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October 2018

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.

July 2018

MACSAS Addresses General Synod and Holds Fringe Meeting

Jo Kind at General Synod

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

June 2018

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.


May 2018

Church ignored child sex abuse
by ex-general synod member,
says review


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!

Mandate Now


April 2018

Police reveal SEVEN have been arrested in Lincolnshire church child abuse probe so far

Lincoln abuse

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
to come.

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
the phone.
"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.

March 2018

Survivors tell IICSA hearing of child abuse by Church of England clerics

Macsas at iicsa

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

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.

February 2018

C of E Abuse Survivors Protest

Synod 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.

January 2018

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.

October 2017

Church 'failed' over Sussex abuse priest Jonathan Graves

Grave Safeguarding Failings

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
Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Protest

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.”

September 2017

Former Oxted rector Guy Bennett found not guilty of all charges

Rev Guy Bennett, Oxted

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

Jonathan Graves

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.

August 2017

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.

July 2017

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.”

June 2017

An 'Abuse of Faith'

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

Gibb Report

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.

May 2017

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,"

CKA said.
"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."

March 2017

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
catholic orders

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
Royal Commission.

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
final weeks.

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

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Sex abuse bishop Peter Ball released from prison

Peter Ball Released

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
and regret".
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.

January 2017

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.

Irish Child Abuse Inquiry

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.


December 2016

Kendall House:

"We apologise unreservedly ...
for the hurt and distress caused
to them"

Kendall House Apology

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
their stories.
“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
with us.”

You can read the report by clicking HERE


IICSA publishes first anonymised summaries from the Truth Project

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
and betrayal.”

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.



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September 2018

German Catholic priests 'abused thousands of children'

More than 3,600 children in
Germany were abused by Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014,
a leaked report has revealed.

The study was commissioned by the Church itself, and was due to be published on 25 September.
According to the report, some 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed
some form of sex attack on 3,677
minors, German outlet Spiegel Online reported.
A Church spokesman said it was "dismayed and ashamed" by the findings.

The report is the latest in a long
series of revelations that have
uncovered decades of sex abuse
by Roman Catholic priests around
the world.

According to the new study, only 38%
of the alleged perpetrators were prosecuted with most facing only
minor disciplinary procedures,
German media said. About one in
six cases involved rape.

Most of the victims were boys, and
more than half were aged 13 or

Predatory clerics were often moved
to new communities, where no
warning was issued about their

The study was compiled by three German universities, using 38,000 documents from 27 German dioceses.
Its authors said the true extent of the abuse may be even greater, as some records were "destroyed or

"We know the extent of the sexual
abuse that has been demonstrated
by the study. We are dismayed and ashamed by it," said Bishop Stephan Ackermann, a spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference which commissioned the report.

He said the aim of the study was to
shed light on "this dark side of our Church, for the sake of those affected,
but also for us ourselves to see the
errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated".

"I stress that the study is a measure
that we owe not only to the Church
but first and foremost, to those
affected," the bishop added.

Bishop Ackermann said the report
had been leaked to the press before
the Church itself had seen it. He said
the Church had planned to provide counselling helplines for people
affected by its contents.

The Vatican did not immediately
respond to Spiegel's account of the report. But elsewhere on Wednesday, Pope Francis summoned Catholic bishops to the Vatican for a
discussion on how to protect children
in February next year.

The damning German study is the
latest in a series of blows to the Roman Catholic Church.

August 2018

Pope's Irish Visit:
"Shamed by Church's abuse failures

Papal Visit

Pope Francis has said he is
ashamed of the Catholic Church's
failure to adequately address the "repellent crimes" of sex abuse
by clergy.

The Irish prime minister earlier
delivered a strong warning to the
Pope to take action against clergy involved in child abuse and
keeping it secret.

The Pope spent 90 minutes with
abuse survivors, reportedly telling
them he viewed clerical sex abuse
as "filth".

The papal visit is the first to the Irish Republic for 39 years. It coincides
with the World Meeting of Families,
a global Catholic gathering held
every three years.

The Argentine Pope's opening
remarks echoed a letter he sent to
the world's 1.2bn Roman Catholics
this week, in which he condemned
the "atrocities" of child abuse and
clerical cover-ups.

"I cannot fail to acknowledge the
grave scandal caused in Ireland by
the abuse of young people by
members of the Church charged
with responsibility for their protection
and education," the Pope told
political leaders and dignitaries
at Dublin Castle.

"The failure of ecclesiastical
authorities - bishops, religious
superiors, priests and others -
adequately to address these
repellent crimes has rightly given
rise to outrage, and remains a source
of pain and shame for the Catholic community," he said.

"I myself share those sentiments."
The Pope veered off his script when
speaking out about abuse, saying
he had set out a "greater commitment
to eliminating this scourge in the
Church, at any cost".

He was speaking after Irish PM
Leo Varadkar said the failures of
the Church, the state and wider
society had created a "bitter and
broken heritage for so many, leaving
a legacy of pain and suffering".

"Magdalene Laundries, mother-and-
baby homes, industrial schools,
illegal adoptions and clerical child
abuse are stains on our state, our
society and also the Catholic Church,"
he said, referring to a series of
scandals that have rocked the
Irish Church.

