Tag Archives: Sussex Police

July 14 2019 – Apology demanded for “Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell” in October 2015

 

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https://www.churchofengland.org/more/safeguarding/safeguarding-news-and-statements/statement-rt-revd-george-bell-1883-1958

Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell, 1883 -1958

22/10/2015

 

The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his “deep sorrow” acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church.”

Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency.”

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:

“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light.  While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013.  That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life.  For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything.  How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse?  However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology.  What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester.”

The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995. Bishop Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the matter further. It was not until contact with Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.

In his letter to the survivor Bishop Warner acknowledges that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the survivor first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then.”

In accordance with the recommendations of the Church Commissaries’ report into the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 the settlement does not impose any form of “confidentiality agreement” restriction regarding public disclosure upon the individual. In this case the survivor has expressed the desire to remain anonymous.

Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.

A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.

The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.

Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A copy of this statement can be found on the Church of England website and the Diocese of Chichester website.

For further information contact Lisa Williamson at the Diocese of Chichester Communications office on 01273 425791 or The Revd Dr Rob Marshall +44 (0) 7766 952113

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

 

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

 

 

Rt-Revd-Dr-Martin-Warner-main_article_image

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner

 

“Both the Carlile and Briden Reports have proved Bishop Warner’s words to be complete nonsense. An apology for such nonsense would be the least the Bishop could do”

~ Richard W. Symonds

June 4 2019 – Revd Nick Flint – Rector of Rusper

Witness Name:  The Reverend Nick Flint

Statement No.:  1

Exhibits:   ​​

Dated:​​   24 May 2018​​

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

___________________________________________________________________

Witness Statement of The Reverend Nick Flint

___________________________________________________________________

I, Nicholas Angus Flint, will say as follows:-

1. I make this statement in connection with the Inquiry’s Anglican Church investigation and in particular the Peter Ball case study.

 

Background

2. I am currently the Rector of Rusper, which is a village in West Sussex. I have been in this role for 21 years.

3. I attended Chichester Theological College from 1984-1987. Then, from 1987-1991, I was in training in Aldwick, in Sussex. In the early 1990s, I was the Bishop of London’s assistant chaplain for homeless people. Immediately prior to my current role as Rector, I held a position as Team Vicar of Bewbush, in Crawley, for 5 years. I have been ordained for 31 years.

Statement given to Brian Tyler

4. I have been shown a copy of the statement that I gave to Brian Tyler, dated 29 December 1992, which is referred to as CPS000796. Brian Tyler was a retired police officer conducting an investigation relating to Peter Ball. I confirm that the statement is a true and accurate record of what I said to Brian Tyler at that time and in that particular context. However re reading it in May 2018 for the first time in more than 25 years it strikes me that my comments are a response to a series of closed questions and that overall the document reflects at best a lack of understanding and experience of homosexuality, at worst a borderline homophobia, from which I would now distance myself and wholly and utterly refute. Historically, homosexuality has had to be closeted in secrecy and that very secrecy has been a cloak for unacceptable behaviour.  Part of the remedy for this must be for the church to be open and accepting of homosexuality, rather than continue to scapegoat homosexuals as being the problem. 

Statement given to the Independent Peter Ball Review 

5. On 9 June 2016, I spoke to Kevin Harrington, a member of the Independent Peter Ball Review team (the ‘Review’). I have been shown a copy of the note of the meeting, which is referred to as INQ000633. I confirm that this is an accurate summary of the meeting.

6. At the meeting, I read aloud a statement which I had prepared in advance. I have been shown a copy of this statement, which is referred to as INQ000632. I confirm that the statement was true and accurate at that time. However, since the publication of Dame Moira Gibb’s report in June 2017, I have become aware of additional information about Peter Ball and can no longer hold all of the views I expressed in my statement at INQ000632. 

7. I read Dame Moira’s report shortly after it was published. I broadly accept her findings. However I did contact the Review team with deep concern when I realised that it drew substantially on the comments [unreliable in my view] of James Francis AKA Mr A. [see below at 9]

8. In 1993, Peter Ball accepted a caution and in 2015, he pleaded guilty prior to a trial. Although I had accepted at that point that Peter Ball was guilty, I was not fully aware of the extent of his offending behaviour. Dame Moira’s report revealed to me for the first time the extent and serious nature of Peter Ball’s offending, but also crucially how much was known by many other people and how early on they had become aware of this information. 

