Victims of child sexual abuse detail experiences in online anthology
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA has published an unprecedented online anthology of sexual abuse in institutions, with 125 victims detailing the horrors they experienced in schools, sports clubs, churches and other groups.
Accounts from the victims of abuse have been made available online as part of the inquiry’s Truth Project, in a drive to challenge the stigma surrounding child sexual abuse and encourage others to share their stories.
“The Experiences Shared online anthology serves as a testament to the experiences, reflections and recommendations of those victims who have bravely come forward,” said inquiry chair Prof Alexis Jay. “I hope it will inspire more victims to speak out at the Truth Project.”
The inquiry was set up in 2014 to investigate historical allegations of child abuse, as well as accusations that authorities failed to properly investigate these allegations. It has since suffered delays, with a number of leaders standing down before Jay was appointed in 2015.
An interim report in April found that “all too often” organisations put their reputations before protecting children and tackling abuse. In total, 13 separate investigations are under way, including investigations into the Anglican and Catholic churches, exploitation by organised networks and a number of children’s homes.
The Truth Project is seen by those in the inquiry as an essential part of helping survivors feel they have been listened to. Some 60 accounts will be added to the anthology every four months, so that by the end of the inquiry 1,000 accounts will be published online. In total, 6,000 people have contacted the project, with 1,800 sharing their accounts in person or in writing.
The accounts include the stories of people like Amy, who was raped as a pre-teen by a male teacher who had pretended to be 18 on a teen website. When she went to the police she was told “she couldn’t accuse a man and destroy his life just because she said that he had abused her”.
Lee described being groomed and sexually abused by a Scout leader who exploited his loneliness and vulnerability. He went on to self-harm and while he “held it together” during the abuse, he later tried to kill himself. His abuser was never prosecuted and Lee recently received an email from his wife accusing him of lying and ruining their family.
Analysis by the Truth Project, based on 520 accounts, has uncovered both heartbreaking and heartening trends among abuse survivors.
About half said they were raped, and 20% had been groomed. Among survivors, 85% reported an impact on their mental health, 43% on their education and employment and 42% on their relationships. About 10% of female survivors had become pregnant as a result of their abuse, while 20% of all the analysed cases had experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.
But many survivors also told the inquiry how they had rebuilt their lives, going on to build their own businesses, careers and loving relationships.
One anonymous female contributor who was in the care of nuns as a child wrote how she had been abused by a priest. “I was badly let down by the nuns, the Catholic church and social services, who let them believe they were untouchable! But the worst loss was that of what was my childhood, they robbed me of this,” she wrote. “It was a very emotional experience sharing what happened all those years ago, but they were kind, so kind. I am not sure yet if I feel better, but if sharing prevents others from abusing their powers over children then that can only be good.”
MACSAS is a Core Participant in the Inquiry and has been involved in all of the hearings into the Anglican and Catholic churches.
MACSAS Addresses General Synod and Holds Fringe Meeting
Watch the video by clicking here - Presentation begins at 32 minutes
MACSAS has delivered a presentation to the General Synod of the Church of England, the first time that survivors have been able to directly address the assembly.
The presentation followed a fringe meeting the previous evening where the views of survivors attending were sought and then reported to Synod ahead of the Safeguarding debate.
At the conclusion of the presentation from Jo Kind of MACSAS, and Sheila Fish from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), they received a standing ovation, Synod members then voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to “take note” of a report from the House of Bishops committing the Church to improving its safeguarding practices.
Introducing the report, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, said:
“Over the years, the Church and its leaders have singularly failed to see what was before
our eyes. We did not give safeguarding the prominence it deserved. We failed to put preventative measures in place. We failed to listen to those who had come forward with powerful accounts. We failed to fund safeguarding at a senior level in the Church.”
He supported an amendment from Canon Simon Butler (Southwark), which was later carried, which called on the House of Bishops to introduce, “as a matter of urgency, ways to improve relations between the Church and those survivors currently in dispute with National Church Institutions, including, where appropriate, by the use of mediation processes”.
Canon Butler also reminded the Synod that people who worked in safeguarding were the people employed to “get us out of the mess that we have made, not them”. Professional staff were “people, not heartless functionaries. If survivors have names, so do staff.”
He was sometimes ashamed of way in which members of the Synod, “claiming to speak for survivors”, spoke about these professionals. The anger and frustration were “palpable, particularly on social media”, and this was a “deteriorating and concerning state of affairs”.
He had been contacted by survivors who felt inhibited about sharing their stories publicly, because of the tone of the conversation.
In her presentation, Jo Kind, of MACSAS, said that she had been abused while working for the C of E as a young adult (Comment, 15 July 2016), and that her presentation was the first time that the Synod had heard from a survivor of abuse within the Church.
“Many survivors feel, or are made to feel, like they are the problem,” she said. A change of culture was needed to ensure that the Church was a safe place, and “cultural change needs a radical reorientation of the process.”
She urged the Church keep its focus on the needs of people, not the reputation of church officers. “Instead of turning away from survivors, walk towards us.” This meant “starting with a blank piece of paper” rather than “tweaking” the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM), she said.
Synod members stood to applaud her presentation.
Dr Sheila Fish, of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), which is conducting a survey of the Church’s response to clerical abuse and safeguarding concerns, said that about 40 people had responded so far. “When survivors come forward and disclose, they are providing a valuable service, often at great cost,” she said. The survey was asked: “Are we celebrating and rewarding them?”
Another theme had been recognising the long-term impact of abuse by those within the Church, Dr Fish said: mental illness, relationship breakdowns, self-harm, suicide, and secondary impacts on the children of survivors. It was sobering and shocking, she said. “No one chooses to be a survivor.”
Both presentations, and several speakers in the debate on the report, referred to a Synod fringe meeting for survivors of abuse, organised by MACSAS on Friday evening. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Hancock, and the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally,were among those who had attended it.
Bishop Mullally said, in a maiden speech, that, to date, survivors had not been involved effectively in the process. “We have come far. I believe I have seen change; but we have far to go.” She spoke on independence: of scrutiny, disclosure processes (particularly for those who had been abused by clergy), and redress, supported by an independent ombudsman.
“But the responsibility, I am clear, is mine to provide a safe environment. We should not lose our responsibility and hand over safeguarding completely independently.”
The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, the former lead bishop on safeguarding, agreed with calls for an independent ombudsman. The hearings being conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) showed that the country must come to terms with a “deeply, deeply shameful” past. Prevention of abuse remained “critical” for the Church, and “handling what happened in the past helps us be a better preventative organisation today.”
The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison (London), disagreed. The complaints process needed to be delegated to an independent body, because of prejudicial interest. Speaking directly to the Bishops’ bench, he said: “Stop trying to do everything: you cannot. Do it by delegating to independent authorities.” The Church should also be making millions of pounds available to people who had been hurt and marginalised by it.
Resourcing meant paying, the Archbishop of Canterbury said. “Redress, mediation, psychological help and counselling – someone has to pay.” The debate happening at the Synod must happen in diocesan and deanery synods, and PCCs, he said, “so that those paying the bill know why it is being paid”.
A separate item on safeguarding estimated that the priorities for action listed in the report would cost between £60,000 and £100,000, including staff salaries. Some of these actions and costing were dependent on independently commissioned work, which was yet to be received by the NST, and therefore, it says, “some of the priorities for action could result in significant costs which are currently unbudgeted.”
Archbishop Welby continued: “I see the power of the argument for more independence, provided that we remain no less committed to our responsibility. Independence will give confidence to what we do.” He asked Bishop Hancock what this might look like. The Bishop said suggested than an ombudsman model would be most helpful.
Archbishop Welby echoed the Bishop of London’s tribute to survivors, including those who were undeclared and undisclosed. “We need to care for them very deeply, and pay tribute to survivors who have disclosed, and who will pay for that in sleepless nights and deep psychological pain. We cannot say often enough about how appalled and sorry we are.”
At the fringe meeting, a survivor of clerical abuse, Gilo, told the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, that there was a “crisis of senior leadership” in the Church, which was compromising the response to survivors.