"People kept in dark corners, behind closed doors, cries for help that went
unheard... Above all, Holy Father,
I ask to you to listen to the victims and survivors."

Mr Varadkar said there could be
zero tolerance for those who abuse children or who facilitate that abuse
and that from words action must flow.

He referred to an investigation in
the US state of Pennsylvania that
found that more than 1,000 identifiable minors had been abused by 300 priests.

Mr Varadkar said the "heartbreaking stories" of "unspeakable crimes", perpetrated by religious officials
and then obscured to protect the institutions, was a story "all too
tragically familiar" to people in Ireland.

August 2018

Catholic Church
covered up abuse of
1,000 children in Pennsylvania

Catholic Church leaders in
Pennsylvania covered up the sexual
abuse of more than 1,000 children
by more than 300 priests over a
70-year period, according to a major
new report.

A grand jury in the US has said an
examination of internal documents
from six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses had found more than
1,000 identifiable victims. It added
that there were probably thousands
more victims whose records had
been lost or who were afraid to
come forward.

One priest abused five girls in the
same family, including one who
was abused from the age of 18
months. Another was allowed to
remain in post after impregnating
a young girl and arranging for her
to have an abortion.

Other instances detailed by the
grand jury's report, which was
published on Tuesday, included a
priest raping a young girl in hospital
and a priest who tied up and
whipped a child.

The report says: "We believe that
the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid
ever to come forward is in the
"Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church
have largely escaped public accountability.

"Priests were raping little boys and
girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did
nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops,
bishops, archbishops, cardinals
have mostly been protected; many,
including some named in this report, have been promoted."

The attorney general of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, said the church had
shown "complete disdain for victims"
and its leaders had "protected their institution at all costs". In some cases
he said the cover-up had "stretched
all the way up to the Vatican".

He added that there had been an
"intense legal battle" over recent
months as some of those named in
the report appealed to Pennsylvania's Supreme Court to block its release.
Shapiro said: "They wanted to
cover up the cover-up."

The grand jury said church officials followed a "playbook for concealing
the truth", including by downplaying
the nature of abuse, assigning
untrained priests to investigate their
colleagues and lying to parishioners about the reasons for a priest's

The report also recommended
extending the statute of limitations
to allow older victims to file civil
lawsuits against perpetrators and
the church. Pennsylvania's state legislature has so far resisted calls
to do this and the church has
lobbied against it.

The report comes shortly after the resignation of the former archbishop
of Washington, Cardinal Theodore
E. McCarrick, amid accusations of
sexual abuse of young priests and children.

Authorities in Chile also raided the headquarters of the Catholic Church's episcopal conference as part of an investigation into sexual abuse.

July 2018

Survivor from MACSAS describes Church's response to abuse as
'Cruel & Sadistic'

Rev Graham Sawyer

A vicar who was sexually abused
as a teenager by a disgraced bishop 
said he was met with
"cruel and sadistic" treatment when
he dared to speak out about his experience.

Reverend Graham Sawyer said the abuse he suffered at the hands of
Peter Ball paled in comparison to
the reaction from officials in the
Church of England.

He told the Public Inquiry (IICSA)
that the church must stop its "ecclesiastical protection racket",
in which he said people rally round
to protect the church's reputation
above the interests of the individual.

Mr Sawyer, a vicar at St James'
Church, Briercliffe in the diocese of Blackburn, told how Ball had
demanded that the then teenager
strip naked before he would
recommend him to be ordained.
He refused to do so and was forced to withdraw from the ordination.

Some years later when he decided
to apply again he was rejected,
and a friend who looked into why
told him there was a "big black
mark against you in the Church
of England".

Mr Sawyer, who said Ball had had
"the reputation of a living saint",
moved to New Zealand where he
was ordained in 1998 in
Wellington Diocese.

The vicar, who has returned to the
UK and waived his right to anonymity, told the Independent Inquiry into
Child Sexual Abuse:
"The sex abuse that was perpetrated upon me by Peter Ball pales into insignificance when compared to
the entirely cruel and sadistic
treatment that has been meted out to
me by officials, both lay and ordained.

"I know from the testimony of other people who have got in touch with
me over the last five or 10 years that
what I have experienced is not
dissimilar to the experience of so
many others and I use these words
cruel and sadistic because I think
that is how they behave."

He added: "It is an ecclesiastical protection racket and [the attitude
is that] anyone who seeks to in any
way threaten the reputation of the
church as an institution has to be destroyed."

The inquiry examined how the Church
of England handled allegations
of sexual abuse.

In the five-day case study, the inquiry investigated "whether there were inappropriate attempts by people
of prominence to interfere in the
criminal justice process after he
(Ball) was first accused of child
sexual offences".

It is likely to report in 2020.

June 2018

Headstone Destroyed!

Fogerty Headstone Destroyed

The gravestone of a senior
Roman Catholic priest has been destroyed following allegations he abused a boy.

Canon Dermod Fogarty, who died
in 2012, is accused by Stephen
Bernard in a book written by the
Oxford academic.

Dr Bernard says the four years
of abuse started in 1987 when he
was 11 years old.

Deirdre McCormack, of MACSAS,
the canon's next of kin, called for
the stone's removal as she felt the epitaph to a "much-loved, wise priest" was a "blatant lie".

