press release 19 January 2024
A prominent campaigner alleges that senior leaders in the Church of England are protecting its Secretary General William Nye against allegations that he has put reputation management before the needs of abuse victims. The former Lead Bishop for Safeguarding admits that the survivor was misled.
Gilo is a survivor of non-recent sexual abuse in the Church of England, and a prominent campaigner on issues of church abuse.
Gilo’s abuse, and its subsequent handling by the church, were the subject of an inquiry by independent safeguarding expert Ian Elliott, which was published in March 2016. The inquiry report was highly critical of the Church’s treatment of Gilo, and particularly of the deliberate withdrawal of pastoral care from the victim, apparently on the instruction of the church’s insurer, Ecclesiastical. Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, who was then Bishop of Crediton, was assigned to ensure that the recommendations of the review were fulfilled.
After the publication of the Elliott Review, a secretive meeting was held in Church House in August 2016 in which the church’s National Safeguarding Team, in-house lawyers, and communications team met with four executives from Ecclesiastical to discuss “a joined-up approach to stories and the media”, to preserve the reputation of both parties in the case. Neither Ian Elliott nor Gilo was aware of the meeting, or consulted about it.
Following the meeting, Ecclesiastical publicly questioned parts of Elliott’s review. They continued this approach when giving evidence at IICSA, describing the review as ‘flawed’ and ‘inaccurate’. In particular they explicitly rejected the suggestion that the insurer had suggested that the church should withdraw pastoral support from the survivor. The representatives of EIO were subsequently recalled to the Inquiry to revisit their evidence, and were forced to retract part of it.
Following the IICSA Inquiry, Gilo obtained evidence that the reputation management meeting between Ecclesiastical and the church had indeed taken place. When Gilo attempted to get an explanation from the National Safeguarding Team and the Bishop of London, they shut him down.
In 2020 Gilo made a complaint against William Nye, the Secretary-General of the Church of England, who has overall responsibility for safeguarding in the church. The thrust of the complaint was that Nye was responsible for the reputation management meeting that the National Safeguarding Team and others had held in August 2016. The complaint was internally investigated by Canon John Spence, the member of the Archbishop’s Council who had the role of line managing Mr Nye. Mr Spence, who described himself as a “friend” of William Nye, reported that there were no further records of the meeting or of what was discussed. Nor could any of the parties recollect it. In any case, he said, William Nye could not have been present because “he always takes his holiday at that time of year.” Consequently Gilo’s complaint against William Nye was dismissed.
In mid-2022 Gilo wrote to a number of senior staff in the Church of England, including the two Archbishops and safeguarding leads, asking for an explanation. Once again, he was blanked.
In March 2023 the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, replied to Gilo admitting that church records showed the meeting about Gilo’s case had taken place, that William Nye had attended it, and that reputation management in relation to the church and its insurer had been discussed. He also admitted that Gilo’s “interests and well-being as a survivor were not as central as they should have been.”
Since July 2023 the Archbishops have repeatedly been asked by Gilo’s lawyer Richard Scorer for an explanation as to why the complaint against Nye had been dismissed on false grounds. The question has also been raised at General Synod. Repeated approaches have been left unanswered. In November 2023, the Archbishop of York, in a written response to a question at General Synod, said that an external firm of auditors had been engaged to conduct a “targeted” review. Neither Gilo, his lawyer or his advocate has been informed of the process of this review or invited to contribute to it.
Further information is available from Andrew Graystone
Attached below are:
Letter from Richard Scorer to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Extract from General Synod November 2023
Quotes from Gilo, Ian Elliott and others
Letter from Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs