Tag Archives: Titus Trust

“TITUS TRUST, JOHN SMYTH AND JONATHAN FLETCHER” – ‘THINKING ANGLICANS’

Titus Trust, John Smyth, and Jonathan Fletcher

Titus Trust, John Smyth, and Jonathan Fletcher

The Titus Trust published this statement yesterday:

John Smyth: statement on settlement

The Trustees of The Titus Trust wish to make this statement now that a settlement has been reached with three men who have suffered for many years because of the appalling abuse of John Smyth.

We are devastated that lives have been blighted by a man who abused a position of trust and influence to inflict appalling behaviour on others, and we have written to those concerned to express our profound regret at what happened and also to apologise for any additional distress that has been caused by the way The Titus Trust has responded to this matter.
The emergence of details about the abuse by John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher has caused us to reflect deeply on our current culture and the historic influences upon us. Although the culture of the camps that The Titus Trust runs today has changed significantly from the Scripture Union camps of the late 70s and early 80s we still want to look hard at our traditions and practices and to invite feedback from those currently involved and also those who are no longer involved.
This reflection includes a number of elements and has led, or is leading to, the following actions:

  • A full independent review of our safeguarding practices took place in 2018 by thirtyone:eight and the recommendations have been implemented in 2019 to ensure that we operate best practice across all our camps to protect the children and adults involved in our activities. Among other things, this has included receiving training in pastoral care and supporting survivors of abuse.
  • An internal Cultural Review has been carried out that considered aspects of our traditions and practices and identified risks to and ways of building healthy cultures across our leaders teams.
  • An independent Cultural Review will begin shortly which will include inviting feedback from a wide range of individuals and organisations to enable us to look honestly at our culture and its impact on individual behaviour.

The Trustees regret that we have not been able to speak out while the legal situation has been ongoing and want to take the opportunity now to listen well to people’s experiences of our camps to inform our future planning. We would therefore invite anyone who would like to share their experience to email safeguarding@titustrust.org.  If anyone wishes to contribute to the forthcoming Cultural Review, we invite them to be in touch too, so we can pass their details to the review team once their work gets underway.

We are sorry that the Titus Trust’s earlier public statements were inadequate as explanations of the relevant facts and history and that some of the language the Trust has used in public statements about these matters has prompted anger on the part of some survivors and others. We recognise the impact that this guarded use of language has caused, and apologise if this has contributed in any way to the anguish experienced by the survivors and their families.

The Titus Trust is co-operating fully with the Review into John Smyth led by Keith Makin. Extensive documentation has been provided to the Reviewers and the Trust has met with them and expects to do so again to further assist in the Review.
3/4/20

Today, the following statement has been issued in response:

Statement from victims of the Titus Trust and John Smyth QC
4th April 2020

We call for the Titus Trust to cease its activities immediately, and to disband.

Yesterday the Titus Trust issued a statement following the settlement of three civil claims in respect of abuse by John Smyth QC. The statement comes no less than eight years after a victim of Smyth bravely came forward to inform the trust of the appalling legacy of abuse upon which their organisation is built. It is an astonishing 38 years since the leaders of the Iwerne network were first made aware of the criminal nature of this horrific abuse.

When the abuse came to light, the trustees of the Titus Trust, who now run the Iwerne network, did everything they could to protect their own interests. They did not offer care and support to the victims. They refused to cooperate with an independent inquiry. If the Titus Trust had been open and transparent with what they knew years ago, John Smyth could have been brought to justice. Instead they repeatedly blanked the victims, refusing to speak with us and denying any responsibility. Perhaps we should not have expected them to act with care or candour, since some of most senior members of the network had been complicit in concealing the abuse for 38 years.

In the face of this intransigence we felt compelled to take action against the Titus Trust, so that they would be forced to confront their responsibilities. Even so, the trust has spent eye-watering sums of money fighting our claims – many times the amount they have offered us in settlement.  We are pleased that they have finally issued a limited apology for their recent behaviour, but we note that none of those responsible has resigned. They have not acknowledged the historic cover-up. There is no evidence that the culture of moral superiority, exclusivity and secrecy that has pervaded the network for decades has changed in any way.

Those of us who suffered as victims of John Smyth through our contacts with the Iwerne network simply want to uncover the truth. We want an accurate narrative of the abuse and its cover-up, not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of scores of victims of Smyth in Africa, and for the sake of those young people who even today come under the toxic influence of this network. John Smyth is only one of several abusers known to us who have been closely associated with the Iwerne camps network over many years. Events of recent years lead us to believe that there are still some within the Titus network who value their own reputations more than they care about the children they work with. Shockingly, some of those are ordained clergy in the Church of England. Such attitudes should have no place in any organisation working with children.

The Titus Trust has consistently said that they were not prepared to take part in the Church of England’s Makin Review into John Smyth whilst litigation was outstanding. Now that this settlement has been reached, that excuse is gone, and we urge the trustees and all those involved in the Iwerne network to cooperate fully with the Makin Review, and the other reviews being held into abuse by John Smyth and Jonathan Fletcher.

A culture that has resisted reform in the face of overwhelming evidence of damage over many years is beyond reform. It is our wholehearted belief that in the light of these events the Titus Trust and its work should cease immediately.

To those within and beyond the Titus/Iwerne network who have come to understand that they too are victims of abuse, we urge you to take courage and seek help outside the network.