Additional information

James Francis

9. At the outset of Sussex Police’s investigation in 2012, I made myself known to them. I was brushed off by the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Carwyn Hughes. I had information about sexual and other offending by James Francis, but the police did not want to speak to me about him. At the time of Peter Ball’s resignation from Gloucester [1993 – Ed], the Archbishop as well as the Bishops of Chichester, London and Southwark were all aware of his [James Francis or Peter Ball? – Ed] immoral and illegal activity. I had forensic knowledge of the layout and occupancy of the house where Peter Ball’s offences were alleged to have taken place but this offer of help was peremptorily dismissed.

10. Shortly after [2012? – Ed], I wrote to the Bishop of Chichester [became Bishop in 2012 – Ed], Martin Warner. I provided him with information about James Francis. The response that I received was disappointing . [Letters attached.] It seems that Bishop Warner did not pass on the information to the police. I have made enquiries of the Diocese and Lambeth Palace to find out whether Bishop Warner did pass on the information to the police, but I have not received any clear answers. I gave this information face to face to Bishop Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham who subsequently told me had been personally ‘warned off’ investigating Francis.

11. In or around June 2016I was contacted by the Metropolitan Police Service (‘MPS’) and interviewed in connection with James Francis. The MPS had only contacted me by chance and because I was still in contact with one of his victims, not through the agency of Bishop Warner despite his knowing I had ‘useful’ information. James Francis had been arrested and the police wanted to gather information from my knowledge and experience of him. I relied to some extent on the information that I had learned from Bishop Eric Kemp, [I can provide two very brief letters he wrote at the time, if this is helpful] and I shared everything that I knew or thought I knew in my interview with the MPS. The puzzling question remained as to why despite the knowledge of several bishops of his activities which led to a significant delay in his ordination, did he yet go on to be ordained. [granted lesser sentence if he gave evidence against Ball reward for ‘shopping’ Peter Ball? – Ed]

 

General

12 In October 2015, I attended a meeting with Bishop Warner. I had arranged to see him so that I could discuss with him my frustration about not being able to move post within the Diocese. He advised me that he did not have anything for me in his diocese and that I should look in the Church Times as this was where other dioceses advertised their vacancies. The meeting took place shortly after Peter Ball had been sentenced and Vickery House was still on trial. It was  therefore an additionally difficult time for me since Fr House was an old friend who had preached at my First Mass and at my wedding. After his arrest he had attended my church until this had been unilaterally halted by the intervention of Archdeacon Douglas McKittrick without reference either to me or the Police. In an email the Police stated they were happy for Fr House to continue attending my church. I sought to query this and my concern that a man at the time presumed innocent had been scared off by the Archdeacon but he ignored my messages and Bishop Warner did not offer a satisfactory explanation for that decision or lack of communication. I was struck at this meeting by the Bishop’s total absence of any regard for my well being. Indeed as far as I was concerned it was at this point he crossed the line from previous neglect to actual bullying. If he had read his notes before this meeting he would have known how vulnerable I was. Either he couldn’t be bothered to inform himself or he took advantage of my vulnerability. As well as my parish posts I have since 2002 been part of the Deliverance Ministry Team in Chichester Diocese. Members of this team are advisers to the bishops in the field of the paranormal. From this specialist background and experience I would identify what I see in the diocese as ‘occult activity’.  By this I do not of course think that senior clergy are dabbling in arcane pagan rituals, but that they have been known to abuse power through knowledge, rather than modeling transparent holiness.

