News Archive 2014/15
Clergy 'tried to cover up Bishop
Peter Ball sex abuse'
Evidence suggesting senior clergy tried to cover up sex abuse by an Anglican
bishop has been uncovered by the BBC.
Two priests raised concerns about Peter Ball but were urged to keep quiet or saw no
action taken, it has emerged and a couple who worked for now-jailed Ball, former bishop of
Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester, said they also tried to raise concerns but were ignored.
Ball's offending is the subject of an independent review and a national inquiry is looking at
Church abuse. The retired bishop was jailed in October for a string of offences against
teenagers and young men.
Cliff James said he told a member of clergy in 1992 that Ball had abused him but he said
they were later contacted by three bishops who urged the member of clergy to make sure
that Cliff and another alleged victim did not talk to police or the media.
Mr James, who waived his right to anonymity after Ball admitted assaults against him,
believes senior clergy were more concerned with the Church's reputation than the victims.
Another priest who helped one of Ball's victims said he tried to raise concerns with 13
different bishops who appeared to take no action.
Michael and Christine Moss, who worked as Ball's gardener and housekeeper in
Gloucester, said they tried to raise concerns with bishops but were ignored.
Mr Moss said: "What upsets me so much is the Church did nothing."
BBC South East's special correspondent Colin Campbell said he discovered three police
forces sought access to correspondence and files about Ball held by the Church over 20
years, but an investigation only began in 2012 when Sussex Police gained information
from Lambeth Palace.
In October, the BBC correspondent asked the Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner
whether he would consider it to be a cover-up if a bishop urged a member of clergy who
was in contact with an abuse victim to stay quiet.
Bishop Martin replied: "Yes I would and by today's standards, in terms of our practice today,
that would immediately be the trigger for disciplinary action."
Church safeguarding adviser Edi Carmi said while she could not evaluate the veracity of the
BBC's information, it pointed to "people in the Church who didn't inform the police of
allegations and did not encourage people abused or alleging abuse to talk and it seems
The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched an independent review into abuse by Ball.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is also investigating abuse within the
Anglican Church and the Diocese of Chichester and the Ball case specifically.
Yet Another Diocese of Chichester
A retired Diocese of Chichester deacon had been sentenced to 32 months imprisonment for
attempting to solicit sex from young boys via the internet. The Rev. Peter Keeley-Pannett
(71) of Portslade, near Brighton, who served in the Diocese of Chichester until his arrest
last November, pleaded guilty to seven counts of abuse by using a webcam to meet boys in
Judge Robert Fraser of the Guildford Crown Court told Keeley-Pannett that he would have to
serve a term of imprisonment as he “remains a high risk of serious harm to children".
Between 2010 and 2012 Keeley-Pannett would met young boys at chat-rooms over Skype
and attempted to seduce them. In passing sentence the judge said that although he had
pleaded guilty to the charges and cooperated with the police "there is something very wrong
here and something needs to be done.” The court sentenced Keeley-Pannett to 32 months
total imprisonment for two counts of making 156 indecent images of children, two counts of
inciting a boy to 14 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of cause a 13 to
15 year old boy to watch images of sexual activity, and one count of to cause a boy over 13
to engage in sexual activity. A sexual harm prevention order was also granted which
restricts Keeley-Pannett's use of the internet and communication with young boys.
Victim Criticizes Church over
After receiving an apology two years ago from the Bishop of Chichester, Rev. Dr. Martin
Warner, citing 'deception and cover-up' within the church, abuse victim and survivor
Gary Johnson challenges last week's assertion by the current Bishop for Safeguarding
in Sussex, Mark Sowerby, that there is no evidence to support a cover-up.
Revered Bishop 'Saint' George Bell
was a paedophile – Church of England
Church of England issues apology to surviving victim of bishop afforded the
Anglican version of a saint’s day
A former Church of England bishop revered as a peacemaker – and granted the closest
thing Anglicanism has to a saint’s days – was a paedophile, the Church has acknowledged.
George Bell, who was bishop of Chichester for 30 years until his death in 1958, sexually
assaulted a child, who is still alive, in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Church of England has issued a formal apology to the victim, who wishes to remain
anonymous, and settled a legal claim for compensation.
The victim first came forward in 1995 but the complaint was effectively ignored by the then
Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, who died in 2009.
It was not until the victim contacted the office of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the
Most Rev Justin Welby, two years ago that the allegations were finally investigated properly.
Bell is revered for his role as a crucial ally of the German underground resistance movement
under the Nazis and later as a peacemaker between the two countries as well as a pioneer
of the ecumenical movement.
He was a close friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the heroic German theologian who was
executed for his association with a plot to assassinate Hitler, who is commemorated above
the door of Westminster Abbey among a line-up of “modern saints”.
He also counted Gandhi and Nehru among his friends and helped lay the foundations for the
thaw in relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics before Second Vatican Council,
with close contacts including Cardinal Giovanni Montini, who later became Pope Paul VI.
It is widely thought he would have been made Archbishop of Canterbury following the death
of William Temple in 1944 but for his public denunciation of Allied bombing of Dresden.
In 2008, the then Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said it “would have been a
good thing” if Bell had been given the role.
He has an annual commemoration, the Anglican equivalent of a feast day, on October 3,
the anniversary of his death, and is buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.
A spokesman for the Church said would now be up to the General Synod to formally remove
him from the calendar of commemorations but signalled he is unlikely ever to be
Although Bell could not be questioned having died almost 60 years ago, the Church said it
had investigated the victim’s allegations ahead of what would have been a civil case and
acceptedtheir account as being true on the balance of probabilities.
It is the latest in a long line of sexual abuse cases centred on the Diocese of Chichester to
come to light.
The current Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, has written to the victim to express his
“The abuse of children is a criminal act and a devastating betrayal of trust that should never
occur in any situation, particularly the church,” he said
Tracey Emmott, the victim’s lawyer, said: “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.”
