Thinking Anglicans

Further updates on the case of Bishop George Bell

Continued from here.

On Monday, Christian Today reported: Welby under pressure as General Synod members asked to back motion of ‘regret’ over Bishop George Bell case

And Martin Sewell wrote this analysis: Did Lambeth Palace know the ‘fresh information’ about Bishop George Bell before Lord Carlile published his report?

On Wednesday morning, the Church Times published a preview of an interview with Justin Welby which will appear in full on Friday: Bishop Bell’s accuser cannot be overlooked, says Welby.

This interview is, somewhat oddly, also previewed by Christian Today : Archbishop of Canterbury says George Bell’s accuser is as important as late bishop’s reputation.

ABC Radio (Australia) has a feature: The controversy surrounding George Bell which features Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times. The recording is about 10 minutes long.

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peter kettle
3 years ago

There was a report in the Daily Telegraph on 7 February that a number of retired judges had written to Justin Welby; but the names of the signatories were not given, and I can find no accessible reference to it online; can anyone help? Or indeed suggest why such limited information is being made public.

Kate
Kate
3 years ago

Some victims of abuse (in the generality, not the Bell specific) came forward: they were not believed; when they were believed, their accusations were publicly denied even by those who believed them. The silent majority, understandably, remained silent. Slowly, a willingness to believe grew and more developed the confidence to come forwards. More felt that the pain and personal risk in reopening the trauma they suffered might be justified by coming forwards. For me this isn’t about Bell or Carol. This is about encouraging victims of abuse to have the confidence to speak up. But they are now being told… Read more »

crs
crs
3 years ago

I agree the Sewell piece is persuasive reading. Chichester free newspaper article, passed on to Lord C, who followed up and couldn’t get the nurse to respond who claimed to have treated victims. Sounds pretty dodgy.

James Byron
James Byron
3 years ago

If Sewell’s right about the nature of this new information, this is getting bizarre. A respected professional journalist (tuning out the Cranmer below-line snark, if it’s the same person, she’s witten for multiple national newspapers) has located a witness against Bell who can only be described as devastating, a nurse who reports having treated multiple of his victims. Not only could she lead to survivors, what she describes could well break open a decades-long coverup. If she went on record, Bell’s reputation would be finished, with no way back. Yet despite this coming to light over a year back, it’s… Read more »

Iain McLean
Iain McLean
3 years ago

I draw the opposite inference to James Byron’s. On Martin Sewell’s telling, it was he who drew Lord Carlile’s attention to the press report, which has the journalist’s contact details at the top. Note what Lord Carlile says in his report (quoted by Sewell) “Shortly afterwards, a journalist claimed in a local newspaper article that she had had contact with an unnamed mental health nurse who had treated ‘numerous boys and girls’ in hospital, whom she said had been abused by Bishop Bell. I made considerable efforts to contact the journalist and test the substance of these allegations, but was… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
3 years ago

Kate, I understand your concerns. I have made an allegation which is currently with the Lambeth Safeguarding team. However, I don’t think it ultimately does survivors any favours if we are automatically believed and the person we have accused punished without any evidence at all: it will only lead to a massive backlash against survivors. We would then be in a worse position than we were a year or so ago. No one wants that. Moreover, I also know people who have been falsely accused, and that is absolutely devastating. Clergy and other leaders often have to make decisions that… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
3 years ago

Taking Kate’s point, being compassionate and dispassionate are not irreconcilable. They are both essential qualities when investigating claims of child abuse. But to do any kind of justice to understanding Lord Carlile’s report, it has to be read carefully, and in full, and possibly even for a second time. It is all too obvious that people who have taken up entrenched positions in both camps have missed, or misunderstood, salient points in the report. I can see that some people might have been wary about approaching Lord Carlile. In the event, however, any such misgivings have been dispelled by the… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
3 years ago

I don’t think that my position and Iain’s are as far apart as they appear (entirely my fault for not being clearer!). On its face, the second allegation is compelling, and I have no reason to doubt either the journalist or the complainant. Yet, despite this, it hasn’t been picked up by the national media nor (until now, perhaps) the CoE. Carlile was unable to contact a person who you’d expect to be eminently contactable. Something doesn’t add up. As I must guess, I suspect that a source was being protected, a source who may now be willing to come… Read more »

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
3 years ago

It’s pretty straightforward to see what the problem is, the difficulty is how to fix it. The problem is that historically, where “history” means “until the past few years”, large organisations circled the wagons rather than listen to complaints of abuse. It wasn’t just the CofE’s protection of Peter Ball. The Catholic Church behaved appallingly in the case of, inter alia, Michael Hill. The BBC quite clearly, no matter its later protestations, protected sexually abusive “stars” (and Saville wasn’t the only one). Saville was in turn protected by endless organisations. Individual, pro se complainants couldn’t be heard, and organisations protecting… Read more »

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