UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
SUBMISSION BY NGO SURVIVORS VOICE EUROPE
ON THE POSITION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN
AND NORTHERN IRELAND
Survivors voice Europe is an International self funded organisation made up of, and supporting survivors of catholic clergy abuse
The Committee will be aware of the criticisms made of the Holy See in its report of 2014
Firstly I would like to draw your attention to a particular concern that we have. It is our contention that although there is “lip service” paid to the tragedy surrounding childhood sexual abuse, there is a gaping hole in the understanding of the severity of it’s consequences.
Despite seeming outrage from anyone hearing of these crimes, there is a tendency to view what are referred to as “historic” trauma as something that may seem only to necessitate victims to have need of some “counseling” or perhaps psychiatry, maybe social care or pastoral support.
This is an offensive trivialisation of a devastating crime against a child, and is particularly true of the attitude of the churches, and also the UK government.
Survivors of these abuses are often viewed at best as unstable or at worst of dubious character, and the crimes themselves are trivialised, the victims receiving the very least that they can be offered rather than the very best they deserve.
Childhood sexual abuse is a catastrophic, life sentence to all abuse victims, and has serious consequences even for future generations.
It is not possible to be sexually abused as a child and survive unscathed, and the extent of those legacies, in our opinion needs to be properly highlighted and taken into consideration when considering how any state or organisation deals with it’s aftermath, or indeed safeguards future generations. We witness this crime being relegated to an unfortunate “blip” rather than the tsunami of dreadful proportions that it actually is.
Although it is indeed important to recognise the mental and emotional effects of such early traumas, it is a more important and a much-neglected fact that these are merely symptoms of physical, and permanent changes that will have occurred for that person.
Scientific research has shown categorically that childhood sexual abuse cause physical changes to the victims brains, immune systems and metabolic systems, even further than that it has been proven to shorten expected life span by around twenty years.
While it is true that the victim may be put on a distorted life path which often involves mental health problems, addictions, self harming, suicides, even criminal behaviour, what is not being acknowledged is that what has become referred to as “psychological damage” will all have a physical root.
A victim may very well have serious physical conditions which can be clearly attributed to their trauma.
They will have a greater susceptibility to life threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and are far more likely to commit suicide.
These facts are rarely considered, mostly avoided, and this is a travesty.
As experts in this particular field, we are involved with the education of professionals, and survivors alike into the true nature of this damage, and it is our firm belief that unless everyone involved in any aspect of child abuse should be in full possession of all of these facts.
This should include therapists, lawyers, social workers, politicians and the UN committees.
Otherwise along with the damage that has already occurred, the victim is further abused by the trivialisation of their ordeals.
It is impossible to safeguard future children without a very full and searching examination of past failures and ignorance of the facts.
There has been a systematic refusal to look properly at the severity of the issues, a refusal that threatens to undermine any progress being made in the safeguarding of children.
Witness the hastily formed “over arching enquiry” in the U.K. which failed almost as soon as it was formed because of an ill informed knee jerk reaction to childhood abuse scandals involving celebrities and institutions like the BBC and previous governments. It was a halfhearted farcical attempt to placate critics, and did more harm than good. It fractured an already vulnerable survivor community.
Soft soaping or patronizing survivors by including them inappropriately in the formation of meaningless committees is a time wasting strategy, elevating them to positions they cannot sustain or emotionally deal with, further compounds their burden.
The new “Goddard” enquiry, has begun, without any clear understanding or indeed interest in clarity, and has an elitist and selective approach.
Unless everyone understands the full effects of these crimes, we don’t believe there will ever be a serious imperative on the part of any government to stamp them out. While ever these effects are minimized there will be no justice for past or future victims of these crimes against humanity.
Furthermore, these enquiries and committees can never be truly independent while they comprise of people within the organizations or governments being investigated. We consider that while it is important that the British legal system to be involved, we fear that as this is a nationwide problem, involving so many established institutions, the body investigating these crimes should comprise mostly of people outside the UK in order to achieve some sort of independence.
Sue Cox – Co-founder Survivors Voice-Europe
Church Organisations in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
We have identified a number of situations in which the state has failed to take adequate steps to control or police church organisations in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and a copy of our findings are set out in our evidence document Appendix 1 to this document.
Whilst we understand that the government of England and Wales has set up an Inquiry into failings of institutions, this ‘Goddard Inquiry’, as it is known, has terms of reference, which fall short of addressing the requirements of the Convention.
We urge the UNCRC to recommend that either the terms of reference of this Inquiry are broadened or that a new Inquiry is established to address the requirements of the UK’s obligations under the convention.
In particular the UK government has failed to implement legislation to mandate the reporting of allegations of child abuse to the Police and has failed to take steps to regulate the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, despite evidence that these two institutions are failing to prevent the abuse of children and are in fact preventing proper investigation of abuse allegations and have colluded in cover-ups.
Child Sexual Exploitation
There has been widespread publicity in the UK of the street sexual exploitation of children by organised gangs in Rotherham, Oxford and Manchester. Sexual exploitation is detailed in the report of Alexis Jay http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham and the report into Oxford child sexual exploitation http://www.oscb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/SCR-into-CSE-in-Oxfordshire-FINAL-FOR-WEBSITE.pdf . The inadequacies of the Local Authorities and the Police are dealt with in the report of Louise Casey https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/401125/46966_Report_of_Inspection_of_Rotherham_WEB.pdf and the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/media/south-yorkshire-police-response-to-child-sexual-exploitation.pdf .
Despite the Police and Local Authorities being aware of widespread child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and Oxford, systems failed to take adequate action to prevent the sexual abuse of hundreds of children in these areas. Inadequate responses were provided by Local Authorities and Police resources were directed towards financial crimes such as burglary as opposed to sexual abuse of minors. Police forces throughout the country continue to devote inadequate resources to the problem of child street exploitation.
We urge the Committee to examine this important issue, which if addressed properly will improve the quality of life for many children in towns and cities in the United Kingdom.
Young Offenders Institutions
We are also concerned that practices which breach the convention continue in Young Offenders Institutions.
Many Prison Officers have been convicted of sexual offences against children, children are routinely strip searched, physically restrained and placed in solitary confinement (see Lord Carlisle’s independent inquiry into the use of physical restraint https://d19ylpo4aovc7m.cloudfront.net/fileadmin/howard_league/user/pdf/Publications/Carlile_Report_pdf.pdf ).
The UK has rejected the European Anti-Torture Committee’s recommendation of 2008 in relation to strip searches. A UK policy document issued in May 2014 still empowers Governors to introduce routine strip searches and strip searching remains mandatory for child prisoners assessed to be at a security risk.
Evidence of continued strip searching in young offenders institutions is contained in the Youth Justice and Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s report of 2011.
Please see the study done of continuing failings by the UK Government to adhere to elements of the convention specifically regarding child prisoners https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/carolyne-willow/sex-abusers-guarding-britain%E2%80%99s-most-vulnerable-children
A call for a Public Inquiry into abuse of children and vulnerable
adults by Clergy in England and Wales.
- The Call for an Independent Inquiry
For 20 years the leaders within the Catholic Church and the Church of England/Wales have repeatedly stated that they will respond appropriately to reports of child sexual abuse, and numerous safeguarding/child protection procedures have been put in place. Despite these assurances and procedures produced there have been repeated court cases in which clergy and religious have been convicted of multiple child sexual offences often dating back and continuing for decades and involving a number of children. And repeatedly the prosecutions have revealed that Church authorities covered up past reports of child abuse and allowed clergy and religious to remain in ministry despite allegations and in some cases past convictions for child sexual offences. In many reported cases further child abuse took place. The James Robinson case in 2010 involving the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, the recent convictions of monks and priests at Ealing Abbey, Buckfast Abbey and Downside and the subsequent Inquiries now being carried out, and the Cotton & Pritchard case in 2008 and subsequent Cof E Diocese of Chichester Inquiries (2010, 2011 and ongoing 2012) are the latest examples.
The cases involving monks and priests at Ealing Abbey and Downside Abbey underline the fact that abuse has been happening very recently which could have been prevented. Clergy still have extensive access to children in church–run schools and this document sets out below why the safeguards are inadequate and are failing the current generation of children.
All the evidence points to the conclusion that the cover up, denial and/or minimisation of child sexual abuse within Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England was widespread, and seemed to be most prevalent within a number of Dioceses and Church Institutions in England and Wales, and that abuse may still be going on. Victims of abuse perpetrated over the past six decades continue to report cases to Church authorities years after the abuse took place and they first reported: in cases where prosecutions are successful files continue to reveal what was already known by Church authorities, in other cases as seen in the MACSAS Survey 2010 reports continue to be ignored.
Until there is an inquiry which uncovers what was known about child sexual abuse by Church authorities and when, and what actions were taken when reports were made, these injustices will continue for decades to come. Justice requires that the truth is told; that victims are allowed to tell what happened to them and be listened to, and where it is proved that they suffered harm it is acknowledged. Church leaders and the heads of religious Organisations must accept responsibility for allowing sex offenders/abusers to continue in ministry and to continue abusing those they were placed in authority over. Only when the truth is known, when responsibility is accepted, will the institutional dynamics be changed. To date neither the Catholic Church in England & Wales nor the Church of England and in Wales has allowed such an inquiry to take place.
We call upon the Government to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy, religious and other church officials within all Dioceses and institutions the Catholic Church in England & Wales and the Church of England and in Wales.
Such an inquiry should have powers to compel the disclosure of all files of clergy, religious and other church officials containing reports and allegations of child sexual abuse. It should receive evidence, both oral and written from victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and religious within parish communities and church institutions and also be able to compel those in positions of authority within Dioceses and religious orders to attend and give evidence.
The Inquiry should investigate how cases were handled by Church and religious authorities and should cover the period from 1954 to the present day. It should establish the extent of the abuse and the mechanisms employed by church authorities to cover up, deny and/or minimise the abuse.
The Inquiry should also examine the impact the abuse and the response of Church and religious authorities had on the victims.
The Roman Catholic Church, the Religious Orders and Church of England and in Wales should be compelled to pay for the cost of the Inquiry.
- Outcomes sought from an Inquiry
- Mandatory reporting by church and religious leaders of all allegations of child abuse perpetrated by those in positions of trust and authority within Churches and Religious Institutions.
- An independent statutory body to monitor and review safeguarding procedures within the Roman Catholic Church and its religious institutions and the Church of England and in Wales. Such a body to have powers to carry out regular and planned inspections, make recommendations for improvements and enforce compliance, as well as to inspect at no notice where substantive cause for concern arises.
- STATISTICS, THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE AND COVER UPS
- The statistics
As we can see (at appendix 1) a brief look into the numbers of allegations and convictions over the last 20 years reveals that 74 abusers have convictions. We know that abusers often abuse multiple times. To work out an estimate of the true number of abusers we have to relate these numbers to recognised research. We have to remember that our figures are incomplete as not all solicitors in England and Wales have contributed. Only specialist firms were asked to contribute. We must look at the figures themselves and extrapolate them against accepted research in this field.
