charged with her care.

Banners were unfurled at Dublin’s Dame Street demanding redress for victims and an end to what they see as a Papal cover-up.

Many at the protest were from the global survivors network End Clergy Abuse who had baby shoes tied around their neck in protest for the children who died in the Mother and Baby Homes across Ireland.

Pete Saunders, a survivor who was abused in Jesuit school in London, travelled from England’s capital to attend the protest.

“I came to Ireland to give support to survivors here.

“If this was any other organisation in the world, the head of that organisation would be held to account to tackle the issue within his company.

“The people involved should be brought to justice. Words are very nice but we would like to see action.”

August 25 2018 – “Defending the Church from Scandal – Catholic and Anglican Approaches” – Stephen Parsons [‘Surviving Church’]

I have refrained from commenting on Roman Catholic issues to do with power abuse up till now. This is partly because I do not want to sound like a critical outsider taking aim at another church body. My reason now for wanting to refer to the Pope’s recent pronouncements on sexual abuse is to suggest that his recent statement is illustrating some fundamental failures of understanding as to how to deal with scandal. This is a problem for the whole Church, including the Church of England. Looking at what the Pope has said may help us to see our own Anglican problems a little clearer.

The recent 2000-word pronouncement about child sexual abuse from the Vatican seems to say, at first reading, all the right things. It lays blame on corrupt priests for taking advantage of the vulnerable and asks for prayers and fasting by the whole church for these ‘atrocities’. It sees the whole thing as a grievous stain on the Church.

The theologian Richard Sipe was a Catholic researcher who studied celibacy among Catholic priests in America and died quite recently. I have one of his books at home (I am away at present) and one of the striking claims he made which stuck in my memory was that only half the Catholic priests in his country were in fact celibate. To put it another way 50% of American Catholic priests are sexually active. I do not recall how this sexuality is normally expressed but one is reminded of the two French priests and their ‘arrangements’ in the pre-war comic French novel, Clochemerle. Each of the priests in the story had a compliant female housekeeper but they knew that their activities in bed were sinful. In the novel we hear the ways they arranged to confess to each other and receive absolution. This process involved each of them pedalling hard 20 km to each other’s village and picking up a penitence after a brief recital of their ‘delinquency’. The penitence required became ever more truncated and peremptory. This went on over several years. A sexually active priest is, by definition, having to carry out his activities in secret and this will frequently compromise any potential honesty and mutuality in the relationship. From the outside there may often appear to be a damaging element of control involved. A priest’s ‘lover’, male or female, will frequently end up damaged in the medium to long term.

A Catholic priest may of course act out his sexuality in ways that include criminal acts against children and young people. The law is clear that such relationships are not tolerated in any modern society. The law of the Catholic church, because all sexual activity by a priest is regarded as sin, may be less explicit in its utter revulsion for crimes against children. The Clochmerle relationships may or may not have had an abusive element in them but they were clearly far from being as culpable and damaging as the abuse of a child. Behind the prohibition of any sexual activity for a priest is the vexed issue of compulsory celibacy. This institution clearly does not serve the Church well. Nevertheless, the Church of Rome has shown itself unwilling to address the issue. In theory the Church expects all its clergy to control sexual longing. This enables it to present the priestly caste as somehow pure and holy, being removed from and above the distractions of carnal lust. Because this ideal is failing 50% of the time, the Church is in fact being deeply damaged in several ways. It is damaged by the creation of numerous victims, such as the 1000 children identified in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. It is damaged because clergy are forced into secretive liaisons that force many of them into a permanent state of hypocrisy. One of the most telling aspects of the Pennsylvania Report was the suggestion that cover-ups of the worst abuses were made possible because Catholic bishops in informal relationships felt unable to discipline their child-abusing priests because the latter had the power to blackmail them for their own sexual compromises.

I cannot tell the Pope what to do, as the task of cleaning up the Church of Rome is vast. Clearly a start has to be made in deciding what should be realistically asked of a young priest in terms of dealing with his sexual side. One way forward could be to allow priests to marry. The hypocrisy of expecting ‘purity’ from all priests can never completely work as it is in conflict with the normal functioning of human nature. Some may succeed following the path of celibacy but many will not. There is also always going to be a high cost that the institution has to pay each time a scandal emerges. The age of the Internet means that these scandals can never be easily be covered up in the future.

The Anglican Church in dealing with its own scandals has in some ways behaved like the Church of Rome in its desire to protect itself. For the Vatican the supposed ‘purity’ of priests and thus the blameless institution they serve, seems to have been an overarching preoccupation. This approach, resulting in secrecy and rampant hypocrisy, has had little regard for those who inevitably have been damaged by the system of celibacy, particularly the under-age targets of priestly desire. For some Anglican leaders there seems to be a preoccupation with preserving not purity, but the assets of the organisation. On many occasions when a victim of abuse approaches the centre he/she is pushed away, sometimes brutally, because it is assumed that they are only interested in financial compensation. From my own dealings with victims this is generally not the case. Survivors would like the courtesy of being heard, having letters answered and generally being allowed a voice. This ‘othering’ of abuse victims by bishops and senior officials is unbelievably cruel behaviour when applied to someone who has already had their life ruined by the original abuser. The way that Anglican and Vatican authorities seem to react and think alike is because everything is seen only within the perspective of the institution and its interests. Commentators, such as I, can see the situation from other vantage points. Of course, the interests of the institution have to be weighed up and respected. But other perspectives are needed to obtain a rounded picture of what is really going on. To some of these, church authorities seem sometimes to be deaf and blind. First, we have the legitimate and just rights of survivors. If these are not listened to then the central mission statement of any church is trampled under-foot. How can any church put up with a situation where someone ‘causes one of these little ones to sin’? We all know how the text continues. When the Church, the guardian of morality, is seen to fail one of these ‘little ones’ it is judged very harshly by the wider public.

The public relations impact of the recent child abuse scandals is wreaking enormous damage on both church bodies. The man on the Clapham omnibus is fast concluding that all churches are unsafe, even dangerous, places for children and young people. However good safeguarding practices are being put into place at present, failure to deal with past crimes will negate all the current good work.

In the past week social media has recorded the story of a survivor who was told by a Church of England clergyman to go back under a stone and that he had probably enjoyed his abuse. I normally double-check stories of this kind, but this report seems to chime in with the continuing revelation of how some senior clergy seemed to be uncaring and indifferent to the stories of survivors who disclose to them. The Smyth story has continued to reveal names of individuals who put the reputation of the Iwerne network above the protection of vulnerable young people.

When will the damaging stories about the Church of England and the Catholic Church stop? They will stop when there is a change of mindset. The mindset has to include the ability to embrace the full reality of the scandals so that the protection of the institution is never the only or even the main consideration. Church leaders must learn to see the whole picture. This will always involve acknowledging the pain of victims as well as the increasing righteous anger of all who witness what is going on. The Church of Rome and the Church of England seem to struggle in their ability to see what is there in front of them, so that the health of both bodies is profoundly damaged.

7 thoughts on “Defending the Church from Scandal -Catholic and Anglican Approaches”

  1. Thank you Stephen. Yes, I think the man on the Clapham omnibus is right and the sooner the clergy and those in the pews also realise the continued dishonesty of the church leaders the better.
    They need to hear how the responses of some (many?) bishops and other clergy aren’t just uncaring to those who disclose abuse to them but actively hinder or obstruct victims’ recovery or healing, and they need to know that these sort of responses aren’t just from the past but are happening now.
    So far the mainstream media don’t seem to have focused on the fact that bishops and other leaders are actually making recovery almost impossible for victims in the church. I hope they pick up on the “crawl back under a stone” response and start to understand that this is just one part of a spectrum of continued harm being done.
    My message to the C of E bishops is “Stop the dishonesty and start taking responsibility to put things right for the victims. It’s not rocket science – in fact I think it emerges from the gospel.”

