Thinking Anglicans

Dean of Jersey apologises and is reinstated

We reported on 10 March that: Dean of Jersey suspended for safeguarding failure.

Subsequently, we omitted to report that on 26 March the Diocese of Winchester published terms of reference for a Visitation.

Yesterday, the diocese published this press release: Dean of Jersey Apologises and Confirms Commitment.

THE VERY REVEREND ROBERT KEY, the Dean of Jersey, has today apologised for mistakes in the handling of a safeguarding complaint and added his own apology to that of the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury to the vulnerable person at the heart of this matter.

He has confirmed that he shares the Bishop of Winchester’s and Archbishop of Canterbury’s stated commitment to safeguarding in the Diocese and the wider Church. The Dean was speaking following meetings with the Bishop last week.

The Bishop acknowledges that, although mistakes were made, the Dean believed he was acting in good faith. Following the commitment that the Dean has made, the Bishop has decided that he will issue a new Commission to the Dean with immediate effect. The Bishop and the Dean have also agreed that, in the light of these recent events, there are areas in Jersey Canon Law which would benefit from further review and they are committed to working together as necessary to revise them.

The Dean said: “I regret mistakes that I made in the safeguarding processes and I understand that, upon reflection, it would have been more helpful if I had co-operated more fully with the Korris Review. I now add my own apology to that of the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury to the vulnerable person at the heart of this matter. I will be cooperating with the Visitation and Investigation announced by the Bishop on 26 March. Together, the Bishop and I are committed to the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in Jersey and to working to ensure the safeguarding procedures of the Diocese achieve this as part of the whole Church’s mission.”

The Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, said: “Safeguarding must always be of paramount concern and is a vital part of the Church’s mission. We will now press ahead with the Visitation and Investigation and see them through to their conclusions, as we all have important lessons to learn. At the heart of this matter is safeguarding the vulnerable who have frequently been let down by the Church. The Dean’s apology is a welcome one, and I am glad that he has joined with me in reaffirming our commitment to safeguarding. I am also glad that the Dean has promised his full cooperation with these inquiries. I wish to assure the Dean and the people of Jersey of my prayers as we go forward together.”

And the Jersey Evening Post reports Dean of Jersey is reinstated.

THE Dean of Jersey has been officially reinstated after apologising for mistakes made in the handling of a complaint from a parishioner about sexual misconduct.

Almost two months after being effectively suspended by the Bishop of Winchester after an independent review found that he did not follow proper practice or take the complaint seriously, the Dean, Very Rev Bob Key, returned to normal duties at 9 am this morning. The decision from the Bishop, the Right Rev Tim Dakin, followed meetings between the two men last week.

Mr Key led Sunday’s 10 am service at the Town Church, which was attended by the Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt, and the Lieutenant Governor, General Sir John McColl, and has said he will cooperate fully with an on going investigation into the matter.

There is discussion of all this by Frank Cranmer at Law & Religion UK Church Safeguarding in Jersey – Progress.

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Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Peter Ould points out that a PR firm were handling this matter for the diocese. Have Winchester outsourced their press relations or is this a one off?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

This has already been a PR disaster. What is the Visitation designed to achieve? No doubt it will confirm the Bishop was correct to withdraw the Dean’s Commission, but given the legal tangle he got into this will be hard to adduce. Why did the bishop publish the report without first engaging in further reflection and analysis? A Whitehall permanent secretary would never have allowed a Minister to publish something that was prone to exacerbate a tricky situation. It is not the case that the Church always needs to run scared and conduct this sensitive business in an greenhouse. Smacks… Read more »