The Church agreed to remove the
stone following a meeting with
Ms McCormack and in a statement
said it would replace it with a simple headstone.

Ms McCormack arranged for the destruction of the headstone to be
filmed and asked for it to be broadcast.
In the video, a man can be seen smashing the headstone into
pieces before others join him to help clear up the debris.

The former Macmillan nurse said
she had survived abuse by another
priest and wanted to help Mr Bernard move on with his life.

The headstone read:
"A wise priest much loved by his
family and all who knew him."

Ms McCormack had chosen the
words on the headstone herself, but
said she could no longer live with it.
In his memoir, Dr Bernard claims he suffered 300 separate sexual attacks until the abuse ended in 1991.

Canon Fogarty worked in the Arundel and Brighton diocese for 67 years.
His funeral was attended by senior figures, including the then head of
the Roman Catholic Church in
England and Wales, Cardinal
Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

In a statement the Church said that following a meeting with Ms
McCormack, it was agreed that the current headstone in the private
cemetery of St John's Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford, Surrey,
would be removed as requested.

It added: "The headstone was
removed in the presence of Mrs McCormack on Thursday 24 May.
The destroyed headstone will be replaced with a simple headstone."
It said the diocese first received
Dr Bernard's allegations on
6 September 2012 - before Canon Fogarty died - but it insists
safeguarding procedures
were followed.

It added: "At this time Dr Bernard
did not report this matter to the police
or give permission for the information
to be passed on to to any third parties.

"The diocese was also aware that
Dr Bernard reported his complaint
to the police in 2015 and the diocese
is committed to cooperation with
the statutory agencies."

May 2018

Christians told not to confess sex abuse
secrets to Church of England clergy because they may tell the police

Christians have been told not to
confess sex abuse secrets to Church
of England clergy because they will
tell the police.

Guidance from the diocese of
Canterbury says clergy must tell penitents that if their confession
"raises a concern about the wellbeing
or safeguarding", the priest will be
"duty bound" to tell the "relevant agencies". 

Church of England canon law states
that information divulged during confession must be kept secret. 
The issue was raised during the Independent Inquiry into Child
Sexual Abuse earlier this year,
amid concerns that evidence of
abuse could be kept from the

The national church is currently considering the issue after a review
was launched in 2014, and a
working group is due to discuss in December. 

Julian Hills, Diocesan Secretary,
said the guidance was formulated after
a case where someone told a member
of the clergy about abuse during
the confessional.

A penitent "shared with a priest information about ongoing abuse.
In this case, the legal and moral
position of the priest was called
into question," he said. 

"It was therefore felt by the
Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group that clergy must have clear
guidance on how to manage
situations where the seal of
confession may be brought into
conflict with their safeguarding responsibilities."

Mr Hills said the situation could
force a priest to "choose between
their responsibility to protect
someone from harm and the usual requirement of confidentiality". 
He insisted that the arrangement did
not "abolish the seal of the
confessional" but was "intended
to advise the penitent not to divulge
in confession something which
would legally compromise the
position of the priest". 

“The guidance was drafted in early
2015, after seeking independent
legal advice and in consultation with
the then Acting Head of Delivery
for the National Safeguarding Team,"
he added. 

March 2018

Justin Welby
"Ashamed of Church"
Inquiry Hears.

Welby Ashamed

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tells IICSA
(Independent Inquiry into Child
Sexual Abuse) that three weeks
of evidence into abusive priests and
cover-up has made him ashamed
of the Church of England.

Church may have 'Conspired to Enable
Child Sex Abuse'

Senior figures in the Church of
England may have conspired to
enable the sexual abuse of children,
an inquiry has heard.

A lawyer representing victims
suggested the Church ignored abuse convictions and allowed records to
be burnt.

The solicitor, David Greenwood,
said victims were "silenced" by
the Church.

The Independent Inquiry into Child
Sexual Abuse has begun hearing evidence about how the Anglican
Church dealt with complaints over
many years.
The current phase has begun with
an investigation of alleged abuse in
the Diocese of Chichester in Sussex.

Mr Greenwood told the inquiry:
"We will hear of bishops granting 'Permission to Officiate' certificates
to convicted paedophiles and to
those facing criminal allegations.
"There is a strong suspicion of an organised conspiracy between
clergy and bishops in the Diocese
of Chichester to enable children to
be abused and it will be painful for
all involved to hear."

He added: "We will hear in this
Chichester inquiry of a culture in
which burning paper files in the Cathedral yard was tolerated.
Bishops ignoring past convictions
and allegations was common place."

The inquiry - set up in 2015 - aims
to address institutional failures to
protect children in England and Wales.
Part of a witness statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin
Welby, was read to the inquiry by the church's barrister, Nigel Giffin QC.
The statement said:
"The failures we have seen are
deeply shaming and I personally
find them a cause of horror and
sadness. "That children have been abused within the communities of the church is indeed shameful."

Opening the inquiry on Monday,
Fiona Scolding QC, the inquiry's
counsel, said there was evidence children were made to feel
responsible for abuse they suffered.

Ms Scolding said there would be evidence from witnesses about a
series of potential failings within the Church. She said they included a tendency to "make children
responsible" for their sexual abuse
instead of the adults around them,
an inability to spot or even
understand so-called "grooming"
and an inability to understand that
victims would suffer from the
aftermath of abuse as adults.