  2. The problem I have experienced very recently is that church leaders, including the NST, in spite of having policies, which they have written, in front of them will not be consistent in acting as to what is in them. Point this out by literally copying and pasting and referencing the relevant part and they go silent. Press the point for a few months with no response then they turn round and say, ‘we don’t want to distress you any further so we won’t continue down this route’. I have even been told that policies are only very general guidelines and open to numerous interpretations based on the individuals case.

    No! Be consistent do what is in the damn policy or don’t bother to write it.

    Yet every time a case bubbles over into the media their wretched policies are the first thing they hold up as evidence of improvement and pastoral care. This, as JayKay says, makes any sort of healing almost impossible because the hypocrisy is sickening and the anger that often has to be swallowed makes you ill.

    SCREAM!!

    1. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this too, Trish. I’ve been experiencing it for years!
      We need to find some way to bring these responses to wider public attention, so people in the pews understand how appalling the responses can be and how they fail to comply with the church’s own policies. (Unfortunately failing to comply with policies doesn’t make for an eye-catching story in the media.)
      Truth is a pre-requisite for healing and I think the bishops and church leadership need to be strongly challenged on this basis.
      Incidentally, if you have some good examples of how the church leadership effectively denies that it needs to follow their own policies it might be worth sending them to IICSA in case they could be useful for the third stage of hearings.

  3. Why does a third party have the right to decide what is distressing someone without reference to the person concerned? Rhetorical question. Having discussions like this with the princes of the church always leaves me open mouthed.

    1. Sorry to hear that JayKay, we can scream in unison.

      My diocese which has a stand alone safeguarding document written by a previous DSA actually has a complete section in it entitled ‘Acceptable behaviour by children and vulnerable adults,’ which then proceeds to discuss restraint and uses such forward thinking ideas as people with ‘mental illness’ are prone to be disruptive!
      Seriously I think Charles Dickens had more social awareness though in fairness to the diocese I think the section on sending people to the workhouse may just have been removed! Of course the brilliant independent audit declared the document as somewhat dated but still fit for purpose!

      I will send examples to IICSA but responses trickle in so slowly that just as I think, that’s it, another delightful email plonks into my in-box. I never, ever read church emails unless I am in a safe space.

    2. Richard W. Symonds (submitted) – “The Church of Rome and the Church of England seem to struggle in their ability to see what is there in front of them…”
      Indeed. “There are none so blind as those who will not see”.
      “None so blind” – ‘Church Abuse’ – Private Eye – 24 August – 6 September 2018 [No. 1477] – Page 37
      How can the Anglican and Catholic Churches solve the problem of abuse?
      One solution is simple – an adaptation of the words of Noam Chomsky on terrorism:
      “Everybody is worried about stopping abuse. Well, there’s a really easy way: Stop participating in it”

August 25 2018 [From The Archives – 1971 – Kincora, Northern Ireland, Cover-ups, Church, Colin Wallace, William McGrath & The Security Services]

Kincora Boys’ Home in Northern Ireland and William McGrath [“Who Framed Colin Wallace” by Paul Foot – Macmillan 1989/Pan 1990 – Pages 115-146/208-209 Photo] 

Colin Wallace

img_6290

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Wallace

John Colin Wallace (born c. 1943) is a former British member of Army Intelligence in Northern Ireland and a psychological warfare specialist. He was one of the members of the intelligence agency-led ‘Clockwork Orange’ project, alleged to have been an attempt to smear various individuals including a number of senior British politicians in the early 1970s. He also attempted to draw public attention to the Kincora Boys’ Home sexual abuse scandal several years before the Royal Ulster Constabulary finally intervened.

He was wrongly convicted of manslaughter in 1981, for which he spent six years in gaol, until 1987.[1] The conviction was later quashed in the light of new forensic and other evidence that raised serious questions about the dubious nature of the evidence used to convict Wallace initially. The journalist Paul Foot, in his book Who Framed Colin Wallace?,[2] suggested that Wallace may have been framed for the killing, possibly to discredit the allegations he was making. This view was similarly expressed by Alex CarlileQC (now Lord Carlile),[3] who later speculated that this may have been the motive not just for the alleged frameup, but also for murder.[4]

August 26 2018 – “Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers [F.A.C.T.] – Summer Edition – Andrew Chandler

Service of Fellowship at St James’s Church Piccadilly, London
Saturday 17th March, 2018

Page 21 FACTion – Vol 8.2- Summer 2018

Main Address by Professor Andrew Chandler

Professor of Modern History, University of Chichester. Chairman of Bishop George Bell Group

