Chichester child abuse victims wait 10 years for report
A report on child abuse in the diocese of Chichester has been published more than a decade after it was written, following pressure from victims.
The report on abuse between the 1970s and 2000 in the diocese and at the Cathedral was written in January 2004.
The case review followed the conviction of Terence Banks in 2001 for 32 sexual offences against 12 boys over 29 years.
The diocese said victims had “consistently asked for the full facts to be brought to light”.
The review was commissioned by the then Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr John Hind.
Banks had a long association with Chichester Cathedral and grew up living in the Treasury, before leaving home to move to London.
While living in Hammersmith, Banks often visited Chichester at weekends and took over the role of head steward at the cathedral from his father, following his death in 1989.
He was offered a church-owned property after the death of his mother in 1994.
The report said Banks was widely regarded as part of the cathedral choir’s organisation, although he had no official role. As a result he was able to seen as having “some power” over both choristers and their parents.
He groomed and sexually abused children, both boys and girls, between January 1971 until just before his arrest in early 2000, the case review said.
He met all but one of his victims through his activities in the cathedral.
He took children out to tea and brought them presents.
The report said “he used alcohol to break down inhibitions” of his victims and would then introduce his victims to pornographic films “to start the process of abuse”.
The assaults took place at his homes in Chichester and London, and he would also show the boys round BBC studios where he worked as a floor manager in the 1970s and 1980s.
One victim was taken to a hotel in Guildford and one to a sauna in Brighton. Two of the boys were abused in each other’s presence.
The case review was set up after concerns about the way the church had responded to allegations made in 2000.
‘Slow to change’
Banks was still allowed access to children while working at the cathedral, the report said.
The report said the Anglican community in the Chichester area had been “slow to change their child protection responses”.
An allegation in 1991 about Banks’ use of pornography with a 12-year-old was not reported to the dean of the cathedral.
In the same year, two victims reported abuse which was investigated by the cathedral but police were not informed.
The report said Banks’ three youngest victims were 11 years old, but all were under the age of 16.
In 2001, Banks was found guilty of 32 sexual offences. A further eight charges, involving another three victims, remain on file. He was jailed for 16 years.
The diocese of Chichester said at the time of the report, case reviews were not published as a matter of course.
A spokesman said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with the survivors and their families.
“The effects of abuse can last a lifetime, and the passing of the years may or may not have brought any kind of healing.”
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