To ensure that this document provides an under-estimate of the true scale of clergy abuse we have deliberately restricted the figures to cases where convictions have been achieved in the criminal court (the highest standard of proof). The issue of the standard of proof is examined below.
- Surveys in other countries
The incidence of adult sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and has been widely researched in the USA, UK, Australia, and in international studies.
The John Jay Study commissioned by the USA Catholic Conference of Bishops in 2002 and published in 2004 found that of the estimated 4,392 priests (4% of the priesthood) in the USA alleged to have sexually abused more than 10,600 children between 1950 and 2002, only 6% had been convicted of child sexual offences. Only 1.5% of the reported cases in the study were deemed to be false allegations. In the 5681 cases where the church investigated and reached a determination 80% were substantiated. The survey excluded cases where the priest was completely exonerated. (John Jay Study 2004 at www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy
In Australia the General Synod of the Anglican Church commissioned a similar study of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy which was completed in 2009. Out of 191 allegations only 1.6% were deemed to be false or erroneous. Over half of reported cases were substantiated and another third were inconclusive and yet only 12% of reported cases resulted in a conviction. (The Australia Study 2009) at www.apo.org.au/research/study-reported-child-sexual-abuse-anglican-church
The failure of the criminal justice system to provide effective protection and redress for victims of child sexual abuse in the UK has been identified in numerous national surveys and studies, which have found that only 3-4% of reported child sexual abuse cases result in a conviction (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre figures 2010 at www.ceop.gov.uk; Cawson, P. et al. (2000) Child maltreatment in the United Kingdom: a study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect. London, NSPCC).
A survey in the Netherlands of 34,000 people estimated that 10% of the population in Holland from 1945 have been the subject of some form of abuse from a member of the Catholic church. www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/16/thousands-children-abused-dutch-catholic Inquiries into abuse in Belgium have revealed widespread abuse of almost systematic proportions www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/10/belgium-child-abuse-catholic-church .
Research in the UK and the USA has also found that only 2 – 3% of allegations of rape and sexual offences have been shown to be false (Kelly, E., Lovett, J., Regan, L. (2005) A Gap or a Chasm – attrition in reported rape cases Home Office Research Study 293 CWAS Unit London Metropolitan University).
The reality we face in our society is that out of every 100 reported cases of child sexual abuse, on average 97 victims reporting abuse are deemed to be telling the truth but only 4 of the cases will result in the conviction of the offender. This leaves over 93% of sex offenders without a criminal conviction. As such 93% of suspected sex offenders working within Church communities and among clergy and religious organisations in the UK will not have been convicted of any offence.
It is clear from research across three continents that an allegation is not false just because the alleged offender is not convicted. 93% of sex offenders are never convicted. Those convicted represent only the tip of the iceberg and our view is that safeguarding is not applied adequately to these suspects.
If we are generous to church organisations and take the Australian figure of 12% of abusers being convicted this leaves 88% of them without sanction, police investigation or undetected. Relating this to our research shows that there are at least 513 abusers who have not been brought to justice. If the 4% figure from CEOP figures of 2010 is used the figure of un-convicted suspects rises to 1,680. The respected John Jay study found that 80% of its 5,681allegations had been substantiated. This leaves the alarming figure of between 542 and 1,776 abusers un-convicted and free to have contact with children or vulnerable adults.
- England and Wales is lagging behind on child protection
Despite the in depth research and inquiries commissioned by governments into church child abuse in other jurisdictions (most notably The Republic of Ireland, Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, Northern Ireland and the US), England and Wales has failed to explore the issue.
There is no credible reason to suggest the proportions of clergy who have abused in England and Wales are any different to other jurisdictions. The evidence gathered in this document is likely to be a small fraction of the full extent of offending. Unless there is an inquiry to establish the extent of abuse and to introduce effective legislation on child safeguarding in this jurisdiction, England and Wales will rank behind other countries in it’s commitment to abuse prevention.
- The Standard of proof
At the heart of the difficulties faced in securing a conviction in child abuse cases is the standard of proof required, which is proof beyond all reasonable doubt. Where a child’s evidence has to be relied on, or the evidence of a victim reporting decades after the offence took place it is very difficult to satisfy the standard of proof without corroborating, independent evidence and this is rarely available. This explains why the CPS often refuses to prosecute a case or the accused is found not guilty – the age of the victim at the time of the offence, the passage of time and the lack of independent supporting evidence, all weaken the chances of securing a conviction.
However the standard of proof required within Child Protection is on the balance of probabilities. The ‘paramountcy principle’ at the heart of child protection requires that the welfare of the child is placed above the lack of certainty of an alleged abuser’s criminal guilt. If on the balance of probabilities a cleric or other person in a position of trust has or may harm a child based on all the information available, then he or she should not be allowed access to children or be placed in a position of trust that would enable him or her to exercise authority over children.
An examination of all allegations of abuse against priests and those working in church organisations will reveal numerous allegations which can be substantiated on the balance of probabilities test. At present church organisations do not appear to be applying this standard when assessing all cases and as a consequence are using this as an excuse to fail in their safeguarding responsibilities. This is an area in which the discretion of the decision maker has and continues to enable the church to “protect its own”. Only legislation will remove the discretion. This is examined in detail below.
As a footnote to this section it is pertinent to make two further observations on the legal process. First the criminal legal system is reluctant to look into Bishops failures to act. There is a general reluctance to prosecute for “inaction”. Second since the 2001 case Lister v Hesley Hall Ltd  UKHL 22 and the advent of vicarious liability in this field lawyers pursuing compensation for abused claimants are no longer forced to carry out deep enquiry into negligence and potential cover ups and it seems there is no-one looking into this important area of safeguarding.
- Cover ups
It is an instinctive and understandable reaction for an organisation facing challenge to defend itself against attack. It is however unacceptable for an organisation to cover up for individuals who it knows have abused children or vulnerable adults. At appendix 2 attached we can see that senior clerics have favoured protecting their organisation rather than the protection of children.
There is a growing realisation that this practice of cover up and bishops’ failures to report allegations to the police is hard-wired into the Catholic Church (see appendix 3). The Anglican Church faces similar criticism as we are seeing a self preservation reaction having at best misguided senior clerics and at worst some senior clerics aided and abetted known sex offenders in the Anglican Diocese of Chichester.
The list of examples cited as potential cover ups are of course only the unsuccessful ones. Without an inquiry we will have no chance of finding out about cases of abuse which were easily preventable had senior clerics acted responsibly. It is hoped that an inquiry will have power to look into these issues.
- THE DEVELOPMENT OF SAFEGUARDING IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND FROM 1990
- Church culture and institutional dynamics are standing in the way of effective child safeguarding measures.
The persistent mantra from Church Institutions when child abuse is raised is that since the Nolan and/or Cumberledge Commission (Catholic church 2002 & 2007) and since Protecting All God’s Children (2004/2010 and the Past Cases Reviews (CofE 2010, CofW 2011) there are now Child Protection/Safeguarding policies in place that ensure that all allegations of child abuse are taken seriously and reported to statutory authorities, and that appropriate actions are taken to ensure that children are not put in danger of harm.
However the difficulty for the Churches is that the procedures they rely upon are neither sufficient nor effective in protecting children from harm. No independent or published review of the effectiveness of current or past procedures has ever been conducted. Whilst the Cumberledge Review on Child Protection in the Catholic Church in 2007 highlighted a number of gaps in the procedures within the Catholic Church; the lack of support for victims and a lack of procedures for complaints where criminal convictions are not secured, and also highlighted the failure of the Bishops to take ownership of the Procedures, it did not look at effectiveness in terms of whether children were actually being protected from harm posed by those alleged to have abused children. The Past Cases Reviews within the Church of England in 2010 and the Church in Wales in 2011 were never published, the findings remain unknown and the published summary reports of 1 ½ pages makes no reference to procedures.
Within the wider society it has been long acknowledged that safeguarding procedures developed since the mid 1990s and the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda, have failed to have any substantive impact on the prevalence and extent of child abuse within our society. The detection rate remains lamentably low at an estimated 5%, and the conviction rates for child abuse remain stubbornly at around 3-4% of reported cases. Child Line celebrated its 25th Anniversary this year and reported a record breaking 600,000 calls received in the previous year, of which tens of thousands concerned sexual abuse. Child pornography and internet grooming are a growing industry and child trafficking for sex or slave labour is on the increase into this country and beyond.
What gives Church leaders the sense of security in their assertions that all is fine now they have procedures in place when we know that institutional dynamics, a culture of indifference and apathy and a lack of moral and professional courage have been found time and again to undermine even the best policies and procedures? There is now compelling evidence that the mainstream Churches are unable to recognise the institutional dynamics that continue to protect the institutions at the cost of the safety of children; they continue to deny that abuse has happened and/or that it was ever reported to them; they continue to deny and minimise the impact on the victims; and even reject and deny the victims themselves all in an attempt to maintain the power, reputation and resources of the institution
- The Current Safeguarding Procedures
A simple analysis of the main safeguarding procedures within the Catholic Church and the Church of England raises major cause for concern.
- THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
- Catholic Safeguarding Procedures 1990 – 2011.
The Bishop’s Conference of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has had child protection policies in place since 1994 (“Child Abuse: Pastoral and Procedural Guidelines” (“the 1994 Guidelines”)). However it soon became clear that the Guidelines were not being followed by Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals. In 2000 the newly elevated Cardinal of England & Wales and former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, Cormac Murphy O’Connor was put under pressure to resign following the mishandling of a clergy child sex offender who went on to abuse more children. The Cardinal was forced to respond by commissioning Lord Nolan to review how reports of child sexual abuse had been handled within the Catholic Church and to make recommendations.
New Guidelines were drawn up, taken from the recommendations of the Nolan commission (found at www.cumberlegecommission.org.uk) and announced to the press in June 2002 with a statement from the newly elevated Archbishop of Birmingham Vincent Nichols who was named Head of Child Protection in the Catholic Church. He stated that at the centre of the guidelines was ‘the paramountcy principle’ placing the welfare of children first. He stated that “from now on those priests cleared in court of child sexual abuse still faced a risk assessment and possible sanctions”.
The Nolan commission did not discover or disclose the extent of abuse reported within the Catholic Church, or those cases held on file still waiting victims to come forward again and report to the police. It focused only on the 102 cases that had gone through the criminal justice system between 1995 and 1999. The Church leaders may know something of the scale of the abuse perpetrated but they have never been compelled to disclose the files of clergy and religious with reported allegations of child sexual abuse dating back to the 1950s. Neither the Nolan nor Cumberledge Commissions had access to those files.
From 2002 the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Adults (COPCA), set up following the Nolan commission recommendations, published an annual report setting out statistics for reported allegation of child abuse within the Catholic Church and the actions taken by statutory and Church authorities in response (www.csas.uk.net/document).