All of us, I imagine, feel that we have in many different
ways tumbled into this – and now we find each other on
very uncertain terms indeed. I feel I have tumbled into
this address too. The reason that I am here is simply
because I was kindly invited and I accepted.
On the twenty second of October 2015, an organisation
called the ‘Church of England’, made a statement that it
had achieved an out of court settlement concerning an
allegation of sexual abuse laid against Bishop George
Bell, of Chichester; who died in 1958. The statement
was devised in such a way as to incite a public
judgment. This shocked all of those who knew
something of George Bell, as he was a man regarded
once as one of the great, compassionate and
courageous figures of the twentieth century Christian
Church. He had been the constant friend of refugees
from tyranny. He had saved many lives, an honour
unknown to any other Anglican Bishop. He had
befriended those who had sought to resist Nazism in
Germany and stood by them as they paid the price.
This statement was an assault, premeditated and
deliberately calculated, against the integrity of a man
who was wholly absent, undefended, unrepresented. It
was an assault against a particular Christian civilisation
now virtually extinct in this country, which had lived by
the highest moral standards and possessed the
character to withstand the onslaught of totalitarianism
abroad. It was an assault against the reality of
knowledge itself, for no scholar who knew anything
about this man, his patterns, his age, had been
consulted: such knowledge evidently possessed no
authority at all. Those of you who followed the story over
the last two and half weary years will realise that it has
now reached an interesting stage. All I can say today is
that trying to rescue the figure of George Bell from this
extraordinary situation is rather like trying to rescue a
hapless British national who has fallen into the hands of
a despotic foreign state.
My stock in trade is teaching history and writing history
and I often ask myself the question, ‘What actual use
can a historian be now?’ What use can I be to you
today? Many obvious things might well be said: political
historians are predictable, after all, in pointing out that
something apparently new has happened at least
several times before. Social historians are familiar with
denunciations and accusations: they are part of the
currency of social life. They also know how a climate of
public dread, inspired by all kinds of institutions, might
foster such things. Historians are well placed to tell us
that the integrity of a society is to be found in the testing
of such things and not the making of them. The
historians of oppressive states may offer little
consolation. For them, by and large, the individual in
any age makes their way as best they can through an
ocean of arbitrariness, cruelty, irrational power, selfserving
ambition, corporate indifference. There is little
assurance of justice or vindication to be found in these
places. Yet to any historian it is also clear that no
individual is wholly alone: they can never be wholly
isolated. They are always a part of a bigger picture and
that is where the weight of judgement falls.
The psalmist asked, “When the foundations are
destroyed, what can the righteous do?” [Psalm 11:3]
This sense that the ground on which we tread daily has
evaporated beneath us in many ways expresses the
crucial moral crisis of the twentieth Century, a crisis in
which the individual and society meet. It was an age
which George Bell knew at very close quarters indeed.
Many of those who were his friends knew it for
themselves. In January 1943, three months before he
was arrested, the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer
asked if there had ever been any a generation with so
little ground beneath its feet?
We might well ask ourselves what has become of the
Christian Church in such a world as this? Certainly, we
cannot be sentimental. The Church, however we may
try to define it, is certainly not a unique repository of
righteousness. Since October 2015, I have often been
struck by how people outside the Church of England
have expressed dismay and anger at what has been
done to George Bell. But there has been very little of
this inside the Church itself, a church now with many
official positions, all of them filled by people with a public
responsibility. Only the other day, I heard from a
Roman Catholic priest who had been approached by a
woman after a Holocaust Memorial Day event in
Westminster. ‘Are you Church of England?’ she had
said to him. ‘No’, he replied, ‘I am a Roman Catholic
priest.’ ‘Thank goodness’, she said, ‘George Bell helped
to save my parents. He is our hero. It is shameful what
has been done to him.’ Perhaps such a reproach hardly
matters.
That statement of 22 October 2015 was made to the
press on behalf of a corporation. Any questions that
were subsequently made were answered by an
anonymous ‘spokesperson’ of the Church of England.
Since then I have heard a succession of bishops speak
on the matter, and they have always claimed to present
the view of the Church itself. It is hardly surprising that
many Christians have become sceptical about the
church as a public corporation. The Roman Catholic
priest, Peter Carr, whose trials and imprisonment and
death seem to me as authentic a Christian martyrdom
as anything I have seen in this country for the last half
century, wrote towards the end of his shortened life,
‘Institutions have an amazing tendency to protect
themselves. If an individual has to be sacrificed for that
end, then so be it, justice and fair hearings for the
individual take the back seat.’ I am not sure that
anybody here today would feel able to challenge such a
perception. But what is the Church? And who is the
Church? Any historian knows that the Church is not a
corporation, even if it is led by people who are prepared
to proceed on the principle that it is. The Church is
something greater and deeper, and something far more
diverse. No authority, however it sets itself up, can in
any meaningful way claim to represent this with a policy
or a statement. It is irreducible to a simple formula or a
doctrine. It is something known only to God. Today you
are as much a part of the Christian Church as anyone
else.
There is an immeasurable reality at work in the Christian
Church to which we must we must hold, because it is
the reality in which we find our own place. And this is
fundamental, as it was fundamental to George Bell in his
own lifetime. Those who sought to maintain the
Christian faith in the context of National Socialism
seldom looked to bishops, senior clergy and Church
bureaucracies for any consolation or support. They
knew they were on their own. But what this produced
was precious and rich with significance. The historian
Klemens von Klemperer has written of an intensification
of devotion and understanding, a ‘piety of resistance’. It
was not a piety of the institution, but a piety found
whenever two or three, men or women who pursued
righteousess were to be found together. It was, at the
last, the single possession of the man or woman who
was betrayed, abandoned and abused, before
execution.
Then what has become of our sense of Christianity?
How and where is it to be found? I am more than ever
struck by the greatness of what we are all given in the
wisdom of our scriptures, and in the prophetic life of a
canon of ancient literature which was not given to a
Church alone, but given to the world itself. It remains
before us, whatever church authorities and the like may
do. It is part of the birth right of every man or woman we
shall see as we leave this church today. No one can
define, or confine it. It is at large in the world. I once
found myself sitting in a stall in the choir of Westminster
Abbey between two elderly ladies. They had been
widowed for half a century; both their husbands had
been executed by the Nazi state. Neither was a regular
churchgoer, or conventionally religious. We were
attending a service of choral evensong. As the psalm of
the day was sung one of them, Freya von Moltke, would
simply nod in silent acknowledgement as a particular
phrase touched her own experience and moved her.
The source of Christianity is still to be found where it has
always been, in the story of an innocent, wrongly
accused man, abandoned by respectable company,
tried by a secret political tribunal, judged by a class of
arguments which no one with any independence of mind
could credibly maintain, cast before crowds and taken
away to be crucified. This stark narrative remains,
perhaps, the central, crucial contribution made by
Christianity to civilisation altogether. Because of it no
one can really argue that such things denunciation, trial
and judgement are merely peripheral matters and they
can never be regarded with simple indifference. They
are always fundamental, essential and inescapable. And
the figure of Christ remains with us even when the
corporation of the church disowns us. Father Peter Carr
may have lost his ministry as a priest and been ejected
from his Religious Order, but he knew that what lay
before him was not oblivion but what he called ‘the Way
of the Cross’.
Those who endured the disaster of National Socialism
chose their company very carefully after 1945 and
remained very wary indeed of trusting anybody in public
life. But in these years Freya von Moltke once wrote to
Bell, ‘You are one of us’. Bell would certainly have
cherished this. After his death, the German pastor
Martin Niemöller, who spent seven years in a
concentration camp, remarked on a radio programme
that Bell was ‘a Christian who was led and driven by the
love of Christ Jesus himself. He couldn’t see somebody
suffering, without suffering himself. He could not see
people left alone, without becoming their brother.’
George Bell today may well be claimed as a patron saint
of those who are falsely accused, not simply and merely
because he has been falsely accused himself, but
because this figure offers so much that remains
eloquent, resonant and encouraging. There is no doubt
at all in my mind where to place him. He would readily
have taken his place with us here with us today. He was
one of those very rare individuals who are somehow
able to hold together those disparate realities which are
so rarely found in harmony: the dimensions of authority
and powerlessness; the public word and the private
intervention; an established religion and a confessing
Christianity, the possession of privilege and security but
the use of those things, daily, on behalf of those who
knew only danger.
W H Auden once wrote:
‘True, love finally is great,
Greater than all, but large the hate,
Far larger than Man can estimate.
What is the price of such hate, in such a world as ours?
And when we are failed by every principality and power,
secular or ecclesiastical, to what assurance, if any at all,
can we still lay claim? Bell certainly saw the destructive
power of hatred; and he knew it for himself. But he also
found what lay beyond it. In the Autumn of 1945 he
visited two elderly people in a suburb of the ruined city
of Berlin. They had never met before, but he had known
one of their sons well and had loved him. In fact, Karl
and Paula Bonhoeffer had now lost two sons and they
had also lost two sons-in-law, all of them executed by
the Nazi state. For years they had not seen once a
daughter who had in earlier years married a Jew and
who had lived safely, under Bell’s keeping, in exile. This
must have been an intense, profound moment. The
bishop and the bereaved couple spoke together only for
half an hour but when Bell left they gave him a book
which had belonged to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It was The
Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.
In The Imitation of Christ I find these words:
Let not therefore thy heart be troubled, neither let it
be afraid. Trust in me, and put thy confidence in
My mercy. When thou thinkest thyself farthest off
from Me, oftentimes I am nearest unto thee. When
thou judgest that almost all is lost, then oftentimes
the greatest gain of reward is close at hand.
All is not lost, when a thing falleth foul against
thee. Thou must not judge according to present
feeling; nor so take any grief, or give thyself over to
it from whencesoever it cometh, as though all hopes
of escape were quite taken away. Think not thyself
wholly left although for a time I have sent thee some tribulation, or even have withdrawn thy desired comfort; for this is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.’

August 27 2018 – Miscellaneous Comments

James Byron – T/A

Couldn’t agree more. Given the string of coverups — going right to the top of the CoE — the evidence is overwhelming that bishops can’t be trusted with discipline. It’s structural as much as it’s personal: even if a bishop wants to do the right thing, the conflict of interest is awesome (not that this absolves anyone of responsibility). Putting the organization first is an evil that bedevils all institutions.