She added: “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.”
A spokesman for the Church of England added: “The immediate challenge is to come to
terms with the shock of this, feel the deep shame of it and express profound apologies to
“Whether the name should be formally removed [from the calendar of commemorations] is
an issue for another day and involves a full Synodical process.
“But the present inclusion in the Church’s calendar requires no one to mark the day and in
the light of this news it will be up individual clergy and parishes whether they wish to
continue to do so.”
Bishop Peter Ball
Jailed at Old Bailey
Church of England Bishop Peter Ball, 83, has been jailed for a string of offences against
teenagers and young men, being sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office
and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently. The former Bishop of Lewes and
Bishop of Gloucester used "religion as a cloak" to carry out the abuse between the 1970s
BBC Inside-Out Special on Bishop Peter Ball
Archbishop of Canterbury Announces
Review of the Bishop Peter Ball Case
BBC and ITV News coverage featuring Phil Johnson and Rev. Graham Sawyer from
MACSAS - click on an image above to play the story
Peter Ball Guilty of Sexual Abuse -
accuse C of E, police and CPS of cover-up
Details of how the former Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester escaped justice
22 years ago can only now be reported
Victims of a former bishop who sexually abused more than 18 young men have accused
the Church of England, the police and senior prosecutors of presiding over an
establishment cover-up that prevented him from facing justice for decades.
Details of how Peter Ball, a former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester, escaped justice 22
years ago can finally be revealed after he pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of
indecent assault and one charge of misconduct in public office, relating to the sexual abuse
of 16 young men over a period of 15 years from 1977 to 1992.
Ball was not charged when the allegations of abuse against him first emerged in 1993.
Instead the police and senior figures in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), then led by
the late Barbara Mills, agreed to issue Ball with a caution.
This was done with the knowledge of the then archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.
Ball proceeded to resign as bishop and went to live in a property lent to him by his friend
the Prince of Wales.
Since 1993, those who accused Ball of abuse have struggled for recognition. Phil Johnson,
who alleged 19 years ago that Ball had sexually abused him as a 13-year-old boy, said the
last two decades amounted to an establishment cover-up.
“He is very well connected,” said Johnson. “There has been pressure on the police ever
since 1993 when all this first emerged. It’s been going on for years.
“There are many, many victims who have fought for a long time to see him face justice and
have not been believed. The church and the establishment have colluded in covering up
bishop Peter Ball?s offending at the highest level over very many years.”
Evidence presented to pre-trial hearings in the Ball case, which can now be reported, reveal
that when allegations of abuse emerged in 1993, CPS lawyers said there was “sufficient
admissible, substantial and reliable evidence” of indecent assault and gross indecency.
Ball, however, was given a caution and escaped a trial and public scrutiny.
Pre-trial evidence also showed that Ball, while still the bishop of Gloucester, said a police
officer had reassured him with the words: “Bishop, this is all over.”
Statements submitted to the court in the pre-trial hearings included one from Carey
explaining his intervention in the case. He said in a written statement that he had picked up
the telephone to a senior CPS director he knew in relation to the Ball case in 1993.
He said he was told the caution meant that if other allegations from the past emerged
against Ball they would not be pursued in future.
“I was worried that if any other allegations were made it would reignite a police
investigation,” Carey said in his statement. “I was told quite categorically that any past
indecency matters would not be taken further.”
Carey said the senior CPS official told him: “As far as we are concerned he has resigned.
He is out of it. We are not going to take anything any further.”
The CPS outlined the deal they were offering in a letter to Ball that read: “The view is taken
that there is sufficient admissible, substantial and reliable evidence available to support
your client for offences of indecent assault and gross indecency.
“Having regard to all the circumstances however the Crown would be prepared to allow
disposal less than prosecution, namely a caution for an offence of gross indecency …
as an alternative to prosecution.”
The CPS has denied the caution in any way represented immunity from further prosecutions
if more allegations emerged. Ball told the court, however, that he had been reassured there
would be no further action in future.
At a pre-trial hearing this year, where Ball appeared frail and weakly spoken, he said:
“After I took the caution I asked very clearly ‘does this include all other offences of the
same nature before the time of the caution?’
“I was told very clearly that it did. I knew there were other people waiting in the wings who
wished to accuse me. I have never disguised the fact that there could easily be allegations.
“It was a long time ago, my mind has deteriorated greatly and I cannot speak coherently.
But I remember this in my confused mind because it was so important to me.
I was so glad to get away.
That was the last words of the policeman: "Bishop, this is all over.’”
After accepting the caution, Ball resigned from the church to plaudits from Carey, who called
him a “highly gifted and original man”. He went to live with his twin brother, the bishop of
Truro, and later moved into a property in Somerset provided by Prince Charles on the
Duchy of Cornwall estate.
Although Ball had resigned, he continued working in churches until 2010, the Church of
England having given him permission to officiate.
Over the next 19 years Ball’s name came up in at least three police investigations into
sexual abuse by Church of England priests, but he was never charged. Allegations against
him also surfaced in at least three official inquiries into decades of child protection failures
in the diocese of Chichester, of which Lewes is part.
His arrest in 2012 came after a retired police officer, who was working as a safeguarding
officer for the then archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Lambeth Palace,
discovered files relating to abuse by Ball. She passed them to Sussex police and asked
them to reopen their investigation. Ball was arrested at his home in Langport in November.
Ball was the most senior of a group of Church of England priests in the diocese of
Chichester whose activities are only now being brought before criminal courts,
many years after their victims first spoke out to the authorities.
As bishop of Lewes he presided over the parishes of East Sussex, including Eastbourne
and Hastings, between 1977 and 1992. In 1960 he founded a monastic community,
the Order of the Glorious Ascension, and as a result many young boys came into his
care as novice monks over the years.
