Channel 4 News reported yesterday on allegations of abuse at the Iwerne Trust: Archbishop admits Church ‘failed terribly’ over abuse revelations
The Church of England has tonight apologised unreservedly after a Channel 4 News investigation revealed that a prominent Anglican evangelical and former colleague of the Archbishop of Canterbury is alleged to have severely assaulted boys and young men for decades…
Other news reports include:
Patrick Foster, Nicola Harley, and Lydia Willgress The Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury issues ‘unreserved and unequivocal’ apology after links to ‘child abuser’ emerge
‘I could feel the blood spattering on my legs’: Victims tell of ‘horrific’ beatings at hands of Archbishop’s friend
Samuel Osborne The Independent Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issues apology over Church of England links to ‘child abuser’
Kevin Rawlinson and Harriet Sherwood The Guardian Church ‘could have done more’ over John Smyth abuse claims
The Archbishop has issued this statement in response to the Channel 4 News report.
“The Archbishop of Canterbury was a Dormitory Officer at Iwerne holiday camp in the late 1970s, where boys from public schools learnt to develop life as Christians. The role was to be a mentor to the boys, as was that of his now wife at a similar camp for girls.
John Smyth was one of the main leaders at the camp and although the Archbishop worked with him, he was not part of the inner circle of friends; no one discussed allegations of abuse by John Smyth with him. The Archbishop left England to work in Paris for an oil company in 1978, where he remained for five years. He began training for ordination in 1989.
The Archbishop knew Mr Smyth had moved overseas but, apart from the occasional card, did not maintain contact with him.
In August 2013 the Bishop of Ely wrote to the Bishop of Cape Town, informing him of concerns expressed to his Diocese Safeguarding Adviser about Mr Smyth from an alleged survivor. The British Police had been notified. The Archbishop’s Chaplain at the time was forwarded this letter, and subsequently showed it to the Archbishop for information only.
The Archbishop has repeatedly said that he believes that the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be a principle priority in all parts of the Church, and that any failings in this area must be immediately reported to the police.
The Archbishop is on the record as saying that survivors must come first, not the Church’s own interests. This applies regardless of how important, distinguished or well-known the perpetrator is.”
There is also a statement from the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Adviser.
“The violent abuse of young men between 1978-82, as outlined in the Channel 4 programme, should never have happened and we utterly condemn this behaviour and abuse of power and trust. The report into these horrific activities, drawn up by those linked with the Iwerne Trust, a non-denominational Christian charity, should have been forwarded to the police at the time. When the Church of England was alerted by a survivor, through the diocese of Ely in 2013, the police were immediately informed as was the Anglican Church in South Africa where Mr Smyth was then living. The national safeguarding officer, which was a part time post, was informed and helped find support for the survivors. Clearly more could have been done at the time to look further into the case. We now have a dedicated central team made up of six full time posts – we will be reviewing all files making further enquiries as necessary. We echo the Archbishop’s unreserved and unequivocal apology to all the survivors and are committed to listen to anyone who comes forward and we would urge anyone with any further information to report it to the police “