I’ve previously gone further than saying that the disciplinary process should be made independent, to suggesting something like France’s juge d’instruction, a trained lawyer with sweeping powers to pursue complaints, gather evidence, and commit any priest or bishop to trial before a panel of laity. So entrenched is the coverup culture than I’m more convinced than ever that something this drastic is needed.

Bernard Silverman

It’s not (just) to do with whether bishops can or cannot be trusted. I’m surprised that they don’t themselves see how an independent complaints/discipline process would free them up to do what I imagine they would prefer to do with their time and energy. James is right: currently their various loyalties present irreconcilable conflicts of interest. We’ve seen the same self-regulation issue with the police, with parliamentary expenses, and so on. Perhaps the bishops who read this blog will comment? Of course the details would have to be worked out, but the principle is a clear one.

August 28 2018 – “Presumed Guilty” by Simon Warr [Biteback 2017]

’A Teacher’s Solitary Battle to Clear His Name’

https://factuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/FACTion-Summer-2018-Vol-8.2-eEdition-email.pdf

“When Jimmy Savile died in 2011, I believe a collective insanity gripped sections of our  society here in the UK, to the extent that anyone who was the target of alleged historical sexual abuse was immediately assumed to be guilty” – Page xi [Simon Warr]

August 30 2018 – Psalm 35

35 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.

Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.

For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

August 30 2018 – The Tablet

In The Tablet this week

Our Rome correspondent, Christopher Lamb, was sheltering from wind and rain in an airport hanger at Knock airport early last Sunday when he first read the explosive “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. It might be some time before the storm in the Church abates. We give our assessment of Viganò’s allegations and the reaction to them. As we say in our leader, it seems the enemies of Francis and his reforms are using Vigano’s claims of a cover up of abuse that reaches to the top of the Church to support calls for the Pope to resign. They are manipulating the child abuse scandal – which has devastated so many lives – for their own political purposes. That is no way to make the Church well again. But if there’s one thing the Church should have learnt in recent years it’s that when serious allegations of misconduct or the covering-up of abuse are made, there should be an independent and transparent investigation.

Pope Francis’ brief visit to Ireland was almost overwhelmed by the abuse issue. It’s worth reading all he said in Dublin and Knock: the heartfelt pleas for forgiveness for the crimes of the Church, but also the words of tenderness and humility and humour in his meetings with families, the poor and the homeless. They give the Irish Church a template and a platform on which to rebuild for the future.

Some have reacted with fury to the Pope’s suggestion that the whole people of God atone for child abuse and its cover up by priests and bishops. In a striking meditation on the meaning of the Church as “one body”, Sara Maitland hopes that we will always have a Pope who dares to call on all in the Church to atone for the sins of some of its members.

Revelations of abuse by priests and monks invariably lead to people asking whether celibacy is at the root of the problem. Erik Varden, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Mount Saint Bernard, warns against a rush to judgement.

August 30 2018 – Letter to Henry Smith MP – The Henriques Report and Bishop Bell [and F.A.C.T.]

Henry Smith 

MP for Crawley

House of Commons 
LONDON SW1A 0AA 
 
Dear Henry Smith MP
 
The Henriques Report and George Bell, Bishop of Chichester. 
 
I am writing to you to express my deep concerns about the growing number of false and wrongful allegations of sexual abuse – particularly regarding Bishop George Bell (a school which was named after him in Tilgate, but no longer now). 
 
While Operation Midland – and others – have been the focus of criticism in the media, the same problems apply to many who are not celebrities. This is illustrated by an alarming increase in requests for help made to various organisations which support the falsely and wrongfully accused. 
 
False and Wrongful allegations have a traumatic, devastating and long lasting effect on innocent lives and this has been evidenced in a recent research paper produced by the Oxford Centre for Criminology. 
 
The Henriques report has illustrated many problems in Operation Midland. We would hope that all the recommendations in the Henriques report would be implemented but the following are of particular importance in avoiding miscarriages of justice:
 
Recommendation 1. Throughout both the investigative and judicial process those who make complaints should be referred to as ‘complainants’ and not as ‘victims’. 
 
Recommendation 2. The instruction to ‘believe a ‘victim’s account’ should cease. Instead an officer interviewing a complainant should investigate the facts objectively and impartially and with an open mind from the outset. 
 
Recommendation 4. Investigators should be informed that false and wrongful complaints are made from time to time and should not be regarded as a remote possibility. 
 
Please may I urge you to consider taking steps to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Henriques report as a matter of urgency to prevent further miscarriages of justice and to help the public regain trust in the police and justice system.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Richard W. Symonds
 
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street,
Ifield Village
Crawley
West Sussex 
RH11 0NN
 
Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)
 
 
 
APPENDIX 1
 
‘Keep Rebuilding Bridges’ – Church House Westminster – Friday October 5 2018
 
 
APPENDIX II
 
FACT’s Submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Miscarriages of Justice, 2018 
 
FACT was founded 18 years ago as a voluntary charitable organisation to support, advise and campaign on behalf of teachers, carers and other professionals (including volunteers) who have been falsely accused of abuse throughout the UK and who are defending their innocence. 
 
We are run by a national committee and are supported in expertise by an international voluntary advisory group made up of experts (details appended to this document). FACT started as a response to the decisions of various police forces throughout the UK to undertake investigations into alleged historical child abuse in many institutions, initially in former children’s homes and residential schools. 
 
The first police force to do this on a significant scale was North Wales in 1991. The police were widely criticised for using trawling methods to increase allegations and many innocent people were caught up in these investigations. Some were wrongfully convicted. All suffered serious consequences, and needed an organisation that could support them and, just as importantly, their families. It soon became clear that how false or wrongful allegations are dealt with is absolutely crucial and cannot be viewed as something to be acted upon on a trial and error basis until it is got right. 
 
The lifelong effects on both the accused and their family are devastating regardless of how far the allegation goes through the system. Even ‘just’ being investigated leaves a blot on a person’s record (DBS and employment), often a loss of career, and deep trauma. There is also significant damage to children within the accused’s own family. Often prior to any verdict of guilt the accused is removed from their home and not allowed to live with their own children, with access only under supervision! 
 
We received much feedback from a growing membership such as: “This is a country where innocent people are being thrown in prison for crime where no witnesses, in fact no evidence of a crime taking place [other than the accusation] was ever found, and yet, they were arrested and questioned as if they were guilty, all because of an ill-conceived promise by the government and the police of that nation to would-be victims that “If you come forward, we WILL believe you. Some stories sounded believable, others were fantastical, and yet the accused, because of that very promise, was assumed to be guilty until proven otherwise”. 
 
It was initially thought FACT would only be needed for two or three years as its voice would be heard. Shockingly some 18 years later the problem has not been reduced but gone the other way and reached epidemic proportions. In a 2016 House of Lords debate it was stated that the Chief constable of Norfolk, Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for child protection, reported there had been an 80% rise in child sex offence allegations in the three years to 2015 and that there were 70,000 investigations in just the past year alone! Most alarmingly he said to the Times newspaper that if that rate of increase continues they could be investigating 200,000 cases by 2020! 
 
What is not recorded or made available to the public is how many innocent people are included in those figures (not charged/acquitted) and what lasting effect that has on them and their family. If an accused is not charged or acquitted due to a false or wrongful allegation the court system and police do not record that as a false or wrongful allegation, leading to an incorrect assumption that the number of false allegations are few. What is true is that the act of recording of false or wrongful allegations is low! This is a really important point as false or wrongful allegations are notoriously difficult to collect figures on. 
 