After years of low-profile investigation that went nowhere, there was a breakthrough in
2008 with the conviction of the Rev Colin Pritchard, a vicar in Bexhill. He pleaded guilty
to four counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency involving children
aged 12 to 15 between 1979 and 1983. He was jailed for five years.
Another priest died before he was brought to justice. Roy Cotton became a priest in the
diocese of Chichester in the 1970s despite having been convicted of a sexual offence
against a child in 1954.
From the moment he was charged in 2014, Ball, now 83, claimed he was too ill to be
interviewed or face trial. His lawyers argued unsuccessfully for months that he was not fit
to stand trial. He appeared via video link from Somerset for all his court hearings.
Victims who have fought for more than 20 years to see him face justice were not at the
Old Bailey on Tuesday when he finally admitted to the abuse.
One of his victims did not live to see the moment. Interviewed by the BBC in 2012,
Neil Todd said the police inquiry was long overdue.
“It stayed with me throughout my life’s journey and even this far down the track it doesn’t
feel like there’s any real closure,” he said. “It took a long time for people to be convinced
the events that actually took place actually took place.”
Neil took his own life shortly after the investigation opened.
Roman Catholic Church in Scotland
issues apology for child abuse
The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has issued a "profound apology" to
victims of child abuse.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia said Scottish bishops were "shamed and pained" by the
suffering of those who had been harmed. His apology followed the publication of a
report from the McLellan Commission, which was set up to investigate abuse. It called
on the church to make an "unmistakeable and unequivocal" apology and "heal the hurt"
In response, Archbishop Tartaglia said: "As the president of the Bishops' Conference,
and on behalf of all the bishops of Scotland, I want to offer a profound apology to all those
who have been harmed and who have suffered in any way as a result of actions by
anyone within the Catholic Church.
"Child abuse is a horrific crime. That this abuse should have been carried out within the
church, and by priests and religious, takes that abuse to another level.
"Such actions are inexcusable and intolerable. The harm the perpetrators of abuse have
caused is first and foremost to their victims, but it extends far beyond them, to their
families and friends, as well as to the church and wider society."
He told survivors that the Catholic Bishops of Scotland were "shamed and pained by
what you have suffered".
And he added: "We say sorry. We ask forgiveness.
"We apologise to those who have found the church's response slow, unsympathetic or
uncaring and reach out to them as we take up the recommendations of the McLellan
The church asked Dr Andrew McLellan to lead a review of how it handles allegations of
abuse following a series of scandals.
It took evidence from victims in a bid to improve support services and protect vulnerable
children and adults.
Dr McLellan, a former moderator of the Church of Scotland, was tasked with coming
up with proposals aimed at making the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland "a safe
place for all". The 11 review commissioners, who include a senior police officer, a
journalist and an MP, were tasked with assessing the quality of support available to
It was not within the scope of the commission to investigate or adjudicate on current or
The commission made eight recommendations, including calling for support for survivors
of abuse to be an "absolute priority".
It also said justice must be done for those who have been abused.
The report also recommended that the church's safeguarding policies and practices be
completely rewritten and subject to external scrutiny. It called for a consistent approach
to dealing with allegations across Scotland and improved training for those in the church.
Mr McLellan said: "The Bishops' Conference of Scotland should make a public apology
to all survivors of abuse within the church.
"An apology must be made in a way that is unmistakeable and unequivocal."
He added: "The Bishops have said from the outset that they will accept our
"That means that three things will happen....
"First and most important a beginning will be made to heal the hurt and address the anger
which so many survivors feel.
"Second, the Catholic Church in Scotland will begin to confront a dark part of its past and
find some healing for itself.
"Third, a significant step will be taken in restoring public credibility for the Catholic
Church." Archbishop Tartaglia confirmed that the bishops had agreed to accept the
recommendations in full."
Alan Draper, a parliamentary liaison officer for INCAS, which supports survivors of in-care
abuse, told BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie programme: "What the report does in
devastating fashion is basically say what the Catholic Church has been doing is
Mr Draper added: "There is a lack of consistency. Justice has not been done, justice has
"It is an absolute catalogue of failing."
"What survivors are looking for is not particularly reparation, although that is part of it,
but repairing the damage," he added.
Andy Lavery is an abuse survivor who represents White Flower Alba, a survivor's
He told BBC Radio Scotland: "An apology does not cut any ice with me, it does not cut
any ice with the families of all the lads I went to school with, or never even knew at school,
who committed suicide through the trauma of their endurance at that awful school and t
hat is just one Catholic school.
"I find the summary repugnant to me as a survivor. It does not cut any ice and I just totally
The review was announced following a series of scandals. The Church faced allegations
of abuse at the former Catholic boarding school at Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands.
The former leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, stepped
down in February 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct.
The church said it would make public annual audits of all allegations received by the
church. It has published details of allegations dating from 2006 to 2012 and then for 2013.
The church also said it would instigate a retrospective investigation of historic allegations,
dating back to 1947 - with work continuing on that.
It said any allegations uncovered as part of this, which had not been acted upon,
would be passed to police for them to investigate.
Read the McLennan Commission Report HERE
GUILTY: Former priest who abused a
boy in vicarages in Bolton and Atherton
A FORMER priest has been found guilty of sexually abusing a boy in vicarages in
Bolton and Atherton.
Frank Baldwick was convicted by a jury of nine men and three women at Bolton Crown
Court. They took just 90 minutes to return guilty verdicts on the two counts of indecent
The offences — which date from the late 1970s when Baldwick was the Church of
England vicar of St Michael’s Great Lever, and then of St Anne’s Hindsford, Atherton —
were committed against a boy aged between 11 and 13 at the time. Baldwick, now
aged 91, appeared in court wearing a navy blue suit and carrying a walking stick.
