Tag Archives: Diocese of Chichester

March 5 2018 – “‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears” – West Sussex County Times – Michael Drummond


‘Wilful blindness’ existed towards Church child abuse in Sussex, inquiry hears

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is taking place in London

MICHAEL DRUMMOND Email Published: 17:21 Monday 05 March 2018

A damning image of ‘wilful blindness’ in historic cases of sexual abuse of children who were ‘terrified and silenced’ by clergy in Sussex has been set out at a public inquiry. Fiona Scolding QC, lead counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said abuse that left an ‘indelible scar’ on children was often ignored or forgiven.

In one segment, Miss Scolding described abuse by a Reverend Colin Pritchard: “There have been suggestions about the culture of abuse operated by Reverend Pritchard and that Bishop Peter Ball turned a blind eye to that abuse.” Reverend Pritchard, who was vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill, pleaded guilty in 2008 to seven counts of sexual assault on two boys and was jailed for five years.

Speaking on behalf of the Diocese of Chichester and Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England, Nigel Giffin QC said the Church’s response to abuse in the last few decades was ‘not nearly good enough’. The IICSA inquiry in London will look into how far institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse within the Anglican Church. It focusses on abuse within the Diocese of Chichester, which covers all of Sussex, as a case study.

Lead counsel for the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC Members of the public heard about dozens of offences in Sussex over the last 50 years. Miss Scolding said: “As a society we have ocer the past 10 years had to examine some uncomfortable truths about our wilful blindness to such abuse.”

She noted the convictions for sex offences of Michael Walsh, Terence Banks and David Bowring, who were associated with Chichester Cathedral and local schooling. Miss Scolding also told the inquiry how Reverend Roy Cotton, who was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency with a child, was at one point an ‘alleged abuser hiding in plain sight’.

Richard Scorer spoke on behalf of many of the victims

She added: “Despite his conviction the Bishop of Portsmouth considered him suitable for ordination as a man of ‘considerable ability’ free of any trouble for 12 years. “Because of his criminal record the then Bishop of Portsmouth ensured he did not have to undertake the usual recruitment processes.”

The handling by the Church of allegations made against Chichester’s Bishop George Bell will be discussed later in the inquiry, but not the truth of them or otherwise.

Richard Scorer, speaking on behalf of many of the victims, said: “If you want to abuse children there is no more effective way of terrifying and silencing your victims than to claim to have God on your side.

The inquiry will look into how abuse by people associated with Chichester Cathedral was dealt with

“The Church of England claims to offer moral guidance to the country yet clerical sexual abuse cases powerfully undermine the claim. This leads to the cover-up of abuse.

“The question is whether the Church of England can be trusted to put its own house in order.”

In a statement read out this afternoon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “The failures that we have seen are deeply shaming and I personally find them a cause of horror and sadness. “That children have been abused within the communities of the church is indeed shameful.” The inquiry continues.

Read more at: https://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/crime/wilful-blindness-existed-towards-church-child-abuse-in-sussex-inquiry-hears-1-8403316


February 23 2018 – “Position is not defensible” – Chichester Observer – Letter – Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

“Position is not defensible”



Published: 10:00 Friday 23 February 2018 – Chichester Observer

It is mind-blowing that the Church of England can possibly think its position over the handling of an abuse claim against the late Bishop George Bell is in any way defensible.

Subsequent to the Carlile report, it now claims to have ‘some more information’ relating to the case, which it is not prepared to divulge. It is thus not only ignoring Lord Carlile’s recommendations about further procedures, but in his own words is also ignoring ‘due process of the rule of law’. It is probably also hoping that by such tactics, supporters and potential witnesses will go away or, indeed, die off – as one key witness already has.

One has to question why, again, the Church authorities are not prepared to publicise the so-called ‘new information’ in advance of an investigation, or to allow surviving family members their own legal representation. The answer could be that they are afraid that an outside QC would simply rip the case to pieces. Indeed, this may be the reason why they refused to allow Lord Carlile’s remit to extend to an actual verdict in the first place.

And with the IICSA inquiry into other cases in the Diocese of Chichester about to take place, they do not dare to appear politically incorrect.

The Carmi report of 2004, not published until 2014, makes it abundantly clear that for decades there have been ample opportunities for sexual abuse to occur in the wider cathedral context at the hands of a very wide range of potential perpetrators – of whom the bishop himself was not one.

Read more at: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/your-say/position-is-not-defensible-1-8388613


July 2014 – “Diocese and Cathedral turned deaf ears to victims’ complaints” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies


Dean Treadgold: he “could not act on mere allegations” of child abuse

A DEVASTATING report on the failure of Chichester Cathedral and the diocese of Chichester to protect children from abuse over a 29-year period was published on Tuesday, ten years after its completion.

The CARMI report, written by Edina Carmi, a social-work consultant, was finished in 2004. It had been commissioned by a former Bishop of Chichester, Dr John Hind, after Terence Banks, head steward at the cathedral, was convicted of 32 sexual offences against 12 boys between 1971 and 2000. In 2004, only the recommendations of the report were published.