It is only organisations specialising in this field who experience the reality on a daily basis as they are contacted by people in need of support. The numbers of innocent people being affected and in need of help is substantial. Experience has shown that not all allegations of abuse are true. And indeed, wrongful allegations are made alongside false allegations. Some people may deliberately lie, motivated by revenge or the possibility of financial compensation or by the need for attention (False Allegations). Others may not knowingly lie, but may have a false memory of an event in the distant past or may have misinterpreted something that took place several decades earlier (Wrongful Allegations). 
 
It is important to realise that 30 or 40 years ago people were not so aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and the risk of wrongful allegations, and what was then perfectly acceptable behaviour could be misinterpreted decades later as complainants are asked to come forward with anything that might have constituted sexual abuse by today’s standard. We wish to make it clear from the outset that we have no doubt that some children and adults are abused by carers, teachers and other professionals employed in positions of trust and that this has occurred in both historical and a contemporary context. However, we believe that the extent to which this is said to have occurred is exaggerated. We fully accept, and wholeheartedly support, that all complaints of abuse must be thoroughly and properly investigated and that any form of abuse perpetrated on children and other vulnerable groups is wrong and that the police and investigative agencies have a difficult but essential job to do. We also know failure to do that job correctly destroys lives. 
 
In 2015 we worked in cooperation with The University of Oxford as they undertook a study on the impact of being wrongly accused in occupations of trust: Victims’ Voices. The report clearly demonstrates the destruction of the accused’s and their family’s prior life, including: suicide; suicidal thoughts; stigma; trauma and stress; insomnia; family break up; loss of work/career; financial loss; permanent psychological damage; loss of reputation and standing; victimisation and discrimination; loss of home. 
 
Oxford University study report, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-and-subject-groups/impact-being-wrongly-accused-abuse-occupationstrust-victims-voice Why is it too easy to be falsely accused and convicted of abuse when factually innocent? Genuine concerns to protect children has spawned a massive child protection industry. The term industry being used because it has a part of it based on power and financial motivation. An industry made up of organisations with considerable influence and power (both at home and abroad) and which are viewed as being the unquestionable leading experts and preferred advisors to the government. Public accounts show there is even one organisation with annual turnover in excess of £100m per year with thousands of employees/volunteers. This industry does not want to see its power decline and few dare to speak out against it to insist on balance. The emperor’s clothes syndrome. This is an area the government does not want to openly discuss as it will open a can of worms on all its past decisions, but one that is a significant contributory part of the problem we now face, whether we want to hear it or not. 
 
Since the early 90’s there has also been a steady series of individual changes brought about which have compounded to create the situation we have today these include the growth of the child protection ‘industry’, social changes, the Internet and changes in the law and policing policy.… ■ The full letter (9 pages) can be downloaded from our websitehttps://factuk.org/

August 31 2018 – “Archbishop Welby addresses UN Security Council” – ‘Thinking Anglicans’ [“Pre-emptive Reconciliation”]

August 31 2018 – “Welby goes to the UN to speak about ‘pre-emptive reconciliation’ (aka friendship)” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Regarding “pre-emptive reconciliation”, may I suggest Archbishop Justin Welby practises what he preaches with an apology for his “significant cloud” remark against Bishop George Bell, before the latter’s 60th Anniversary this October

Except there’s nobody to pre-empt, Bell having been dead for so long along with most other people who were around at the time when the alleged events supposedly took place. The ball is firmly in Welby’s court to show some humility and common sense.

September 1 2018 – Peter Hitchens on Truth

“There are scandals; the principle scandal I’ve been involved in exposing was the besmirching of the name of Bishop George Bell. That’s scandal. But it’s been shown to be a scandal by the Carlile report and I was right to do it”

Sept 1 2018 – Martin Sewell on Archbishop Justin Welby – ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ Discussion – Feb 1 2018

The one thing I think, if you are building bridges, and here I draw on my jurisprudence, you were saying there is right and there is the rights culture and you rather impugned Justin Welby as being a post‑modernist.  I think that is unfair.  The worst case is, the most complex cases are where everyone has a point.  And there is no doubt that Justin Welby has a point when he says:  I want to treat victims better than they did in the past.

“The trouble is, he is treating the accused worse than in the past and that is a legitimate point.
“But I don’t think it is fair to him to chacterise him as a post‑truth, post‑modernist, that is not right.I have heard Archbishop Justin Welby speak passionately about his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and anything we say must not suggest that he has given over to post‑modernism because he hasn’t, he is on the horns of a dilemma.I was asked:Are you saying he is incompetent by a journalist and my answer was, why would I expect the Archbishop of Canterbury to be competent in the field of safeguarding law?That is the problem.He hasn’t grasped how we do things properly.But he is passionate that we should not repeat the errors of the past”

Sept 1 2018 – “The Golden Thread running through British Justice”

The golden thread running through British justice

Sept 1 2018 – “10 Golden Rules for the Falsely Accused” – British False Memory Society [BFMS]

Sept 1 2018 – “The Principle Of ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ Is Being Undermined” – BFMS

Sept 1 2018 – “UNFOUNDED” – ‘Alliance Against Unfounded Accusations of Abuse’ – Ducie Street, Manchester

Sept 1 2018 – F.A.C.T. – Falsely Accused Carers & Teachers – Ducie Street, Manchester

Sept 1 2018 – F.A.H.S.A. [Falsely Accused of Historic Sex Abuse]

Sept 1 2018 – F.A.S.O. [False Allegations Support Organisation]

Sept 1 2018 – B.F.M.S. [British False Memory Society] – Dr Kevin Felstead

Sept 1 2018 – S.A.F.A.R.I. [Supporting All Falsely Accused with Reference Information]

Sept 1 2018 – P.A.F.A.A. [People Against False Accusations of Abuse] and S.O.F.A.P [Support Organisation for Falsely Accused People]

Sept 1 2018 – P.A.I.N. [Parents Against InJustice]

Sept 1 2018 – “The Justice Gap” – Jon Robins

Sept 2 2018 – Full Police Apology following The Henriques Report

Sept 2 2018 – Full Church Apology following The Carlile Review [still awaited]

Sept 2 2018 – “Bishop of Oxford to face police questioning over allegation of sex abuse cover-up” – ‘The Rt Rev Steven Croft , the Bishop of Oxford, is one of a number of bishops under police investigation’ – Daily Telegraph – Harry Farley

Sept 3 2018 – Peter “Bugger-Building-Bridges” Mullen pulls out of Westminster conference – Part I

“I am sorry to say that I shall not be able to attend next month’s meeting after all…[Archbishop] Welby and [Bishop] Warner are persisting in a monstrous miscarriage of justice. Every – legal – polemical means to ensure their dismissal is what’s required if [Bishop] Bell is ever to have his name cleared. I’m sorry but – from what I have read of your output – I don’t think your group is up for this sort of street-fighting”

In December last year, Peter wrote an exhaustive review of the Carlile report, criticising the responses of senior clerics at both Chichester and Canterbury. Here is a link to the article which appeared in the Salisbury Review.

Peter Mullen’s website

Peter Mullen on Wikipedia

Sept 3 2018 – Peter “Bugger-Building-Bridges” Mullen pulls out of Westminster conference – Part II

When standing down from speaking at Keep Rebuilding Bridges, Peter Mullen supplied two articles. There is a link to one of them in the previous post, which first appeared in the Salisbury Review during December last year.