“MACSAS is aware that nearly a third of current diocesan bishops have responded to survivors dishonourably. This deepening crisis cannot be managed away or hidden. It is a crisis that can only change by being transformed.”
He said on Sunday: “The motion has not gone far enough, but it has been a very big leap forward. Survivors now have to work together to drive forward that change in a meaningful way.”
Martin Sewell (Rochester) said: “It is striking that balance between what can properly be done in the Church, and what has to be outside. . . We may end up with a hybrid system which may be workable if it is well-designed.”
In his presidential address, before the presentation, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, asked what hope might look like for survivors of abuse. “Answer: ‘We are with you.’ Total solidarity,” he said.
“A willingness to stand in their shoes — which will be very uncomfortable. Justice also demands that alleged abusers are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But they must tell of the truth and nothing but the truth.”
Feedback from the fringe event had been generally positive, Ms Kind said. One person who had attended it described a “deep, frank, and honest sharing from survivors and good listening from everyone. Perhaps this was a first step to genuine dialogue.” Another said:
“I really want to feel that I am part of improving the Church on safeguarding. There is so much to do. Please can we keep up the impetus.”
The following motion (GS2092) was amended and carried by the Synod:
That this Synod, recognising that safeguarding is at the heart of Christian mission and the urgent need for the Church of England to continue to become a safer place for all and a refuge for those who suffer abuse in any context:
(a) endorse the priorities for action outlined in the report (GS 2092); and
(b) call on the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council to ensure that the plan of action is implemented as a matter of priority
(c) endorse as an additional priority the support of safeguarding at parish level to create a safer church for all
(d) call on the House of Bishops to introduce, as a matter of urgency, ways to improve relations between the Church and those survivors currently in dispute with National Church Institutions, including, where appropriate, by the use of mediation processes
Church of England's 2010 abuse inquiry was 'flawed' and 'failed'
The Church of England "botched" its investigation into alleged cases of abuse, a report's author has said.
Sir Roger Singleton, who reviewed the Church's "flawed" 2010 investigation, said it "failed to give a complete picture" of the abuse. But Sir Roger, whose report is due out next month, said he found "no evidence of a planned deliberate attempt to mislead".
The Church says it has outlined four steps for improvement.
They include the creation of an independently-chaired panel featuring survivors which will look at options to redress past cases, an independent ombudsman to review how complaints are handled and a strengthening of the clergy recruitment process.
There will also be "closer working with the Catholic Church to support survivors of sexual abuse".
Sir Roger, who was asked by the Church to review the 2010 Past Cases Review (PCR), told BBC Radio 4 Today the Church's investigators "narrowed down" the definition of who had been an abuser by limiting it "to just new cases and cases where the Church took formal action". He also said a survey the Church carried out "wasn't completely comprehensive", for example it didn't include some cathedrals or employees working with children in some parishes.
The BBC learned abuse allegations involving dead and retired clergy were also left out of the PCR which looked at more than 40,000 files.
The review concluded that just 13 cases of alleged child sexual abuse needed formal action. Sir Roger, the former head of Barnardo's said the church's limitations "had the impact" of reducing the number of cases of abuse "from probably near 100 to just two".
He also said it seems "extraordinary" now that the Church investigators did not meet with more victims and survivors but "the importance of listening" to them was "less understood" in 2010 than it is now.
Sir Roger said the PCR had been "well-intentioned" but the Church needs to "complete the incomplete job" and review all the files.
He also said the Church "emphasised the positive aspects" of the PCR in an attempt to "protect the interests of the Church". The Church must also put as much emphasis on preventing abuse as on reporting abuse allegations, he said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the Church's failures were "deeply shaming".
Survivors have accused the Church of a "wholly inadequate" response.
Since March the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has heard how the Church of England handled allegations of sexual misconduct stretching back to the 1950s.
The BBC has seen emails showing discussions and disagreements about which cases to include in the PCR. They show confusion about the criteria of who to include. Eventually the PCR excluded those who had died, retired, or who were deemed no longer to pose a risk.
Other excluded cases related to a cleric who was allegedly addicted to pornography and another said to have had an "obsessional interest in satanic ritual abuse".
Sexual offences which had been decriminalised were also left out, leaving the possibility that cases involving abuse of boys of the age of 16 or 17 went unrecorded.
Allegations of grooming behaviour were also excluded. One diocesan bishop did not engage with the review at all and many files containing allegations remained unopened in filing cabinets.
Justin Humphries of the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service says the review may have failed to identify some abusers.
"I can't say for sure but I think it would be fair to say that yes, that is a distinct possibility."
Documents also suggest the Church hierarchy worked behind the scenes to limit damage to the reputation of the then-Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
In an email exchange in October 2010 - during the Chichester sex abuse scandal- a press adviser to Dr Williams said "the real danger here is that these stories are used to suggest that the CofE is as bad as Rome, both in abuse and cover-up" and "the aim must be to distance the current ABC (Archbishop of Canterbury) from it as much as poss".
Dr Williams told the inquiry he had not previously seen the email.
In most cases survivors were not asked to give evidence to the PCR and there has been criticism of the Church for failing to fully involve them.
Phil Johnson, who was abused by a clergyman in the Chichester Diocese, says the Church's response to survivors has been "wholly inadequate… there's been a sense of paralysis almost on the part of the Church" and "of seeing the survivors as the problem".
The Church of England said it will support the recommendations in next month's report by Sir Roger and has also commissioned a survey from the Social Care Institute for Excellence, asking for the views of survivors.
Church ignored child sex abuse
by ex-general synod member,
The Church of England ignored child sex abuse carried out by a former member of the General Synod, a review has found.
Jeremy Dowling, a lay preacher, school teacher and church employee, abused young boys in the 1970s and was jailed in 2015.
A review by the Diocese of Truro said several bishops were told about the abuse but didn't act.
It found there was a "probable misunderstanding" by church leaders over a decision by the authorities not to prosecute Dowling in the 1970s.
Dowling became a member of general synod in 1977 and was communications officer for the Diocese of Truro from 2003 to 2009.
The school in Cornwall where Dowling carried out the abuse is not identified in the report.
But in September 1972 an unnamed canon, who was chairman of the board of governors, wrote to Bishop of Truro Maurice Key to inform him Dowling had admitted some sexual offences against boys and offered to resign.
In reply, the bishop said: "It is terribly said that his should have happened, not only because it is a tragedy for Jeremy Dowling, but it can be a real blow for the school and the Church.
"The devil is certainly a master at attacking where he can do most harm."
The following December the director of public prosecutions decided not to prosecute Dowling.
The diocese review noted "the level of corroborative evidence to bring a successful prosecution of sexual abuse against a child was extremely high" but said the Church had "its own responsibilities to judge such behaviour".
The review said successive bishops knew about the allegations against Dowling but did not launch any investigation or take any action.
Dr Andy Thompson, who wrote the review, said: "I was disappointed by what I found, but not surprised.
"Sadly, we have heard numerous examples of people in positions of power and influence behaving in a different way in the 1970s when it came to dealing with serious allegations.
"Certainly, it is a way that is entirely unacceptable by today's standards.
"They saw the decision by the DPP not to proceed with a prosecution as meaning that they didn't need to do anything, but my strong point is that they did have a responsibility to investigate.
"Because they didn't take it any further it enabled Jeremy Dowling to reach a position where he made up his own rules, and his position within the church lent him credibility and authority."
The Rt Revd Dr Chris Goldsmith, Bishop of St Germans, apologised to anyone who had suffered because of past failings.
"It was important for us to look into what happened in this situation and consider whether we as an organisation made mistakes at that time, and whether we can learn new ways in which to make the church safer for all," he said.
"My apology on behalf of the diocese to anybody who has suffered as a result of past failings is abject, sincere and heartfelt.
"It was with a sense of disappointment, sorrow and shame that we read of a failure to act and make any independent investigation of Jeremy Dowling after the initial allegations were made.
"Thankfully, there have been changes in society and attitudes as a whole, changes to the law, and many changes to the structures, culture, procedures and policies of the church, and the Diocese of Truro is no exception."