However from their introduction the New Guidelines provoked controversy and misunderstanding within the Catholic Church. From the beginning the hierarchy and clergy within the Catholic Church took the view that when a priest was not prosecuted or convicted of a criminal offence the presumption was that he was innocent of any wrongdoing and that the allegation was false, and many considered the Guidelines to be optional.
In 2006 Baroness Cumberledge carried out a five year review of the Nolan Commission and the effectiveness of the procedures in place. The report was published in 2007 (www.cumberlegecommission.org.uk ). Identifying that the Bishops had not taken ownership of child protection, which undermined the effectiveness of the procedures, the Cumberledge Commission recommended that the role of COPCA be transferred to the Bishops and Religious leaders so that they would have direct responsibility for Child Protection. The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC) was established in 2008 with three Bishops and three Heads of Religious Orders included as members and was to be headed by an Independent Chair. In addition the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS) was set up to advise the NCSC on safeguarding matters. New guidelines and procedures were drafted in 2008 having regard to the Cumberledge recommendations.
Many believe that it was a grievous mistake to place child protection back under the control of the Bishops who had shown themselves incapable of dealing with child sexual abuse in the past. The NCSC is made up almost entirely of Bishops, clergy and religious superiors. The so called independent chairs to date have include a former priest and friend of the Archbishop of Westminster, a Baroness who failed to meet with an victims and lasted just eight months (the post had a mere £30,000 annual budget half of which went on a part time secretary), and we are now we are on our third chair. The new chair of NCSC was chosen by a panel made up entirely of bishops, clergy and religious superiors, and he was chosen on criteria kept secret from the wider public.
- Case Study – Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School
The abuse scandal at Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School which it runs, first came to widespread attention in 2009, when Father David Pearce pleaded guilty to 10 indecent assaults and one sexual assault against 5 boys (all pupils of the school) over a period of 36 years from 1972 to 2007. He was sentenced to eight years, reduced to five on appeal. Pearce was placed on restricted ministry in 2006 following a civil action against him and Ealing Abbey, in which a former pupil of St. Benedict’s claimed he had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Pearce. The judge found against the Abbey and Pearce, and awarded the victim £43,000 plus costs. However, even after this, and although Pearce was placed on restricted ministry on the advice of the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser Mr Peter Turner, Pearce was able to abuse another pupil of the school, who had been employed to come into the monastery at weekends to wash dishes.
Pearce “retired” as headmaster in 1993 following complaints from pupils and parents of abusive behaviour. It is likely that he would have been prosecuted at the time, except that the father of one victim died about then, and the mother understandably in the circumstances didn’t feel able to sustain the complaint. Pearce was made Bursar of the school, and remained in contact with children through his continuing supervision of the Cadet Corps.
Father Stanislaus Hobbs was tried in 2007 on a charge of sexual assault of a pupil in the 1990s. He was acquitted, but under police questioning admitted to a similar assault against the same pupil on a school trip to Italy. As the law stood at the time, this admitted offence could not be prosecuted in the UK because it had occurred outside the country. He was subsequently placed on restrictive covenant with no public ministry. When he resigned as a Trustee following his arrest in 2005, the school had a statutory obligation to issue a notification to the DfE.
Mr. John Maestri has been convicted on three separate occasions, in 2003, 2005 and 2008, of indecent or sexual assaults against pupils at St. Benedict’s when he was a teacher there in the 1970s and 1980s. On one of those occasions he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. Maestri was a teacher of mathematics at the school. In 1984 he was appointed Master of the Middle School, but departed very suddenly as a result of complaints concerning his abusive behaviour before taking up his new post. He was given a good reference by the school and went on to teach (and quite possibly abuse) elsewhere. Again, the school had a statutory obligation to report the circumstances of his departure to the DfE and they did not do so.
The previous Abbot of Ealing, Abbot Lawrence Soper, who has been residing in recent years at Collegio Sant’Anselmo in Rome, was requested to return to the UK to answer police questions concerning alleged sexual offences against boys at the school. He was permitted to retain his passport, and has since failed to attend a police bail appointment and his whereabouts are currently unknown. A European Arrest Warrant has been issued.
Complaints have been made against Father Gregory Chillman, both concerning sexual abuse of boys at St. Benedict’s School when he was a teacher there in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently in connection with his roles as Chaplain and Chairman of Governors of St. Augustine’s Priory School, a nearby independent Catholic school for girls. As a result of these complaints, an investigation was carried out by Ealing Social Services. No charges have been brought, but following the investigation it was decided that Father Gregory posed a danger to children. He resigned as a Trustee of St. Benedict’s on 29th March 2010, and was placed on restrictive covenant on terms which barred him from access to children and from any public ministry. Again, the school had a statutory responsibility to report his resignation as a Trustee, and they did not do so.
Mr Stephen Skelton, a lay teacher at the school for a short time in 1983, was convicted in 2011 of an indecent assault on a pupil in 1983. Like Maestri, he was sent on his way with a good reference when a complaint was made against him, and he did go on to abuse elsewhere. At the same trial in 2011 he was convicted of an indecent assault against another boy at West Hill Park School in Hampshire. Again, St Benedict’s school had a statutory obligation to notify the DfE at the time of his departure, and clearly they did not do so.
Serious complaints have also been made against Father Anthony Gee, a former headmaster of the school, and against Father Kevin Horsey (who died in 2006).
The Charity Commission carried out two Statutory Inquiries into the school following the civil case against the school in 2006. Their report was highly critical of the Trustees for failing to ensure that restrictions against Pearce were not adequately enforced.
The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) carried out a routine inspection of the school in November 2009, and found nothing wrong. As a result of information provided by a member of the public, the DfE ordered the ISI to make a further inspection in April 2010, which found severe shortcomings in the school’s safeguarding procedures, and records of unreported incidents involving six different monks or members of staff. One of the recommendations of the ISI was to “Ensure that any staff or members of the religious community live away from the school, if they are subject to allegations of misconduct related to safeguarding or convicted of wrongdoing.” At the p[resent time, one of the monks against whom there have been allegations is still living at the Abbey under restricted ministry.
Ealing Abbey commissioned Lord Carlile to conduct an inquiry into the abuses that had occurred at the school. The inquiry took more than a year, and resulted in a recommendation for a change in the governance arrangements for the school, but no new recommendations concerning safeguarding. The school’s safeguarding policy even now does not make a commitment always to report allegations or incidents of abuse to the secular authorities.
- Current Safeguarding Procedures within the Catholic Church
The current procedures (found at www.csasprocedures.uk.net) are constantly being updated by NCSC to keep up with the growing criticisms made of them by analysts, survivors groups and professionals working in safeguarding. This knee jerk response to criticism is itself a cause for concern however there are a number of serious concerns with the substantive procedures:
- The structures for Safeguarding include: four regional safeguarding commissions; a safeguarding commissioner for each Diocese; and within each Diocese there may also be a Safeguarding officer/advisor working under the Safeguarding Commissioner.
In recent years a number of safeguarding coordinators and advisors within the Catholic church have resigned or been pushed out following disagreement over how cases were handled within Dioceses. The most recent resignations come from Bristol and the Diocese of Clifton where the Safeguarding Coordinator, a retired judge on the Safeguarding Commission and the Safeguarding advisor all resigned in January 2012 after they were criticised/disciplined by the Bishop for treating a sex offender priest unfairly. The Bishop of Clifton who led the criticism against the safeguarding team is one of the vice chairs of NCSC Bishop Lang and was also on the appointment committee for the new NCSCS Chair.
- Laicisation/removal from access to children. Where a priest is convicted for a child sexual offence and sentenced to more than a year in prison the Nolan commission recommended that steps are taken for the priest to be laicised. However the Procedures make it clear that when a priest is convicted or cautioned for child sex offences consideration will be given to whether steps should be taken to laicise the priest, and no more.
Senior researchers, social workers and other organisations have repeatedly requested information from NCSC on how many priests who have been convicted and sentenced to more than a year in prison have been actually laicised to date. The simple truth is that no one at NCSCS is prepared to reveal this and all statements made in the media over the past two years now appear to be misleading.
- Risk assessment, discretion and reliance on the criminal justice system. Whilst much is made of Independent Risk Assessments being the “cornerstone of the Church’s commitment” to safeguarding Children the details within the Procedures makes it clear that not all those alleged to have abused children will be risk assessed either independently or at all. The Procedures state that Independent risk assessment may be carried out for those offenders who have been investigated, prosecuted, convicted or cautioned for child sex offences.
The published statistics from COPCA and NCSC for the period 2003 and 2007 there were only 22 risk assessments carried out for the more than 206 priests and religious with allegations of abuse made during that period, approximately 10% of cases. This very low level of risk assessments may be because the Procedures state that there is “no obligation in Canon Law for a member of the clergy to undergo an assessment that asks for an examination of conscience”. Also “the informed consent of the cleric is required in all cases”.
The very fact that clergy are allowed to refuse to undertake a risk assessment under Canon law should raise very real concerns about what appears to be the paramountcy of Canon law in child protection matters.
If a risk assessment is undertaken, the procedures provide that the regional Safeguarding Commission must have regard to the recommendations from the Independent Assessment when determining the recommendations to make to the Bishop. If there is a dispute over the recommendations made by the Assessor, or the Safeguarding commission these must be resolved by reference to CSAS. It is also of concern that Diocesan and/or safeguarding authorities can challenge the recommendations from an Independent Risk Assessment; on what basis would they do this?
To date no information has been provided by CSAS or NCSC on how many ‘disputes’ arise. Clearly in the Diocese of Clifton in January 2012 such a dispute led to the complete collapse of the regional safeguarding commission and a case being taken to the Employment tribunal. What happened to the Priest who was convicted on child pornography offences?
- The Procedures say that where police/statutory authorities do not prosecute or the priest is not convicted then an independent risk assessment may be commissioned if concerns remain.
- Who determines whether there is sufficient concern for an independent risk assessment?
- How is the effectiveness of the ad hoc risk assessment by the regional safeguarding commission, diocesan safeguarding commissioner and/or the safeguarding officer/advisor being assessed?
The Procedures do not make it clear what if any effective actions should be taken to ensure that clergy and religious reported to have committed child sexual offences do not pose a risk to children either following conviction or following an allegation if there is no conviction.
This wide discretion on what to do with alleged sex offenders led to such cases as that of Father Michael Hill (above) and Fr David Pearce who both went on to abuse more children following in one case a clinical assessment that said he was an ongoing risk to children and in the other a civil court finding that he had abused a child. Clearly whatever risk assessment was undertaken in the case of David Pearce after 2004 it failed to identify the obvious risk posed by letting a known child sex offender live beside a school and remain a priest where children came into and out of the house on a daily basis.