The other, which appears to be previously unpublished, appears below.

What can we hope for?

I have been inveigled – I don’t know what else to say – into the Bishop George Bell Society. I have already written vigorously about the scandalous behaviour by the church hierarchy which has so tarnished the reputation of this noble and innocent man. So when the chairman of the Bell Society invited me to speak at their October meeting in Westminster, I was delighted to accept.
Subsequent communications with the chairman of the Society have been far from encouraging. (Imagine the atmosphere of a Sunday School outing on a very damp day) I suggested that a key aim should be to get rid of the liars and traducers of George Bell – that is Welby of Canterbury and Warner of Chichester. These “men” are clearly guilty and so should be exposed as such and by that means compelled to resign.
I further suggested to the chairman that for this purpose rottweilers and terriers were needed in the form of big name public figures and high powered journalists to take up the cudgels.
Whereupon the gentle chairman backed off and said he would leave the rottweilers and terriers to get on with the job. (But there aren’t any). Moreover he was convinced that Welby and Warner will have been despatched by October.
By whom, then?
He wants all the speakers at his October conference to be part of a consensual team to “build bridges” And we are all to agree in advance as to what we shall say.
Those who acknowledge the great injustice that has been done to George Bell have no need to build bridges with anyone. And of course it is unthinkable that we should build bridges with Welby and Warner – who have revealed themselves as two of the most treacherous episcopal specimens of recent times . (And the competition is not negligible).
This dear chairman is no doubt a delightful man and mush-loved by old ladies of both sexes. He is, I suspect, sensationally ineffectual. I don’t say he wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but he would make sure before he did say boo that there was a psychiatrist on hand to treat the goose for post-traumatic stress disorder.
What George Bell needs is people who will fight his corner for him – and bugger “building bridges”.
I suspect I am wasting my time with this lot: nice as they sound, with their meeting in Church House – what you might call the “away” ground.
Advice please.
Peter
PS Chap goes into a pub and asks for a Welby.
“A Welby, Sir?”
“Yes, a Noilly Prat”.

Sept 3 2018 – From The Archives – Revd Dr Peter Mullen – [Dec 19 2017 – “The Kangaroos of Canterbury” – The Salisbury Review – Peter Mullen ]

“Hung out to dry,” those are the words of Lord Carlile in his judgment on how the Church of England authorities treated Bishop George Bell

The Church operated a kangaroo court. Here are the facts…

Bishop George Bell (1883-1958), Bishop of Chichester, has been judged and condemned without any case brought for his defence. An elderly woman came forward in 1995 and claimed that Bishop Bell had sexually abused her fifty years earlier. The authorities took no action. The woman complained again in 2013, by which time Bishop Bell had been dead for fifty-five years. The police concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify their questioning Bishop Bell, had he been still alive. Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, discussed the matter with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and in 2015 the Church of England offered a formal apology to Bishop Bell’s accuser, paid her an undisclosed sum in compensation – now revealed to have been £31,000 – and allowed her to remain anonymous. Memorials to Bishop Bell were removed and institutions – such as the Bishop Bell School, Eastbourne – changed their names.

Unsurprisingly, there was outrage. On 13th November 2015, Judge Alan Pardoe QC described the way the allegations against Bishop Bell had been handled as “slipshod and muddled.” Judge Pardoe’s criticisms were followed by further censure from a group of historians and theologians led by Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.

The Bishop of Chichester replied with insouciance and a volley of jargon to these criticisms: “The Church is seeking to move on from a culture in which manipulation of power meant that victims were too afraid to make allegations, or allegations were easily dismissed. We must provide safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.”

But there were no “safeguards of truth and justice” for Bishop Bell who was condemned without a hearing.

The outrage did not subside and a committee of senior church people, distinguished lawyers and members of both the Lords and the Commons calling itself The George Bell Group was formed. On 20thMarch 2016, this group published a review in which they challenged the Church’s evidence against Bishop Bell and attacked it for failing to find or interview a key witness or examine Bell’s own extensive personal archive.

On 30th June 2016, the case formed a large part of a debate in the House of Lords on historical child sex abuse.

On 28th June 2016, the Church of England announced that it would hold an independent review of the procedure used. On 22nd November 2016 it announced that Lord Carlile QC would chair this review

Meanwhile, the George Bell Group declared that they had discovered in the Church’s initial case against Bishop Bell “…enough to establish its severe limitations which render it quite inadequate as a basis for assessing the probability of Bishop Bell’s guilt. The scope of the independent experts’ inquiries was limited to a degree that made a proper analysis of the complainant’s allegations virtually impossible. What is more, little or no respect seems to have been paid to the unheard interests of Bishop Bell or his surviving family – a serious breach of natural justice.”

“In view of the evidence that we have gathered and examined, we have concluded that the allegation made against Bishop Bell cannot be upheld in terms of actual evidence or historical probability.”

Lord Carlile’s report was handed to the Church authorities two months ago and they kicked it into the long grass until last Friday.

So much for Bishop Martin Warner’s vaunted “…safeguards of truth and justice for all, victim and accused alike.” All along, the only interests being safeguarded here were those of the Church’s highest authorities in Chichester and Canterbury. We know very well why these authorities leapt so precipitately to condemn Bishop Bell out of hand: it was because they had previously had to admit to the existence of so many perpetrators of sexual abuse among the senior clergy they wanted desperately to appear to be doing something.

Thus the reputation of Bishop George Bell was tarnished because the Church’s highest authorities are seeking to cover their own backs.

Let us be in no doubt as to the seriousness of the Church’s conduct so eloquently set out in Lord Carlile’s report. To that phrase “hung out to dry,” he adds that the Church’s procedures were “deficient, inappropriate and impermissible”; “obvious lines of enquiry were not followed” and there was “a rush to judgement.”

In the light of this scandalously incompetent behaviour, the least that might be expected from the Archbishop of Canterbury is a profuse apology to Bishop Bell’s descendants, family, friends and numerous supporters for the distress his decisions have caused them. Is such an apology forthcoming? It is not. Instead Justin Welby persists in his mood of arrogant vindictiveness, saying, “……..A significant cloud is left over George Bell’s name. No human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not diminish evil ones…”

This is outrageous. True, Bishop Bell was “accused of great wickedness” – but he was not found guilty of any wrongdoing. And there is no “significant cloud” over his name. There is, however, certainly a very dark cloud over Welby’s name after his lamentable performance in this matter.

Well, there is still time: a whole week in which Justin Welby has opportunity to make his Confession before he celebrates Christmas Holy Communion.