Australian archbishop to be convicted of covering up child sex abuse
A Catholic archbishop has been found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse in the 1970s in Australia.
Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, was found to have concealed a serious crime committed by another person – the sexual abuse of children by paedophile priest James Fletcher in the 1970s.
The judge said he was satisfied that one of the altar boys, Peter Creigh, had been a
“truthful and reliable” witness.
The clergyman becomes the most senior member of the Catholic Church to be convicted of the offence. Wilson was released on bail and the 67-year-old now faces a maximum two years in prison.
In a statement issued by the Catholic Church, Wilson said he was disappointed by the conviction.
“I will now have to consider the reasons and consult closely with my lawyers to determine the next steps,” he said.Wilson, who is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease but maintains that medication has helped his memory, told the court that he could not remember Mr Creigh and another altar boy telling him in 1976 that they were abused by Fletcher.
The court has ordered that Mr Creigh can be named in media reports on his evidence, but the second accuser cannot be named for legal reasons.
The prosecution argued that Wilson failed to give details to police about a serious crime after Fletcher was arrested in 2004 and went on trial for preying on another boy.Fletcher was found guilty of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in prison of a stroke in 2006 while serving an almost eight-year sentence.
Defence lawyers had argued that Wilson could not be found guilty because the case was circumstantial and there was no evidence to prove the archbishop was told about the abuse, believed it was true, or remembered being told about it.
Mr Creigh told the court he had trusted that Wilson, then an assistant priest, would take action after he told him Fletcher had repeatedly abused him in 1971 when he was 10.
This could not happen in England, Wales or Scotland as failing to report child abuse or concealing it is not an offence here.
No senior clergy in the UK have been prosecuted or held to account in any way for their cover-ups of abuse.
Until we introduce Mandatory Reporting Law this will not change!
Police reveal SEVEN have been arrested in Lincolnshire church child abuse probe so far
A major police investigation into child abuse at church organisations in Lincolnshire has
led to the conviction of three paedophiles - and a senior detective believes there are more
Depraved former deputy head teacher Roy Griffiths, 82, is the third person to be jailed as a result of Operation Redstone, an investigation into complaints of abuse at the Lincoln Diocese.John Bailey, 76, former director of education for the Diocese of Lincoln and
Stephen Crabtree, the rector of Washingborough and Heighington until 2014, have also
both been given prison sentences for abuse.
Four other people have also been arrested.
Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton, who is leading the operation, today reveals he believes there a number of other victims out there and has made an appeal for them to
come forward.He said: "We have spoken to over 250 people during our investigation.
If I’m honest, I think there will be other people who have suffered abuse at the Cathedral School who have yet to talk to us.
"It takes courage for victims of non-recent abuse to speak up. I hope the success we have seen to date in securing convictions may help anyone who wants to talk to us to pick up
"We are happy to speak to anyone who went to the Cathedral School, whether they wish
to make a complaint or not.”
Griffiths was deputy head as well as housemaster and choirmaster at the former Lincoln Cathedral School. He was jailed for six years and seven months at Lincoln Crown Court after he admitted six charges of indecent assault against six boys between January 1963 and July 1970.
He left the school in 1970 following a complaint about his behaviour - but the court heard
that neither the school nor the Lincoln Diocese passed the matter onto the police at the time.
Bailey, 76, was director of education for the Diocese of Lincoln from 1996 until he resigned in 2002. He was jailed for six years in 2017 after he pleaded guilty to 25 charges of
indecent assault - some of which dated back more than 60 years.
And Crabtree, the rector of Washingborough and Heighington until 2014, was jailed for
three years in March 2016 after admitting six counts of indecent assault on a 15-year-old
girl between April 1992 and April 1993.
Of the other four people who have been arrested, two of them will not be charged while the other two suspects are still under investigation.
Operation Redstone was launched in 2015 to investigate 'historical claims' of child abuse at Lincoln Cathedral School and some churches in the Lincoln Diocese, some of which date back to 1958.
The Dean of Lincoln The Very Reverend Christine Wilson said: "The conviction of Roy Griffiths recognises the appalling crimes he perpetrated while in a position of trust and responsibility at the then Cathedral School.
"This case will have brought to the surface profoundly disturbing memories, for the victims
of his crimes, their families, and for those who witnessed the abuse of their friends and peers.
"On behalf of the cathedral, I want to say that I am truly sorry that these matters have only now been brought to justice.
"It is deeply shameful that those who were abused have had to spend most of their lifetime dealing with the aftermath of the abuse perpetrated against them."
The Dean added: "Tragically, for some, justice came too late. The victims and survivors of Griffiths’ horrendous crimes, and the families of those who have died before justice could
be served, have shown enormous courage.
"I wish to acknowledge their bravery in speaking out. Their extraordinary resilience has enabled Griffiths to be brought to justice. It is thanks to them that he now has to account for his actions.
"Lincoln Cathedral will continue to support Roy Griffiths’ victims and their families in any
way that we can.
Survivors tell IICSA hearing of child abuse by Church of England clerics
Phil Johnson and Alana Lawrence from MACSAS giving evidence at IICSA
HARROWING details of child sex abuse carried out by Church of England clerics were described at a public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse.
Two witnesses, both survivors of clerical sex abuse when they were children, were questioned by the Counsel to the Anglican investigation, Fiona Scolding QC.
The first witness, known only as AN-A15, a woman, confirmed that she had been sexually abused at the age of nine by Canon Gordon Rideout, who was the army chaplain and a
commissioned officer on the army base where her father, a sergeant, was stationed.
Rideout was jailed for ten years in 2013 for 36 separate counts of sex abuses against 16 children in Hampshire and Sussex in the 1960s and 1970s.
The abuse and subsequent events affected her education and her ability to form relationships with others as an adult, the witness said. “I became very withdrawn and
moody; I didn’t want to engage with anyone; I didn’t trust anyone; I was very much on my own; so I stopped taking an interest in my education. I think I am intelligent enough that I could have gone on and gone to college.”
The letter of apology that she had received 30 years later from the current Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, was “too little too late”, she said.
When asked what the Church could have done differently, she said: “They could have been more open to hearing what was happening at the time, and not have been quite so dismissive about it.
“It was not just me: there were lots of other people, and he [Rideout] was allowed to carry on with his career and be honoured in his career, and they [the Church] didn’t listen to anybody.”
The second witness, Philip Johnson of the survivors group MACSAS, was then questioned
on the abuse that he experienced from Roy Cotton, who died in 2006, before he could be held to account.
Mr Johnson, who is now a member of the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Panel, confirmed that he had been groomed from the age of ten by the then Vicar of his church, Cotton, while he was in the choir, which had developed into repeated sexual assault by Cotton until Mr Johnson was 19.
“By that time, the abuse was routine and very serious,” Mr Johnson said. “Towards the end
of it, I went along with it just to get it over it. . . That leaves you with a huge sense of shame and guilt. . . I desperately wanted to prove to myself that I was a normal heterosexual male. . .
Yet I was having to sleep with a fat vicar on a regular basis. And that messes your head up.”
Mr Johnson said that he was also, at least once, violently sexually assaulted by Colin Pritchard, a known accomplice of Cotton, who last week was convicted of several counts
of rape against a teenage boy in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mr Johnson described how repeated abuse had affected his own relationships.
“It is almost as if my body has a memory of what happened to me. . . You are never free.
It is a stain on your soul.”
Mr Johnson moved away to college, and his brother was subsequently abused by Cotton.
“I do not know who I would have been if this had not happened to me, and that is very deep,” he told IICSA. “Although that is not a psychiatric condition, that is something that will affect me for the rest of my life.”
Mr Johnson then gave a detailed account to IICSA of his disclosure of the abuse to
Sussex Police in 1996. This investigation was closed in 1999. He also gave an account of
his subsequent communications in 2007 with the Bishop of Lewes at that time, the Rt Revd Wallace Benn, and the Chichester diocesan safeguarding officer at that time, Shirley Hosgood, who was later to gave evidence to IICSA.