Deputy Circuit Judge Elliot Knopf ordered a pre sentence report to be drawn up before
sentencing, and said Baldwick would have to sign the Sex Offenders Register.
Addressing Baldwick, whom he allowed to remain seated during his closing remarks,
Knopf said: “I have to make it clear to you that as far as sentencing is concerned, all
options will be open for me on that occasion.”
The trial heard that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to
St Michael’s vicarage, in Green Lane, by Barry Arthurs, a boy six years older than him.
The court heard that Baldwick bought the boy food and soft drinks, and flattered him.
The boy was then shown pornographic magazines before the vicar, who was then
aged in his early 50s, indecently assaulted him.
After Baldwick had moved to become the vicar of St Anne’s in 1978, Arthurs arranged
for the boy to see the vicar again.
Arthurs himself indecently assaulted the boy over a five year period and has already
pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault.
The victim gave evidence in court and said he only spoke of the abuse during a
counselling session in 2013.
The court also heard that Baldwick describes himself as a naturist, and had sexual
relationships with men while serving in the RAF during the war, and after his wife died
in 1975 from motor neurone disease.
Baldwick, now of Lady Bay Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, had denied touching
underage boys — but admitted he watched another boy masturbate at an upstairs
room in the vicarages.
Baldwick and Arthurs will both be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court,
Crown Square, on October 20.
Chaplain to Queen jailed for sex assault
on teenage churchgoer which left her
suicidal and suffering nightmares
A former chaplain to the Queen was yesterday jailed for 39 months after sexually
assaulting a young churchgoer.
Canon Dr Stephen Palmer, 68, had promised to help the 17-year-old girl with her religious
education exams but assaulted her six times in his home.
He touched her as she sat on a ‘bench or pew’ at his home after his wife took his two young
children to school.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the offences took place in Stubbington, Hampshire, between
1975 and 1976 and left his victim, now 57, suicidal and suffering ‘on-going nightmares’.
Palmer, who was in the Royal Navy, was given the title of Honorary Chaplain to the Queen
in 2008 and retired from the post a year later.
An Honorary Chaplain to the Queen is a member of the clergy and is appointed to minister
to the monarch of the United Kingdom. The court heard Palmer, who had denied the victim
had ever been to his home, would wait for his wife to leave the house and take their two
young children to school before he would assault the young girl.
The victim wrote a statement, which was read out to the court by prosecutor, Tammy Mears.
It said: ‘What happened to me all those years ago has affected me greatly. What he did to
me caused me to withdraw from the church.
‘I found it hard to trust anyone from the church and have never been able to return to church.
‘You think of people involved in the church as being caring and trustworthy, but this was not
‘I feel very sad that despite my strong beliefs, I was unable to practice my beliefs.
‘Stephen Palmer was a man of the church and someone people looked up to and trusted.
‘I couldn’t cope with what had happened. I have tried to commit suicide.
‘I have suffered from on-going nightmares over the years.’
Sentencing him to 39 months, Recorder Nigel Lickley QC said of his victim: ‘She (the
victim) came forward recently because she was encouraged by other people were
coming forward in other cases and people were believing them.
‘The offending took place when your wife was away and there was a degree of planning.
The victim withdrew from the church and her church life was very important to her, but the
trust she had was destroyed by you.
‘This case demonstrates a breach of trust. She came to you for tuition and she was abused.
Young people looked to you for guidance and support.’
He was convicted of six counts of indecent assault following a five-day trial at Portsmouth
Crown Court in May.
Palmer, of Fintry, Aberdeen, was jailed for three years and three months.
He became an ordained deacon in 1974 and an ordained priest a year later in 1975.
Palmer was also a vicar in Portsdown, Hants, from 1996 to 2002 and Newport on the
Isle of Wight from 2002 to 2009.
Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse
Finally Gets Underway!
Click on the image above to see coverage of the launch of the Inquiry featuring
Phil Johnson, Media spokesman for MACSAS.
Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry:
Cardinal Seán Brady admits 'shroud of
secrecy' over Church sex abuse inquiry
Cardinal Seán Brady has said internal church inquiries into child sex abuse took place
under a "shroud of secrecy" to save the church from scandal.
The former head of the Catholic church in Ireland told Northern Ireland's Historical
Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry this was very regrettable.
He was giving evidence about paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth.
The cardinal admitted that an internal inquiry he conducted in 1975 was "intimidating" for
He also agreed that some of the 30 questions posed to a 14-year-old boy who Smyth had
abused were intrusive and "inappropriate".
Smyth, who died in prison in 1997, was at the centre of one of the first clerical child sex
abuse scandals to rock the Catholic church in Ireland.
The inquiry was questioning Cardinal Brady about his handling of the case and the 1975
allegations that the Catholic church did not report to police.
Smyth continued to abuse until he was jailed in 1994.
"There was a shroud of secrecy and confidentiality with a view to not destroying the good
name of the church," Cardinal Brady said.
He described Smyth's abuse as "unspeakable crimes", but said church authorities felt there
was "confidentiality resting upon us, too".
"The scandal that somebody who was ordained to serve people should so abuse the trust
for their own pleasure was appalling," he added.
"To offset that, the scandal was kept a secret - very, very secret. Everybody involved would
be bound to secrecy, too."
The 14-year-old boy had been made to sign an oath of secrecy when Cardinal Brady,
then a young priest, interviewed him about his allegations.
Cardinal Brady, the retired archbishop of Armagh, said the church had been preoccupied
with gathering evidence so that action could be taken against Smyth.
As a result, insufficient thought was given to the victims and their families.
"We didn't take into account sufficiently, at all, the impact and the care that was needed for
the boys and their parents," the 75-year-old said.
"That was a mistake. That was wrong."
Smyth was convicted in the 1990s of more than 100 indecent assaults against children,
in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, over a 40-year period.