Sept 3 2018 – RWS Note

“Wheels appear to be falling off the Archbishop’s Bus – the one which the late Bishop Bell was thrown under at Lambeth”

~ Richard W. Symonds

 

Sept 5 2018 – From The Archives [Nov 16 2016 – ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Signatories delivered to the Bishop of Chichester, The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner]

“Since October 15…some aspects of the way he [Bishop Bell] is remembered have been called into question. An investigation into a claim of child abuse concluded that the allegations, whilst not tested in a court of law, are nonetheless plausible…it now seems entirely possible that the same man who showed moral courage in opposing saturation bombing was also responsible for the devastating abuse of a child. As Bell himself recognised, few people are wholly good or wholly evil, and supoorting victims is always the right thing to do”

[Attrib. to The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester – “Chichester Cathedral. Society and Faith” – Pitkin Publishing/The History Press. January 2016 – Page 37]

 

Sept 5 2018 – From The Archives [Nov 18 2016 – Reply by the Bishop of Chichester to the co-signed ‘Cathedral Guide’ Letter 1 of Nov 16]

 

Sept 5 2018 – From The Archives [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

Sept 5 2018 – From The Archives [Winter 2016 – ‘Bishop George Bell’ – Page 37 – Cathedral Guide – “Chichester Cathedral. Society and Faith” – Pitkin 2016]

Sept 5 2018 – From The Archives [Jan 14 2016 – “This text is intended to give clear guidance on tone and content…if you prefer to leave Bishop Bell out of your conversation or guided tour, this is perfectly acceptable” – Dean of Chichester Cathedral, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine – to Cathedral Guides]

IMG_1573

Sept 6 2018 – Random Thoughts

“It’s not possible to build a bridge when one side is built on sand, gravel and worse”

~ ‘LW’

Sept 6 2018 – Letter from ‘A’

IMG_1569 (1)

IMG_1570 (1)

Sept 6 2018 – The Tablet

“Luigi Gioia…reminds us that the rush to blame and scapegoat others and the urge to expel “impure” individuals or groups is as old as the Church itself”

Sept 6 2018 – From The Archives [Feb 1 2018 – “Lord Carlile denounces ‘foolish’ Church of England for casting further doubt on the name of Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’]

 

Sept 6 2018 – From The Archives [July 19 2018 – “The BBC destroyed Sir Cliff Richard, just like the Church of England dishonoured Bishop George Bell” – ‘Archbishop Cranmer’]

“Short of flying a helicopter over his grave in Chichester Cathedral, how does what the BBC inflicted upon the good name of Sir Cliff Richard differ from the disgrace and dishonour the Church of England has heaped upon the reputation of Bishop George Bell?” ~ ‘Archbishop Cranmer’

Comments 1 – ‘Not a machine’

“The judge is at least mindful that in most cases there is no public interest in guilt or innocence, until the courts have concluded or judgment given”

Comments 2 – ‘Father David’

 

Sept 6 2018 – “It is pointless pouring the new wine of safeguarding into the old wineskins of arcane ecclesiology” – Martin Sewell/’AC’

 

Sept 7 2018 – Margaret Gardener – False Allegations Support Organisation [FASO]

http://www.false-allegations.org.uk/voluntary-organisation-slams-cps/

Sept 7 2018 – “Parsons’ Pleasures” – Private Eye – No. 1478 – 7 September-20 Sept 2018

IMG_1577

 

Sept 7 2018 – RWS Letter Submission in response to “Parsons’ Pleasures”, Private Eye

Dear Letters Editor

Initiation into the 218-year-old ecclesiastical men’s club ‘Nobody’s Friends’ [“Parsons’ Pleasures”, Eye 1478] is by way of a speech in which the newly-elected male justifies his attendance by presenting his career qualifications as a Nobody.
The present host of this thrice-yearly “perfectly ordinary dining club” at Lambeth Palace is Archbishop Justin Welby who, presumably, justified his first attendance by eloquently and convincingly presenting his career qualifications as a Nobody.
Wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell, for whom the present “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” Archbishop has a serious problem, made his justification in verse:
Till eighteen hundred and eighty-three
NOBODY ever heard of me, 
That winter day which saw my birth,
In a quiet corner of Hampshire earth,
NOBODY (out of heaven) knew
What the new Vicar’s son would do.
After more than my usual share
Of schools where little boys prepare,
I went to Westminster, and there,
As fellow-scholars might be seen
Tizard and Stallybrass and Greene.
Once only in that place enchanted
I won a prize, which NOBODY wanted.
And once I acted with Milne A.A. – 
We were very young – in the Latin play.
Christchurch, Oxford, was my next station,
And here I worked with moderation.
Though NOBODY thought me much of a fellow,
I took some pleasure in books that were yellow:
And wooing the Muse, though not for pelf, I
Won the Newdigate with Delphi.
At Wells I went through the usual training
Required by Bishops for my ordaining.
As a Leeds curate I said my prayers for
All sorts of folk whom NOBODY cares for.
Back at the House, where young men are gods,
I helped Bloods and NOBODIES through Pass Mods.
But all this while there is little to mention
Worthy at least of your attention.
Till the curate from Leeds and the Oxford don 
Was landed on Randall Davidson!
Then hard and fast my life began:
I served ten years with that great man
In war and peace, in Church and State,
In Convocation and Lord’s debate.
I had to be NOBODY then, for sure it is
The most useful Chaplains are always obscurities.
From Lambeth I, with full courage,
Made a Decanal pilgrimage;
Succeeding to the dead Dean Wace 
I sat where now is the red Dean’s place,
And helped all NOBODIES to see
The whole Cathedral without fee.
We were young, we were wise, and very, very merry
And founded the Friends of Canterbury.
Next to Chichester I was sent
When the Prayer Book crashed in Parliament; 
I served on a Church and State Commission
To look into the whole position,
With Cecil and Temple and Dibdin and Vaisy,
Working to make relations easy.
We published an excellent report –
NOBODY differed – on what we thought,
But Archbishop Lang was not attracted
And, whatever the reason, NOBODY acted.
Then NOBODIES of a different sort
I tried to help, as a Christian ought,
When Hitler sent across the seas
Thousands of pitiful refugees.
NOBODY more completely hated
The Nazi system – vile – ill-fated!
But NOBODY loved me when I found
A better Germany underground.
There were other moments, during the war,
When people thought I went too far;
Pleading against the obliteration
Either of city or of nation.
But I will not trouble you more tonight
With further evidence of my plight.
I hope you’ll agree, now I come to an end,
I can justly claim to be NOBODY’S FRIEND.
Yours sincerely
Richard W. Symonds
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex
RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)
Note
‘Keep Rebuilding Bridges’ will take place at Church House Westminster next month – Friday October 5  – one of a number of events to mark the 60th Anniversary of Bishop George Bell [1883-1958]

Sept 7 2018 – From The Archives [Oct 31 2016 The Henriques Report– “An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations, alleged against persons of public prominence” – Sir Richard Henriques]

 

Sept 7 2018 – From The Archives [Nov 10 2016 – “Henriques Report: ‘Deputy Heads Must Roll'” – ‘BarristerBlogger’ – Matthew Scott]

 

Sept 7 2018 – From The Archives [Nov 18 2016 – “Bell affair: implications of the Henriques report” – Church Times – Letter – C.D.C. Armstrong – Belfast]

 

Sept 7 2018 – From The Archives [Nov 18 2016 – “Henriques: Help or Hindrance” – David Hencke]

 

Sept 7 2018 – From The Archives [August 30 2018 – Letter to Henry Smith MP – The Henriques Report and Bishop Bell – and F.A.C.T.]

Henry Smith 

MP for Crawley

House of Commons 
LONDON SW1A 0AA 
 
Dear Henry Smith MP
 
The Henriques Report and George Bell, Bishop of Chichester. 
 
I am writing to you to express my deep concerns about the growing number of false and wrongful allegations of sexual abuse – particularly regarding Bishop George Bell (a school which was named after him in Tilgate, but no longer now). 
 
While Operation Midland – and others – have been the focus of criticism in the media, the same problems apply to many who are not celebrities. This is illustrated by an alarming increase in requests for help made to various organisations which support the falsely and wrongfully accused. 
 
False and Wrongful allegations have a traumatic, devastating and long lasting effect on innocent lives and this has been evidenced in a recent research paper produced by the Oxford Centre for Criminology. 
 