- A curiously named Preliminary Investigation Protocol was introduced into the procedures in May 2011. This protocol is optional and is only engaged where there is no conviction or prosecution of a reported case, and where the safeguarding coordinator believes that such an investigation is necessary (May 2011). However this optional protocol is not sufficient to mop up the more than 95% of cases where there is no conviction and there are very real concerns about the independence and effectiveness of the protocol where the decision to have an investigation, the remit and scope of such and the investigation and the outcomes possible are entirely prescribed by lawyers, insurers and the Bishop.
- THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND WALES – an Overview
Whilst the press and public have focused on the failing within the Catholic Church a similar events have gone unreported in the Church of England. From its Cathedral Choir Schools and independent boarding schools to Dioceses across the country there have been many reported cases of multiple child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and other church officials within the Church of England.
No independent review has been conducted into child abuse within the Church of England or in Wales. However following two high profile convictions where failings by Bishops were revealed in 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered all Dioceses to conduct a Past Cases Review of child abuse allegations held within all Diocesan files. The review was completed in 2009 and the summary report published in early 2010 identified only 13 cases on record where allegations had been made and/or convictions secured and the offender was still in ministry and concerns were raised. Of these no substantive action was taken against any after reports and reviews had been completed. There were no figures given of how many people in ministry within the C of E had allegations of child sexual abuse, had been found guilty of such abuse and/or had been otherwise assessed or deemed to have abused children. The C of W Past case review identified only 5 cases in a similarly constructed report (2010). Some of the Dioceses conducted internal reviews run by senior clergy and in others independent consultants conducted the review. Whilst Bishops were urged to hand over all files, it is now known that some Bishop’s chose not to do so which undermined the validity of the Past Cases Review. This review will be studied in more detail below.
The Joint National Safeguarding Advisor for CofE and Methodist Church is not informed of cases reported within Dioceses and does not collate statistics of cases reported either to the dioceses or to statutory authorities, or cases where prosecutions and convictions resulted. There are no statistics of the prevalence of abuse either now or in the past, no central record of risk assessment undertaken and no understanding of what happened to those against whom there were allegations of child abuse unless the cases are reported in the press.
Abuse in the CofE has taken place within parishes, in the Scouting movement and in youth work where vicars and other church workers are involved. Also choirmasters have been convicted of abusing choir boys where there have been numerous convictions involving choir masters: Chichester Cathedral Prebendal School in the early 2000s, and those identified and Peter Halliday in Diocese of Guildford in 2007 just two of many. Bishop Peter Ball, formerly of Lewis and then Gloucester accepted a caution for gross indecency against a 17 year old seminarian in the 1980s; this was only one of a number of allegations made against him and kept on file. Another vicar picked up runaway boys from the train stations in London and abused them. In Winchester in 1988 two vicars, a choirmaster, a solicitor and a convicted child sex offender were convicted of 22 specimen charges of child sex offences with boys which took place on church outings, at the YMCA and in the churchyard.
Something similar to Winchester appears to have taken place in Chichester and continued until the 1990s with Cotton now believed to have been abusing children up to 1996 from the latest victim to come forward.
- CASE STUDY Diocese of Chichester – Roy Cotton & Colin Pritchard, Inquiries and Further Arrests
Bishop Hind of the Diocese of Chichester apologised in March 2011 to the victims of Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard for the sexual abuse they suffered and the failure of Diocesan authorities to recognise the danger posed by Cotton, a known and convicted child abuser at the time he was ordained in 1967 (see statement on www.macsas.org.uk ; and BBC South East report of 2nd March 2011 also available on www.macsas.org.uk ).
In fact Cotton was convicted in 1954 whilst he was training for ordination and was told to go away and come back when he was ‘more mature’. Cotton then set up a boarding school where he systematically abused children until he left in 1967 following allegations of child abuse being made against him. Despite church authorities knowing of Cotton’s previous conviction and of the more recent allegations made against him, he was ordained in 1967.
In 1996/7 two brothers reported Cotton and Pritchard to the police for child sexual offences perpetrated against them in the 1970s. – 1980s. However following a three year investigation no charges were brought because of lack of independent evidence, i.e. another victim not related who had been abused. The Diocesan authorities did not disclose the information they had on file, nor the fact that Cotton had a previous conviction for child sexual offences. Although Cotton was immediately retired and told that he was permanently barred from ministry, he was granted a PTO in 1999 immediately after the police decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him. He kept his PTO up until his death in 2006. Pritchard meanwhile was allowed to remain in ministry and did not have any restrictions placed on him after 1999. When he too retired in the early to mid 2000s, he was immediately granted a PTO. Cotton worked regularly within the same church where Pritchard was parish priest until he went into hospital in 2003. The house Cotton and later Pritchard lived in which the Diocese had purchased, overlooking a primary school.
In 2006/7 Northampton Police investigated another allegation of child sex abuse made against Pritchard, who had been a parish priest in Wellingborough in the 1970s and 1980s. He was eventually charged with child sex offences. When a new Safeguarding adviser arrived in the Diocese of Chichester in 2007 she found a record of the prosecution of Pritchard in Northampton and told the Bishop of Chichester to hand over the files on Pritchard and Cotton to the Northampton police. Cotton had died in 2006. Pritchard was eventually sentenced to 5 years in prison in 2008.
Since the conviction of Colin Pritchard there have been two inquiries into the handling of these cases. Roger Meeking an independent consultant who conducted the Past Case review in the Diocese of Chichester reported in 2009 and his report was not published. The diocese did not agree with his findings and asked Baroness Butler-Sloss to conduct and inquiry and to recommend whether the Meeking report should be published. That report was published in May 2011 (www.diochi.org.uk ) however despite recommending that the Meeking report be published it has yet to see the light of day.
Since the Butler Sloss report it has been discovered that Butler Sloss was not told the whole truth by the Bishop of Lewis and the now Bishop of Blackburn, former Archdeacon of Hastings and Brighton, and there is concern that there may have been an attempt to mislead both the Meeking’s and Butler-Sloss inquiries by some within the Diocese of Chichester.
As a result of considerable concerns raised the Safeguarding Advisory committee in the Diocese of Chichester sent a report to Lambeth Palace in the Autumn of 2011 under the Clergy Disciplinary Measures 2003 complaining about the conduct of Bishop Wallace Benn and his failure to safeguard children. The committee recommended his immediate suspension from his post. Whilst no action has been taken by the Archbishop in respect of Wallace Benn he has ordered an Arch Episcopal visitation to the diocese to investigate into the handling of child abuse allegations led by Bishop Gladwin and Canon Bursell QC. This is the first such visitation in over 130 years and the first ever into the diocese of Chichester. Since being initiated the Investigation has broadened out in light of further recent developments and police investigations which are ongoing.
In latest developments in early March 2012 an Addendum to the Butler-Sloss report was made public, in which the Baroness sets out that she had been repeatedly be told misleading and incorrect information by Bishop Wallace Benn and Bishop Nicholas Reade former Archdeacon of Hastings and Brighton concerning the granting of a PTO to Roy Cotton in 1999. Bishop Reade, the Bishop of Blackburn, announced his early retirement the day the Addendum report was published.
The following week in March 2012 police arrested two more vicars of the diocese of Chichester on allegations of child sex offences; Canon Gordon Rideout and Rev Coles. It is understood that two other vicars in the Diocese of Chichester have been arrested and bailed in recent months.
Also in Chichester Rev Noel Christian Moore was originally arrested in 1950 and convicted on 8 counts of indecent assault against minors in 1951. He was imprisoned until 1955 but then returned to working as a priest and chaplain. In the 1960s he and a lay teacher abused upwards of four boys in Warden House, a private school in Crowborough. Some of the abuse was committed by both men working together in the Chaplain’s Lodge at the school. This involved alcohol and boys were abused by each man in separate rooms and then swapped. The Rev Moore died in 1973. The teacher and Moore were also working at a Church in Crowborough where one of the victims was an Alter Server. Moore regularly took services there. The teacher appears to have had a role much like a curate and he was only in his 20s at the time the abuse took place, this man has yet to be identified and questioned.
In 2003 Church officials re-launched an investigation to find out how two cases of child abuse went unnoticed at Chichester Cathedral. It was been re-opened after David Bowring, 54, a maths teacher at the Prebendal School, which is linked to the cathedral, was jailed for three years for sexually assaulting four boys in the early 1970s. The case of Bowring came to light while police were investigating paedophile Terence Banks. Banks, 64, was jailed in 2001 for 16 years for abusing boys he met through the cathedral over 30 years. Church chiefs initially launched the investigation after Banks was put behind bars but it was halted while detectives worked on the Bowring case. The investigation was re-started and the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Rev John Hind promised to publish the inquiry’s findings. A child protection officer was employed by the diocese to carry out the investigation. Bowring pleaded guilty to six charges of indecent assault at Chichester Crown Court.(http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/church_probe_after_child_abuse_case_1_1229594). No report was ever published by the Diocese of Chichester.
It is understood that a file containing the names of a number of ministers in the CofE Diocese of Chichester with allegations of child sexual abuse against them was handed to the police following a second secret report produced by Baroness Butler-Sloss. Some of these are or were in senior positions within the Diocese. More details can be found on www.macsas.org.uk.
Since the Butler-Sloss report was published last May there are now 16 victims of Cotton and 4 of Pritchard who have come forward. Cotton is now reported to have continued to abuse up to at least 1997. As of this week upwards of 50 victims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy within the Diocese of Chichester have come forward and this number is believed to be the tip of the iceberg.
The damage caused to the victims, to the communities where these men served and to the wider population is incalculable. As the Diocese begins to settle cases before they reach courts, and vicars consider what options they have, faced with mounting allegations against them it is time for an independent public inquiry to establish what it was within the church, its institutional dynamics and its culture of secrecy that attracted these men into Church ministry, into the Diocese and enabled them to continued to abuse scores of children for decades, whilst seemingly at all times senior church officials knew about it.
See Appendix 4 for a list of cases concerning CoE/CofW vicars and other church officials. It is notable that a number of cases in the Appendix 1 also involve connections with the Diocese of Chichester.
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures within the Church of England 1990 – 2010
The events unfolding in the Diocese of Chichester cut across official church statements that with child protection procedures now in place these things cannot happen again. But for the enormous courage of the victims in Chichester who refused to allow the Church to get away with bland apologies and worthless statements of intent there would not now be such intensive police investigations, media scrutiny and church inquiries going on.
So what of the Child protection/Safeguarding Procedures that are now in place, can these effectively change the institutional dynamics that have been exposed in the Diocese of Chichester?
The first guidelines in the Church of England concerned with handling child abuse cases were issued by the House of Bishops in 1995 following the publication of the Government policy on Child Protection ‘Safe From Harm’ (1993). The Guidelines stated that no cleric convicted of serious child sexual offences should be allowed to work with or close to children. It is clear from past cases where convictions have now been secured that this policy was not put into effect. It is also clear that the House of Bishops had no regard to the danger posed by the majority of offenders who are not convicted yet pose a considerable risk to children (see Chichester case above).