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart is leading the inquiry which is examining allegations of
child abuse in church, state and voluntary children's residential institutions dating
back to 1922.
Catholic priest James Robinson fled after
A paedophile priest fled the country after a police officer tipped off the Catholic Church
in Birmingham, a sex abuse victim has claimed.
The man said the officer passed on documents about 30 years ago which led to James
Robinson being "spirited away" overseas. The priest was later jailed.
The Archdiocese of Birmingham has always denied knowingly covering up the activities
of paedophile priests.
West Midlands Police said claims about the officer were being looked into.
Read the full story at:
Ex-vicar jailed for indecently assaulting
A former vicar, who indecently assaulted children who attended churches in west London,
has been jailed for a total of seven years and two months.
John Charles Hibberd, 77, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault against
three young boys - the oldest allegation dating back to 1967 - and was jailed at Kingston
Crown Court on Friday (June 19), following a trial in May at the same court, according to a
Met Police statement.
Hibberd was a vicar and had worked for the Church of England in west London for many
years. He retired to the Isle of Wight over 15 years ago and worked in churches and
voluntary organisations on the island. In February 2013, one victim contacted police to
make a historical allegation of sexual abuse by Hibberd. The victim lived in Chiswick
with his family. He was taken to a local church; St James, Gunnesbury in Chiswick,
by his mother from the ages of seven to eight, and attended until he was 12.
He became an alter boy and Hibberd targeted him for abuse, police said.
During the investigation, two other victims were identified and contacted by the police.
Another male victim disclosed that he attended the choir at St Martin's Church, in
West Drayton, in 1967 as a child and then went on to attend the school partnered with the
church. He used to attend confirmation classes, and went around six or seven times,
where Hibberd sexually assaulted him, police said.
Another male victim came forward and disclosed that he attended the church choir at
St Martins Church in West Drayton and went on to attend the school partnered with the
church between 1969 and 1970. There, police said, Hibberd attempted to sexually assault
him. Hibberd was arrested for all the allegations made to police and interviewed in the Isle
of Wight. He categorically denied all the offences put to him - and refused to admit any
wrongdoing against the victims.
In March last year, Hibberd was charged with six counts of indecent assault on a boy
under 14, between 1967-1982. Detective Constable Nikki Honey, of the Met's Sexual
Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: "Hibberd preyed on vulnerable
who didn't really understand what was happening to them at the time.
"As in many cases of this nature, the victims did not complain, due to the fact that the
assailant was a vicar. This coupled with the embarrassment, and the belief that they
themselves would be in trouble.
"Hibberd retired from the church and moved to the Isle of Wight where he lived for 15 years.
He remained active in the church and with voluntary organisations there.
"It is not inconceivable that he may have abused more boys and I would urge any other
victims to contact the police via 101."
Pope Francis set up tribunal
Click on THIS LINK to listen to a debate on BBC Radio 5 Live
featuring Lucy Duckworth, Chair of MACSAS
Pope Francis has approved the creation of a tribunal to hear cases of bishops accused
of covering up child abuse by paedophile priests.
The unprecedented move followed a recommendation from the Pope's newly created
panel on clerical sex abuse.
The tribunal will have the power to punish bishops who failed to protect young victims.
Survivors' groups have long called for the Vatican to do more to make bishops
accountable for abuse on their watch.
Last year, the UN strongly criticised the Church for failing to stamp out abuse and for
A statement from the Vatican said the department would come under the auspices of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Its aim would be "to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when
connected to the abuse of minors", the statement added.
Catholic Church abuse scandals
•Germany - A priest, named only as Andreas L, admitted in 2012 to 280 counts of sexual
abuse involving three boys over a decade
•United States - Revelations about abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul
Shanley and John Geoghan, caused public outrage
•Belgium - The bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting
that he had sexually abused a boy for years
•Italy - The Catholic Church in Italy admitted in 2010 that about 100 cases of paedophile
priests had been reported over 10 years
•Ireland - A 2009 report found that sexual and psychological abuse was "endemic" in
Catholic-run industrial schools and orphanages for most of 20th Century
Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said bishops could also be judged if
they had failed to prevent abuse from taking place.
Initially the complaints would be investigated by one of three Vatican departments,
depending on whose jurisdiction the bishops were under.
They would then be judged by the doctrinal department.
Gabrielle Shaw, chief executive of the UK's National Association for People Abused in
Childhood (NAPAC), said the move was good news for victims.
"We would welcome anything which looks closely at clerical abuse and shows more
openness from the Church," she added.
NAPAC's founder Peter Saunders is part of the Vatican advisory commission which
recommended the step.
The panel was set up by Pope Francis in 2013 to help dioceses improve abuse
prevention measures and support victims. It is made up of 17 clerics and lay people from
around the world.
Victim wins six-figure payout from Church
of England over abuse by Leeds priest
The victim of a paedophile priest has criticised the Church of England after finally
winning justice over abuse he suffered more than 20 years ago.
Rev Terence Reginald King, who was vicar at St Mary The Virgin Church in Dewsbury
Road, Woodkirk, Leeds, for 22 years, hanged himself in 2002 while he was being
investigated by West Yorkshire Police over a string of child sex abuse allegations.
Now in his 30s, one of King’s alleged victims, who was abused over several years from
the age of 11, has won a six-figure compensation sum from the Anglican Church.
But the man said his ordeal had a lasting impact and he continued to feel let down by
He said: “They not only let me down by employing a paedophile, but did nothing to rectify
this after King committed suicide even though they knew the abuse had taken place."
“They seemed to just hope the problem would disappear."
“It was a further 13 years before they finally accepted responsibility.”
A former Fleet Street journalist, King began his religious career working as a curate at
Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, from 1961 until 1965.
He moved in 1965 to become the vicar at Glass Houghton, Castleford, and in 1977 went
to St Mary’s Church.