It was during these meetings that Mr Johnson was informed by Ms Hosgood that Cotton
had had a previous conviction for child sex abuse in 1954 — before Cotton had been ordained in the Church of England. “It was as if nobody believed anything I said until
the conviction of Colin Pritchard in 2008,” Mr Johnson said.
He was later questioned on his involvement with the Roger Meekings and
Baroness Butler-Sloss reviews, and on how the Church could improve its handling of allegations of abuse. He called for the simplification of its safeguarding policies,
mandatory reporting, and an independent statutory body to hold the Church to account.
“Abuse has dominated my life,” he concluded. “That has had a huge impact on me and
my family. The Church has continually failed me, and has failed many others.
It has been slow to change and slow to accept responsibility.”
Serious Abuse Allegations Against Canon Dermot Fogerty
A recent book 'Paper Cuts' by Stephen Bernard contains detailed and credible allegations that he was sexually abused as a boy by Canon Dermot Fogerty, a senior Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
Fogerty was the right hand man to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Conner at the time of the infamous mis handling of the Michael Hill abuse case and is believed to have been a key player in the handling of other abuse cases in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
C of E Abuse Survivors Protest
Survivors of sexual abuse within the Anglican Church protest at General Synod. Calling
for better responses from the Church and for independent safeguarding stating that
"The Church can no longer be allowed to police itself".
Survivors of sexual abuse within the Anglican Church protest at General Synod over the poor responses to victims. Interview with Gilo, MACSAS was represented by David Greenwood and Matt Ineson.
Reaction to Archbishop Justin Welby's New Year address 2018
News report and debate on the Archbishop's message featuring Keith Porteous-Wood
from the National Secular Society.
Church 'failed' over Sussex abuse priest Jonathan Graves
Concerns about a former Church of England priest who tortured and sexually abused two boys in Sussex were first raised two decades ago, a BBC investigation has revealed.
Jonathan Graves, of Eastbourne, was jailed last month for sex offences in the 1980s and 1990s. He was arrested in 2013 and charged in 2015.
One mother said she raised concerns in 1997 but the church did nothing.
The church said bishops would meet to examine the issues raised by the BBC.
The woman who reported Graves, said: "They let me, my children, and countless other families down."
Graves, a former priest at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross, restrained children with belts and chains and beat them, Hove Crown Court heard.
Judge David Rennie said he had an "overwhelming need to seek punishment and humiliation" and had used the children as "play things" to satisfy "perverted sexual desires".
The Diocese of Chichester said the woman's complaint was made anonymously, which made it difficult to follow up.
But the woman - who said she went on to complain to police in 2002 and again to the church In 2003 - said she did provide her name each time.
The diocese also admitted another complaint of unspecified inappropriate behaviour was made in 1999.
In 2001, further complaints were made that Graves had allowed Robert Coles, who was jailed for child sex abuse in 2013, to officiate at St Luke's.
Graves was arrested in 2005, but not suspended until 2008 when the diocese carried out a Criminal Records Bureau check.
The diocese said a detective informed them of an investigation into a historical allegation but also said it was unlikely to proceed.
In 2008, "substantial information sharing" occurred between the church, police and the local authority, and Graves was immediately suspended, the diocese said.
The BBC also found bishops gave Graves references in 2002, allowing him to move to Devon and to move back to Eastbourne, while still working with children.
Concerns were twice raised about Graves's behaviour with the Diocese of Exeter.
The diocese said bishops in Exeter and Chichester would look into how Graves was allowed to move locations.
Bishop George Bell
'Will Have His Good Name Restored' says Mail on Sunday
Bishop George Bell, whose reputation was was called into question when the Church of England paid a compensation claim is set to have his good name restored.
An official review of the handling of abuse allegations against the late Bishop George Bell will criticise the original Church investigation as flawed and unfair, it is understood.
Bishop Bell the wartime Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958, was praised for speaking out against Hitler in the 1930s – and he was granted the Anglican equivalent of a Saint’s Day, an annual commemoration.
But to the fury of devotees, his character was called into question when the Church declared two years ago that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ he had sexually assaulted a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Senior Church officials apologised and paid £15,000 compensation to the anonymous complainant, known only as ‘Carol’, who said she had been molested during visits to the Bishop’s Palace in Chichester.
But the review, commissioned last year after criticism of the Church’s handling of the case and which was led by top lawyer Lord Carlile, is believed to be critical of the investigation, although it does not rule on the bishop’s guilt or innocence.
Lord Carlile handed his report to the Archbishop of Canterbury last week. The Church of England said it would issue a response when it was published.
Victims and Survivors of
Anglican Abuse Protest at
Victims of church sexual abuse are hailing a 'significant day' as they demand a 'tangible' shift in the Church's response to survivors.
A handful of those who have waived their right to anonymity, plus more who haven't, gathered outside Canterbury Cathedral on Friday while Anglican leaders from around the world met inside.
The Bishop at Lambeth, Tim Thornton – a senior aide to Justin Welby – came out to meet them, telling those protesting: 'We are deeply deeply sorry for all the abuse that has happened, not only against children but also against vulnerable adults.'
Before holding a private audience with victims, Thornton told those protesting what had happened was 'absolutely wrong'.
He said: 'We have done lots of things wrong in the past and I am sure there are still things going on today. We are trying our best and I think we can show evidence of things we are putting in place.
'But yes we have still got lessons to learn and we want to carry on learning from and listening to you.'
Speaking to reporters he said Welby himself was unable to come out as the meeting of Anglican leaders from around the world was reaching a conclusion on its last day. But were told that Welby is planning to meet survivors in the coming weeks.
'If you are a victim of abuse in any form then enough can never be done. The horrors that have happened have happened and they can never be undone,' Bishop Thornton told journalists.
'We are learning and we are trying our best but of course there are always more lessons to learn and – as was pointed out to me today – we need to go back and make sure we go on learning from the lessons of the past.'
He denied reports on social media that church officials and members of the National Safreguarding team had spoken to victims beforehand to persuade them not to come.
'We have been very positive in saying we want people to come along and have their voice heard,' he said.
Survivors of Church of England clergy abuse have been bitterly critical of the Church's response to their plight, with one, Rev Matt Ineson, claiming his revelations about being abused as a teenager by Rev Trevor Devamanikkam had been repeatedly ignored.
After their private discussions with Bishop Thornton, Andy Morse, who says he tried to commit suicide after being abused at the hands of John Smyth who ran Iwerne Trust youth camps, spoke to Christian Today about the meeting.
'He was saying all the right things,' he said of Bishop Thornton. 'Victims have a sense if we're being spun or if we're being told the truth and that Bishop Tim was telling the truth. That makes me feel good.
'This is a very significant day in the direction that I hope both the Church and survivors are going to take to work together towards making sure we don't need to have more days like this.'
The demonstration comes as the heads of Anglican provinces around the world met in Canterbury Cathedral this week to discuss religious persecution, refugees, climate change as well as their disagreements over sexuality.
Earlier, Justin Welby had told reporters he often wakes up at night thinking about what the Church has done to victims – and survivors said they 'share that experience'.
Admitting there was 'a long history of significant failure' he said there was still 'a long way to go' in the Church.
'My profound sense of shame at what the Church has done remains and is central to my thinking about this,' he said.
'We should be held to a higher standard because we are Christians.'
Archbishop of Canterbury accused of hypocrisy by sexual abuse survivors
Survivors of sexual abuse by Church of England figures have accused Justin Welby of “breathtaking hypocrisy” after the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised the BBC for the way it handled abuse by Jimmy Savile.
Welby said the BBC had not shown the same integrity over accusations of child abuse that the Catholic and Anglican churches had.
In a statement, six survivors of abuse by powerful church figures rejected Welby’s comments and said the record of the church and Welby himself was one of “silence, denial and evasion”.
Their statement said: “Speaking from our own bitter experience, we do not recognise Archbishop Welby’s description of the integrity with which the Church of England handles cases of abuse in a church context.