12. Before and since the Review [which Review? 2016 Harrington?], I have experienced little to no engagement from the Diocese of Chichester and Lambeth Palace. I contacted the latter in 2016 [James Francis arrested in 2016 but no publicity – protected by Church & Police because he ‘shopped’ Ball?]] as I was getting nowhere with my own diocese. The diocese did not encourage me to share my experience with Gibb [Gibb Report 2017]. Although I am not a direct victim in this case, I consider myself to be ‘collateral damage.’ By this I mean that since 2012 I have suffered undue anxiety, marked loss of confidence, even doubts about my priestly vocation and life purpose. I have experienced bizarre sleep walking behaviour and fears that as a key person in the Litlington community I might even be wrongfully arrested by the Police. I have found myself supporting others who identify as supporters of Peter Ball as well as those who consider themselves his victims. I have found myself supporting victims of Francis one of whom took his own life. In most cases neither of these groups have felt the way the church dealt with Peter Ball then and now has helped them. I have respected all their stories but holding such apparent opposites in tension has caused immense strain on me personally. I have felt silenced as I have had to listen to people who weren’t even there tell someone like me who was, what was going on at Litlington. My formative religious experience has been reduced to ‘ a cloak of fraudulent Christianity’, and if such is really the case I have been surprised that no bishop has required me to give account of my involvement in such a scenario. As recently as 2018 a senior member of Lambeth Safeguarding told me she ‘didn’t have time to talk with [me] or answer [my] difficult questions.’ I interpreted this as implying that as an employee of the church, an insider I should make allowances and hold back from criticism. As far as I am concerned this repeated and sustained attitude amounts to me being spiritually abused. I have been reduced to a condition where I do not believe I would now be fit to undergo interview for a new post. Why should Lambeth treat me as a second class complainant?
13. Essentially, I have felt senior churchmen would prefer it if I did not exist, as metaphorically I am neither black or white in my response to safeguarding failures and so challenge their panicked desire for a tidy response to the complex and unsettling reality. Their default position seems to be to sideline and talk loudly over my experience.

14. I was for over twenty years a public supporter of Peter Ball, but I now feel that I was set up as such by the Diocese of Chichester. There were opportunities where I think the Diocese should have spoken to me about Peter Ball but chose not to. I was not given the full truth. I feel betrayed by both the Church of England and the Diocese of Chichester. Recently Colin Perkins finally explained that he had not been at liberty to meet and talk with me because potentially both of us might have been witnesses in the case involving James Francis, yet he or someone else in the department could have told me this far earlier and pointed me in the direction of help. My decades of loyalty to Chichester, even if partially misguided, should have been reciprocated. In fact I feel I have been punished for trying to do the right thing and following my conscience.

15. I believe it is possible that I have been and continue to be discriminated against due to my previous association with and support of Peter Ball. I have put this suggestion to Archdeacon Philip Jones,  a few times and he categorically denies it. However, I think it is the most likely explanation for the poor treatment that I have received, and I have often expressed myself open to a more plausible reason, but none has ever been offered. I would have been far happier and satisfied with an admission of incompetence than with the guilty silence that screams conspiracy. All I have sought is an open conversation on the matter, which might address that fear and if I am mistaken lay it to rest. Firmly in the Catholic tradition I work happily across the broad churchmanship spectrum and support the ordination of women and same sex marriage. Many of my tradition are allied to ‘The Society’ which according to its website requires the ‘submission’ of its members to the bishop. I find the language of submission deeply troubling and out of place. Modern bishops claim to themselves a management rather than pastoral model to their role. In what other organisation would someone have a line manager who hasn’t spoken to them since 2016? Archdeacon Jones did after some years apologise for not standing up for me when he witnessed Bishop Wallace Benn humiliate and bully me. His inability to do so at the time indicates the underlying culture of bullying of which even he was a victim. I can provide a document ‘I am Rev B’ which details much of the discrimination of which I am a victim and which I have shared with Lambeth Safeguarding.
15 In 2017 I sought legal advice from a solicitor’s firm. My concern related to appointments. Positions within the Diocese of Chichester are rarely openly advertised, and sometimes roles are handed out without the appropriate processes being followed. In October 2015 I did challenge Bishop Warner face to face on the lack of transparency I was witnessing specifically in relation to clergy appointments, but he made clear he did not accept this insight and would not discuss the matter.
I also sought to raise the same matter with Lambeth Safeguarding staff and a number of bishops on the basis that such transparency was a requirement of the Archbishops Visitation to Chichester. My offer of evidence to back this up was ignored and I have been passed from pillar to post with no one showing the slightest interest in taking any action. I was criticised by Lambeth Safeguarding for ‘talking to too many people’  but this was precisely because no one would offer consistent advice or take responsibility for my concerns.
On a personal note my CV is such that those outside Chichester diocese have had no hesitation in offering me interviews for posts in which I have shown an interest, while according to Warner my name had not even ever been considered for a single one within Chichester, where I have always made clear I wish to stay in Sussex for family reasons.

