Tag Archives: Olivia Rudgard

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

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/02/church-england-accused-disclosing-fresh-bell-allegation-save/

Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarassment

The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month's meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.   
The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month’s meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.    CREDIT: PA

The Church of England has been accused of disclosing evidence of a fresh allegation against Bishop George Bell in order to preserve the Archbishop of Canterbury from embarrassment at Synod.

The Church announced it had received “fresh information” about alleged sexual abuse by the highly-respected bishop, who died more than 70 years ago, on Wednesday, just over a week before the issue was due to be debated at a meeting of the Church of England’s governing body.

Synod members who had planned to propose a motion aimed at beginning the process of rehabilitating Bell’s reputation have decided to shelve it as a result.

The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month’s meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.

But its proposer David Lamming, a lay member from the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich said he had decided to “put it on ice” following the disclosure of the new allegation.

Motions must receive 100 signatures in order to be added to the potential agenda for future events.

Mr Lamming told the Daily Telegraph: “I don’t think I can ask Synod to sign something that they are uncomfortable with in the light of this recent development.”

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s friend Franz Hildebrandt, said the development made her “question [Welby’s] leadership”.

“I’m quite sure it was to distract attention away from the pressure that was building on Justin Welby to apologise for his earlier statement,” she said. 

“An Archbishop has to be able to take a bit of embarrassment, he has got to be able to say that he’s got it wrong.”

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bell’s biographer, said: “People will assume that there is some manipulation at work in all this, and whether that is true or not I don’t know.

“In the intensely political context in which all of this has emerged, it’s natural for people to have these suspicions, but it’s the Church that has created this context.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop said the announcement was made “in light of General Synod questions that need to be responded to and the reference to the case in the IICSA hearing yesterday”.

 

Advertisements

February 1 2018 – “Church accused of launching new shameful attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/31/church-accused-launching-new-shameful-attack-memory-bishop-george/

Church accused of launching new ‘shameful’ attack on memory of Bishop George Bell

Bishop George Bell
Bishop George Bell

The Church of England has been accused of launching a ‘shameful and foolish’ new attack on one of its most revered bishops, by making public an uncorroborated child sex abuse allegation almost 70 years old.

The Church announced on Wednesday it had referred to the police a second claim of sexual assault made against Bishop George Bell, who died in 1958.

It made the allegation public amid growing pressure on Archbishop Justin Welby to apologise for the Church’s handling of a previous claim against Bishop Bell, which shredded his reputation.

The General Synod is to discuss the Church’s treatment of Bishop Bell with some suggestion that Archbishop Welby should have resigned over his refusal to say sorry.

In a statement, the Church said: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell.  Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.”

Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop, said: “Due to the confidential nature of this new information I regret I cannot disclose any further detail until the investigations have been concluded.

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby CREDIT: MOHAMED NURELDIN ABDALLAH/ REUTERS

The Church refused to give further details such as the date of any alleged wrongdoing nor even whether the complainant is a man or a woman or even still alive. That raises the prospect Bishop Bell is being investigated 60 years after his death on claims made by someone from beyond the grave.

An independent report by Lord Carlile QC into the previous claim – made by a woman known only as Carol – had found the Church had “severely and unnecessarily damaged” Bishop Bell’s reputation. A psychiatric report suggested her claim could have been the result of false memory.

Lord Carlile said he was astonished that the Church had gone public with the new claim against Bishop Bell. Among his recommendations was that people accused of abuse should remain anonymous until the allegations are proven.

Lord Carlile said last night: “I am not privy to the information that is referred to in the church’s press release. But I think it was unwise, unnecessary and foolish to issue a press release in relation to something that remains to be investigated and which was not part of the material placed before me over the period of more than a year in which I carried out my review.

“During that period the review was well known and it was open to anybody to place information before me.”

Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER PLEDGER

Professor Andrew Chandler, his biographer and spokesman for the George Bell Group, said: “This is shameful. The issuing of this press release shows the only way the Church can justify itself is at George Bell’s expense.”

