On Thursday, a retired priest, who had pleaded guilty last December to various sexual offences, was sentenced to prison, see these news reports:
Chichester Observer BREAKING NEWS: Former priest sentenced for child sex offences
Evening Standard Paedophile priest jailed for 1970s child abuse
This prompted the following official statements:
Archbishop of Canterbury: Statement on the sentencing of Robert Coles
Yesterday, the following news report appeared:
Today Anglican Mainstream has published Press Statement by Bishop Wallace Benn: “No ineptitude on my part and no cover up” originally issued on Friday.
This statement discloses that:
“the Complaint made against me personally under the Clergy Discipline Measure concerning Mr Coles has been dismissed on its merits…”
and the statement gives details of the process by which this happened:
…In March 2012, the Chairman of the Safeguarding Advisory Group, Mr Keith Akerman, and the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor, Mr Colin Perkins, sought to make a complaint against me under the Clergy Discipline Measure, on the basis that it was misconduct for me (1) not to inform the Police directly of what Robert Coles had said, or to direct Mr Reade to do so; and (2) not to inform the Police directly of what I had been told about Robert Coles by the clergyman in another Diocese.
On 18 October 2012, the Archbishop of York concluded, at the preliminary scrutiny stage, that both complaints against me in respect of Robert Coles should be dismissed on the ground that they lacked sufficient substance to proceed.
In reaching that decision in relation to the first complaint, the Archbishop of York emphasised:
The Diocesan Child Protection policy of 1997, which required “any allegation of abuse against a church worker, clerical or lay, or any relevant incident in any way to do with the life of the parish or church organisation, should immediately be referred to the Diocesan Child Protection Advisor.”
The absence of any evidence to show whether Mrs Janet Hind had considered whether the matter should be reported to the Police and, if so, by whom.
The absence of any evidence that I had disregarded advice from Mrs Janet Hind in this matter.
The Diocesan Child Protection policy of 1997 also stated that: “The Diocesan Advisor, if appropriate, will make sure that a referral has been made to the local social services office and will liaise with that department and the police during any child protection investigation.”
I understand that a similar complaint by the same complainants was made against the Right Reverend Nicholas Reade, the recently retired Bishop of Blackburn. I understand that it has also been dismissed.
In reaching his decision in relation to the second complaint, the Archbishop of York concluded that he was satisfied that I “had passed or discussed or shared” the letter from the clergyman in another Diocese with the Child Protection Advisor when I received it. He further concluded that there was no evidence that the Child Protection Advisor advised me to report the letter myself to the Police. The Archbishop of York dismissed the complaint against me on the ground that it lacked sufficient substance to proceed.
On 29 January 2013, the Right Honourable Lord Justice Mummery, sitting as President of Tribunals, dismissed an appeal by Mr Akerman and Mr Perkins against the dismissal of these complaints against me by the Archbishop of York…