"Some of the abuse you will hear
about occurred during the 1950s
and 1960s, some of it is much more recent," said Ms Scolding.

"A series of allegations came to
light from the late 1990s onwards
and then engulfed the diocese in the
first decade of the 21st century."

Ms Scolding also said that, until
recently, there had been a culture
of amateurism where safeguarding training was patchy and bishops
with no management experience
were running multi-million pound institutions.
The church, she continued, was "grappling" with disagreements
over sexuality and the role of women.

She said: "What should be unique
about the Church is that when faced
with abuse within its own ranks, it
should act with urgency, compassion,
transparency and professionalism.

February 2018

Survivors call for Independent
Safeguarding and Mandatory Reporting

Survivors of sexual abuse within
the Anglican Church call for the
Church of England to hand over
its safeguarding to an independent
body and for the mandatory reporting
of child sex abuse allegations as
the Church faces over 3,000 cases.

Watch the video here

C of E dealing with thousands of sex
abuse allegations

The Church of England is dealing
with more than 3,000 reports of
sexual abuse within its parishes.

The most recent figures for 2016
show that dioceses were dealing
with 3,300 “concerns or allegations”,
the vast majority related to “children, young people and vulnerable adults within church communities”.

About a fifth of the reports were
made against clergy and other
church officials, with the rest relating
to other members of the congregation who perform unofficial roles or
volunteer within the church.
The 3,300 figure related to both
open cases and those newly reported that year. It is not known how many involved active claims against the
church for compensation.

The figures were revealed by the
Bishop of Bath and Wells, the
Right Rev Peter Hancock, who is
the church’s lead bishop on
safeguarding issues. He issued
the figures in response to a written question from Kat Alldread, a lay
member of the General Synod.

The bishop said that in 2016 alone
338 risk assessments were carried
out by the church’s dioceses, of which
19 per cent were carried out on priests.
In the same year, 867 “safeguarding agreements” were in place, made
when someone is believed to pose
a risk to young or vulnerable people
and must agree to be monitored or
to restrict their interaction with
possible victims of abuse.

October 2017

Ealing Abbey priest jailed for child abuse

A PRIEST and school teacher who
admitted repeatedly abusing five boys has been jailed for eight years.

Father David Pearce,
of Ealing Abbey, in Charlbury Grove,
was sentenced on October 2 for committing ten counts of indecent
assault and one sexual assault
between 1972 and 2007.

The majority of the abuse took place
while he was a teacher at St Benedict's School in Eaton Rise, Ealing, a post
he has since retired from.
Four of the victims were under 16
at the time.

Pearce was barred from acting as a priest in 2005 after a victim took
civil proceedings against him.
It followed an unsuccessful attempt
to build a criminal case against
him because of a lack of evidence.

Further victims came forward and
Pearce was arrested in January 2008.
Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Robert Wendt said: "Thanks to the courage of the victims we have successfully managed to bring
the perpetrator to justice many years
after he had, no doubt, thought he
had got away with it.

"David Pearce is a predatory
paedophile whose actions have impacted forever on the lives of his
victims. I hope that today's sentencing provides them with some comfort
and I would urge anyone who has
suffered sexual abuse to come forward
knowing that the Police and Crown Prosecution Service will
take you seriously."

Martin Shipperlee of Ealing Abbey
said they were undertaking an independent review to prevent
anything similar happening again.

He said Pearce's future as a priest
is being reviewed and added:
"I would like to apologise in every
way I can to the victims and everyone else affected by this case.

"I will remember in my prayers all
those lives who have been troubled
by David Pearce's actions."

Please Consider
Reading this Well Researched Blog:

Sea of Forgetting

Sea of Complicity
Reflections of an Anglican
Abuse Survivor


September 2017

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up
of child abusers must
be a lesson to the Catholic Church


by Keith Porteous Wood

The death of Cardinal Cormac
Murphy O'Connor has understandably resulted in obituaries lauding his achievements as a Prince of the
Catholic Church. But we are pleased
that few ignore entirely the Cardinal's involvement in one of the most scandalous child abuse cover-ups
this country has seen.

I don't doubt for a moment that
Cardinal Murphy O'Connor did
some good in his life, but there was another side to his story that should
not be forgotten – a side that resulted
in pain and suffering for many children. And the ruthless campaign by the
Church to repress the details of the Cardinal's many errors and misjudgements, and worse.

Despite the image of a genial old
buffer that the Cardinal liked to
project, it did not stop him, in 2006,
from sacking his talented press
secretary, a lay position, simply
because he was "openly gay".
And O'Connor was "firmly against
the repeal of Clause 28, which
banned the promotion of
homosexuality in schools",
a repressive and vindictive
measure now regarded with embarrassment. This, despite
the prevalence of gay men in the priesthood.

Those with long memories will
also remember that, following
complaints from parents, O'Connor,
when Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, moved a known serial practising paedophile cleric, Michael Hill,
from unsuspecting parish to unsuspecting parish.