A source close to the case said it was “outrageous” that the Church had made the announcement on the eve of a debate held at Church House which is expected to lead to calls for Justin Welby to quit over his handling of the matter. General Synod will also hear calls for Archbishop Welby to apologise when it meets next week.

The new complaint is understood to be at least 70 years old and is uncorroborated.

The source added: “This is outrageous behaviour on the part of the Church.”

The Telegraph understands the Church has known about the case for at least a fortnight before making it public 24 hours before the Church House debate.

One source suggested the Church might be keen to pay damages to the complainant because it will help to justify its contentious decision to pay damages to “Carol” in 2015.

Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester, was one of the Church’s outstanding clerics of the 20th century, recognised for helping to save the lives of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.

Carol had first gone to the Church with her complaint in 1995 and made her allegations a second time direct to Archbishop Welby in 2013. The psychiatric report suggested it was highly unusual for her to have waited almost 50 years before making her initial complaint. The fresh allegation will raise similar concerns.

 

January 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

Lords criticise Church’s handling of George Bell case as Bishop of Peterborough calls for ‘a major review of anonymity’

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to "uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty".  
Peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.   CREDIT: PA ARCHIVE 

Peers including the Bishop of Peterborough have called on the Government to protect the identity of people accused of a crime after their death.

One member of the House of Lords said Anglicans were “deeply ashamed” of the Church of England’s handling of the case of Bishop George Bell, who was accused of abusing a child several decades after his death in 1958.

A report published at the end of last year by Lord Carlile found that the highly-respected bishop’s reputation had been unnecessarily damagedby the Church when it publicly named him in an apology to the alleged victim in 2015.

In a debate in the House of Lords on Monday peers called on the Government to “uphold the cardinal principle that an individual is innocent until proved guilty”.

In cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public wayRt Revd Donald Allister

Official historian of the Conservative Party Lord Lexden asked home office minister Baroness Williams whether the Government would “review the law governing the naming of deceased individuals against whom criminal allegations have been made”.

He called on the Government to review the law in order to to ensure the anonymity of dead suspects accused by “one uncorroborated alleged witness”.

Fellow peer Lord Cormack added that the case was “deeply shocking” and said “the reputation of a great man has been traduced, and many of us who are Anglicans are deeply ashamed ​of the way that the Anglican Church has behaved”.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister echoed the calls and added: “In all cases where the complainant has a right to be anonymous, there seems to be a case for the respondent also to be anonymous, and in cases until there is overwhelming evidence to suggest guilt, it seems reasonable for people’s reputations not to be damaged in this public way.”

However Baroness Williams said the Government “do not have plans to review the law”.

“Any decision to name an individual where that is considered to be in the public interest will necessarily be specific to the circumstances of an individual case,” she said.

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

Bishop Bell’s niece: Welby should resign

“I’m absolutely determined to get this clear before I die. You know, he’s a blood relation. And I know he’s a good man. And I know this sort of thing didn’t ever happen,” she said.    CREDIT: PA

The only surviving relative of Bishop George Bell has called for the Archbishop of Canterbury to resign as she says she is “determined” to clear his name before her death.

Bishop Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, 93, said she was left feeling “very shaky” when the Carlile review into the Church’s handling of abuse allegations against Bell came out last week.

Lord Carlile found that the Church was wrong to publicly name Belland the former Bishop of Chichester had been “hung out to dry” by leaders who were too focused on protecting the Church’s reputation.

The Archbishop, Justin Welby, was in post when the Church apologised for Bell’s alleged abuse in 2015.

 

I’m absolutely determined to get this clear before I die.Barbara Whitley

Responding to the report he apologised only “for the failures of the process” and pointed out that Bell, while regarded by many as a hero for his work against Nazism, was “accused of great wickedness”.