In 2004 the Church of England published their Child Protection/Safeguarding Guidelines and Procedures “Protecting All God’s Children” which reflected the Government’s new child protection agenda “Every child matters”. However in 2007 two cases of child sexual abuse perpetrated within the Church resulted in convictions which caused considerable concern about the handling of child abuse cases within the Church of England. These concerns were similar to those found within the Catholic Church (see Halliday and Smith cases Appendix xx) .
Following the conviction and imprisonment of Rev David Smith and Peter Halliday in 2007 the House of Bishops asked all Dioceses to review past cases/reports of child sexual abuse held on clergy and other church personnel files. It was clear from these two cases that Diocesan authorities were still sitting on files containing allegations of child sexual abuse and had allowed clergy and others in positions of trust to continue working with children, leading to further abuse of children.
In 2009 the Church of England completed the Past Case Review. It is understood from discussions with those involved in the Review that the Bishops were allowed to determine who should undertake the review within their own Dioceses. Some commissioned independent consultants to review the files and others decided to do it internally. Clearly issues of objectivity and transparency arise in respect of those Dioceses where reviews were undertaken internally. A number of the independent consultants called in asked Diocesan Bishops to sign letters to the effect that all files had been disclosed to those carrying out the review. It is not known how many Dioceses had an independent review done or how many Bishops signed such a letter. We now understand that in at least one diocese cases have been reported where allegations have gone back decades but the files were not disclosed to those undertaking the Past case review (Diocese of Chichester).
A less than 3 page summary of the Past Cases Review report was made available to the public. Of very real concern is that only 13 files were found to cause concern requiring any action to be taken, and of these 11 were sent to statutory authorities. From this brief note and from speaking to those involved with the Past Cases review MACSAS was able to clarify that the 13 cases referred only to ministers who had allegations of child sexual abuse in their files and were still working in active ministry at the time the review was conducted and for whom concerns were raised during the inquiry. It is not known how many files there are for ministers and other officials currently in post containing allegations of child sexual abuse nor how it was determined that these ministers/officials did not pose an ongoing risk to children thereby requiring formal action to be taken. The brief report makes no mention of clergy, and other church official who had died, retired, were ill, had left ministry, or those who had moved to other countries. Given the Halliday case that triggered the review concerned a man who was no longer a church official, these are staggering omissions. The Church of England did everything it could to minimise the true extent of child abuse perpetrated within the Church. It is clear that the 13 cases stated are just the tip of the iceberg of child sexual abuse perpetrated within and reported to Diocesan authorities. This is evidenced by the fact that upwards of 12 vicars are on file in Chichester alone.
Also of concern was that only three of the thirteen cases were deemed to have required a risk assessment strategy to be put in place, whatever that means; and that only two cases have required formal disciplinary proceedings. No risk assessment appears to have been undertaken for the remaining cases identified or the other cases where allegations have been made and are on file. As we see in the cases within the Appendix to this report the lack of effective actions being taken when allegations have been reported in the Church of England has time and again led to more children being abused by the alleged offenders.
The report of the Past Case Review also failed to explain why Bishops in Dioceses across England have continued to allow clergy and other church officials to remain in active ministry when there are allegations of and even convictions for child sexual abuse on their files. Despite the past case review which was itself triggered by revelations of such practices, it is clear that this is still happening as evidenced from the outcome of the past case review where actions were only taken in two out of the thirteen cases identified (see also the Diocese of Chichester).
Of very real concern is that the Past Cases Review report appears to have been a serious attempt by Church Authorities to minimise and/or deny the true extent of child sexual abuse taking place within the Church of England.
If for no other reason than the now compelling evidence coming out of the diocese of Chichester we can safely say that the past cases review was a whitewash, and can give no comfort that the Church is any safer now than it was before the review was carried out.
- Current Procedures in place in C of E (from 2010)
In 2010 the Child Protection Procedures for the Church of England were updated: “Protecting All God’s Children” (www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/child-protection-safeguarding.aspx). The ‘paramountcy of the child’s welfare’ is repeatedly referred to throughout and Words such as ‘justice’ are used, and statements about working with those who have suffered abuse, and the commitment to safeguarding children are liberally sprinkled about. However the substance of the Procedures raises a number of serious concerns.
- Lack of Independence and transparency. The Procedures provide that every Diocese must appoint a Safeguarding Children’s Adviser who is accountable to the Bishop and should have full access to church files and other confidential material. The Safeguarding Adviser should be a professional who has training and experience in child protection. However the Safeguarding Adviser can also be a member of the clergy or a relative of the Bishop/member of the clergy (Dioceses of London and Chichester). It is very difficult to see how there is no conflict of interest if the person investigating an allegation of clergy perpetrated child abuse is a colleague or friend of the accused. The Procedures also provide that there should also be a Coordinator in each parish to work with the parochial church council (PCC) who should be a member of the PCC. This person could be a volunteer and again could be either clergy or related to clergy.
As with the Catholic Church it is clear that the Safeguarding advisor is placed in a vulnerable position when a case comes up that puts him or her in direct conflict with the Bishop. In Chichester the safeguarding advisor at the time of the Pritchard conviction was forced out of post in 2010 when she raised serious concerns about the Bishops handling of allegations. It is now believed that a dispute about Rideout led to her leaving. She settled her employment case with the Diocese for an undisclosed sum and signed a confidentiality agreement. On another Diocese the Safeguarding Advisor has reported that she has faced repeated bullying from the Bishop and others working round him as she has treid to do her job effectively.
- Responding to Concerns. The Procedures provide that Diocesan authorities should respond to all reports where a child is at risk or may have been harmed however adults who report ‘historic cases’ are not mentioned in the Responding to Concerns This omission is of serious concern as most cases of child sexual abuse are reported when the victim is an adult (see the Australian Study 2009; John Jay Study 2004; NSPCC 2000 and 2011).
- The Procedures explicitly state that Canon law constrains disclosure of details of a crime/offence revealed in the course of formal confession. Whilst the Procedures note that this may be inconsistent with civil law, there is no attempt to set out what should happen in these cases.
Past cases such as the Halliday and Cranch (Appendix xx) illustrate that Bishops know about the offending behaviour of some priests yet they are still allowed to continue in ministry or to work with children and invariably continue abusing. The MACSAS Survey identified two more vicars who are believed to have confessed to their Bishops but are still in ministry as no conviction was possible. These men have multiple allegations against them.
- Managing Allegations against church officials – when clergy and others in positions of trust are accused of child sexual abuse it may be necessary to suspend the accused. If there is a ‘prima facie’ case of serious misconduct/abuse the accused should normally be suspended whilst the allegation is investigated. With such wide discretion allowed even in ‘prima facie’ cases it is little wonder that few if any of the alleged abusers were suspended in the cases reported in the MACSAS Survey 2010 (macsas.org.uk) . In past cases Diocesan authorities have even allowed priests to continue in ministry up to the day of the court hearing.
The Procedures warn of the dangers of providing character references in criminal matters. This may well reflect lessons learnt in past cases where serial paedophile clergy have been provided with glowing references from Bishops stressing the minister’s ‘outstanding and selfless pastoral ministry over many years’. Often priests got reduced on suspended sentences on the back of such references.
- Where No Prosecution or Conviction. The Procedures do state that the fact that no prosecution is brought or there is a finding of ‘not guilty’ does not necessarily mean that no concern remains. However the language speaks of minimisation and denial. We know that the vast majority of reported cases of child sexual abuse will result in no conviction. Most will not even be prosecuted (9% John Jay Study 2004; 23% Australian Study 2009; COPCA/NCSC statistics 2003-2011).
- The Procedures go on to provide that “maybe” it “might be” appropriate to continue disciplinary actions; and “maybe” a risk assessment should be undertaken if well founded concerns remain. Such ambiguous wording ensures that it is highly unlikely that any risk assessment is carried out or any actions are taken against those not actually convicted of an offence.
- Risk Assessment & Redeployment. Where a risk assessment is carried out the Procedures provide that it will be done by an outside agency normally professionally qualified. However by the time the procedures get to this point few if any of the accused will be considered. This provision is set in the context of those with previous convictions or cautions and with blemished CRB checks. Worryingly the Procedures state that where a person has old offences of child abuse this will not normally prohibit otherwise suitable people from working with children. The Church will always recognise reformed characters.
The Procedures as currently drafted bend over backwards to accommodate those with allegations of child sexual abuse made against them enabling them to continue in ministry, in positions of authority over children and invariably to continue to pose a risk.
- Ongoing reliance on the Criminal Justice System. CRB checks are flagged up in all Church of England publicity on their Child Protection/Safeguarding measures, yet we know that less than 10% of child sex offenders have a criminal conviction. Many escape detection for years and even when they are discovered only 3-4% of reported cases result in a conviction.
- CONCLUSION THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
There is currently no consistency in the responses to allegations of child abuse in Dioceses in the Churches of England and in Wales, the National Safeguarding Advisor has no access to information on allegations raised in all dioceses and with no central overview it is very difficult to see how consistent responses can be developed. MACSAS worked with the National Safeguarding Advisor giving details of all cases reported in the MACSAS Survey 2010, which formed the first information held national on what was happening in Dioceses across the country.
The Diocese of Chichester is now undergoing a third church commissioned inquiry since the conviction of Pritchard in 2008. Further it is known that the Police in Sussex have an ongoing investigation into child abuse in the CofE in the Diocese of Chichester and it is believed that arrests will be made shortly.
In other dioceses there a vicars with multiple allegations of child abuse still in ministry including those who are believed to have confessed to their Bishops. The current safeguarding procedures do not protect children from risk of abuse by those already reported for such offences lets alone those who are unknown.
- Note on Child Pornography
There have been a number of convictions in recent years for child pornography which is also child abuse and must be taken seriously, yet time and again we read of Bishops etc writing references of support for these men as if they had done nothing wrong. What we see in these illustrative cases is that often child pornography was just one of the ways the vicars/priests abused.
Recent cases include:
- In 2000 Fr Joseph Jordan of the Archdiocese of Cardiff was convicted in two separate trials for sexual offences against boys in the 1980s and possession of child pornography, and was sentenced to a total of 8 years in prison. During the trials it was revealed that Jordan was subject to investigation following allegations of child sexual abuse when he lived in Plymouth in the 1970s before he became a priest. Although Jordan had been acquitted on that occasion the Bishop of Plymouth had warned the Archbishop of Cardiff, Archbishop Ward that he was investigating Jordan’s suitability for ministry as a result. The Archbishop ignored those warnings.
- In 2006 the Rev Richard Thomas former director of communications in the Diocese of Oxford was found guilty of making and possessing images up to the most severe level 5 which includes images of child rape. Quite extraordinarily the Bishop of Oxford gave a character reference for Thomas at the hearing which ensured that he received a 3 year community order rather than a prison sentence.
- In 2007 the Rev James Morrish pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in the Diocese of Hereford after his wife reported him to the police.