He had been investigated in the 1980s over allegations of sexual abuse against a young
girl while at St Mary’s, but no charges were brought.
He was due to be questioned by officers over numerous other claims when he was found
dead at his home in York, where he moved after his retirement.
His inquest heard he had made previous attempts on his life and that charges were being
prepared at the time of his death, aged 69.
The man who has won compensation is now urging other victims to come forward.
He said: “I don’t know who those people are, but I want to put it out there that my case has
been successful and anyone else who suffered at the hands of King should also take legal
advice in order to get justice for his actions.”
He called on the Church to actively look into remedying every case and added: “Why have
they not announced the fact that they knew he did this and why have they not encouraged
other vicims to come forward?
“To date, the Church has still not apologised for King’s assaults or for failing me as a child.
This continues to serve as an insult.”
His lawyer, Dino Nocivelli of Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “My client brought his claim to finally
obtain some closure from the impact of the abuse that he continues to suffer, and to obtain
a sense of justice.
Methodist Church apologises for abuse
The UK's Methodist Church is to make a public apology after an investigation
uncovered nearly 2,000 reported cases of abuse - including 914 allegations
involving sexual abuse. The independent inquiry looked at the Church's
response to complaints and allegations dating back to 1950.
General secretary, the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, said abuse would "remain a deep source of
grief and shame to the Church".
The NSPCC urged it to protect children.
Report chairman Jane Stacey, former deputy chief executive of the children's charity
Barnardo's, called for a culture change in the Church. Ministers of religion were in an
"almost unique position of trust" at "very vulnerable times" in people's lives, she told BBC
Radio 4's Today programme, calling for "more robust accountability structures".
'Worthless and devalued'
She added: "Some of the individual case reviewers who looked at the material that was
submitted to the review found themselves questioning, and really being quite upset,
at the volume coming through.
"I think society at large needs to understand there is a lot more abuse but also areas of
concern than people ever thought - and the Church is no exception."
The Church commissioned the review - which took three years to complete - because it
saidit wanted to be open about the past and to have stronger safeguarding procedures in
In total, it identified 1,885 cases - including alleged sexual, physical, emotional and
domestic abuse, as well as cases of neglect.
Allegations of sexual abuse formed the largest number of cases.
Ministers or lay employees were involved in 26% of the alleged cases of abuse,
the investigation found. That figure increased to 33% when Church members, such
as worship leaders and local preachers, were also included.
One of the cases concerned the grooming of teenage girls on Facebook, while another
involved a minister allegedly making sexual advances to children. Another involved a
Methodist youth officer who had indecent images of children on his computer.
One of the abuse survivors who responded to the survey said: "I have learnt that it is
impossible to recover from sexual abuse when no-one recognises the seriousness of it.
My Church did not want a scandal, my parents did not want a scandal.
"I was left to feel worthless and devalued, while the man was left to get on with his life
and for all I know repeat the crime with someone else. I was emotionally and physically
devastated." Another welcomed the review, saying: "I want to prevent the Church and
other people from handling things wrong in the future. I don't want other girls to suffer
like I have."
Rev Atkins, who is also secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: "On behalf of the
Methodist Church in Britain I want to express an unreserved apology for the failure of its
current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from
physical and sexual abuse inflicted by some ministers.
"The abuse that has been inflicted by some Methodists on children, young people and
adults is and will remain a deep source of grief and shame to the Church."
The Church is expected to make a public apology at its annual conference in June.
An NSPCC spokesman said: "This is a horrifying catalogue of abuse that the Methodist
Church has revealed by confronting the dark side of its history.
"Having had the courage to come clean about the extent of abuse, they [the Church] must
now have measures in place to ensure there are no more such incidents and all children
they have dealings with are given the protection and support they deserve."
David Greenwood from MACSAS said:
"The cases examined are only the ones documented in the past. Many will not have
been recorded. We will never know how many cases have not been handled properly."
ITV News reports on the
Rise in the Number
of Survivors Approaching MACSAS
Click on the image above to watch the story on video.
Enoch Powell sex abuse probe
The late firebrand MP Enoch Powell is the latest political figure accused of involvement
in the alleged Westminster paedophile network. The Tory, notorious for his
‘rivers of blood’ speech, is at the centre of allegations passed to Scotland
Yard by a senior Anglican bishop.
A clergyman is said to have come forward with claims of satanic abuse made by a
young adult he counselled in the 1980s.
A member of the Church of England’s safeguarding team then passed the former MP’s
name to police on the instruction of Bishop Paul Butler.
A spokesman for the church said: “When allegations are made against individuals,
it is quite proper to pass those allegations to the police and statutory authorities,
without any investigation on our part and regardless of our own views.”
The allegations of child abuse were reported to have emerged when the vicar
counselled the young adult several decades ago.
One must ask why it was not reported at the time?
Powell died aged 85 in 1998.
Former Norfolk Catholic priest faces jail
over sex abuse
Father Anthony McSweeney, 68, preyed on the vulnerable youngster while working at
Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, west London, between 1979 and 1981.
Obese McSweeney, whose church was St George’s on Sprowston Road, was also found
guilty of making indecent images of children.
He preyed on the boy with his close friend John Stingemore, 72, who managed the care
home and was found dead in January - weeks before his trial.
Wearing a black suit and red tie and carrying a walking stick, McSweeney stared straight
ahead as the jury of six men and five women returned their verdicts at London’s Southwark
He was cleared of three indecent assaults on two other boys at the care home and taking
a pornographic photo of one of these boys.
The priest was once enlisted by TV cook Delia Smith to hold a special football service at
Norwich City and was working at St George’s in Norwich when he was arrested.
He also officiated at the 1990 wedding of boxing star Frank Bruno and his now
ex wife Laura.