“Far from the ‘rigorous response and self-examination’ he claims, our experience of the church, and specifically the archbishop, is of long years of silence, denial and evasion. The Church of England needs to confront its own darkness in relation to abuse before confronting the darkness of others.”
Matthew Ineson, who was allegedly raped as a teenager by a C of E vicar, said Welby had shown “breathtaking hypocrisy”. The vicar, Trevor Devamanikkam,killed himself the day he was due in court to face charges.
“I know from my own experience, and the experience of others, that safeguarding within the C of E is appalling,” Ineson said. “The church has colluded with the cover-up of abuse and has obstructed justice for those whose lives have been ruined by the actions of its clergy. I have been fighting for five years for the church to recognise its responsibilities and I’m still being met with attempts to bully me into dropping my case.”
Welby was invited to contribute to a series on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme marking the programme’s 60th anniversary and changes in British society over the period.
He said: “I think we are a kinder society, more concerned with our own failures, more willing to be honest where we go wrong in most of our institutions.”
But “there are still dark areas”, he added. When asked which, Welby said: “If I’m really honest, I’d say the BBC is one.
“I haven’t seen the same integrity over the BBC’s failures over Savile as I’ve seen in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church of England, in other public institutions over abuse.”
The BBC said it did not recognise the accusation against the corporation, and it had acted transparently over Savile.
A spokesperson said: “When the Savile allegations became known we established an independent investigation by a high court judge. In the interests of transparency, this was published in full. We apologised and accepted all the recommendations.
“And while today’s BBC is a different place, we set out very clear actions to ensure the highest possible standards of child safeguarding.”
Senior figures in both the Anglican and Catholic churches have been accused of abuse in recent years, and both have been accused of collusion and cover-up.
An independent review report of the crimes of the former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, published earlier this year found senior figures in the C of E had colluded with Ball.
Following the report, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey resigned from an honorary position in the diocese of Oxford.
Cardinal George Pell, a powerful Vatican official, has been charged with sexual offences in his native Australia. He denies any wrongdoing.
Survivors of sexual abuse in the Church of England are planning a protest next week at the end of a five-day meeting in Canterbury of Anglican primates from around the world to draw attention to what they call the church’s failure to properly respond to disclosures and prioritise survivors’ needs.
A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “We fully accept the failures of the Church of England in the area of safeguarding."
“Since the archbishop took up his role he has been very clear that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be the highest priority of all parts of the church and was one of the first to call for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
“The church’s national safeguarding team was created in 2015 and there are now robust house of bishops safeguarding policies in place along with independent audits for all dioceses and dedicated training on hearing disclosures for all senior clergy. The archbishop fully supports the church’s commitment to develop a stronger national approach to safeguarding to improve its response to protecting the vulnerable.
“The archbishop believes this level of rigorous response and self-examination needs to extend to all institutions, including the BBC.”
Former Oxted rector Guy Bennett found not guilty of all charges
Mr Bennett, 84, of Lewes Road, East Grinstead was facing 24 charges of indecent assault and one charge of outraging public decency. Click here to watch video
Former Oxted rector and teacher Guy Bennett has been cleared of indecently assaulting 11 girls and woman aged between 11 and 19.
Mr Bennett, 84, of Lewes Road, East Grinstead was found not guilty of 24 charges of indecent assault and one charge of outraging public decency - for allegedly masturbating at the London Palladium - by a jury at Guildford Crown Court on Wednesday (September 27) after a two and a half week trial.
The offences were alleged to have taken place between 1975 and 1992 while Mr Bennett was Rector at St Mary’s Church and teacher at St Mary’s Junior School, both in Oxted.
On Tuesday (September 26), closing his case his defence counsel Paul Walker told jurors at Guildford Crown Court his client’s "tactile" behaviour was now being mis-remembered as sexually motivated because people knew he was jailed in 1999 for sex assaults on young girls.
He said this information had not only been given to the jury by the prosecution at the current trial but had been publicised in the media 18 years ago.
Mr Walker said when the trial had begun two weeks ago and jurors heard the prosecution’s version of events, it was easy to imagine how they had felt.
He said members of the jury must have thought: "I’m not going to let him get away with it, if I can help it."
Mr Walker said: "It’s a normal gut reaction." but he reminded jurors Bennett was only guilty if a jury was sure he had committed the offences. If they thought he "very probably" was guilty, that was simply not good enough, he stressed.
"Judge the case on the evidence – not on prejudice," urged Mr Walker, who added the burden of proof was on the prosecution.
"Mr Bennett doesn’t have to prove his innocence," he said.
Mr Walker said Bennett took a “tactile” approach to his teaching, and was rather "eccentric" in manner.
"At school, not everyone appreciated his manner," said Mr Walker. "Some of the children thought he was a bit touchy-feely.
"They made up names about him and spread rumours about him. They thought his behaviour creepy and they thought he must have a sinister motive," he said.
This reputation was aggravated by Bennett wearing "Speedos" at a local pool party.
Mr Walker said Bennett had pleaded guilty 18 years ago to indecently assaulting three schoolgirls on legal advice: "He regretted that later," he said.
He said many people offered up pleas of guilty – sometimes to spare their families the ordeal of a long trial and also because they were tempted by the promise of a discounted sentence.
"These convictions returned to haunt my client," he said.
Mr Walker said that as a result of 'a woman' making certain allegations, police had launched a fresh investigation and former pupils had been interviewed which led to a further wave of complaints.
What was once regarded as "creepy behaviour," he said, now "morphed into something more serious".
But Mr Walker said none of 'the woman's' allegations had been corroborated and there were dangers in matters becoming coloured by gossip, exaggeration and the telling of tales down the years.
While summing up the prosecution case Eloise Marshall said Mr Bennett used “every opportunity and created opportunities” to exploit young girls as “complaints fell on deaf ears.”
However Mr Bennett was cleared of all charges by the jury who deliberated for less than five hours.
Former priest Jonathan Graves guilty of sex abuse attacks
A former Church of England priest has been found guilty of torturing and sexually abusing two schoolboys in the 1980s and 90s.
Jonathan Graves, 60, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, restrained the children, who were aged between 12 and 14, using belts and straps, and then beat them.
At the time, he was the vicar at St Luke's Church in Stone Cross.
He was convicted at Hove Crown Court of 12 offences between 1987 and 1992 and will be sentenced on Monday.
Graves, of Jervis Avenue, was cleared of five similar charges, including one offence of indecent assault on a 50-year-old woman in 2002, following a nine-day trial.
The court heard how he groomed the boys, plied them with alcohol and tricked them into playing sadistic forfeit games.
Graves was first arrested by police in 2005 following a single complaint.
He was temporarily suspended from working in Sussex churches three years later.
Det Insp Jon Gross, of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command, said the past had "caught up" with Graves.
"The evidence in this case has revealed how he used his position to select his victims and befriend them before callously abusing them for his own sexual gratification.
"His crimes have had a lasting impact upon those he abused.
"The hurt caused by the sexual abuse itself has undoubtedly been compounded by the psychological scars of the abuser being a trusted and influential figure in each of the victims' lives."
He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.
Vicar Who Set Himself on Fire was Being Investigated for Sexual Assault on Teenagers
A vicar who died after setting himself on fire with petrol was being investigated over allegations of two historic sex assaults on teenagers, it has been revealed by police.
The body of Father Martyn Neale was found by his sister at his Fernhill Road vicarage inBlackwater on July 25.
An inquest into his death at Basingstoke Law Courts on Monday (September 11) heard Father Neale was subject to a Metropolitan Police investigation at the time of his death.
The force on Tuesday revealed the 60-year-old Church of England vicar was being investigated in relation to two sexual assaults during the mid to late 1990s.
According to the force, both victims were teenagers.
Father Neale was arrested on July 17 and took his own life eight days later on July 25, North East Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley confirmed on Monday at his inquest.
The investigation was ongoing at the time of his death and Father Neale was never formally charged in connection with the allegations.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said an allegation of non-recent sexual assault was made to police in June 2017.
The force said the allegation related to an offence that occurred in south east London borough between 1995 and 1999.
"An investigation by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command was launched," said the spokesman. "[These] enquiries identified a second victim from the [same] time period."