If O'Connor's objective had been
to reward Hill by affording him the greatest possible opportunities to
prey on an almost unlimited supply
of vulnerable unaccompanied
juveniles, some of them thousands
of miles from their parents, he could
have done no better than appoint Hill
as Catholic chaplain at Gatwick
Airport. Yet this is exactly what
O'Connor did, despite his
knowledge of Hill's repeat
offending and psychiatric reports
that Hill was likely to re-offend.

Needless to say, O'Connor never
shared what he knew about Hill's criminal abusive activities with
the police, contributing directly to
Hill's ability to continue his orgy
of abuse unhindered. Hill was
eventually convicted and jailed in
two separate trials for abusing a
boy with learning difficulties at
the Airport, as well as eight other
boys. Ten further charges
unaccountably "remain on file".

To his dying day, the best Murphy O'Connor could do in his mea culpa
on Hill was to say his response
was "inadequate but not irresponsible". Not much consolation to the victims
and their families. Nor will have
been the self-righteous indignation
of his pitiful response to criticism:

"Inevitably mistakes have been
made in the past; but not for want
of trying to take the right and best
course of action."

Richard Scorer, abuse lawyer and
NSS director, examined the Hill
saga exhaustively in his book
Betrayed: The English Catholic
Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis
and demonstrated beyond doubt that O'Connor's claims about Michael Hill were completely baseless.

And, so predictably, O'Connor's
affable mask slipped again and he
got pretty vicious when the media
started asking what were, to his
mind, too many questions and
getting too close to the
uncomfortable truth.

It is an open secret that the BBC
was muzzled from pursuing its investigative work on O'Connor by
top-level representations made by O'Connor.
Few if any others than O'Connor
could have managed to intimidate
the BBC into silence, yet having
done so, O'Connor still had the gall
to claim that there was an anti-Catholic bias in the media. He wrote:

"Many others feel deeply concerned
by the apparently relentless attack
by parts of the media on their faith
and on the church in which they
continue to believe."

hat old trick so well practised by
the Catholic hierarchy: portraying
itself as the victim.

That would all be shocking enough,
yet there is credible speculation
that the Hill saga could have been
just the visible tip of the iceberg.
A 2012/3 report by the group
Stop Church Sexual Abuse has speculated that:

"[Anglican] clergy … seem to have worked together with priests from [O'Connor's] Catholic Diocese of
Arundel and Brighton … to abuse children.
Reports include that of a Catholic
priest who had multiple reports for alleged child sex offences and who
was moved by the Catholic Bishop [O'Connor] over to the CoE diocese
of Chichester and became
an Anglican Minister.

"The relationship between the
[Catholic] Diocese of Arundel
and Brighton [O'Connor's] and
[the Anglican one of] Chichester
[in which Peter Ball, mentioned below, ministered] has been historically close. … in the 1980s … Bishops Cormac Murphy O'Connor and Peter Ball
[not imprisoned until 2015 on
multiple counts of sexual abuse committed over twenty years earlier] were close friends and it is now
[claimed] that both sat on multiple
reports of child sexual abuse by
clergy and did nothing to protect
children from further abuse.

"In total upwards of 17 Anglican
and 19 Catholic clergy have been reported to have abused children
up to the late 1990s within these Dioceses. Most lived and/or worked within one small geographic area
which adds to the concern that there [may have been] a network of sex offenders shoaling for victims within church communities, schools,
cathedrals, youth groups and
scouting groups."

Even the Daily Telegraph reported
police investigations into "claims
that O'Connor hampered Hill's prosecution" and if the claims above
are correct about O'Connor's close friendship and nefarious collaboration with the devious and mendacious
Peter Ball, who escaped justice for decades, this does not seem in
the least far-fetched.

At least, however, O'Connor is still indelibly connected in the public's
mind with the disgraceful Michael Hill saga, having been widely reported including in The Times, with severe criticisms including "Victims' groups demanded his resignation in 2002".
The Church could not but have
known very much more. But the
process of rewriting history is no
doubt in full progress.

Does it not however speak volumes about the Pope and Catholic
Church that, given all the above,
they chose, out of all the possible candidates, "His Eminence Cardinal"
Cormac Murphy O'Connor to be a cardinal, to be the most senior
Catholic in England and Wales,
to be Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, and to be the
Pope's Apostolic Visitor to
investigate clerical child abuse
in the Archdiocese of Armagh?

But maybe we should not be
surprised. The Pope tellingly did
not strip O'Connor's fellow Cardinal
in Scotland, Keith O'Brien, of his cardinal's biretta for abusing his
rank with decades of predatory
sexual activity, when it all came to
light in 2013. There, homosexuality seemed more like a job requirement
than a sackable offence.

It seems from the Gibb Report into
disgraced former Bishop Ball that
Sussex police appear to have done
a workman-like job on abuse in the
Anglican diocese. I would have
suggested that the Sussex Police
now turn their attention to the
Catholic diocese, but unfortunately
the CPS told them in 2003 to
abandon the investigation whilst
refusing to explain why. Hopefully
this was not because of O'Connor's clerical rank, just like the CofE's
Report suggested Peter Ball's cleric
rank was the reason he escaped
justice in 1993.

Shamed Chester
vicar who abused
four children jailed
for two years

A CLERGYMAN who repeatedly sexually abused four children has
been yesterday jailed for two years.