16 I witnessed the closing statement made on behalf of the Archbishops’ Council at the Inquiry’s Chichester hearing. They seemed to be saying that although they had got it wrong in the past they will do better in the future. I felt this was false. I do not think that they are doing better now, and I do not think that there is sufficient will to change the cultural attitude. The recent George Bell case shows the church not only doing things by its own rules but even trying to police the Police! Despite the abusive pressure I am still experiencing, I believe I have for the most part responded with graciousness yet firmness. I may have had occasional lapses into anger under the constant strain, but I would be happy for any independent body to have full access to all correspondence I have had in these matters in order to judge whether my words have in the circumstances been inappropriate. The church has had to face some painful truths. It now needs to be unflinching in proclaiming its core message of reconciliation and finding ways of putting that that into practice, otherwise it has no reason for continuing to even exist.

Statement of Truth

I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.

Signed: _________Nicholas Flint SMMS ________________________________

Dated: ____________24 May 2018___________

 

TIMELINE

1992/3 – Ball resigns from Gloucester – “The Jimmy Savile of the Church of England – Ball conned and duped everyone – including Bishop Bell” – RWS

2012 – Flint provides Warner [and Police] with info about James Francis. Neither are interested, it seems.

2015 – James Francis alerts Police to the extent of Ball’s abuse. Ball pleads guilty. Flint was unaware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Flint close friend with Vickery House. Flint’s meeting with Warner.

2016 – Pre-Gibb Harrington police investigation. Flint approached by Police for information about James Francis. Francis arrested.

2017 – Gibb Report. Flint now fully aware of extent of Ball’s abuse. Gibb very reliant on the testimony of James Francis (who felt Francis was “unreliable” and said so]

 

 

Nick, I note with concern your comment: “In my evidence I also record my repeated concern that as recently as 2016 Martin Warner had not passed on to the Police information I gave him about a suspect.”

Nobody has picked up on this. Not surprisingly the discussion has focussed on the finer details of patronage, as this was the subject of the article.

It’s troubling if any bishop is not acting on information reliably given by a member of clergy or officer within the diocese. And astonishing really that after many layers of failure and cover-up in this diocese have been brought into daylight – this lack of response might still be happening under a current bishop.

I hope the situation has now moved forward a considerable pace since the time of your statement. I’d be surprised if it hasn’t. I imagine you have had help from the IICSA lawyers to ensure a definite response. To my mind the bishop’s inaction would be grounds for a CDM. But that piece of structure has been brought into considerable disrepute with dismissals within the purple circle, time limits, ‘floods’, etc.

Two CDMs brought against Bishop Wallace Benn by the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group (DSAG) were dismissed on the basis of 12 month time limits. It is worth reading the IICSA summary to be reminded just how dysfunctional Bishop Benn’s approach was. And startling to see how easily the time-bar protects bad practice.

https://www.iicsa.org.uk/reports/anglican-chichester-peter-ball/case-study-1-diocese-chichester/b6-complaints-under-clergy-discipline-measure

IICSA says the CDM “is not a suitable tool to deal with ongoing issues of risk management.” That seems a right assessment. But in the absence of anything else that might hold bishops to account, it’s all there is. Sir Roger Singleton brought a recent CDM against the Bishop of Chester for failing to respond to a letter ten years ago. If there’s any consistency, that will be dismissed by the Clergy Discipline Tribunal. And the Measure descend into more of a farce than it already is. One can only assume that Sir Roger’s reason for bringing this CDM was to highlight the farce and demonstrate the total collapse of the CDM. And force the church to address glaring unaccountability.

At the very least, Bishop Martin Warner should be asked to explain his reasons for the inaction. I’m not surprised the media did not pick up on this at the time, as there are so many documents on the IICSA website. Unless a witness lands in front of Counsel in a hearing, much goes past the media who tend to report the ‘big stuff’. The material on IICSA might be source for historians and theologians in the future….

It charts a church in breakage, a gospel in collapse.