Issued on behalf of victims of the Titus Trust and John Smyth QC
For more information, contact Andrew Graystone
07772 710090
andrew.graystone1@btinternet.com

COMMENTS

Fr. Dean Henley

This week’s Private Eye details the dreadful treatment meted out to sub-postmasters by the Post Office and how the organisation (led by an Anglican priest for much of the duration of the debacle) spent tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money trying to thwart the claimants in the courts; losing spectacularly with an excoriating judgement. Here the Titus Trust have tried to deny Smyth’s victims justice and it seems some of the trustees are Anglican clerics. Their hubris is breathtaking and I hope that they are considering their position. Why does the Titus Trust only ‘help’ privately educated children… Read more »

Kate

It seems that most organisations which have harboured abusers in the past believe that they have changed so that any abuse is quickly detected and efficiently dealt with.

I wonder whether that is really the case because in strongly hierarchical organisations it is still hard for people to come forward and there is still a strong self-defence mechanism.

Richard W. Symonds
Looks to me like this official public apology from Titus Trust is a classic case of ‘burying bad news’ while the thinking populace is being distracted by the Virus crisis – except the victims.

I can’t say I’m surprised – damage limitation. The Church of England hierarchy [+ Archbishop Welby] may well be considering the same kind of apology regarding Bishop George Bell.

Comment awaiting moderation

April 18 2019 – “Smyth abuse – Survivors dispute Welby claim” – Church Times – Madeleine Davies

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/18-april/news/uk/smyth-abuse-survivors-dispute-welby-claim

 

SURVIVORS of abuse perpetrated by John Smyth have written to Lambeth Palace to correct the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that Smyth was “not actually an Anglican” — a comment made during an interview on Channel 4 News last week.

In total, the letter lists 14 points of dispute about the Archbishop’s comments.

During the interview on Friday, which explored the Church of England’s response to Smyth’s abuse, Archbishop Welby said that Smyth “was not actually an Anglican. The church he went to in South Africa was not Anglican, and Iwerne was not part of the Church of England.”

Smyth was living in South Africa when a disclosure of abuse was made in Ely diocese in 2013, and died there last year. He was a former chairman of the Iwerne Trust, which ran holiday camps for boys at English public schools, and is now part of the Titus Trust. A six-month Channel 4 News investigation, broadcast two years ago, found that both the Iwerne Trust and Winchester College had learned of allegations of abuse by Mr Smyth in the 1980s, but failed to report them to the police (News, 10 February 2017).

One of the survivors who wrote to Lambeth Palace this week, Graham*, described the claim that Smyth was not an Anglican as “farcical”, given that he worshipped in the C of E.. The letter tells the Archbishop that Smyth had in fact been a licensed Reader in the diocese of Winchester.

A spokesperson for the diocese of Winchester said: “When the allegations first came to light we reviewed our records. There was nothing to suggest that John Smyth had had a formal role within the diocese and so no further investigation was undertaken.”

Graham also listed the many links between the Iwerne Trust and the C of E, pointing out that survivors in the United Kingdom and trustees of the Trust — some of whom were ordained — had attended Anglican churches.

In his interview, Archbishop Welby said: “The Church of England was never directly involved, but we take responsibility because there was a Church of England clergyman, though not on the payroll, who was in charge of the Iwerne Trust and there were Anglicans there . . .”

He also emphasised that the allegations did not pertain to the Iwerne Trust’s camps — the abuse had taken place at Smyth’s home.

But Archbishop Welby did not mention that the report commissioned by the Iwerne Trust and compiled in 1982, prompted by a suicide attempt by a survivor, was written by a C of E priest, the Revd Mark Ruston, when he was Vicar of Holy Sepulchre with All Saints, Cambridge. It described what it called the “beatings” of 22 young men.

“The scale and severity of the practice was horrific . . . eight received about 14,000 strokes: two of them having some 8000 strokes over three years.”

The contents of the report were disclosed to a number of Anglican clergy. Smyth went on to live in Zimbabwe, where he continued to run holiday camps — Zambezi Ministries — and South Africa.

“Had any one of these men spoken out about what they knew, upwards of 60 African children might not have been viciously beaten, and Smyth might have faced the justice he deserved,” the letter says.

Archbishop Welby told Channel 4 News that he had had “no idea” of Smyth’s abuse until 2013. “I heard a report about an allegation of abuse; it was made in Ely diocese, and the Bishop of Ely had contacted the statutory authorities . . . and I wrote to the Primate in South Africa.”

In fact, it was the Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, who wrote to the Church in South Africa.

Asked about a promised review, Archbishop Welby told Channel 4 News that it could not take place until the Church had secured the participation of the other organisations involved: a reference to Scripture Union, Winchester College, and the Titus Trust.

“Unless you can get everyone in you are never going to get anywhere near the truth,” he said. “We’ve written to them; we’ve not had answers from all of them; and I would very much like them to reply promptly and quickly, and let’s get on with it and discover what we need to learn.”

Several survivors of Smyth’s abuse have launched a civil claim against the Titus Trust (News, 24 August 2018), and it is understood that the Titus Trust will consider a review only once these have been concluded (News, 1 March).

Graham suggested that it was “perverse that the decision as to which organisations should have the veto on a review has been taken before the review itself, when all of the facts are not yet known”.

He also disputed the Archbishop’s comment that there had been “very rapid contact” with the survivors, and that the bishop in charge of safeguarding and safeguarding officers had met them.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace declined to clarify the Archbishop’s comments but said that he hoped to meet survivors “as soon as possible”.

*Name changed to protect anonymity

 

OTHER STORIES

Sorry not enough, Archbishops’ letter says after IICSA — and a survivor agrees

26 Mar 2018


‘I am ashamed of the Church’, Archbishop Welby admits to IICSA hearing

21 Mar 2018


John Smyth QC, 77, accused of shed beatings, dies in Cape Town

13 Aug 2018


George Bell: the life matched the legacy

01 Feb 2019


UK news in brief

18 May 2018


Archbishop Welby apologises for ‘mistakes’ in case of George Bell

24 Jan 2019