- In 2008 the Rev Richard Hart parish priest in Powys, Mid Wales was convicted of possession of 56,000 child pornography images including 44 images at category 5, depicting sex with children. He also took photographs of girls. He had been collecting child pornography for 16 years from 1991 to 2007. He was ordained in 1988 and was also the governor of a local primary school. He was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison.
- In 2009 Rev Trevor Diaper of the Diocese of Chelmsford pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent images of children including moving images and to the possession of 1,145 indecent images of children ranging in seriousness form level 1 to 4. Diaper had also been charged with seven counts of child sexual offences against a child which took place between 1999 and 2003; however the CPS decided not to proceed with the charges when he agreed to plead guilty to the child pornography offences to spare the victim further distress. Extraordinarily Diaper was only given a three year community order. However Diocesan officials indicated at the time that he would be subject to disciplinary procedures to ensure that Diaper does not minister in church again.
- In 2010 Rev Dominic Stone of the Diocese of Lichfield was found guilty of 16 charges of downloading indecent images of children after 600 child pornography images were found on his computer. He was given a nine month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years. Stone resigned from ministry following his conviction.
- Also in 2010 former senior vicar Paul Battersby was convicted of downloading child pornography and sentenced to eight months in prison. This was the second offences for which he was convicted. Battersby had been the Church of England national youth officer. In 2007 he was reported to police after his family found pornographic images on his computer. One of the movies was of a 10 year old girl being raped by her father. Battersby, then a parish priest in Leyland was given a 34 week suspended sentence, 200 hours community service and ordered to attend a sex offenders’ programme.
- A Roman Catholic priest John Shannon from the Diocese of East Anglia who was teaching at Durham Seminary was convicted in January 2011 on 16 counts of making indecent photographs of children. He was sentenced to 8 months for each count to run concurrently.
- Note on safeguarding in church schools.
Church organizations run many schools around the country. Priests and other church officials have free access to pupils. An effective safeguarding policy is more likely to deter abusers, as well as empowering parents and children to speak about any abuse, reducing trauma and preventing other victims from suffering. The government’s statutory requirements do not ensure that an effective policy exists in all schools. There is no statutory obligation on the management of a school to report allegations or even known incidents of abuse to the authorities. Parents are mostly unaware of this, and trust that the safeguarding policy is adequate without checking it themselves. When they do check it, they find it is in education jargon and difficult to interpret.
Many Church of England and Catholic schools still do not have effective polices in place. The Department of Education’s statutory guidelines, last updated in July 2009, state:
“The local authority is required to take the lead role in ensuring the safety of children and young people but safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility. Safeguarding should be of concern to the whole community. All public services, not just those directly providing services for children, have a role in safeguarding children and young people for example housing and leisure services.”
For church schools to make their contribution to this, they need to report any suspected abuse to the Local Authority Designated Officer for Child Abuse (LADO), without delay. Unfortunately, this is merely guidance, and schools have no statutory obligation to follow it. Research has found that a large proportion of church schools do not commit to reporting all allegations or incidents of abuse (www.stopchurchchildabuse.co.uk ).
This gap in safeguarding legislation in failing to make reports to the police and/ or social services or the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) mandatory is putting children at risk. The Downside Abbey case (Richard White – appendix 2 below) is just one example of how easy it is for church organisations to protect their own without compulsion.
The issue of clergy access to children in schools makes clear the importance of tightening safeguarding in church organisations as children are at risk today. Despite what we hear from churches it cannot be said that this is an old issue and that there is no urgency.
List of convicted clergy and church officials
|Name of Priest/
|Years of Abuse||Venue||Details of conviction
|1. Fr Pearce
|2. John Maestri||1970s and 1980s||St Benedict’s
|3. Fr Penny
|4. Fr David Taylor||1980’s||Holy Island
|5. Fr James Murphy||1999||St Gertrude’s
|6. Peter Stewart||St Mary
|7. Colin Adams||1990-93||Church of Wales||Convicted||C of Wales|
|8. Pastor Albert
|9. Pastor Colin Jones||Salvation Army Gateshead||Convicted|
|10. Fr McCallen||1980’s||Convicted|
|11. Fr Peter Carr||1970’s||Salesians||Conviction|
|12. Fr Gallagher||1960’s||Diocese of Southwark||Conviction|
|13. Fr Bede Walsh||1970’s||Diocese of
|14. Fr Kenneth Arkley||1980’s||St Peter the Apostle||Convicted 1990|
|15. Fr Michael Creagh||1980’s||Douai
|16. Richard White||1980’s||Downside Abbey||Convicted|
|18. Fr Raphael Appleby||1980’s||Downside Abbey||Cautioned|
|19. Fr John Kinsey||1980’s||Belmont Abbey||Convicted|
|20. Fr William Manahan||1970’s||Buckfast Abbey||Convicted|
|21. Fr John Lloyd||1980’s||Cardiff||Convicted|
|22. Fr Joseph Jordan||1980’s||Cardiff||Convicted|
|23. Fr Paul Couch||1970’s||Buckfast Abbey||Convicted|
|24. Fr Bernard Green||1980’s||Ampleforth College||Convicted|
|25. Fr Grant Ferris||1975||Ampleforth College||Convicted|
|26. Fr John Coghlan||Diocese of Westminster||Convicted|
|27. Fr William Hofton||Diocese of Westminster||Convicted|
|28. Fr Malcolm McLennan||Diocese of Portsmouth||Convicted|
|29. Fr Michael Hill||Diocese of Arundel||Convicted|
|30. Fr Martin McLennan||Diocese of Southwark||Convicted|
|31. Fr James Murphy||Diocese of Southwark||Convicted|
|32. Fr John
|Diocese of Birmingham||Convicted|
|33. Fr O’Malley||Diocese of Birmingham||Convicted|
|34. Fr Edmund Cotter||Diocese of Lancaster||Convicted|
|35. Fr James Pearce||Diocese of Lancaster||Convicted|
|36. Fr Anthony McKay||Diocese of Lancaster||Convicted|
|37. Fr Noel Barrett||Diocese of Middlesbrough||Convicted|
|38. Fr Michael Dunn||Diocese of Middlesbrough||Convicted|
|39. Fr David Crowley||Diocese of Middlesbrough||Convicted|
|40. Fr Gregory Carroll||Diocese of Middlesbrough||Convicted|
|41. Fr William Green||Diocese of Salford||Convicted|
|42. Fr Thomas
|Diocese of Salford||Convicted|
|43. Fr Adrian McLeish||Diocese of Hexham||Convicted|
|44. Fr William Jacks||Diocese of Hexham||Convicted|
|45. Fr Patrick Fitzpatrick||Diocese of Hexham||Convicted|
|46. John Corrigan||Diocese of Hexham||Convicted|
|47. Brian Rutledge||Diocese of Portsmouth||Convicted|
|48. James Kelly||Tingwall Hall – Brothers of Charity||Convicted|
|49. Fr Joseph Jordan||1980’s||Archdiocese of Cardiff||Convicted|
|50. Rev Richard Thomas||Diocese of Oxford||Convicted||C of E|
|51. Rev Richard Morrish||Diocese of Hereford||Convicted||C of E|
|52. Rev Richard Hart||1991-2007||Powys, Wales||Convicted||C of Wales|
|53. Rev Trevor Diaper||1993-2003||Diocese of Chelmsford||Convicted||C of E|
|54. Fr John Shannon||2010||Diocese of East Anglia||Conviction||C of E|
|55. Rev Paul Battersby||2007||Leyland. Lancs||Convicted||C of E|
|56. Rev Dominic Stone||Diocese of Lichfield||Convicted||C of E|
|57. Br Eunan||Tingwall Hall – Brothers of Charity||Convicted|
|58. Fr Patrick Maguire||UK and Ireland||Convicted|
|59. Canon Laurence Davies||Diocese of Llandaff||Convicted|
|60. Rev Malcolm Brooks||Church of Wales||Indecent assault proven at Church Tribunal||C of Wales|
|61. Rev Richard Parry||Wrexham||Convicted||C of E|
|62. Rev Peter Cranch||Diocese of Exeter||Convicted||C of E|
|63. Rev Roy Cotton||54-97||Diocese of Chichester||Convicted||C of E|
|64. Rev Colin Pritchard||Diocese of Chichester||Convicted||C of E|
|65. Rev Richard Gizzard||Kent||Convicted||C of E|
|66. Rev Noel Moore||Diocese of Chichester||Convicted||C of E|
|67. Peter Halliday||1980’s||Farnborough||Convicted||C of E|
|68. Rev Peter Hedge||1990 – 2005||Diocese of Bradford||Convicted||C of E|
|69. Rev Michael Walter||1970’s and 80’s||Dioceses of Durham and York||Convicted||C of E|
|70. Rev David Smith||1975-2005||Diocese of Bath and Wells||Convicted||C of E|
|71. Bishop Peter Ball||Diocese of Chichester||Cautioned||C of E|
|72. Fr Anthony Laundy||Archdiocese of Southwark||Convicted|
|73. Fr Peter Edwin Tidmarsh||Diocese of London||Cautioned||C of E|
|74. Mr Stephen Skelton||1980’s||St Benedict’s Ealing||Convicted|
Archdioceses/ Dioceses where cover ups are known to have taken place
Father James Robinson
James Robinson, a former catholic priest was jailed for 21 years in October 2010 for sexual abuse of boys. His abuse covered a period of 24 years.
Between 1959 and 1983 he repeatedly abused at least 6 boys. In 1985 a victim told the Arch Diocese of Birmingham and the police about his abuse and West Midlands Police began an inquiry. At that point Robinson moved to California. Despite the police investigation and knowledge by the Arch Diocese of Birmingham of the allegations the Arch Diocese continued to pay him £800 per month until December 2001 and a separate payment of £8,400 in the year 2000. The Diocese presumably knew of his address when sending the cheques.
The Trial Judge His Honour Patrick Thomas QC viewed the catholic churches role as highly questionable when he remarked :
‘It is not for me to judge. Others may take the view that a full investigation and full disclosure of the results of that investigation is due to the members of that church and Robinson’s victims ”
Fr Samuel Penney
In March 1993 Fr Samuel Penney a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Birmingham was convicted on 10 charges of child sexual abuse and sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison. In May 1993 the Everyman Programme on BBC1 broadcast “Breach of Faith” a documentary on the Samuel Penney case. A young man who had been sexually abused by Penney for 10 years finally told his parents and they went to see the Archbishop of Birmingham, Maurice Couve de Murvill, who persuaded them not to report the case to the police and that the matter would be dealt with. In 1991 the victim returned from Australia where he was living, to find that Penney was still a parish priest and still abusing children. Penney was moved into treatment in July 1991 first at one centre in England and then to Gracewell Clinic from where he was arrested in July 1992. Alan Draper – an adviser to the Motherwell diocese on child abuse, who wrote a report on the case of Father Sam Penney, said “I would call it a cover-up. There was a tendency to protect the institutions and to minimise the full impact of what was going on.”
