Tag Archives: The Argus

December 21 2017 – “Chichester under fire over George Bell claims” – Christian Today – James Macintyre

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/chichester-under-fire-over-george-bell-claims/121998.htm

Chichester under fire over George Bell claims

The Bishop of Chichester is under fire over his claim, made after the Carlile report into the Church of England’s handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell, that the Church did not proclaim the late Bishop Bell’s guilt.

The Mail on Sunday journalist Peter Hitchens, who has vigorously campaigned on behalf of the late bishop since the Church made public the claims against Bell in 2015, penned a hard-hitting letter to Martin Warner this week.

Bishop George Bell
Jimmy JamesBishop George Bell

In his letter, Hitchens focused on the impression that was left in the press after the Church issued a formal public apology and announced that it had paid £16,800 to the woman in question, known as ‘Carol’.

Hitchens wrote: ‘You said on Friday [the day the Carlile report was published], and yet again in your Radio 4 interview on Sunday that you had never proclaimed George Bell’s guilt. On Radio 4, you said ‘What we did not do and have not ever done is to make a clear statement which says “We have found George Bell guilty”. We have never done that’.

‘I must ask, in that case, why you did not write to The Times, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the BBC, the Argus of Brighton or the Chichester Observer, correcting their reports of your statement, reports which proclaimed that George Bell was guilty? Is it possible that you did so and they ignored your letters? Or did you choose to leave the impression of guilt which your statement had created, which you now insist you had not intended to create? Had you written to complain, it would have been very helpful to my own unending efforts to get these media to change their tune.’

The Church of England was criticised in the Carlile report for a ‘rush to judgment’ in its handling of the allegations against Bishop Bell, who died in 1958.

The report by Lord Carlile said that although the Church acted in good faith, its processes were deficient and it failed to give proper consideration to the rights of the accused.

Hitchens dramatically clashed with Bishop Warner and Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, at the press conference for the release of the report on Friday, accusing the Church of behaving in a ‘Stalinoid’ fashion towards the memory of the late Bishop Bell.

The new Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner
The Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner

The columnist also raised the removal of Bishop Bell’s name from buildings, institutions and guide books in Chichester including from the former George Bell House. He said that ‘many mentions of George Bell have been excised from the Cathedral guide book, his name has been removed from the House which used to bear it at Bishop Luffa school where I should think you might have some influence, and also from a hall of residence at the University of Chichester.

‘I pointed out to you last Friday that even the Soviet Union had eventually rehabilitated those whom it had unjustly condemned in unfair show trials (whose memories, names and pictures were likewise removed from buildings, streets, photographs, encyclopaedias and so forth).’

Hitchens concluded: ‘The Church of England is surely judged by (and should regulate itself by) a higher standard than an atheist secret police state.’

A spokesperson for the Bishop of Chichester said: ‘We have received a copy of the letter and as it is a long, detailed document Bishop Martin will be responding in the New Year. There is no actual time to do it properly between now and Christmas as this is obviously a hugely busy week.’

Bishop Warner said on Friday: ‘Lord Carlile’s Independent Review is a demonstration of the Church of England’s commitment to equality of justice and transparency in our safeguarding practice. The diocese of Chichester requested this “lessons learned” Review.

‘We welcome Lord Carlile’s assessment of our processes, and apologise for failures in the work of the Core Group of national and diocesan officers and its inadequate attention to the rights of those who are dead. We also accept the Report’s recognition that we acted in good faith, and improvements to Core Group protocols are already in place. Further work on them is in hand.

‘The Report demands further consideration of the complexities of this case, such as what boundaries can be set to the principle of transparency. Lord Carlile rightly draws our attention to public perception. The emotive principle of innocent until proven guilty is a standard by which our actions are judged and we have to ensure as best we can that justice is seen to be done. Irrespective of whether she is technically a complainant, survivor, or victim, ‘Carol’ emerges from this report as a person of dignity and integrity. It is essential that her right to privacy continues to be fully respected.