A new foreword to the report, written this month by the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, explains that, in 2004, “Serious Case Reviews were not published in their entirety.”

The decision to publish it now had been informed by “our interaction with victims of sexual abuse in churches, who have consistently asked for the full facts to be brought to light, so that lessons are learned, and everything possible is done to ensure these awful events are not repeated”.

Dr Warner said that he and other clergy were “profoundly ashamed of abuse that has happened in church or church institutions”, and offered “our most sincere apologies to survivors and their families, though we know that this can never repair the damage done”.

The report had informed safeguarding practice, he said, and had begun a process of learning which continued with the publication of subsequent reports ( News, 3 May 2013, and News, 27 May 2011). Safeguarding practice had “moved on enormously since 2004”.

Mr Banks was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment in 2001, after an investigation by Sussex police. He was convicted of 23 charges of indecent assault, five of buggery, one of indecency with a child under 14 years, and two of attempting to procure acts of gross indecency.All of the 12 victims were lessthan 16 years of age, and somewere as young as 11. All were involved in activities at the cathedral.


The CARMI report details how Mr Banks used alcohol and pornographic material to “break down the boys’ inhibitions”. In 1973, he was banned from a school after an allegation of abuse against a child. Even though the school’s governing body was composed entirely of cathedral Chapter members, no action was taken to limit Mr Banks’s contact with children. No action was taken after he was seen embracing a victim in the cathedral grounds in the 1980s.

In 1991, a 12-year-old alleged that he had been shown a pornographic video at Mr Banks’s house. It was reported to the wife of the Bishop of Chichester (Dr Eric Kemp, referred to in the report as Bishop A), and the parents were summoned to speak with a canon who was “reported to have made the parents feel they were making too much of a minor incident”.

In 2000, a victim and his mother went to see the Dean of Chichester Cathedral, the Very Revd John Treadgold (referred to in the report as Dean A), to make allegations. This victim later told the police that Dean Treadgold had advised him to “act on his conscience, as the Dean could not act on mere allegations”. Dean Treadgold did not report the matter to the child protection adviser, the police, or social services.

The father of another victim told the police, and Mr Banks was then arrested. The CARMI report states that the Dean’s “lack of action on hearing of the abuse was at variance with West Sussex Child Protection Procedures, and ‘The Protection of Children’, which was implemented in the diocese in 1997”.

Dean Treadgold told the CARMI review that, on his return from Germany, he had recevied a letter stating that the police were involved, and that he must “do nothing”. Until 2000, he had “never been informed of any concerns relating to [Mr Banks]”.

While pastoral support was offered to Mr Banks and his wife after his arrest, victims and their families reported being shunned by clergy and members of the con-gregation. The report speaks ofa “hostile environment, which appeared to blame victims and families, rather than be grateful for their courage in reporting the matter to the police”.

Highlighting the disparity between safeguarding practice elsewhere and within the cathedral and diocese, it refers to a number of “mistaken beliefs”, including that “it was entirely up to the individual to decide whether or not to report concerns to the responsible authority”; and it also refers to a lack of recognition of the Church’s responsibilities.

It warns of “confusion between homosexuality and child abuse. Until the Church is able to confront prejudice about sexuality, and provide an environment where individuals are able to be openabout this area of their life, the risk is that this mistake will happen again.”

The report suggests that, afterthe report was commissioned, “limitations [were] imposed on making contact with stakeholders”. For example, although the review was publicised in Cathedral Notes, Mr Banks was not referred to by name, and there was no offer of confidentiality for any of the contributors.


February 13 2018 – Letter to a Dean – Hugh Wyatt CVO and Christopher Hoare

Hugh Wyatt CVO

December 2017

Very Revd. Stephen Waine

Dean of Chichester Cathedral

The Royal Chantry

Cathedral Cloisters


PO19 1PX

Following the publication of Lord Carlisle’s report on the Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell’s case. The time has surely now come to re-dedicate the house in Canon Lane (presently known as 4 Canon Lane) to the name it carried before it was summarily re-named i.e. GEORGE BELL HOUSE.

The re-naming and re-dedication of this building would create an immense amount of goodwill among the many worshippers at the Cathedral and citizens like myself who have never believed the accusations made against the Bishop and feel that proper remembrance, respect and love should be restored to him as soon as possible. This re-dedication should also be signal for schools and local authorities to restore his good name.

The Cathedral Chapter should make it their urgent business to re-dedicate this building as soon as possible and suggest that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, be invited to return to Chichester to re-dedicate it.

Yours faithfully

Christopher Hoare


February 12 2018 – “Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3000 sexual abuse complaints” – Christian Daily (US)


Church of England could pay millions in compensation for 3,000 sexual abuse complaints

The Church of England could reportedly end up shelling out millions in compensation for the more than 3,000 child sex abuse complaints it had received by 2016.
(REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett)Church-goers arrive for a Christmas carol service at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, December 23, 2009.