Mrs Whitley, who lives in a care home, told the BBC that the report, and the Archbishop’s response, made her “really very down”.

“I’m absolutely determined to get this clear before I die. You know, he’s a blood relation. And I know he’s a good man. And I know this sort of thing didn’t ever happen,” she said.

Asked if the Archbishop should resign, she said he should.

Last week Bell’s friends and supporters criticised the Archbishop for his response.

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.

The Church wrote to Mrs Whitley last week to apologise for the pain caused to her and her family.

Lord Carlile also said the Archbishop’s comments were “very disappointing”.

Bishop Bell, who died in 1958, was accused by a woman known as “Carol” of sexually abusing her when she was between five and eight years old.

She first came forward in 1995 and wrote to the Church again in 2012 and 2013 to reiterate her complaint.

Lord Carlile did not make a finding on whether the allegations were true or false but said a case against Bell would have been unlikely to succeed in court.

The Church also refused to accept one of Lord Carlile’s recommendations, that alleged abusers should not be publicly named where the allegations are disputed, unless facts are found to substantiate them, and naming them is deemed to be in the public interest.

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

https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20171218/281496456639383

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

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/15/archbishop-criticised-refusing-clear-bishop-besmirched-church/

Archbishop criticised for refusing to clear bishop besmirched by the Church

Bishop George Bell should not have been named by the Church, a report has found CREDIT: JOHN DOMINIS /THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION 

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been criticised for refusing to clear the bishop besmirched by the Church of England and saying instead that a “significant cloud” hangs over him.

A damning report published today by Lord Carlile of Berriew found that the reputation of Bishop George Bell, who was posthumously accused of sexually abusing a child, was “wrongfully and unnecessarily damaged” by the Church, who publicly named him in an apology made in 2015.

But in a statement following the report, Justin Welby said Bell was “accused of great wickedness” and apologises only “for the failures of the process”. 

“We have to differ from Lord Carlile’s point that ‘where as in this case the settlement is without admission of liability, the settlement generally should be with a confidentiality provision’.

“The C of E is committed to transparency and therefore we would take a different approach,” he adds.

Lord Carlile said the Archbishop’s comments were “very disappointing”. 

“The implication of what he said is everybody accused should have their name made public, and that is just not acceptable,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Lord Carlile earlier said that he judged the prospect of a successful criminal prosecution, had the bishop been alive, as “low”.

Bell’s supporters also criticised the Archbishop’s response. 

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.”

The review found that the Church was wrong to publicly name Bell, who was accused by a woman known as Carol of sexually abusing her when she was a young child.

It also failed to thoroughly investigate the allegations, failed to find and inform Bell’s surviving family members of the investigation, and did not properly consider the impact on the bishop’s reputation when deciding what to do, Lord Carlile said.

The alleged abuse took place more than 60 years ago but the allegations were first made to the Church in 1995.

It paid compensation of £16,800 and £15,000 legal costs to “Carol” in 2015.

Lord Carlile of Berriew
Lord Carlile of Berriew: ‘The implication of what he said is everybody accused should have their name made public, and that is just not acceptable’. CREDIT: PACO ANSELMI /PA

Before the allegations were made public Bishop Bell was a highly respected theologian who was widely regarded as a hero for his work helping victims of Nazi persecution.

The report includes the findings of psychiatrist Professor Anthony Maden, which were given to Church officials in 2015, several months before the public apology was made.

He found that there were “enormous problems” because of the time elapsed, and said the “possibility of false memories in this case cannot be excluded”.

The alleged victim had been abused by her first husband, and Maden added that her unhappy early life meant there was “an obvious temptation to seek to (consciously or unconsciously) allocate the blame for that unhappiness to the actions of others in the distant past”.

In a statement Peter Hancock, the Church’s lead safeguarding bishop, said: “We recognise that Carol has suffered pain, as have surviving relatives of Bishop Bell. We are sorry that the Church has added to that pain through its handling of this case.”