Father Christopher Oliver Clonan
Father Clonan fled the UK in 1992 following allegations of sexual abuse by 8 of his former altar boys. Clonan had been a priest at Christ the King Church, Coventry (operated by the Arch Diocese of Birmingham). Clonan died reportedly of a brain haemorrhage in Australia in October 1998.
In 1974 an altar boy’s parents had told the head of the church Father Michael McTernan that Clonan had molested their son. Father McTernan ignored the allegation and it appears that Clonan went to abuse more boys.
Fr Eric Taylor
Father Taylor was convicted of child abuse in 1975, but is alleged to have been allowed to carry out church duties between 1989 and 1996. In 1998, the priest was jailed for seven years on 18 charges of sexually abusing boys at Father Hudson’s Children’s Homes in Warwickshire for crimes dating back to the 1960s. (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Diocese of Arundle and Brighton
Father Michael Hill
In 2000 the press revealed the mishandling of a known sex offender Father Michael Hill in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Hill was eventually convicted of child sex offences in 1997. The newly elevated Cardinal of England and Wales (previously Bishop of Arundel and Brighton), Cormack Murphy O’Connor, was put under pressure to resign. O’Connor had just been promoted to the post of Archbishop of Westminster and his former diocese had just settled a compensation case which offered extra damages in return for a secrecy clause. The allegations against him however were leaked and he was forced to appoint Lord Nolan to look into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse allegations. It seems the Nolan Commission would not have been put in place without the damaging leak of O’Connor’s attempted cover up. It appears that very few of these shocking incidents are revealed without outsiders shining a light on particular shocking events. We will never know without an inquiry how many more similar incidents have gone unreported.
The background to this was that Michael Hill was a parish priest in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton when convicted in 1997 of 10 sexual assaults on boys. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment on charges dating back to 1959 (the year before his ordination) . It was discovered that police investigations and complaints against Hill first surfaced in the 1980’s and that he was, with the knowledge of his Bishop, sent to a clinic in Gloucestershire for evaluation in 1982 (Our Lady of Victory, Stroud). Doctors there advised Bishop Murphy O’Connor that Hill was a risk to children, however the Bishop appointed him chaplain at Gatwick Airport in 1983 where he went on to abuse more children including a learning disabled child on his way to Lourdes.
Fighting off pressure to resign and stating that back in the 1990’s less was known about sexual abuse, Cardinal Cormack in 2000 commissioned Lord Nolan to review how reports of child sexual abuse had been handled within the catholic church and to make recommendations. The Cardinal also sent 10 files on other priests of allegations of sexual abuse against them within the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton to a Leeds based solicitor for an apparently independent inspection. The solicitor turned out to be working for the catholic church. In a brief statement the public was informed that no problems arose in respect of the handling of those cases. There has been a culture of resistance and a lack of transparency.
Father Timothy Garratt
In December 2002 Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor was investigated by police over 12 new allegations that he failed to report claims of child abuse to the police whilst he was Bishop of Arundel & Brighton. A number of victims went to the police to complain that when they reported allegations to the Bishop in the 1980s nothing happened to the alleged abusers. The Cardinal confirmed that the Diocese was prepared to hand over the files to the police . (The Times 7th Dec 2002). One well publicised case concerned Fr Timothy Garratt who was convicted of making child pornography in 1984 in Portsmouth. He also admitted that whilst in a previous parish he had taken photographs of a 12 year old boy undressed for bed and asked for the incident to be taken into consideration by the magistrate. Following this conviction the Cardinal gave Garrett a job in Arundel and Brighton as assistant priest in Redhill, Surrey in 1986 and he later moved to a parish in Eastbourne in 1989
Diocese of Northampton
Fr Anton Mowatt
The first time the issues of clergy perpetrated child sexual abuse truly surfaced into public awareness in the UK was in 1992 when Granada Television broadcast a programme called ‘Sins of the Father’. The researchers uncovered the case of Fr Anton Mowat, a priest in the Diocese of Northampton who was allowed to move to America in 1986 and to become a parish priest in Georgia, despite the Diocesan authorities knowing of multiple reports of child sexual abuse against him, which a church spokesman referred to as ‘rumours’. The parish he went to was not informed of these ‘rumours’. Mowat fled America when charges were filed against him there in 1988 and hid in Turin in Italy with the knowledge of the Diocese of Northampton. Diocesan authorities eventually turned him over to the police when he returned to England and refused to accept the need for treatment. Mowat was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in America in 1990.
Institutions run by religious orders
Father Raphael Appleby
Appleby was for many years headmaster of Downside School. In 2007, Abbot Aidan Bellenger received a complaint concerning long-term abuse of a vulnerable adult by Appleby in the 1980s. The complaint came from the victim of the abuse. Nothing was done, and no report made to social services. The victim sent a letter in 2009 to the abbot providing full details of the abuse. The letter appears to have been destroyed or lost – police obtained a copy kept by the victim. It wasn’t until Appleby accepted a police caution that he was placed on restricted ministry and required to leave Downside Abbey.
Richard White (Father Nicholas White)
White was a monk and priest at Downside School in Somerset. He pleaded guilty in January 2012 to several offences in 1988-89 against Rob Hastings, a pupil at the school, who was aged 12-13 at the time. (Hastings has waived his right to anonymity and has been interviewed on radio and TV about his experiences, with the aim of persuading more abuse victims to come forward to the police). White was sentenced to five years. In documents read out in court it was made clear that there had been a complaint made against White the previous year concerning abuse of another boy. White was not placed on restricted ministry. He was simply moved from teaching the youngest boys. According to statements made in court, the school consulted its lawyers to find out whether they were legally obliged to report the abuses (which White had admitted to the Abbot of the time). They were told that there was no obligation to make any report. This discretion on reporting is at the heart of the problem with safeguarding
Mr Stephen Skelton
Skelton was convicted in December 2011 of two indecent assaults, one on a boy at St Benedict’s, Ealing in 1983 and another 10 years later on a boy at West Hill Park School, a private boarding school at Tichfield, Hampshire. It was stated in court that Skelton had been urged by St Benedict’s to “go quietly” after a year at the school when the parents of the pupil complained of an attack on their 11-year-old son during a private maths lesson. Again, the school had a statutory duty to send a notification at the time to the Teacher Misconduct Section of the Department for Education, and they did not do so, otherwise Skelton would not have been able to obtain another teaching post. The former St Benedict’s pupil was interviewed (face hidden) by BBC London News, and stated that the school had been highly uncooperative towards the police investigation.
Father David Pearce
In 2009, Father David Pearce, a monk and priest at Ealing Abbey and former Head of the junior school at St. Benedict’s, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of indecent assault and one count of sexual assault, against five different boys, all pupils of St. Benedict’s School at the time. The offences took place over a period of 36 years, from 1972 to 2007. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, later reduced on appeal to five years.
Pearce had been a teacher in the school and Headmaster of the junior school. His sexual interest in boys was widely known, and his nickname at the school was “Gay Dave”. He “retired” as headmaster in 1993 following complaints from pupils and parents of abusive behaviour. It is likely that he would have been prosecuted at the time, except that the father of one victim died about then, and the mother understandably in the circumstances didn’t feel able to sustain the complaint. Pearce was made Bursar of the school, a role he kept until about 2000 and he remained in contact with children through his continuing supervision of the Cadet Corps.
Pearce was placed on restricted ministry in 2006 following a civil action against him and Ealing Abbey, in which a former pupil of St. Benedict’s claimed he had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Pearce. The judge found against the Abbey and Pearce, and awarded the victim £43,000 plus costs.
However, even after this, Pearce was able to abuse another pupil of the school, who had been employed to come into the monastery at weekends to wash dishes. This occurred in 2007, and was the last of the cases to which he pleaded guilty in 2009. The victim did not know that Pearce was under restrictions. Moreover, those few people who did know of the restrictions were told by the Abbot that the reason was “to protect Father David from unfounded allegations” according to a letter from the Abbot read out in court during Pearce’s sentencing hearing.
In 2005 Fr Piers Grant-Ferris admitted 20 incidents between 1966 and 1975 including beating boys bare-handed on the buttocks at Ampleforth College , and taking temperatures rectally. The Yorkshire Post reported in 2005 that former Abbot Basil Hume did not call in police when the initial incident came to light in 1975, but relocated Father Grant-Ferris to a parish in Cumbria where he went on to further abuse. Several other incidents came to light in 2003, when the abbey hired a psychologist to conduct risk assessments on staff.
THE CULTURE AND RULES OF THE CATHOLIC AND CHURCH OF ENGLAND ON SAFEGUARDING
The Roman Catholic Church
A decree from the Vatican dated 16 March 1962 was issued to all Bishops and dealt comprehensively with the procedures to be employed by all Bishops when a report of sexual abuse was received. Bishops were put under threat of ex-communication if they did not follow the decree which was known as “Crimen Sollicitationis”. The decree required Bishops to enforce (with the threat of ex-communication) complete secrecy by the complainant, the alleged abuser and any other Church officials dealing with these cases. The Crimen document also requires Bishops to keep reports of abuse from civil authorities (i.e., the police). An internal investigation was to take place and the result of the internal investigation was to be sent to the promoter of justice in Rome (later the head of the congregation of the doctrine of the same) within 10 days. The Vatican officials were to decide on the result of any “sentence” to be imposed. Penalties at worst were ex-communication and in the last 10 years only 3 recorded cases of ex-communication has been imposed. Most involve the carrying out of further work for the Church, being moved to different jobs within the Church or indeed different places.
This decree was reinforced by the letter written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on 18 May 2001 which explicitly approved the Crimen document and in particular the maintenance of secrecy and that no report should be made to the civil authorities such as the police after the child has reached the age of 28 (most cases). This letter is known as “De Delictis Gravioribus” letter. A copy of the “Crimen” document can be found at http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_crimen-sollicitationis-1962_en.html . The De Delictis letter can be found at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/resources/resource-files/churchdocs/EpistulaEnglish.htm .
There is further evidence of the Roman Catholic Church encouraging Bishops to keep quiet about allegations made to them and not inform the police. Cardinal Castrillon wrote a letter in September 2001 to a French Bishop congratulating him for refusing to report an abuser priest to the police. http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/cardinal-castrillon-must-feel-trapped More details can be found in the book by Geoffrey Robertson QC entitled “The Case of the Pope”.
The Crimen document requires Bishops to keep a secret archive. It has to be presumed that the Dioceses throughout England and Wales hold secret archives relating to reports of abuse which have been kept secret and have not been reported to the police.
There have been a number of high profile “cover ups” in which the Catholic Church have failed to notify the police and have moved abusers between Diocese and even out of the Country (See Appendix 2). Two examples are set out here.
In 2010 James Robinson was extradited from America to England, tried and convicted of 21 child sexual offences between 1959 and 1983 and was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment. Robinson was a former Priest in the Arch Diocese of Birmingham and left the Country in 1985 whilst the police were still investigating allegations of child sexual abuse against him. During Robinson’s trial it was disclosed that the Arch Diocese continue to pay Robinson £800 per month between 1985 and 2001 and have given him £8,400 in 2000. At no time did the Diocese or Authorities inform either the police in America or England of his whereabouts.