He continued: "On Monday July 17, a 60-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and taking indecent photographs. He was later released under investigation.
"Detectives have since been informed the man released under investigation has died. The [alleged] victims have been kept informed," he added.
Father Neale held his position at Holy Trinity in Blackwater for more than 20 years, his inquest heard.
Coroner Mr Bradley told the court his body was found by his sister Janis Chandler eight days after his arrest.
A post-mortem examination found his body was covered in "near-total third degree burns", and he could only be identified by dental records.
The inquest heard Ms Chandler had arranged the previous evening for Father Neale to pick her up so they could spend the day with their parents.
After attempting to contact him throughout the day, she went to find her brother at Hawley Vicarage at around 4pm.
Mr Bradley added: "Whether the allegations are true or false is not a matter for me, but they have been made and they clearly weighed on him."
Following his death, local figures and members of the public paid tribute to Father Neale.
Vicar at 'Beatles church' continued working after abuse conviction
A man abused as a schoolboy by a vicar at the church where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met is taking legal action against the Church of England.
Then aged 15, the man was sexually assaulted by the Rev John Roberts, formerly of St Peter's in Woolton, Liverpool, who was convicted in 1989.
Roberts remained in the Church until 2013, becoming a canon and working at Liverpool Cathedral.
The Diocese of Liverpool said it "deeply regrets" the hurt caused.
The victim is taking legal action after being granted core participant status in theIndependent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), which is investigating the extent to which institutions failed victims, his lawyers Slater and Gordon said.
Now aged in his 40s, he was abused after joining the church choir as a boy.
Roberts, who was convicted of two counts of sexual assault against him, remained with the Church for another 24 years until his retirement.
During the latter part of his career, he helped out at Liverpool Cathedral by doing chaplaincy work, the diocese confirmed.
The victim said he was "disgusted" Roberts was never defrocked.
"While his life improved after his crimes I lost everything," he said.
"I found it difficult for years to get a job and hold it down because of the psychological scars he inflicted on me.
"This man was a paedophile yet the church just let him carry on."
In a statement, the Diocese of Liverpool said it "acknowledges and deeply regrets the hurt that John Roberts caused his victim and we take this matter very seriously indeed".
It added Roberts "has not got permission from the Bishop of Liverpool to officiate at any church service" and cannot conduct the duties of a priest.
McCartney and Lennon met at St Peter's Church in 1957 and Eleanor Rigby - whose name was the inspiration for the eponymous song - is buried in the church's graveyard.
Vatican II reforms contributed to child abuse mistakes, priest says
A senior priest has told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council contributed to rare but ‘horrible mistakes’ that the Church made in dealing with clergy accused of abusing children.
A senior priest has told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council contributed to rare but ‘horrible mistakes’ that the Church made in dealing with clergy accused of abusing children.
Mgr Peter Smith, a priest of Glasgow Archdiocese and former Vatican attache at the United Nations, told the inquiry last week that during the 1970s the Church accepted the standards of the day that ‘it was better to repair the person, to fix them or to redeem them, and that was a huge mistake.’
“The circumstances of the Second Vatican Council made a significant difference to the whole way that the Church proceeded,” he said. “Prior to that we proceeded fairly legalistically and fairly authoritarian, whereas the Second Vatican Council asked us to proceed pastorally and caring for people. And that pastoral care was exercised very strongly towards the priests who had been accused and I think perhaps less strongly towards those who had been on the receiving end of such a vicious thing to do.”
He later added that though the reforms ‘breathed fresh air through the system, people didn’t pay attention to some of the things that might have been more important,’ and that when the authorities did become involved in abuse cases, sometimes there had been an agreement to send the priest for therapy rather than press charges.
“The Fiscal on occasion did feel that it was appropriate to treat the person rather than necessarily take him to court and punish him,” he said.
Mgr Smith said that the nature of the problem was not well understood by the Church, due to the rarity of cases and the fact that ‘if an offence happened in one diocese, no other diocese would even know about it.’
“Indeed the thing was so embarrassing and so horrible and so beyond our thought of what the Church should be that no bishop would ever mention it to another bishop,” he said. “Even at the time we were ashamed that these things were happening.”
The inquiry is looking into the abuse of children in care dating back decades and is expected to report in October 2019. The Scottish church was responsible for less than 0.5 per cent of children in care during that time, though that figure does not include schools run by religious orders
More than 60 institutions including leading boarding schools and residential homes run by religious groups are being investigated by the inquiry.
Mgr Smith said the Church had how put in place robust safeguarding measures which ensured all allegations where reported to the police.
Br Brendan Geary, a Marist Brother who has worked in this area, said Mgr Smith’s comments had to be understood in terms of the Second Vatican Council inspiring greater openness to the social sciences.
“Prior to that there had been a suspicion of things like psychology,” he said. “And that change was very positive in terms of things like alcohol abuse, which was seen as a moral lapse before. But because abuse of children was still poorly understood, things like the ‘12 steps’ which worked for priests with alcohol problems were not suitable for dealing with sexual abuse.
“I know people who did masters degrees in education and child sexual abuse never mentioned—it just wasn’t on the radar. And the Church was perhaps particularly not will equipped to deal with it, which is a source of great regret.”
An 'Abuse of Faith'
In 'An Abuse of Faith', Dame Moira Gibb publishes details of how the then Archibishop of Canterbury, now Lord Carey, colluded with paedophole Bishop Peter Ball, aiding in the cover-up which denied justice and further impacteced victims. Tragically, the first of these to come forward, Neil Todd, took his own life. Ball was directly connected to several other convicted and discraced abusing priests in the Church of England, showing that a culture of cover-up and denial ran to the very top of the CofE.
Church of England 'Colluded with' Sex Abuse Bishop
In her report 'An Abuse of Faith', Dame Moira Gibb publishes details of how the then Archibishop of Canterbury, now Lord Carey, colluded with paedophole Bishop Peter Ball, aiding in the cover-up which denied justice and further impacteced victims. Tragically, the first of these to come forward, Neil Todd, took his own life. Ball was directly connected to several other convicted and discraced abusing priests in the Church of England, showing that a culture of cover-up and denial ran to the very top of the CofE.
Australian Royal commission
reveals scale of child sexual abuse
in Anglican Church
More than 1,100 complaints of child sexual abuse were made against hundreds of Anglican church clergy and laypeople over 35 years, new data shows.
The child abuse royal commission released another tranche of data about Australia’s churches on Friday, this time revealing the scale of the abuse crisis within the Anglican church’s parishes, schools and youth groups.
The data shows that 1,115 complaints of child sexual abuse were received by the church between 1980 and the end of 2015, involving 22 of the 23 Anglican dioceses in Australia. Those complaints were made by 1,082 survivors against 569 named and 133 unnamed perpetrators.
The alleged abuse took place at the hands of 285 laypeople and 247 ordained clergy. The royal commission has referred 84 alleged perpetrators to police, four of whom have been prosecuted and 23 are still under investigation.
The general secretary of the church’s general synod, Anne Hywood, made a statement to the royal commission on Friday. She acknowledged the church had been more concerned with its own reputation than those who had been harmed, and had failed to act to protect children when it became aware of abuse.
“We have witnessed first hand the suffering of those who have shared their stories,” she said. “We have seen in their faces and heard in their voices not only the pain of the abuse they suffered as a child, but the further damage we inflicted when they came forward as adults, seeking justice and comfort, and we pushed them aside.
Hywood said the church was “prepared to confront” the challenges ahead. She repeated an unreserved apology to survivors.
“We apologise for the shameful way we actively worked against and discouraged those who came to us and reported abuse,” Hywood said. “We are ashamed to acknowledge that we only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat to us.”
But the royal commission has heard factionalism, in-fighting, and “tribal interests” are still undermining attempts at a unified response to child protection.
The structure of the church decentralises power. Dioceses are able to largely manage their own response to abuse and child protection, and factions within the dioceses complicate matters more.
