Saturday, 11 May 2013

C of E accused of cover-up over child abuse

Updated Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning

Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times on a joint investigation by The Times and The Australian: C of E accused of cover-up over child abuse.

The Times story is behind its paywall, but other UK media have online reports.

David Batty in The Guardian Church of England facing new child abuse allegations
Rob Williams in The Independent Former Archbishop of York accused of covering up allegations of Church of England abuse
Alice Philipson in The Telegraph Former Archbishop of York accused of covering up abuse allegations
BBC Lord Hope denies abuse claim ‘negligence’

update

The Archbishop of York has issued the following statement.

Robert Waddington - Independent Inquiry To Be Established
Saturday 11th May 2013

A statement from the Office of the Archbishop of York regarding allegations relating to the late Robert Waddington follows…

‘The Archbishop of York is in the process of setting up an Independent Inquiry specifically into the issues surrounding the reports relating to alleged child abuse by the late Robert Waddington. When any church related abuse comes to light the Church’s first concern must be for the victim offering support and apologising for the abuse, acknowledging that the effects can be lifelong. When the Inquiry makes its report the Archbishop will make its findings public. The Church of England continues to review its Child Protection and Safeguarding policies regularly to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all. Child abuse is a heinous and personally damaging crime, it is therefore incumbent on the Church to treat such matters with the utmost seriousness.’

Notes to Editors:

1. The Terms of Reference and membership of the independent inquiry will be announced in due course.

2. The Archbishop of York is not available for further comment on this matter at the current time.

The Sunday papers carry reports of the setting up of an inquiry.

Jamie Doward in The Observer Church to set up inquiry into claims of abuse by former dean of Manchester
Josie Ensor in The Telegraph Archbishop of York to launch inquiry into Church sex abuse claims
BBC News Inquiry into CofE cleric abuse claim set up

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 11:20am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

"Child abuse is a heinous and personally damaging crime, it is therefore incumbent on the Church to treat such matters with the utmost seriousness.’"

Fine words. But in reality, the first reaction of Bishops, both Anglican and Catholic, is to make excuses for the perpetrators, minimise the harm to the victims and cover everything up to avoid a scandal. That in 1999 a senior figure in the CofE didn't go to the police, and now hides behind "the procedures didn't say I had to" is absolutely disgraceful.

Churches don't take child abuse seriously. They are very concerned for the poor misunderstood abuser, and utterly unconcerned about the victims. Has there every been an abuse case, in any major church, where a bishop (or equivalent's) first response was "this is dreadful, we must support the victim and report the whole incident to the proper authorities?" It is interesting to speculate on why not.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 3:55pm BST

Good reporting from the CT.
Facts, plenty of them. A good summary.

Adults are often not keen to go to the police, they fear the investigation and the court.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Saturday, 11 May 2013 at 8:33pm BST

The Church Times articles contains an interesting quote, which is an example of the doublethink that is in use within the CofE to put the interests of abusers ahead of the interests of children:

"We want to reassure parents and congregation members that for a number of years Manchester Cathedral has had in place a robust child protection policy with CRB checks made on all clergy and those who work with specifically with children."

So, what are the classes of people that enhanced CRB checks will pick up? Those with convictions, cautions, prosecutions or, under some circumstances, intelligence against them or accusations against them.

Who are the classes of people that enhanced CRB checks will not pick up? Those whose actions have caused fifty thousand pound payouts to victims, but have not been reported to the police. Such as Robert Waddington. By failing to report accusations to the competent authority, even if compensation has been paid, a subsequent CRB check will come up clean. Was Waddington an abuser? If he was, then he should have been reported to the police, even if no prosecution ensued, so that a subsequent CRB check would show up the issue. If he was not, then why did the church pay his accuser fifty grand to keep quiet?

This one is going to be a real scandal. It isn't historic (it happened less than fifteen years ago), there are multiple complainants who are about as geographically diverse as it's possible to be, and the church's behaviour is shockingly complacent.

It is richly ironic that the church is so vehement in its belief that homosexuality between consenting adults is a sin, and yet so relaxed about its own employees abusing children, going out of its way to avoid having them face the consequences of his actions. So Waddington was old. So what?

Posted by: Interested Observer on Sunday, 12 May 2013 at 2:53pm BST

While I wouldn't completely disagree with Interested Observer, procedures for dealing with breaches of (/euphemism alert/) professional standards (/off/) in the Anglican Church of Australia have come a long way since the 1990s. Also, without wanting to excuse anyone, it strikes me that the climate in the UK about these issues during the late-1990s was still much too gentlemanly in the worst possible way.

Given the Australian connection to the Waddington case, try looking at Monday 22 April, just a little bit down this page:

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/fcdc/article/1786

A Federal Royal Commission examining the same ground has just begun.

Posted by: Victoriana on Monday, 13 May 2013 at 12:33pm BST
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