Gilo

Feb 8 2019 – “George Bell ‘should not have been named’ in Church’s settlement of sex abuse allegation” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies

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https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/8-february/news/uk/george-bell-should-not-have-been-named-in-church-s-settlement-of-sex-abuse-allegation

George Bell ‘should not have been named’ in Church’s settlement of sex abuse allegation

08 FEBRUARY 2019

A confidentiality clause should have governed the payment made to “Carol”, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, has said

The house at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester, once called Bishop Bell House

 

THE blackening of George Bell’s name would not have happened had there been a confidentiality clause governing the payment made to “Carol”, who accused him of sexual abuse, the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said on Monday.

Dr Warner was addressing supporters of Bishop Bell at the Rebuilding Bridges conference, held at 4 Canon Lane, Chichester, to which supporters wish to see the name “George Bell House” restored.

The naming was up to the Dean and Chapter, the Bishop reiterated (News, 1 February), but he indicated that the cathedral should make more of the Sisters of the Cross, who had donated the house.

“I don’t think simply renaming it ‘George Bell House’ will just do the job. We cannot rewrite history, but we must do better.”

More generally, he suggested that the Church of England must “speak of the achievements, the good things that Bishop Bell did” to restore his reputation. It was “report that makes a person famous for their good deeds. . . So, it seems that for us in the diocese and the Church of England at large, it is important that we are able to speak of the achievements, the good things that Bishop Bell did.”

This had been done on “a number of occasions”, he said, one of which had been his address at a commemoration of the Reformation, in Coburg in 2017. “I believe history will tell the good deeds of Bishop Bell, and I believe they will stand the test of time.”

Dr Warner resisted calls to pronounce Bishop Bell innocent, prompting one speaker to explain that “most here are troubled because the idea of innocence until proven guilty touches everyone.”

He did, though, indicate his acceptance of a key recommendation by Lord Carlile of Berwick, who conducted a review of the Church’s handling of the accusation against Bishop Bell, that the dealings with Carol should have been confidential. “The fault lies with us as the institution, and it is clearly identified in Lord Carlile’s report, as having gone public. We have to own up to that and face it. I’m very clear about that. I take part of the responsibility.

“If you want to know about justice, it’s not about guilty or innocent, but what is made public. Had we said nothing about a settlement with Carol, had there been a confidentiality clause, none of this would have reached the public domain. . .

“We are clear on how wrong we were on publicising the process.”

A statement by Lord Carlile was read at the conference: “The Church should accept that my recommendations should be accepted in full, and Bishop Bell should be declared by the Church to be innocent of the allegations made against him.”

His review had not been asked to determine whether Bishop Bell was innocent, but he had concluded that the case was not strong enough even to be brought to court (News, 22 December 2017).

Among the resolutions carried at the conference was one calling for an apology by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and another asking for a debate in the General Synod.

 

 

Breaking News – “Archbishop admits Bishop Bell investigation has been ‘very painful process’, ahead of report into case” – Daily Telegraph – Hayley Dixon

Jan 24 2019 – “Archbishop admits Bishop Bell investigation has been ‘very painful process’, ahead of report into case” – The Daily Telegraph – Hayley Dixon

Hayley Dixon
The Telegraph 
Bishop George Bell was accused of abuse years after his death  - PA
Bishop George Bell was accused of abuse years after his death  – PA
More

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that investigating abuse allegations made against Bishop George Bell has been a “very, very painful process” as the church prepares to publish its findings in the case. 

Ahead of what it is hoped will be the end to a long and bitter battle between the Church of England and the family and supporters of one of its most revered bishops, Justin Welby said that the tackling of sex abuse cases has been the churches  “greatest failure” since the second world war.

The Archbishop has personally been accused of attempting to smear the former Bishop of Chichester’s name by accusing him of being a paedophile when there was “no credible evidence” against him. 

An independent review of the handling of the case by Lord Carlile, which was released in 2017, found that Bishop Bell had been besmirched by the church two years earlier when officials released a statement formally apologising over allegations of abuse made by a woman who is now in her seventies. 

On Thursday the church will release the findings of their National Safeguarding Team into “fresh information” which came to light after  review was published. 