The Newcastle bishop, Greg Thompson, resigned on Thursday, a day before he was due to give evidence to the royal commission, after trying for years to force reforms within the church. Thompson spoke of receiving threats and being ostracised by his own parishioners for his outspoken push for reform.
He told the royal commission on Friday that the church’s response was still being hampered by factionalism.
“You have relationships … where people are aligned to groups, to factions. So within a diocese, let alone across the country, there are factions and allegiances which cut across a common response, particularly when there are beliefs and attitudes that have not come to terms with history,” he said.
“Conflicts of interest that arise around friendships, where alleged clergy have offended, have been afforded a lot of protection at various levels, either at a committee level or in the local parish. People refuse to accept that their loved priest has been an offender.”
Previous hearings of the royal commission have heard damning evidence about the church’s handling of child sexual abuse. The church actively worked to discourage survivors from complaining and failed comprehensively in its handling of perpetrators.
The population of England and Wales is two and a half times the size of that of Australia
and the Anglican Church proportionately larger. If these figures are extrapolated it would mean that there are potentially 3,000 cases in the Church of England - Involving up to 2,500 abusers.
Australian, Anglican bishop Greg Thompson quits over abuse issues
Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson has resigned after three years of dealing with issues related to clerical abuse and cover ups.
An emotional Bishop Thompson last year told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse his efforts to expose a decades-old culture of abuse and cover-ups had led to a concerted push to get rid of him.
The bishop is himself an abuse survivor and said he was resigning to put his health and family first.
"The impact of leading the diocese at various levels and addressing that culture has had a personal impact on my health, and I think has been something that got me thinking about how long I could have done it for," Bishop Thompson said.
The bishop said he had worked hard to end a culture of not listening.
"I think the serious matters of the past, the crimes against children, the culture of not wanting to know and the culture of covering up are being addressed," he said.
"I believe I have turned over the ground and others will continue.
"There are very fine leaders in the Anglican church of Newcastle who will continue to run with the momentum for a healthy future."
One of the abuse survivors who had met regularly with Bishop Thompson was CKA.
CKA said Newcastle had lost a good man.
"I am quite sad that Bishop Greg is going. He has been a good strong advocate for people,"
"He stood shoulder to shoulder with us, an incredible man, a man of great strength, a man of great courage.
"He certainly listened. I have spoken personally with Bishop Greg on many, many occasions, and the compassion he has shown has been extraordinary, but he's paid a horrible price for it.
"It's an indication of what happens in the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle when you stand up to people. They just carve you up and cut you down."
CKA said he hoped Bishop Thompson's hard-fought legacy would live on.
"There's been some massive changes within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle," CKA said.
"I hope it's sustainable. You know I guess we have just got to put our faith in those that come next that they will continue his work."
Sydney's Anglican Archbishop, Glenn Davies, said Bishop Thompson's work had changed the church for the better.
"Bishop Greg Thompson has been a stalwart in his advocacy for justice for survivors of abuse," he said.
"He's been a champion of seeking justice against the perpetrators and it's taken its toll on him."
The Archbishop said Bishop Thompson's successor would have a lot of work to do.
"The next bishop of Newcastle will have to be a healer," he said.
"One who can bring healing across a disaffected diocese in terms of the events of the last couple of years."
The election of a new bishop will be discussed at a special session of the Anglican synod in May. Bishop Thompson's resignation has saddened Leonie Sheedy, who heads the Care Leavers Australia Network. But she said she understood why he needed to go.
"I feel sad for him, but I understand his need to pull back," Ms Sheedy said.
"Everyone has a limit of how much they can be involved in the terrible crimes of children and the cover ups that have gone on.
"Thank you to Greg for the fight that he did and the changes that he brought in the Anglican Church and in Newcastle, and what a brave man he was when he spoke out about being sexually abused himself.
"Change needs to happen and so well done to Greg, but his successor needs to carry on his legacy."
True Extent of Child Abuse in the Catholic Church Revealed.
Recent statistics from the Australian Royal Commission into child sexual abuse
show the real extent of child abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.
Similar statistics have also been found relating to abuse in Ireland and it is
MACSAS' belief that these shocking figures will also be born out across
the rest of the U.K.
The Salisians, specifically targeting young people, one of the worst offending
Seven per cent of Australia’s Catholic priests were accused of abusing children
in the six decades since 1950, according to new data from the Australian
The Australian royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse
has released damning statistics on the scale of the crisis within the Catholic Church.
The numbers confirm the extent of sexual predation already suggested by four years of
royal commission hearings involving the church, which are now entering their
Up to 15% of priests in some dioceses were alleged perpetrators between 1950 and
2015, with abusers most prevalent in the dioceses of Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria,
Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in New South Wales.
The numbers were even worse in some national Catholic orders. By far the worst was
the order of the St John of God Brothers, where a staggering 40% of religious brothers
are believed to have abused children.
Twenty-two per cent of Christian Brothers and 20% of Marist Brothers, both orders that
run schools, were alleged perpetrators. More than one in five priests in the Benedictine
community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators, while 17.2% of clergy were accused
of crimes against children in the Salesians of Don Bosco order.
In total, between 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse
relating to 93 Catholic Church authorities. The abuse allegedly took place in more than
1,000 institutions. The average age of victims was 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys.
The overwhelming majority of survivors were male. Almost 1,900 perpetrators were
identified and another 500 remained unidentified. Thirty-two per cent were religious
brothers, 30% were priests, 29% were lay people and 5% were religious sisters.
The royal commission said 37% of all private sessions it held with survivors from
all institutions related to abuse in the Catholic Church.
Click here for full story
See our Survivors page for case studies and survivors stories >>>> Click Here
Sex abuse bishop Peter Ball released from prison
A man allegedly abused as a child by a former bishop has criticised his early release
from jail as "a poor reflection on the criminal justice system".
Peter Ball, 84, was jailed for 32 months in October 2015 after admitting a string of
historical sex offences against 18 teenagers and young men.
The former bishop of Lewes and Gloucester was released from jail on Friday after
serving less than 16 months.
Phil Johnson said he had served "less than a month for each of the victims that he had admitted to - and there were many more!".
Ball was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently, after using "religion as a cloak" to carry out the abuse between the 1970s and 1990s.
Richard Scorer, a lawyer representing a number of Ball's victims, said his early release was "an affront to justice" and "a huge blow to his victims".
"This was a man whose appalling crimes represented a gross and systematic abuse of trust spanning decades," he said.
Mr Johnson, from Eastbourne, who was not one of the 18 people Ball admitted abusing, alleges that Ball inappropriately touched him as a 13-year-old boy.
He said the sentence handed down to him was "in no way proportionate to the crimes committed", and it seemed he had been freed "at the earliest opportunity".
A Church of England spokeswoman said Ball's offences were "a matter of deep shame
In February 2016, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, commissioned
an independent review of the Ball case.
Mr Johnson said its publication was not likely "for several more months".
"I think it's utterly ridiculous that it's taken longer to write a report on what happened than
it has for Peter Ball to serve his jail sentence," he said.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said sex offenders were "robustly risk assessed and
subject to a strict set of conditions".
"If they fail to comply, they can be recalled to prison," he added.
Northern Ireland child abuse inquiry singles out police and church
Police were guilty of a “catalogue of failures” over the abuse of boys at a Belfast
care home run by a paedophile ring, a comprehensive report into child
mistreatment across Northern Ireland has found.
The historical institutional abuse inquiry, established in 2014, found that a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) investigation into sexual abuse at the Kincora care home in east Belfast was “inept, inadequate and far from thorough”.
The report, released on Friday, also accused the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland of ignoring repeated warnings about a serial paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth, who sexually assaulted and raped dozens of young victims.
The implications of the Smyth scandal and other clerical abuse in the region were so serious that a senior Catholic cleric was due to discuss the findings with the pope later on Friday.
Kincora care home was run by a number of paedophiles whom it was alleged were agents of the state. They included the prominent Orange Order member William McGrath, who was accused of being an informer for MI5 and special branch in the 1970s, spying on fellow hardline loyalists.