McSweeney was investigated as part of Operation Fernbridge - the police probe into
allegations a VIP paedophile ring existed at Grafton Close and Elms Guest House in
Barnes, west London.
Stingemore used his connections to help get his close friend a job at Grafton Close,
where they molested vulnerable boys. In 1998 McSweeney nearly lost his career when
his cleaner discovered his stash videos and other material at St Peter’s Catholic Church
in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. He was originally threatened that he would be “banished”
from the priesthood, but after around six months was quietly moved to a new parish -
St George’s.McSweeney, of Old Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, was
found guilty of one indecent assault on a male between 1979 and 1981.
And he was found guilty of three counts of making indecent images of children.
He was released on bail and sentence was adjourned until March 27.
Judge Alistair McCreath warned McSweeney that he faces prison.
Gillian Norton, chief executive of Richmond Council, said: “The council is sorry that a child
in its care was indecently assaulted.
“The assault happened 35 years ago and clearly the service leadership and management
laid bare in court were totally unacceptable.
“The situation today is completely different. Most looked-after children are in foster homes.
Only those children needing very specialist services are placed in children’s homes.
“All placements are subject to rigorous checks and controls within a statutory regulatory
framework and this includes senior social workers who are independent of the child’s
worker.“The system today puts much greater emphasis on the views of children and staff
are employed specifically to help children to give their views.”
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Keith Braithwaite, from the Sexual Offences, Exploitation
and Child Abuse Command, said: “McSweeney was an abuser who used his role in a
position of trust.
“I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the victim in speaking out against McSweeney.
It was that testimonial that secured the charges and enabled this case to be brought to
court. “I would also like to thank those witnesses who provided key evidence that
ensured the court could hear what sort of man McSweeney really is.
“I am only sorry that McSweeney in denying his offences has forced the victim to relive the
in court. I hope however that today’s result will give the victim some sense of
closure.” He was sentanced to 3 years imprisonment.
Abuse inquiry should cover whole UK,
Home Affairs Committee says
The government is being urged to extend the scope of the child sexual abuse
inquiry to cover the whole of the UK - rather than just England and Wales.
The investigation should cover Scotland and Northern Ireland, including claims of abuse
at Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast in the 1970s, a Home Affairs Committee report said.
The panel must seek to avoid "gaps" between the various inquiries, it said.
The Home Office said the report had been noted and was being considered.
The independent, panel-led inquiry was set up by Home Secretary Theresa May last
year to consider whether public bodies and other institutions failed in their duty to protect children.Separate historical abuse inquiries have been established in Scotland and
Northern Ireland, where child protection is a devolved matter.
The Home Affairs Committee report said the scope of the main inquiry should be extended,
highlighting in particular the case of Kincora, where MI5 has been accused of covering up
abuse.Three senior care staff at the home were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.
It has been claimed that people of the "highest profile" were connected and that the
security services were aware.
Members of the Northern Ireland assembly concluded last year that the claims could only
be adequately investigated by a Westminster-led UK inquiry. And the latest report raised
concerns that the powers of compulsion of the Northern Ireland panel did not extend to the
It said this "calls into doubt whether it will be able to deal effectively with allegations of
he possible involvement of UK government agencies in the abuse".
The main inquiry must consult with the separate inquiries in Scotland and Northern Ireland
"to avoid gaps between the areas covered by the various inquiries", it added.
The Scottish government says its inquiry will share information with other jurisdictions.
It says the scope of the inquiry set up by the home secretary is a matter for the UK
government. The new head of the inquiry, Justice Lowell Goddard, told the Home Affairs
Select Committee she was willing to discuss the inclusion of Northern Ireland in the
inquiry.Appearing before the committee on Wednesday, she said she would raise it with
the Home Secretary Theresa May if she felt it was appropriate.
The committee report also endorsed Justice Goddard's appointment to the role.
The New Zealand judge is the third person to be appointed to chair the inquiry. Two
previous chairwomen, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Fiona Woolf, resigned amid concerns
over their links with the establishment.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "We were impressed by the outstanding credentials
of Justice Goddard, and the open and transparent way in which she gave evidence to the
Committee."We believe she has the necessary skills and dedication to carry out this
complex task effectively."
He said Justice Goddard would be standing down from the High Court of New Zealand
and moving to the UK to take on the role full-time in early April.
The committee also recommended:
The establishment of an official forum for victims of child sex abuse,
with strong links to the inquiry's main panel
That the inquiry consider hiring specialist staff to provide support to abuse
victims giving evidence
That the Home Office conduct a new search of all government material to
establish that no relevant documents have been overlooked
That the inquiry panel produce an interim report as soon as possible,
and further reports "as frequently as it sees fit"
That Justice Goddard should play a "full role" in the selection of panel members,
as well as having a free hand over the appointment of the inquiry counsel and
secretariatThe committee also welcomed Theresa May's announcement that she
was open to allowing the inquiry to investigate abuse allegations going back to
It recommended that Justice Goddard should look at the Leveson inquiry and the
Hillsborough inquiry as examples of "well-run, focused, and victim-centred inquiries".
New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard to lead
Click on this link to see an video of the story featuring Lucy Duckworth,
Chair of MACSAS
Following intense campaigning by survivors, including MACSAS and the Survivors
Alliance, New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard has been named as the head
of a new inquiry into historical child sex abuse in England and Wales.
The inquiry will have statutory powers and a new panel, Home Secretary Theresa May
told the House of Commons.
Mrs May said she was determined to "expose despicable crimes".
Since the original child abuse inquiry was set up last July, two chairwomen have
resigned amid concerns over their links with the establishment.
Mrs May said Justice Goddard was "as removed as possible from the organisations
and institutions that might become the focus of the inquiry".
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in
Childhood, said Justice Goddard would "enhance the whole credibility of the inquiry".
Justice Goddard, who was appointed to the New Zealand High Court in 1995, said she
was "committed to leading a robust and independent inquiry".