Robert Peters, who has now
resigned as vicar of St Michael’s
Church in Newton, Chester,
indecently assaulted two girls and
two boys, who were younger than
him, when he was aged between
14 and 20 or 21.

The offences took place prior to
Peters entering the ministry.

June 2017

Retired Anglican priest accused of sexual assault on teenager is found dead

A retired Church of England vicar
accused of sexually assaulting a
teenage boy more than three decades ago has been found dead after failing
to appear in court.

Police discovered the body of Trevor Devamanikkam, 70, when they went
to his home in Witney, Oxfordshire,
to arrest him.

He had been due to appear before
Bradford and Keighley magistrates charged with three counts of buggery
and three counts of indecent assault
in the 1980s. The charges were
brought under the Sexual Offences
Act 1956 and related to a time when
the homosexual age of consent was 21.

The survivor of the alleged abuse,
known as “Michael”, lodged
complaints of misconduct last year
against the archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and four serving bishops, claiming they had failed to act on his disclosures of rape.

The complaints, made under the
C of E’s clergy disciplinary measure, were dismissed because they were
filed outside a one-year limit

According to Michael, he disclosed
the allegations of rape to Peter
Burrows, the bishop of Doncaster
and Steven Croft, the then bishop of Sheffield and now bishop of Oxford,
in 2012. The following year he
disclosed to Martyn Snow, the then archdeacon of Sheffield and
Rotherham, now bishop of Leicester.

A letter Michael wrote to Croft in 2013 about the rapes and the church’s
alleged failure to act was copied to copied to Sentamu and Glyn Webster, the bishop of Beverley. Sentamu acknowledged receipt with a four-line
response, saying he had read the letter. “Please be assured I will keep you
in my prayers through this testing
time for you,” Sentamu wrote.

No action was taken to offer Michael support, nor was Michael advised to report an alleged crime, he told the Guardian last year.

“Not one of them did anything to
support me. Not one of them even
said they were sorry it happened.”
In 2014, Michael formally reported the alleged rapes to the West Yorkshire police, which launched an
investigation. Last year, he instructed a lawyer specialising in child abuse to make a claim against the C of E.

Devamanikkam continued to work
as a C of E priest for at least a decade after the alleged offences.

In a statement following the retired
vicar’s death, Michael said:

“I just wanted Mr Devamanikkam to
be accountable for his actions and thereby give me some peace.”

His thoughts were with the family, he added.

Michael, who was ordained as a
C of E priest but resigned his post
four years ago, went on:
“Regarding the Church of England,
I have nothing but criticism.
Their handling of the case of
sexual abuse has been quite
simply appalling, as it has been
and continues to be for so many
victims of sexual abuse …

“The Church of England has put
every obstacle possible in the way
of helping me or to actually dealing
with the abuse. Even now the
bishops refuse to answer any questions why they did not act on my disclosure and the church is protecting them.”

Last year, he told the Guardian that
the church’s efforts “to cover up
abuse and discredit survivors” made
him feel “like I’ve been abused all
over again”.

He said he had been repeatedly
raped as an “immature and naive” teenager who was placed in the care
of a vicar following family difficulties.
He said he had suffered both
physical injuries and long-term psychological damage.

“I feel extremely ill, exhausted all
the time, physically in pain, I can’t
sit still, I can’t sleep. I’m very cautious about who I trust,” he said. “I’ve never had a proper relationship in my life.”

David Greenwood, Michael’s solicitor, said on Wednesday it was “deeply frustrating that Michael will be unable
to see his abuser stand trial and face secular justice”.

Peter Hancock, the bishop of Bath
and Wells and the C of E’s lead
bishop on safeguarding, said:
“We have been alerted by police
that Trevor Devamanikkam has
been found dead at his home.
Our thoughts and prayers are
with everyone affected by this sad
news and we have offered Michael pastoral care and support.”

Michael met Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, at the
end of last year in a private pastoral meeting, and the church offered
support through its national
safeguarding team once the case
came to light last summer.
The church is expected to review its response to Michael’s disclosures.

Lord Carey

Carey Resigns

Following an independent
review condeming his 'collusion'
with paedophile Bishop Peter Ball,
Lord Carey resigned today,
conceding to mounting pressure
from current Archbishop
Justtin Welby and victims.

Victims Speak Out

Victims Speak

Two victims of sexual abuse within
the Diocese of Chichester speak
out regarding the lack of support
Lord Carey provided to those
abused, instead choosing to collude
and protect the abusers, allowing
them to continue having access to vulnerable young people.
The former Archbishop also
contradicts his earlier assertion
that he placed Bishop Peter Ball
on the 'Lambeth List'.

Times Letter


Signed by P Johnson,

Comment in
The Independent

by Phil Johnson, Chair MACSAS


The C.D.M.
(Clergy Discipline Measure) and Archbishops' Lists

Article from The Church Times
by Jo Kind of MACSAS

Jo Kind

THE Church of England website
states that, when a penalty is imposed
under the Clergy Discipline Measure,
either by a bishop or the bishop’s disciplinary tribunal,
“it will be recorded in the Archbishops’ List, which is maintained at Lambeth Palace. The respondent will be
informed of the particulars to be recorded, and may request the
President of Tribunals to review
the entry.”

I wrote last year about how, as a complainant in a CDM process,
I had no right to know how the wrong done to me between 1989 and 1991
was described in the Archbishops’
List (Comment, 15 July).