At least 29 boys were sexually abused by McGrath, the Kincora housemaster, and others at the home. One boy is said to have killed himself by jumping off a ferry into the Irish Sea in the late 1970s following years of abuse. Three senior staff at Kincora – McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains – were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.
The retired judge Sir Anthony Hart, who chaired the inquiry, said if the RUC had carried out a proper investigation into Kincora many of the victims might have been spared. He said 39 boys were abused byMcGrath and others running Kincora at the height of the Troubles.
He stressed that all requests by the inquiry for classified files relating to Kincora were “honoured” by government and security agencies.
Hart said there was “no credible evidence” to support allegations that a paedophile ring including senior British establishment figures had abused children in Kincora. The report had “stripped away decades of half-truths masquerading as facts in relation to Kincora”.
The inquiry, which sat at Banbridge courthouse in County Down for two years, investigated children’s care homes and institutions from the Northern Ireland state’s foundation in 1922 to 1995.
During the Kincora section of the inquiry it emerged that MI5 and MI6 were legally represented at Banbridge. Critics of how the hearing into Kincora had been framed expressed concerns the government would use the Official Secrets Act to prevent the inquiry gaining access to files from MI5 and MI6.
Among the other scandals highlighted in the report was that surrounding Fr Brendan Smyth. He was a paedophile priest whom the Catholic hierarchy kept moving around parishes in both Ireland and the United States long after it knew about his abuse of children in places such as west Belfast.
The report severely criticised the Catholic Church’s behaviour.
“Father Brendan Smyth was able to carry out widespread sexual abuse of children, including some children resident in homes investigated by the inquiry, due to the failure of branches of the Roman Catholic church to properly address his behaviour from before he was ordained as a priest, despite clear warnings,” it said.
“There was repeated failure to assess the risk he posed to children, to confine him to his abbey, to thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse, to notify the police and social services, and to share information between dioceses and report matters to the appropriate civil and ecclesiastical authorities.”
The report also criticised an order of Catholic nuns, the Sisters of Nazareth. Of the homes they ran in Belfast and Derry, it said: “In each of the four homes, some nuns engaged in physical and emotional abuse against children. Emotional abuse was widespread in all homes.”
Hart and his team found that a disinfectant was used in baths in the orphanages. He said there was a significant number of cases of sexual abuse involving priests and lay staff. Many of these incidents were known to members of the clergy, who did nothing to stop them, the report said.
The leader of Ireland’s Catholics, archbishop Eamon Martin, said he would discuss its findings with Pope Francis when he met the pontiff in Rome later on Friday.
He said the report “reminds us that much work remains to be undertaken in this regard”.
Public hearings were held into 22 institutions across Northern Ireland which were run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic church, the Church of Ireland, and other voluntary organisations. Hart’s report runs to 2,300 pages and contains 10 volumes of findings and testimonies.
The NSPCC children’s charity said: “This inquiry has shed light on horrendous and widespread abuse carried out against children in Northern Ireland in the past. Institutions must now be held to account for the prolonged, systematic failings against the children in their care. It is right that the survivors receive the justice they deserve and we support the recommendation for redress.”
Former Oxted priest now facing
24 indecent assault charges
as trial date set
Two more victims have come forward with sex abuse allegations against a retired priest who is already facing a string of indecent assault charges, Guildford Crown Court was told on Friday December 16th.
It brings the number of complainants prepared to testify against the former Rector of Oxted, Guy Bennett, from 10 to 12, it was revealed.
Bennett, 83, of Lewes Road, East Grinstead, appeared to face a new indictment containing a total of 25 counts – 24 of indecent assault against complainants who were under the age of 16 at the time, and one of outraging public decency.
When the defendant appeared at Redhill Magistrates' Court last year, he faced 22 charges of indecent assault and one of outraging public decency between 1977 and 1998.
Eloise Marshall, prosecuting, said the allegations made by the two new complainants stemmed from incidents said to have happened in the late 1980s.
Bennett, who was Rector of Oxted from 1972 to 1998, entered no pleas at today's hearing. He was remanded on bail until March 17, 2017 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
Paul Walker, defending, said a medical report would be presented to the crown court on his client's fitness to plead.
"He is physically fit," he said. But Mr Walker said it was vital to carry out tests on his client's memory.
"It's important to have this medical report," he said.
Judge Jonathan Black asked: "Is he saying this number of complainants are wrong?"
Mr Walker said there might be a mixture of "misunderstandings, confusions and fabrication".
The court was told that a date for a trial, lasting nearly three weeks, has been set aside for September 11, 2017.
Granting Bennett bail, Judge Black ordered that he must have no contact with prosecution witnesses or be in the company of anyone under the age of 18 in the meantime.
The defendant was chaplain to the London Palladium from 1972 to 1998 which earned him the title "chaplain to the stars".
He has written a book about the celebrities he has known. He was also a friend of Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed who lived in the Oxted area while Bennett was rector there.
"We apologise unreservedly ...
for the hurt and distress caused
The Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, apologised for the hurt and distress caused to the women after the release of the original Kendall House report, and did so
again for the extension.
He said his Diocese would undergo an independent audit of its safeguarding structures
and resources as a result of the Kendall House review.
“We are very grateful to all of the women who courageously came forward to tell their
stories, and we recognise how challenging that was,” he said.
“The Diocese would like to thank all of the former residents who have participated and
we apologise unreservedly to them for the hurt and distress caused to them.”
The Rt Rev Trevor Willmott also issued a statement and described the findings of the extension as "difficult but essential reading".
He added: “Bishop James and I are hugely grateful to the women who have come
forward – both for the original report and the addendum – for their courage in sharing
“They have done this so that we may learn the lessons of the past and we want to
assure them that we have fully resolved to do so. I would like to echo Bishop James’
apology to them for the pain they have suffered."
One of the four former residents to contribute to this week’s report was Teresa Cooper,
who has spent the last three decades fighting for a full investigation into Kendall
House. Ms Cooper did not take part in the original review due to a dispute over the
terms of reference, but the panel felt she should be included in the extension.
The panel acknowledge that many of the complaints made about Kendall House
in the years since its closure were made by Ms Cooper.
Their report reads: “Teresa has worked relentlessly to try to make the church
understand, accept and act in response to her concerns about the abusive practices
at Kendall House.
“Through lobbying, researching, and detailed analysis, she has supported many
other former residents to seek affirmation of their experiences, as well as working
on her own process of recovery.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Teresa Cooper for all her efforts,
and her struggles in seeking the truth about Kendall House.
“In respect of this review, we are most grateful for her contribution, in her interview
and her emails, and to all who participated, for showing such courage in speaking
You can read the report by clicking HERE
IICSA publishes first anonymised summaries from the Truth Project
The 45 accounts, which have been anonymised, provide a first indication of the
abuse suffered by children who were abused and/or let down by those in authority
who should have protected them.
The Inquiry aims to publish as many anonymised summaries as possible and will use
the information to better understand the scale, scope and nature of child sexual abuse.
Panel member Dru Sharpling, who leads the Inquiry’s work on the Truth Project, said:
“I have personally facilitated some of the Truth Project private sessions, so I have
heard some of these experiences first hand. This first summary of personal experiences serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse.
“Reading these accounts will be difficult for many people, but nowhere near as difficult
as it is for the victims and survivors who have come forward to help the Inquiry by
sharing their experiences. I want to thank them and reassure them that their bravery
will help us to identify how we can better protect children in the future from such abuse
Around 500 victims and survivors have expressed an interest in attending a Truth
Project private session; to date nearly to 150 people will have shared their experiences
with us in a private session. Victims and survivors can also share their experiences in
writing and we will publish these anonymous experiences in due course, with the permission of those who took part.
IICSA says that The Truth Project provides a safe environment in which victims and survivors of child sexual abuse can share their experiences with a trained facilitator
who will listen to them, not challenge them, and not judge them. For some it may be
the first time they have spoken to anyone about their abuse. The Inquiry will provide
support before, during and after people share their experiences.
It is noteworthy that 13 out of the 45 (29%) published accounts had a religious
context, where abuse was committed bt clergy, church staff or in church schools.