The Henriques report has illustrated many problems in Operation Midland. We would hope that all the recommendations in the Henriques report would be implemented but the following are of particular importance in avoiding miscarriages of justice:
 
Recommendation 1. Throughout both the investigative and judicial process those who make complaints should be referred to as ‘complainants’ and not as ‘victims’. 
 
Recommendation 2. The instruction to ‘believe a ‘victim’s account’ should cease. Instead an officer interviewing a complainant should investigate the facts objectively and impartially and with an open mind from the outset. 
 
Recommendation 4. Investigators should be informed that false and wrongful complaints are made from time to time and should not be regarded as a remote possibility. 
 
Please may I urge you to consider taking steps to support the implementation of the recommendations of the Henriques report as a matter of urgency to prevent further miscarriages of justice and to help the public regain trust in the police and justice system.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Richard W. Symonds
 
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street,
Ifield Village
Crawley
West Sussex 
RH11 0NN
 
Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)
 
 
 
APPENDIX 1
 
‘Keep Rebuilding Bridges’ – Church House Westminster – Friday October 5 2018
 
 
APPENDIX II
 
FACT’s Submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Miscarriages of Justice, 2018 
 
FACT was founded 18 years ago as a voluntary charitable organisation to support, advise and campaign on behalf of teachers, carers and other professionals (including volunteers) who have been falsely accused of abuse throughout the UK and who are defending their innocence. 
 
We are run by a national committee and are supported in expertise by an international voluntary advisory group made up of experts (details appended to this document). FACT started as a response to the decisions of various police forces throughout the UK to undertake investigations into alleged historical child abuse in many institutions, initially in former children’s homes and residential schools. 
 
The first police force to do this on a significant scale was North Wales in 1991. The police were widely criticised for using trawling methods to increase allegations and many innocent people were caught up in these investigations. Some were wrongfully convicted. All suffered serious consequences, and needed an organisation that could support them and, just as importantly, their families. It soon became clear that how false or wrongful allegations are dealt with is absolutely crucial and cannot be viewed as something to be acted upon on a trial and error basis until it is got right. 
 
The lifelong effects on both the accused and their family are devastating regardless of how far the allegation goes through the system. Even ‘just’ being investigated leaves a blot on a person’s record (DBS and employment), often a loss of career, and deep trauma. There is also significant damage to children within the accused’s own family. Often prior to any verdict of guilt the accused is removed from their home and not allowed to live with their own children, with access only under supervision! 
 
We received much feedback from a growing membership such as: “This is a country where innocent people are being thrown in prison for crime where no witnesses, in fact no evidence of a crime taking place [other than the accusation] was ever found, and yet, they were arrested and questioned as if they were guilty, all because of an ill-conceived promise by the government and the police of that nation to would-be victims that “If you come forward, we WILL believe you. Some stories sounded believable, others were fantastical, and yet the accused, because of that very promise, was assumed to be guilty until proven otherwise”. 
 
It was initially thought FACT would only be needed for two or three years as its voice would be heard. Shockingly some 18 years later the problem has not been reduced but gone the other way and reached epidemic proportions. In a 2016 House of Lords debate it was stated that the Chief constable of Norfolk, Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for child protection, reported there had been an 80% rise in child sex offence allegations in the three years to 2015 and that there were 70,000 investigations in just the past year alone! Most alarmingly he said to the Times newspaper that if that rate of increase continues they could be investigating 200,000 cases by 2020! 
 
What is not recorded or made available to the public is how many innocent people are included in those figures (not charged/acquitted) and what lasting effect that has on them and their family. If an accused is not charged or acquitted due to a false or wrongful allegation the court system and police do not record that as a false or wrongful allegation, leading to an incorrect assumption that the number of false allegations are few. What is true is that the act of recording of false or wrongful allegations is low! This is a really important point as false or wrongful allegations are notoriously difficult to collect figures on. 
 
It is only organisations specialising in this field who experience the reality on a daily basis as they are contacted by people in need of support. The numbers of innocent people being affected and in need of help is substantial. Experience has shown that not all allegations of abuse are true. And indeed, wrongful allegations are made alongside false allegations. Some people may deliberately lie, motivated by revenge or the possibility of financial compensation or by the need for attention (False Allegations). Others may not knowingly lie, but may have a false memory of an event in the distant past or may have misinterpreted something that took place several decades earlier (Wrongful Allegations). 
 
It is important to realise that 30 or 40 years ago people were not so aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse and the risk of wrongful allegations, and what was then perfectly acceptable behaviour could be misinterpreted decades later as complainants are asked to come forward with anything that might have constituted sexual abuse by today’s standard. We wish to make it clear from the outset that we have no doubt that some children and adults are abused by carers, teachers and other professionals employed in positions of trust and that this has occurred in both historical and a contemporary context. However, we believe that the extent to which this is said to have occurred is exaggerated. We fully accept, and wholeheartedly support, that all complaints of abuse must be thoroughly and properly investigated and that any form of abuse perpetrated on children and other vulnerable groups is wrong and that the police and investigative agencies have a difficult but essential job to do. We also know failure to do that job correctly destroys lives. 
 
In 2015 we worked in cooperation with The University of Oxford as they undertook a study on the impact of being wrongly accused in occupations of trust: Victims’ Voices. The report clearly demonstrates the destruction of the accused’s and their family’s prior life, including: suicide; suicidal thoughts; stigma; trauma and stress; insomnia; family break up; loss of work/career; financial loss; permanent psychological damage; loss of reputation and standing; victimisation and discrimination; loss of home. 
 
Oxford University study report, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-and-subject-groups/impact-being-wrongly-accused-abuse-occupationstrust-victims-voice Why is it too easy to be falsely accused and convicted of abuse when factually innocent? Genuine concerns to protect children has spawned a massive child protection industry. The term industry being used because it has a part of it based on power and financial motivation. An industry made up of organisations with considerable influence and power (both at home and abroad) and which are viewed as being the unquestionable leading experts and preferred advisors to the government. Public accounts show there is even one organisation with annual turnover in excess of £100m per year with thousands of employees/volunteers. This industry does not want to see its power decline and few dare to speak out against it to insist on balance. The emperor’s clothes syndrome. This is an area the government does not want to openly discuss as it will open a can of worms on all its past decisions, but one that is a significant contributory part of the problem we now face, whether we want to hear it or not. 
 
Since the early 90’s there has also been a steady series of individual changes brought about which have compounded to create the situation we have today these include the growth of the child protection ‘industry’, social changes, the Internet and changes in the law and policing policy.… ■ The full letter (9 pages) can be downloaded from our websitehttps://factuk.org/

 

Sept 7 2018 – Letter from Crawley MP Henry Smith [Re: The Henriques Report]

Dear Richard

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns over false and wrongful allegations of sexual abuse, with particular reference to former Chichester Diocese Church of England Bishop, George Bell.

I will write to the Justice Secretary, Rt Hon David Gauke MP, to ask him to address the recommendations you have mentioned following publication in November 2016 of Sir Richard Henriques’ report on the Metropolitan Police’s handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations.

Please be assured I will be in contact when my office receives a response.

Best wishes

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Westminster: 020 7219 7043 | Crawley: 01293 934554

cid:image001.png@01CB1C78.0C5F0C40

Sept 8 2018 – “The Matt Ineson story continued” – Stephen Parsons – ‘Surviving Church’ – Bishop Steven Croft – Diocese of Oxford – John Rees

“….In view of these legal problems which Matt has brought to our attention in the past couple of days, it is hard to see how proper church legal processes can move forward smoothly towards resolution. Also, now that the civil authorities are becoming involved in the case, these CDM cases are less likely to disappear.

“The only logical def