Early in 2016, I raised this with senior
clergy and the National Safeguarding Team. The Bishop of Durham, the
Rt Revd Paul Butler, put my concerns
to the President of Tribunals,
and both Archbishops.

On 11 October 2016, I received
an email from the C of E’s National
Safeguarding Adviser, Graham Tilby, saying that he had now been granted access to the List.
“This in effect means that if a survivor
of abuse needs to be reassured that
a penalty and related conviction have been recorded properly on the list,
the National Safeguarding Officer
may, personally, inspect the copy of
the List held in the Legal Office on
behalf of the President of Tribunals,
with a view to being able to provide
the necessary reassurance to the
survivor in question,” he wrote.

I requested that Mr Tilby access the
List on my behalf, to reassure me that
the wording used was proportionate to the allegations I made, and on which
the penalty had been given.
He did so, and wrote to me saying
that “the wording of this [entry on the
List] does not provide the reassurance
that you are looking for, specifically
that the wording does not include
the term ‘sexually abusive’ or ‘adult
sexual abuse’. I am sorry that this information is unlikely to be helpful
to you.”
I WAS taken aback at the duplicity
that this uncovered. I had received
repeated assurances from the diocesan bishop dealing with the CDM that the
substance of my complaint had not
been watered down, and that it would
be referred to in correspondence as
“adult sexual abuse”. It was a shock to find out that it was not described in
this way on the Archbishops’ List.

This leads me to question whether
the List is anywhere near robust
enough to be effective as a
safeguarding tool. Furthermore, I fear
that the failure of the bishop and his advisers to record the behaviour of
the vicar who abused me as 
“sexually abusive” in the
Archbishops’ List may demonstrate
a desire keep a lid on the full truth.
I find this a matter for deep concern.

In other institutions, strict measures
are put in place that demand rigorous self-assessment and accountability,
and have thorough independent
scrutiny. The hope is that this will
leave no place to hide truth within
the structure.

Sadly, it seems that this is not,
at present, true across the board in
the C of E. If there are still places to
hide uncomfortable truths, there
will inevitably be those who will,
for whatever reason, take
advantage of that.
SINCE the Church and its hierarchy
are human, and the instinct for self-preservation is innate in all of us,
nothing in the Church’s processes should allow self-preservation, or
even the preservation of the
Church’s reputation, to overtake
a person’s right to have their
complaint or concern handled to completion honesty, compassion,
and total transparency.

Unless this is so, how can we be sure that lessons are learnt to safeguard others; how can we have confidence
in the effectiveness of the Clergy Discipline Measure; and how can we
be expected to trust the C of E to
provide guidance in any area of life?
Jo Kind is a National Committee
Member of MACSAS, the clerical survivors’ group. She sits on the
Church of England’s National Safeguarding Advisory Panel,
and is a member of the Welsh
Christian Safeguarding Forum.


Pope cuts
penalties for paedophile priests
- including one let
off with just a
lifetime of prayer
for abusing five young boys


Pope Francis has been slammed
by church officials and sex abuse survivors for cutting penalties for paedophile priests.

The Pope is said to be applying his
vision of a 'merciful church' to sex
offenders by reducing punishments
to weaker sentences, such as a
lifetime of prayer and penance.

It has been revealed by church
officials that Pope Francis overruled
given to him by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith about two priests  
- allowing them to be punished
by a lifetime of prayer.

One of the priests was the
Reverend Mauro Inzoli, who was
found guilty of abusing young boys
by the Vatican in 2012 and was
ordered to be defrocked.
However, he appealed, and in
2014 Francis reduced the penalty
to a lifetime of prayer, prohibiting
him from celebrating Mass in public
or being near children, barring him
from his diocese and ordering five
years of psychotherapy.

Rev Inzoli was then convicted by
an Italian criminal court for his sex
crimes against five children as young
as 12. He is now facing a second
church trial after new evidence
emerged against him.

A church official has said some paedophile priests and their high-
ranking friends appealed to Pope
Francis by citing the pope's own
words about mercy in their petitions.

They said: 'With all this emphasis
on mercy ... he is creating the environment for such initiatives.' 
Marie Collins, an abuse survivor
and founding member of Francis'
sex-abuse advisory commission, expressed dismay that the congregation's recommended
penalties were being weakened.

She said: 'All who abuse have
made a conscious decision to do so.
Even those who are paedophiles, experts will tell you, are still
responsible for their actions. They
can resist their inclinations.'

Many canon lawyers and church
authorities argue that defrocking paedophiles can put society at
greater risk because the church
no longer exerts control over them.
They argue that keeping the men
in restricted ministry, away from
children, enables superiors to exert
some degree of supervision.
But Ms Collins said the church
must also take into account the
message that reduced canonical sentences sends to both survivors
and abusers.

'While mercy is important, justice for
all parties is equally important,'
she said.
'If there is seen to be any weakness
about proper penalties, then it might
well send the wrong message to
those who would abuse.'

Comparatively, his predecessor,
Pope Benedict XVI, rarely granted
clemency petitions and defrocked 800 priests, who had raped and
molested children, during his
eight-year papacy.  

