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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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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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