The Auckland-born judge has previously led an inquiry into police handling of child
abuse cases in New Zealand.
Home Affairs Select Committee release
leaked documents identifying abuse
Click on the image above to watch the story on video.
Paedophile vicar still wears dog collar and
can be called 'reverend'
Disgraced Guy Bennett, who indecently assaulted three 11-year-old girls, cannot be
banned from wearing clerical garb, Archbishop of Canterbury says in letter to abuse
A pervert vicar who was jailed for child sex offences cannot be banned from wearing a
dog collar or calling himself ‘reverend’, the Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted.
Disgraced Guy Bennett, who indecently assaulted three 11-year-old girls, has been
photographed wearing a clerical collar, although he denies he still wears it.
But when a woman who claims she was abused by Bennett, wrote to Justin Welby, t
he Archbishop of Canterbury, to ask him to take action, he told her there was nothing he
Click HERE to watch video
Lucy, 32, of north London, said she was "deeply saddened" by Archbishop Welby’s letter,
which said that anyone can wear clerical robes as long they do not do so for ‘illegal
The Archbishop wrote: "Regrettably, although we can ban someone from ever officiating
at worship and wearing robes for worship, or passing themselves off as a priest in good standing,
we cannot prevent them from using the title 'the reverend' or even wearing a clerical collar.
"In fact anyone is able to wear such dress, providing they do not do so for illegal purposes."
He later said that it would require an Act of Parliament to give the Church of England the
power to strip reverends of their titles.
Bennett, who was a vicar at St Mary's parish church, in Oxted, Surrey, admitted assaulting
the girls between 1976 and 1988 and was jailed for nine months in 1999, and placed on
the sex offenders register for a decade.
He denies abusing Lucy while she was at school and has never been prosecuted for the
Lucy, a child abuse campaigner for Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors, said:
"I was deeply saddened by the archbishop's response and felt anger and frustration.
"If he's powerless to remove convicted child abusers from the institution then they've got
some real questions to be asking themselves.
"I can't believe that in 2015 they can't prevent him doing this. It's phenomenal." Bennett
denies wearing the collar and referring to himself as ‘reverend’ but admits he does not
correct others when they refer to him as such.
He stood down as a vicar when awaiting the decision of his trial.
Phil Johnson responds to Baroness
Butler-Sloss' Criticism in Times Article
Click on the image to view the article in the Times, published 1st January 2015.
TO HEAR THE AUDIO RECORDING CLICK HERE!
MACSAS Meets with Theresa May,
Home Secretary to Discuss Public Inquiry
The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu
has apologised to victims of sexual abuse
by a former cathedral dean
Dr Sentamu was responding to a report into how abuse allegations against the
Very Rev Robert Waddington, formerly dean of Manchester, were handled.
His predecessor was criticised for not acting on allegations in the report, which found
"systemic failures" within the Church of England.
At least two men made claims of abuse in 1999 and at sometime in 2003-04.
The then Archbishop of York Lord Hope of Thorne and others were criticised in the report
by Judge Sally Cahill for not acting at the time the allegations were made - and therefore
putting other children at risk.
Several other boys the inquiry spoke to said they too had been subject to sexual abuse by
the late Dean Waddington, who died in 2007.
'Planning and grooming'
One of the victims, Eli Ward - now in his 40s - was an 11-year-old choirboy at Manchester
Cathedral when the abuse started.
Mr Ward, who has waived his right to anonymity, said he and Dean Waddington were
cleaning the altar railings when the dean swore, and they both laughed.
"Then it would progress to washing his car, staying over at his house," he said.
"He'd pick me up, we would go to his house, stay over in the spare room, and then stay in
his room and so on.
"Over a period of time, little by little - it was very strategic planning. He was a very clever
guy, peeling away his victim. It's very much insidious, planning and grooming."
For Mr Ward, the abuse coloured his life, shattered his family relationships, and has left him
unable to trust anyone.
Responding to Judge Cahill's report, the archbishop said: "Any act of abuse committed by
someone in authority in the church is a matter for shame and requires deep repentance.
"Those who trusted us in this only to be grievously wounded deserve not only our
wholehearted apology but also the assurance we will keep a watchful eagle's eye and
act swiftly."The report identified "systemic failures" in the Church of England in relation
to the protection of the victims from abuse.
"Appropriate referrals would not have taken place in any of the years 1999, 2003 and 2004
because the decision making was in the hands of those not qualified or sufficiently
experienced in child protection to make those decisions," it concluded.
Five of judge's recommendations are about the need for "a more consistent approach to
safeguarding policy and practice" across the Church of England.
The Church said the issue would be "developed further" when a national safeguarding
adviser, who is currently being recruited, takes up a full-time position.
Archbishop Sentamu met Mr Ward and two other abuse survivors for tea before the report
In a statement he said: "Those I have spoken to have expressed clearly that it is important
for them to know whether new policies and procedures adopted after 2004 have created a
new culture in the Church of England as a whole, which will ensure that all God's children
The archbishop is also pushing for priests to be allowed to report to the police any
allegations of abuse which are made during formal confession, as currently they are bound
to secrecy in such circumstances.
In response to the report Lord Hope said: "It is matter of great regret to me that 12 years ago
when the non-specific anonymous allegations were first made in Manchester, the church
and I myself were not more proactive in seeking out and/or assisting a reluctant complainant.
"Nor is it any comfort that other organisations were no more diligent at that time when
dealing with similar situations.
"If either of the two persons concerned feel in the light of this report they have been denied
the justice they deserve then on behalf of the church I offer my personal and profound
apology."Mr Ward said: "I want no other child, person, to go through what I have gone
through. I have been through the full range of emotions - that's terrible, disgraceful.
"I should have been enjoying life, getting on with it - my abuse has stopped me