The Archbishop has written to Bishop Bell’s surviving relative ahead of the release of the report, the Telegraph understands.  

Sussex Police dropped an investigation into the “fresh information” in March last year, three months after it came to light. 

The findings of the review have remained a closely guarded secret, but supporters have said that they are hopeful that it will restore the good name of Bishop Bell, who died in 1958. 

Talking about the case to the Spectator ahead of the publication of the report, the Archbishop said: “It has been a very, very painful process. Not least because Bishop Bell was — is — one of my great heroes. Probably the greatest failure of the C of E since the second world war has been our failure to deal adequately with disclosures of abuse. When I came into this role, I didn’t have any idea how bad it was.”

He admitted that “we have not found a way of caring for those who have been accused or complained against — or their families.”

Frank Field, the Labour MP who has been part of the fight to clear the bishop’s name, said: “I hope that the report brings the whole sorry affair to a good-ish end.

“I would hope that they have now decided it is totally proper to restore the man’s great name and I would hope that a statement from the Archbishop will be followed by the reversal of a series of other changes which were made on the basis that the allegations could be true.”

In the wake of the church naming Bishop Bell as an abuser a school in Chichester and rooms in the cathedral were among the places to be stripped of his name. 

A statue celebrating his work in helping rescue Jewish children from Germany during the Second World War which has been planned for Canterbury Cathedral was also scrapped. 

The Church of England’s October 2015 ‘Bishop Bell’ News Release – One Year On

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Media Centre

2015 – October 22

https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2015/10/statement-on-the-rt-revd-george-bell-(1883-1958).aspx

Statement on the Rt. Revd George Bell (1883 -1958)

The Bishop of Chichester has issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal civil claim regarding sexual abuse against the Right Reverend George Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death on 3rd October 1958.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern allegations of sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Following settlement of the claim the serving Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his “deep sorrow” acknowledging that “the abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never occur in any situation, particularly the church.”

Bishop Warner paid tribute to the survivor’s courage in coming forward to report the abuse and notes that “along with my colleagues throughout the church, I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency.”

Tracey Emmott, the solicitor for the survivor, today issued the following statement on behalf of her client:

“The new culture of openness in the Church of England is genuinely refreshing and seems to represent a proper recognition of the dark secrets of its past, many of which may still not have come to light.  While my client is glad this case is over, they remain bitter that their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with until my client made contact with Archbishop Justin Welby’s office in 2013.  That failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client’s life.  For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything.  How could any amount of money possibly compensate for childhood abuse?  However, my client recognises that it represents a token of apology.  What mattered to my client most and has brought more closure than anything was the personal letter my client has recently received from the Bishop of Chichester.”

The survivor first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995. Bishop Kemp responded to the correspondence offering pastoral support but did not refer the matter to the police or, so far as is known, investigate the matter further. It was not until contact with Lambeth Palace in 2013 that the survivor was put in touch with the safeguarding team at the Diocese of Chichester who referred the matter to the police and offered personal support and counselling to the survivor.

In his letter to the survivor Bishop Warner acknowledges that the response from the Diocese of Chichester in 1995, when the survivor first came forward, “fell a long way short, not just of what is expected now, but of what we now appreciate you should have had a right to expect then.”

In accordance with the recommendations of the Church Commissaries’ report into the Diocese of Chichester in 2012 the settlement does not impose any form of “confidentiality agreement” restriction regarding public disclosure upon the individual. In this case the survivor has expressed the desire to remain anonymous.

Following a meeting between the survivor and Sussex police in 2013, it was confirmed by the police that the information obtained from their enquiries would have justified, had he still been alive, Bishop Bell’s arrest and interview, on suspicion of serious sexual offences, followed by release on bail, further enquiries and the subsequent submission of a police report to the CPS.

A formal claim for compensation was submitted in April 2014 and was settled in late September of this year. The settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process during which further investigations into the claim took place including the commissioning of expert independent reports. None of those reports found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim.

The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. Any survivors or those with information about church-related abuse must always feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.

Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

A copy of this statement can be found on the Church of England website and the Diocese of Chichester website.

For further information contact Lisa Williamson at the Diocese of Chichester Communications office on 01273 425791 or The Revd Dr Rob Marshall +44 (0) 7766 952113

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