‘The good deeds that Bishop George Bell did were recognised internationally. They will stand the test of time. In every other respect, we have all been diminished by the case that Lord Carlile has reviewed.’

Bell’s niece Barbara Whitley, 93, has said she wants the reputation of her uncle restored and has asked for a face-to-face apology from the Church of England.

‘I’m determined to clear his name before I die,’ she told the BBC.

December 16 2017 – “‘He can say Bishop Bell wouldn’t be found guilty, it doesn’t change the facts'” – “A person of dignity and integrity” – “Legal expert pointed to overlooked evidence” – The Argus – Spotlight – Joel Adams

 

http://www.theargus.co.uk/News/15776905.Victim_____He_can_say_Bishop_Bell_wouldn___t_be_found_guilty__it_doesn___t_change_the_facts___/

November 21 2017 – “Bell review imminent” – The Argus – Nov 21 2017

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“Bell Review imminent”

The Church of England has said publication of a report into a sexual abuse scandal is imminent.

In October 2015, an unnamed victim was paid £15.000 and given an apology after she claimed the wartime Bishop of Chichester George Bell molested her.

The victim said she was just five when the abuse started.

A report into the Church’s handling of the matter was commissioned earlier this year and completed in early October.

it is now at the stage of responding with feedback from those who contributed, and is expected within weeks.

October 5 2017 – “Did Church keep abuse secret?” – The Argus

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/local/15577806.Did_Church_keep_abuse_secret_/

Did Church keep abuse secret?

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Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

THE Anglican Church will be probed for potentially harbouring a “culture of secrecy” surrounding sexual abuse which allowed predators to offend unchallenged, an inquiry has heard.

The public inquiry into child sexual abuse is preparing to scrutinise the response of religious institutions to allegations of exploitation by the clergy.

This will include the disgraced former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball.

Ball was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

Attitudes to sexuality will form part of the investigation into the Anglican Church, due to begin next March, a preliminary hearing of the inquiry was told.

It comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, provoked debate by accusing the BBC of not handling reports of longstanding abuse with the same “integrity” as the Church.

Speaking at the new headquarters of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in central London, counsel to the inquiry Fiona Scolding QC said: “Culture is important because it shapes everything about the way that things are done within the organisation and it is both deeply embedded within an organisation and often difficult to change.”

Outlining the aims of the Anglican Church investigation, she said: “This will involve examining how far was there or is there a culture of secrecy within the Church.

“How far the Church’s approach to sex and sexuality contributed or contributes to difficulties with cultural change.

“How far does the hierarchical nature of the Church create a power imbalance which could inhibit the reporting of abuse.”

Ms Scolding said this would not only stretch to attitudes of the past, but also cover the current practices of the Church and any future reforms it has planned.

The preliminary hearing also heard 184,020 pages of evidence had been received for examination.

Around 100,000 have so far been reviewed by inquiry officials with 22,000 of these found to be duplicates and 35,000 deemed irrelevant.

Article of Faith, an independent review of how the Church handled Ball’s case, was published earlier this year.

Chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, the review found “Ball’s conduct has caused serious and enduring damage to the lives of many men”.

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“Church resignations” – Argus Letters – Richard W. Symonds

 

Dear Editor

If a former Archbishop resigns because of the Ball Inquiry (“Carey quits over sex abuse report”, Argus, June 27), then the current Bishop of Chichester should resign because of the Bell Inquiry – if, and only if, Lord Carlile’s criticism is of the same magnitude as – but of a different order than – Dame Gibb.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Bell Society

“Church Protected Paedophile Bishop” – The Argus – Front Page – June 23 2017

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http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/15366174.Church_helped_to_cover_up_sexual_abuse/

Church helped to cover up sexual abuse

THE Church of England “colluded” with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one its bishops rather than help his victims, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

The Most Rev Justin Welby’s statement came as the Church published Abuse Of Faith, an independent review of how it handled the case of Peter Ball, the former Bishop of Lewes who was jailed for 32 months at the Old Bailey in 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of historical offences, including two counts of indecent assault.

The review, chaired by Dame Moira Gibb, found that “Ball’s conduct has caused serious and enduring damage to the lives of many men”.

It stated: “Peter Ball betrayed his Church and abused individual followers of that Church.

“The Church at its most senior levels and over many years supported him unwisely and displayed little care for his victims.

“Much of what we have described took place in different times and should be viewed from that perspective.

“But such perverse and sustained abuse by a senior figure in the Church and the Church’s failure to safeguard so many boys and young men still casts a long shadow.”

During his time as bishop, Ball hand-picked 18 vulnerable victims to commit acts of “debasement” in the name of religion, such as praying naked at the altar and encouraging them to submit to beatings, his trial heard.

The Archbishop described the report as “harrowing reading”, adding: “The Church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward.

“This is inexcusable and shocking behaviour and, although Dame Moira notes that most of the events took place many years ago, and does not think that the Church now would conduct itself in the ways described, we can never be complacent; we must learn lessons.”

He restated his “unreserved apology” to the victims who had been brave enough to come forward, adding: “There are no excuses whatsoever for what took place and the systematic abuse of trust perpetrated by Peter Ball over the decades.”

There is criticism in the review of Lord Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, and other senior figures in the Church, saying the Church was “most interested in protecting itself”.

The review states that Lambeth Palace’s actions, especially in failing to pass on six letters of allegations to the police, while giving them one which was of “least concern”… “must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment”.

The review points out that the Church’s management of those seven letters, containing allegations against Ball, was perhaps “its greatest failure in these events”.

The NSPCC spoke of its disgust at the findings.

A spokesperson said: “It is utterly disgraceful to discover that collusion at the heart of the Church of England led to the abuse of so many young men and boys. Abuse can happen in any institution or walk of life and we must ensure it can never be covered up by the powerful. Abuse in our most revered institutions must be exposed and investigated, offenders brought to justice, and victims given confidence to come forward.”

ARCHBISHOP CALLS ON LORD CAREY TO STAND DOWN FOLLOWING RELEASE OF DAMNING REPORT

THE archbishop of Canterbury has asked his predecessor George Carey to step down as an honorary assistant bishop.

Lord Carey was singled out for criticism in yesterday’s report, with it stating he was more concerned with protecting the church rather than the victims.

In particular, it refers to Lambeth Palace’s failure to pass on six letters of allegations to the police.

Instead it forwarded one letter which was described as being of “least concern”.

The report stated this “must give rise to a perception of deliberate concealment”. It added that management of the seven letters was perhaps the church’s “greatest failure”.

It stated: “The letters came from a range of families and individuals quite independently of each other. They raised concerns which were all either indirectly or precisely suggestive of sexual impropriety, or worse, by Ball.

“These were not people who were at war with the Church or had any axe to grind. In fact, some of the correspondents go to great lengths to try to avoid rancour and find a constructive way forward.”

The report found that Lord Carey was significantly involved in the way the Church treated victim Neil Todd in 1992/1993. Despite years of abuse in Sussex, Ball was able to leave the diocese in 1992 to take up his post as Bishop of Gloucester.

A year later, the then 16-year-old trainee monk Neil Todd prompted a police investigation which led to Ball’s resignation from the clergy. Ball escaped with a police caution in 1993 for an act of gross indecency against Mr Todd who took his own life in 2012.

Lord Carey described the paedophile bishop as “basically innocent” and said he had a “very high” regard for him in a September 1993 letter to Ball’s brother Michael.

The review, which said Lord Carey had played a leading role in enabling Ball to return to ministry, described this comment as “alarming”. It added: “Ball was basically guilty and had admitted that. Lord Carey was also aware that the Church had received further allegations of potentially criminal actions by Ball.”

Current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the review made for harrowing reading.

Steven Croft, the bishop of Oxford, said Mr Welby had written to Lord Carey asking him to “carefully consider his position”. Mr Croft and Lord Carey will meet “in the coming days for that conversation. In the meantime he has voluntarily agreed to step back from public ministry”.

FURTHER INFORMATION
The Guardian