Richard White, a member of a Benedictine order teaching at Downside Catholic School admitted his sexual crimes against a boy to the headmaster but no report was made to the police. Instead attempts were made to restrict his duties – see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082037/Paedophile-monk-paid-schoolboy-50p-time-sexually-abused-locked-up.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
The Vatican’s response to abuse is not improving. No positive steps have been taken to overturn the Crimen document.
Church of England and Wales
Reports of vicars and other church officials within the Church of England and Wales began to emerge in the 1980’s. Time and again criminal cases reveal that church authorities knew that allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy and other church officials yet did nothing to protect them from further harm. This is continuing up to the most recent cases in the Diocese of Chichester. An enquiry by Baroness Butler Sloss into the Diocese of Chichester has revealed shortcomings with the report handling procedures. Furthermore it appears that she was lied to by Bishops.
The past case reviews undertaken in all diocese in the Church of England (reported 2010) and in Wales (reported 2011) has sounded alarm bells within survivor organisations and published reports only explicitly admit to 13 cases in England and 5 cases in Wales as causing concern. It is known that many clergy still in ministry have allegations of child sexual abuse on their files. Some even have previous convictions, others have confessed to abuse of children to Bishops. Only some of the Dioceses engaged independent consultants to carry out a review of their files. The Church of England has yet to produce a policy or procedures for responding to victims abused within the church and/ or it’s children’s institutions.It has been criticised by support organisations as safeguarding officers lack independence and evidence shows that the implementation of the policy patchy.
A list of cases concerning CoE/CofW vicars and other church officials
- In the 1980s and early 1990s a number of cases of child sexual abuse involving clergy from the Church of England were reported in the press. The most concerning of these was the case in 1988 when two vicars, a solicitor, a choirmaster and a convicted child abuser were convicted at Winchester Crown Court on 22 specimen charges of sex with boys which took place on church outings, at the YMCA and in the churchyard.
- 17 cases involving Anglican clergy dating from the early 1980s to the early 1990s have been found on internet searches before any safeguarding policies and procedures were in place. It is not known how many clergy convicted of child sex offences in the 1980s and 1990s were allowed to remain in ministry afterwards. Given the recent cases reported in the media it is likely that a number of these sex offenders continued in licensed ministry.
- In 1993 the then Bishop of Gloucester, the Right Rev Peter Ball accepted a caution after pleading guilty to indecently assaulting a 17 year old novice monk whilst he was Bishop of Lewis in the Diocese of Chichester. At the time the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed his sorrow and support for Peter Ball. Notwithstanding his admission of guilt he has remained a Bishop within the Church of England.
- In 1994 the Rev Richard Gizzard from Kent was sentenced to 3 years in prison for sexual offences against two boys. Also in 1994 the Rev Stephen Brooks was sentenced to 4 years in prison in Swansea County court for sexual offences against eight boys staying at his vicarage. In all MACSAS has found 17 cases of child abuse involving clergy in the 1980s and 1990s.
- The case of Rev Michael Walter is highly illustrative. He was first convicted of child sexual offences in 1970. He was then allowed to continue in ministry in the Dioceses of Durham and York where he went on to assault more children until his eventual arrest and second conviction in 1988 for violent assault. After release from prison he moved to London and was a curate in Feltham. On retiring in 1996 he was granted permission to officiate by the Bishop of Fulham, and assisted at a number of churches, including St Luke’s Church in Kingston Upon Thames until April 2003 when it was discovered that he had been convicted of child sexual offences and he was removed from ministry whilst everyone worked out what to do with him.
- In the Diocese of Exeter Peter Cranch was eventually convicted of child sex offences in July 1999 twenty years after he had confessed to the then Bishop, Eric Mercer that he had committed very serious sexual offences against young boys in Tavistock, Devon. The Bishop did not report him to the police and following an internal private investigation Cranch was allowed to leave his post in Torquay and immediately take up a Chaplaincy at a hospital in Exeter. In the mid 1980s he was back in parish ministry in Exmouth where further complaints were made against him. He was again moved to another parish this time in Exeter where he was a curate in two churches until the early 1990s. Eventually one of his victims found out he was still a priest and still abusing children and he was reported directly to the Police. Despite the seriousness of the offences against him, he received only a suspended sentence.
- In 2003 Canon Laurence Davies, parish priest in Cardiff in the Diocese of Llandaff was sentenced to 10 years in prison for child sexual offences which took place over a 25 year period. When were the first allegations reported to Church authorities and what actions were taken then to protect other children from harm?
- Richard Parry a former vicar in North Wales was convicted of sexual offences against children in 2004 and sentenced to four years in jail. He had abused children whilst parish priest in the 1990s at Southsea, near Wrexham and at Holywell, Flintshire. He left the church in 2000 and started working as a counsellor. It is not known what Church Authorities knew about his offending behaviour nor why he left the Church in 2000, however given other cases we now know of, it may well be that once again the Church dealt with previous allegations by quietly moving Parry on.
- In 2006 in one of the few cases where the church took action against a vicar, the Rev Malcolm Brooks parish priest in Ystrad Mynach was deposed from Holy Orders by the disciplinary tribunal of the Church of Wales after allegations of indecent assault of a boy dating back to 1987 were found proved.
- In 2007 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams issued a public apology over the ‘mistakes’ made by the Church of England in the Peter Halliday child abuse case. The Archbishop declared “Any case in which the Church has failed to prove itself a safe place for children is deplorable. This is one such case, and we can only express our keen awareness of the damage and deep sorrow for the suffering caused”. He stressed that the new procedures in place and the expertise within the Church made such cases less likely in the future.
In the early 1990s Peter Halliday had admitted to Church Authorities that he had abused children in the 1980s. This followed a report to Church Authorities in 1990 by the parents of a child abused at St Peter’s Church in Farnborough where Halliday was the Choirmaster. At the time he was allowed to leave the Church quietly. Bishop David Wilcox then Bishop of Dorking in the Diocese of Guildford was among those who made the decision not to inform the police of Halliday’s behaviour, and at the time of Halliday’s conviction in 2007 stated openly that this was the common way of dealing with such cases.
Halliday had continued to work with children at the Royal School of Church Music until he was charged in 2006 with indecently assaulting children. Halliday was convicted of child sexual abuse offences in 2007 at Winchester Crown Court and was sentenced to 30 months in prison after admitting the offences.
- Also in 2007 the Rev David Smith, in the Diocese of Bath & Wells was convicted of sexually abusing six boys over a 30 year period from 1975 to 2005, and was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison. During the trial it was revealed that victims had first reported allegations to Church Authorities in 1983 whilst Smith was in the Diocese of Gloucester and again in 2001 after he had moved to the Diocese of Bath & Wells. Church authorities had assured the victims that the matter had been ‘dealt with’ but Smith was allowed to remain a parish vicar where he continued to abuse boys. Whilst the Bishop of Bath & Wells, Peter Price expressed his shock and horror at Smith’s actions and conduct, he failed at all to reflect upon the totally irresponsible conduct of church authorities who knew about his offending behaviour for more than twenty years and yet failed to take actions to protect children.
- In the Diocese of Bradford Peter Hedge was able to continue to abuse children until at least 2000 and young men until at least 2005 whilst a curate at St Margaret’s Church Thornbury and Holy Trinity Church Queensbury, despite serious allegations against him investigated by police in 1997. No reported allegations were disclosed from Church files held by Diocesan authorities at the time of the investigation and without supporting evidence no prosecution was brought. In October 2009 Hedge was sentenced to 14 years in prison for 2 offences of rapes, 32 indecent assaults and one serious sexual offence against six children. Whilst Bishop David James made some bland statement about the commitment to protect children within the Church of England he made no reference to any investigation or risk assessment undertaken following the previous allegations and police investigation in 1997. Hedge was allowed to continue in ministry until 2007 when police again began investigating him after more victims reported abuse. Hedge was found to have continued to abuse children until 2000, three years after the original investigation took place. Only time will tell if other children were abused by Hedge up to 2007 if and when they are able to report their abuse. The diocese informed MACSAS in 2011 that it had carried out an independent review of this case but the findings were not made public. The questions remain as to what the diocese knew about Hedge and when did they know it.
- In 2009 the Rev Mountford who worked as a school chaplain in the Diocese of Birmingham in the 1980s, was murdered in Libya. He had been arrested in Thailand in 2004 and extradited to Australia to face police investigations into allegations of child abuse in Adelaide in the early 1990s. The prosecution collapsed in 2007 when the victims refused to testify. The Archbishop of Adelaide resigned after the trial amid allegations that he had protected Mountford. Mountford had worked as a chaplain at Blue Coats CoE School in Birmingham in the 1980s. Given the other past cases now revealed, we must ask what the Church knew in the 1980s about Mountford before he went to Australia?
- The Rev Guy Bennett from the diocese of Guilford which borders the Diocese of Chichester is another convicted child sex offender who came out of prison in 2000 and immediately held himself out as a vicar at, at least, one church service in the Diocese of Chichester where he now lives. One of Bennett’s victims has been told by Church authorities that (i) Bennett only admitted the sexual offences in 1999 to spare the victims the court hearing, but wasn’t really guilty: and (ii) that he is no longer a risk to children because the offences for which he was convicted dated back to the 1970s and 1980s. In fact he admitted only a limited number of offences and plea bargained his way to a nine month sentence of which he served only 4 ½ months. In 2009 another victim reported to the police that she was sexually abused by Bennett and a Catholic priest in the diocese of Arundel & Brighton which overlaps the CofE Diocese of Chichester for five years from the late 1980s to 1993.
Whilst the CPS refused to prosecute Bennett again when the new victim reported the case in 2009, the Diocesan authorities should have carried out a full risk assessment based on this new allegation and realised that Bennett is a compulsive liar manipulating the authorities to remain in contact with and have authority over children.
The brief (less than three page) report on the Past Cases Review published for public consumption in February 2010 stated:
“As a result of this review, we are now able to say that nobody representing the Church in a formal capacity has allegations on file that have not been thoroughly re-examined in the light of current best practice and any appropriate action taken…
As a result of the diocesan reviews of 40,747 files, 13 cases were identified as requiring formal action. Eleven cases were referred to statutory authorities: five cases related to past allegations originally involving police investigations and some of which resulted in convictions . . . Six others were referred to the police for advice and investigation. . . and the police have since indicated they are unable to take further action. In three of these cases, a risk assessment strategy has been put in place. . . There are no cases where a police investigation is still ongoing. . . A further two cases . . . were deemed to warrant formal disciplinary action by the Church.” (www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2010/2/pr2610.aspx)
David Greenwood Child Abuse Lawyer – Switalkis Solicitors
Sue Cox co-founder Survivors Voice Europe
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