The total number of sex abuse complaints that the Church of England had received by 2016 had reached 3,300. Although the new complaints were not set apart from the old ones, the Church could still end up paying millions in compensation to the victims, The Daily Mail reported.

In a case against deceased Bishop of Chichester George Bell, the Church had to pay 15,000 British pounds in compensation even though the abuse allegations were unproven. If each complaint would cost that amount, the Church could then end up shelling out almost 50 million pounds.

The specifics of the abuse complaints were handed to the Church of England’s General Synod. This included the one filed against former bishop Peter Ball, who was imprisoned in 2015 for 32 months for abusing boys for more than 30 years.

On Feb. 5, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the woman who had accused Bishop George Bell of sexual abuse could not be overlooked. He said the accuser ought to be “treated equally importantly” as the person being accused, The Church Times reported.

Lord Carlile’s independent review criticized the Church of England’s decision to reveal Bell’s name in the case, and Welby also drew flak for saying that he could not clear the embattled bishop’s name. The Archbishop defended the Church’s decision to reveal the amount of compensation it had given to the woman, which was 16,800 pounds, and told the Church Times that he accepted Lord Carlile’s recommendations except the one about naming the accused.

“We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable,” said Welby. “But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.”

In addition, Archbishop Welby said safeguarding was the most difficult thing he had to do because it dealt with the sin of the Church and the damage that it had inflicted on the victims. He said the problem has to be addressed both in spiritual and “mechanistic” ways.


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


Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late bishop’s reputation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said the woman who alleged that Bishop George Bell abused her should be ‘treated equally importantly’ as the reputation of the late bishop, and that she is ‘not an inconvenience to be overlooked’.

In an interview with the Church Times ahead of a gathering of General Synod, which is like a church parliament, Archbishop Welby defended the decision, made by the Church of England with Welby’s involvement, to publicise the £16,800 payment it made to the woman, known as ‘Carol’.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Reuters Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has defended the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late Bishop George Bell.

That decision and the ‘rush’ that led up to it was heavily criticised in a review published in December by Lord Carlile into the handling of the allegations made against Bishop Bell, regarded as a 20<sup>th Century giant of Anglicanism who died in 1958.

Since then, Archbishop Welby has come under growing criticism from historians and academics for insisting that a ‘significant cloud’ remains over Bell’s name.

Speaking to the Church Times, Welby acknowledged that the Carlile report ‘points out some of the quite severe weaknesses in the initial investigation of George Bell’ and he said that he ‘accepted its recommendations — all except half of one recommendation’ [the naming of those accused of abuse].

But he added: ‘Let’s just have a hypothetical situation in which Chichester diocese had not declared its payment [to Carol] two years ago. With the Independent Inquiry [into Child Sexual Abuse]…that confidentiality undertaking would certainly have become public. Now, the first question, when I give evidence, would then be asked: ‘What else are you hiding? What do you really know about George Bell that you are not telling us, because you’re so anxious to keep it secret?’ It’s a lose-lose…

Welby continued: ‘We have to treat both Bishop Bell, his reputation — we have to hold that as something really precious and valuable. But the person who has brought the complaint is not an inconvenience to be overlooked: they are a human being of immense value and dignity, to be treated equally importantly. And it is very difficult to square that circle.’

Last week, the Church of England’s national safeguarding team announced that it had received ‘fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell’ and said that Sussex police had been informed, without providing any details of the ‘new’ information about the late Bishop of Chichester. It was subsequently reported that a new complainant had come forward.

The following day, the Bell Society convened a conference at Church House in Westminster, with the keynote speaker  as Dr Jules Gomes, the controversial pastor of an independent Anglican church on the Isle of Man.

Bishop George Bell
Courtesy of Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

This led the Bishop of Gloucester, Rachel Treweek, to attack the meeting as ‘outrageous’ when speaking to Christian Today.

The General Synod will discuss safeguarding policy at its meeting in Church House on Saturday morning.

Reflecting on the past five years in office, Archbishop Welby said that safeguarding was the hardest thing that he had to deal with. ‘It’s the hardest because you’re dealing with the Church’s sin. You’re dealing with profound human weakness. You’re dealing with the consequences in damaged people, in people who’ve been terribly, terribly hurt. And it’s heart-breaking. . .

‘I think we’ve sought to address it, both in mechanistic ways but also spiritually, in prayer, in attitude and culture. We’ve sought to address it in every way we can.’

Archbishop Welby has taken a leading role in defending the Church of England’s approach to Bishop Bell, having been involved in his name becoming public in relation to allegations. The Carlile report reveals an email from the Bishop of Durham on April 29, 2014 to the so-called ‘Core Group’ in the Church of England, which reads: ‘Dear All, At the meeting of Archbishops & Diocesans Archbishop Justin decided that he should inform those gathered of the possibility of the name of the person concerned becoming public in due course.’

The full interview with Archbishop Welby will appear in the next issue of the Church Times.