According to the church official,
Pope Francis also ordered three
staffers to be dismissed – two of
whom worked for the discipline
section that handles sex
abuse cases.

But Vatican spokesman Greg Burke
said they will be replaced and staffing
is set to be strengthened after the
Pope approved hiring more officials.

He said: 'The speed with which
cases are handled is a serious
matter and the Holy Father continues
to encourage improvements
in this area.'
He also dispelled rumours that
sex-abuse cases would no longer
be handled by the congregation,
saying the strengthened office
would handle all submitted cases.

Mr Burke added the Pope's
emphasis on mercy applied to
'even those who are guilty of
heinous crimes' and priests who
are found to be abusers are
permanently removed from the
ministry but are not necessarily defrocked.

He said: 'The Holy Father
understands that many victims
and survivors can find any sign of
mercy in this area difficult, but he
knows that the Gospel message of
mercy is ultimately a source of
powerful healing and of grace.' 



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Archbishop of Canterbury sorry over charity
abuse claims

The Archbishop of Canterbury
has apologised "unreservedly"
after claims of physical abuse by
a former colleague were not
reported for over 30 years.

John Smyth

It has been claimed that at least 22
boys were beaten and humiliated
by former Christian charity head,
John Smyth QC in the 1970s.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby
worked at the charity's summer
camps where the public school
boys were said to have met Mr Smyth,
but said he was unaware of the allegations until 2013.

One of Mr Smyth's daughters, who
asked not to be named, told the BBC
she would "always love" her father,
but if the allegations were true "he
will have to face justice".
"That will be painful for everyone involved," she said.

"But I believe strongly in justice and
would want that for someone who had done that to my child or my brother or
my friend."

She added that teenage boys were
"often" at their family home for
barbecues and pool parties and
she never saw any abuse.

The archbishop said he was
unaware of any claims until the police
became involved four years ago.
He said he was friends with Mr Smyth
when they worked together at the
camps but had then left England in
1978 to work for an oil company in
Paris for five years.

He told radio station LBC:
"I never heard anything at all at any
point, I never had the slightest
suspicion that there was anything
going on."

He said he remembered Mr Smyth
at the time as "a charming, delightful,
very clever, brilliant speaker",
but said they were not close friends.

"I went off to work in France in 1978, which is when I understand, I'm told
the abuse began. It may have been earlier or later, I don't know, and I
was abroad during the time that the
report was done and had no contact
with them at all."

The alleged assaults came to light
in the early 1980s after one of the
victims, a 21-year-old student at
Cambridge University, reportedly
attempted to kill himself after he was
told to submit to another beating.

A report by the charity, the Irwerne
Trust, in 1982 called the practice
"horrific" but the claims were not
reported to police until 2013.

A vicar, Mark Ruston, carried out the
report for the charity, which has now
been seen by Channel 4 News and
the Daily Telegraph.

It reported that after identifying the
boys, mostly from public school
Winchester College, Mr Smyth took
them to his home in Hampshire and
carried out lashings with a garden
cane in his shed.

It said eight of the boys received a
total of 14,000 lashes, while two more
received 8,000 strokes between them over three years.

Victims told the investigation they
had to wear nappies to let their
wounds heal and were left with
lasting scars.
However, the police were not called
by either the charity or the schools
involved, the report remained private,
and Mr Smyth was told to leave the
country - he now lives in South Africa.

One of the alleged victims
complained to the Church again in
2013 and it was only then referred
to the police.

When approached by Channel 4
News about the claims Mr Smyth said:

"I'm not talking about that. I don't
know anything about that."

In a statement, Lambeth Palace
said the Archbishop's Chaplain
showed Mr Welby a letter that had
been written by the Bishop of Ely
in August 2013 to the Bishop of
Cape Town, referring to "concerns" expressed by "an alleged survivor"
after the police were informed.

It also said that while the archbishop knew Mr Smyth had moved overseas,
he did not keep in contact with him,
"apart from the occasional card".

"We recognise that many institutions
fail catastrophically, but the Church
is meant to hold itself to a far, far
higher standard and we have failed
terribly," added the statement.
"For that the Archbishop apologises
unequivocally and unreservedly
to all survivors."

The Titus Trust took over the Iwerne
Trust in 2000 and said it was only informed about the allegations in 2014.
It then submitted a serious incident
report to the Charity Commission
and provided full disclosure to the

A statement from the organisation said:

"The allegations are very grave
and they should have been reported
to the police when they first became known in 1981."

Winchester College told Channel 4 News that it "deeply regrets the
terrible ordeals of the victims and pays tribute to their courage in
speaking out".

However, it said it did not contact the police after consulting parents.
"No report was made to the police
at the time, not least because, understandably, parents of the
victims felt that their sons should
be spared further trauma, and these wishes were respected," it said.

Graham Tilby, the Church of
England's national safeguarding
adviser, said the abuse should
never have happened, adding:
"We utterly condemn this behaviour
and abuse of power and trust".

He said: "Clearly more could have
been done at the time to look further
into the case. We now have a
dedicated central team made up
of six full time posts - we will be reviewing all files making further enquiries as necessary.

"We echo the Archbishop's
unreserved and unequivocal apology
to all the survivors and are committed
to listen to anyone who comes
forward and we would urge anyone
with any further information to report
it to the police."






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