Tag Archives: Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Jan 1 2019 – Bishop Bell and the Briden Report

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Bishop George Bell

This has just been sent by someone concerned with the Briden Report on Bishop Bell:
“The final element of the process is its consideration by the Deciding Officer, appointed by the Church, who will make … decisions [on] information that he has at his disposal, as submitted by the various legal representatives. In terms of publication of the various documents, that will be a matter for the Church of England and, I expect, that that decision will be made in January or February [2019] when the legal process has been completed. I’m sure that the decision will be made public but I will advise you as soon as I am made aware, in any event”
Invitations have now been sent out for Chichester’s ‘Rebuilding Bridges’ event at George Bell House/4 Canon Lane next month (Feb 4). RSVP soon SVP as the Bonhoeffer Room only holds a max of 30.
Sandra Saer will act as Chair and Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson will be one of the Keynote Speakers.
Richard W. Symonds
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George Bell House/4 Canon Lane – RWS Photography

December 16 2017 – “Welby refuses to apologise for shaming of Bishop Bell” – Telegraph – [Reporters: Olivia Rudgard & Robert Mendick] – “Archbishop Welby’s response to the George Bell inquiry is shocking” – Telegraph [Charles Moore] – “Bishop Bell not guilty” – Telegraph Letters [Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson]

 

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.”

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

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The Letter by Ruth Hildebrandt – November 17 2017

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Tom Brazier’s Letter – November 10 2017

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Clifford Hall’s Letter – November 3 2017

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The Open Letter to William Nye by Richard W. Symonds – November 20 2017

Letter from William Nye to Richard W. Symonds – November 20 2017

2nd Letter to William Nye from Richard W. Symonds – November 20 2017

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The Argus – November 21 2017

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

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From Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

Sir, – I was appalled to read the Revd Tom Brazier’s assertion that we “do no further harm” to anyone, if we happen to ruin the reputation of a deceased person against whom allegations of abuse have been made by apologising to the complainant (Letters, 10 November).

I am the daughter of one of the late Bishop Bell’s closest friends. I have been privileged to work over the last two years with many people who are seeking justice for George Bell: as relatives, friends, biographer, clergy, lawyers, journalists, and other supporters.

We have been deeply dismayed by the possibility of a miscarriage of justice in this case, and I am sure none of us would endorse the statement that “no further harm” has been done to the reputation and legacy of one of the country’s greatest Bishops.

I would suggest that Mr Brazier visit Chichester and find out for himself just how much harm has been done.

While we await the publication of the Carlile report on the procedures followed in this instance, the House of Bishops has produced two policy statements in 2017 which are relevant to it.

One [policy] notes that when investigating a complaint against an accused church officer, “a legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church enquiry processes.” As the Revd Clifford Hall pointed out (Letters, 3 November), this did not happen in the case of the late Bishop Bell, who was presumed guilty on the basis of a single unchallenged accusation, without the production even a shred of hard evidence against him; and it may indicate that correct procedures – as required by the law of the land – were not followed here.

The other policy was published on 13 October, immediately after the Church’s receipt of Lord Carlile’s report. It states that those receiving safeguarding allegations against a church officer must “ensure that [the complainants] feel heard and taken seriously”.

This is not the same as saying that only their account of the matter should be considered. Indeed, it may well mean that it is not appropriate to apologise to a complainant without a complete and impartial investigation of both sides of the case, even when the accused is dead. The defendant may no longer be able to speak for himself, but other sources are often available.

Many of us are concerned that there appears to be a delay in publishing Lord Carlile’s findings in the George Bell case. I trust that the church authorities will see fit to release the report in its entirety soon.

Otherwise, rumours about the rights and wrongs of the case will continue to circulate that can only further damage the Church’s reputation over the handling of this matter.

To support a potential miscarriage of justice in this or any other case, on the grounds that the accused is already “entrusted to the Father”, beggars belief.

R.H. GRAYSON

Sheffield

 

UNEDITED VERSION

Sir,

I was appalled to read the Revd Tom Brazier’s assertion that we ‘do no further harm’ to anyone if we happen to ruin the reputation of a deceased person against whom allegations of abuse have been made by apologising to the complainant (Letters, Church Times, 10 November 2017). His comment was made in response to the Revd Clifford Hall’s question of the previous week regarding apologies made by senior clergy in the case of another deceased bishop: ‘Have they learned nothing from Bishop Bell’s case?  When will the persecution of those conclusively presumed innocent until the contrary is proven cease?’ (Letters, Church Times, 3 November 2017)

For the Revd Brazier’s information, I am the daughter of one of the late Bishop Bell’s closest friends.  I have been privileged to work over the past two years with many people who are seeking justice for George Bell: as relatives, friends, biographer, clergy, lawyers, journalists, and other supporters.  We have been deeply dismayed by the possibility of a miscarriage of justice in this case; and I am sure none of us would endorse the statement that ‘no further harm’ has been done to the reputation and legacy of one of the country’s greatest bishops.  I would suggest that Revd Brazier visit Chichester and find out for himself just how much harm has been done.

While we await the publication of the Carlile report into the procedures followed in this instance, the House of Bishops has produced two policy statements in 2017 that are relevant to it.  One notes that when investigating a complaint against an accused Church officer, ‘a legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church enquiry processes’.  As Revd Hall points out, this did not happen in the case of the late Bishop Bell, who was presumed guilty on the basis of a single unchallenged accusation without a shred of hard evidence ever being produced against him; and it may indicate that correct procedures – as required by the law of the land – were not followed here. It is unbelievable that a member of the clergy could publicly advocate ignoring such a fundamental precept of English law.  Moreover, it is simply not correct to claim that because an alleged perpetrator is dead, the truth may never be discovered.

The other policy was published on 13 October 2017, immediately after the Church’s receipt of Lord Carlile’s report.  It states that those receiving safeguarding allegations against a church officer must ‘ensure that [the complainants] feel heard and taken seriously’.  This is not the same as saying that only their account of the matter should be considered.  Indeed, it may well mean that it is not appropriate to apologise to a complainant without a complete and impartial investigation of both sides of the case, even when the accused is dead.  The defendant may no longer be able to speak for himself, but other sources – including family members and other witnesses – are often available.

Many of us are concerned that there appears to be some delay in publishing Lord Carlile’s findings in the George Bell case.  I trust that the Church authorities will see fit to release the report in its entirety in the very near future.  Otherwise, rumours as to the rights and wrongs of the case will continue to circulate that can only further damage the Church’s reputation over its handling of this matter.  To support a potential miscarriage of justice in this or any other case on the grounds that the accused is already ‘entrusted to the Father’ beggars belief.

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson

October 4 – “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

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Old Testament Reading by Peter Hitchens [Isaiah 62 1-7] – New Testament Reading by Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson [Ephesians 3 1-13]

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St Martin within Ludgate – Ludgate Hill – City of London [RWS Photography]