IICSA Anglican Inquiry
Diocese of Chichester
Summary notes of David Greenwood
Monday 5th March 2018
Counsel to the Inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC, (“CTI”) opened by saying that a series of allegations were made of child sex abuse by clergy in the 1990s and that these escalated, engulfing the Diocese in the 2000s. She would be asking whether the responses to complainants were adequate, whether lessons had been learnt and changes implemented. She explained that some complainants lives had been blighted, some had become activists to compel the church to look at uncomfortable truths.
CTI explained that the Church of England is the Established Church of GB. It is important and powerful. It is seen as a leader of ethics but its management of abuse shows how badly things can go wrong.
She listed problems of a tendency to make children feel responsible for the abuse, a disbelief that clergy could harm children, failing to spot grooming behaviour, misguided loyalty, a culture of amateurism, patchy training and poor record keeping. She highlighted the emphasis on forgiveness, putting the church’s reputation before the welfare of children, internal fall outs getting in the way of good safeguarding practice, having a problem with women, being slow to change and being a collection of autonomous bodies. The church runs 4000 primary schools and 227 secondary schools, youth groups, scouts and Sunday schools. There are 12,000 parishes, 49 dioceses, 7,253 full time paid clergy, 3,000 part time or voluntary priests, 6,000 are retired but still have permission to officiate.
CTI explained the almost impenetrable structure of the church and the myriad of organisations. She explained that 2004 was the first time clergy had to have CRB checks and that until 2013 Bishops had no basis to suspend someone unless they are arrested by the police. Clergy could only be formally disciplines through the Clergy Discipline Measure in 2009 but can only be removed from office if imprisoned. 2016 brought powers to suspend if an allegation is made. Until recently no training was required to get Permission To Officiate (“PTO”).
Overview of events in Chichester
1997-2001 Janet Hind Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (“DSA”). She was informed of abuse by Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard in 1997. Police investigate but no action is their decision in 1999. Unhappy with the poor response, Philip Johnson (survivor) published a magazine to publicise his abuse in 2000. 2001 Terence Banks is convicted of abuse of choir boys at Chichester Cathedral. 2005-2010 a growing number of individuals make complaints. 2007 Shirley Hosgood starts work as the new DSA. 2008 Roger Meekings is commissioned to do the past Cases Review work. He produces an addendum dealing with the safeguarding failures he has identified. It proves controversial as Bishop Wallace Benn, is criticised and having lied about the extent of his knowledge of convictions of and allegations against Cotton. In an attempt to bring an end to any controversy Bishop John Hind commissions Elizabeth Butler Sloss to prepare a report. The problems identified lead to an Archbishop’s visitation and more criticism between 2011 and 2013. Wallace Benn retires in 2013. Richard Jackson replaces him. More information about failures concerning Bishop Peter Ball results in his arrest along with Vickery House. Moira Gibb reported in 2017 on the handling of the Peter Ball case and was highly critical of Former Archbishop George Carey.
Convicted in the 1950s of child sex offences but allowed to be a priest (his conviction was no bar to the priesthood).
Convicted of Gross Indecency in 1954. Expelled from the scouts as a youth leader, opened a school and ordained by the Bishop of Portsmouth in the knowledge of the conviction. Cotton conspired to abuse children with Colin Pritchard, another Chichester priest. Cotton retired in 1999 but was granted a PTO. It is alleged that Wallace Benn and his Archdeacon Nicholas Reade knew about his conviction but despite a police investigation in 1997 failed to tell the police, went on to allow him PTO ignored another complainant in 2003 and lied about his knowledge to John hind, Philip Jones and Roger Meekings.
Pleaded guilty in 2008 to some child sex offences. Found guilty of Indecent assault and conspiracy to commit indecent assault with Roy Cotton in 2018 and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment. He had been granted PTO in 2003 despite having been arrested for child sex offences.
This priest retired in 1997 and despite having no PTO continued to take services and took over 100 in retirement. He had been taken on one arrest to the police station by Wallace Benn, a fact not declared in his file. He had to be prevented from going on a school trip abroad and eventually pleaded guilty to child sex offences in 2013.
Worked closely with Robert Coles and convicted of offences in 2013. A suspicion of illegal activity but not suspended until a 2009 CRB revealed an offence.
Convicted of 32 indecent assaults and 2 rapes in 2016. Acquitted in a court martial n 1972 and allowed to continue in ministry in Chichester. Wallace Benn had ben aware of allegations against him in 1998 but took no action. He even drove him to the police station to answer a further allegation in 2002 but failed to declare this. Wallace Benn even asked John Hind not to report a blemished CRB check in 2010.
Keith Wilkie Denford
Also convicted of abusing 2 boys in his choir.
Also a choir master convicted
Priest imprisoned for 16 years in 2016.
Pleaded guilty in 2012 to sharing indecent images – 32 months imprisonment.
Former Bishop Peter Ball
Accepted a caution in 1992 for offences against a 17 year old trainee monk. Protected at the time by a concerted campaign by establishment figures with evidence suppressed at Lambeth palace. He leaves his post as a House of Lords Bishop but continues to enjoy the hospitality and favours from the then Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey. A file containing evidence of offending at Littlington whilst he was Bishop of Lewes is discovered and leads to his arrest and conviction in 2015.
Peter Ball’s right hand man in the “give a year to god scheme” convicted in 2015 of indecent assaults on boys.
Choirmaster, husband of an organist. Allegation of abuse and Janet Hind was overruled by Bishop Eric Kemp in the 1990s when she asked for him to be prevented from taking choirs.
Choirmaster at Chichester Cathedral. Convicted of abusing choirboys in 2001 and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.
Many more allegations have been the subject over the years of varying degrees of action from Bishops or DSAs.
Former Bishop George Bell
Alleged abuse late 1940s. George Bell died in 1958. Despite a letter of complaint having sat on file for an extended period a survivor “Carole” repeated her allegation in 2016. A core group was set up and compensation of £16,000 was paid. Controversy emerged and Lord Carlile wrote a report which criticised this church response. Another allegation has since been made.
The inquiry has read 200,000 pages of documents and has assessed 64 witness statements.
Core participant representatives were able to make opening statements. David Greenwood’s opening statement is published in the next blog.
The Bishop’s Council representative essentially argued for the status quo to continue.
Tuesday 6th March 2018
A survivor of abuse by Army Chaplain Gordon Rideout (who later worked as a priest in the Diocese of Chichester) explained how she had been abused by Rideout as a young girl. She explained how powerless she felt during a court martial process in 1972 in which Rideout had been acquitted. Rideout was later convicted in 2012 of offending against her and others.
Mr Johnson explained how he had been befriended by a priest, Roy Cotton in his home town, groomed by Cotton and taken away on trips and to Cotton’s house. Physical contact then sexual contact was initiated by Cotton who supported Mr Johnson through Grammar school. He was plied with alcohol regularly and taken to a party in Northamptonshire after which he was sexually assaulted by a friend of Cotton, Rev Colin Pritchard.
Mr Johnson described complaining to the Sussex police in 1996 but being poorly treated by Sussex police. Despite Cotton having a conviction for indecency with children in 1954 the police decided to take no action in 1999. Mr Johnson’s world fell apart in 1999 but he was determined to achieve justice so published a magazine article in 2000 explaining his story which was distributed in the parish area where Cotton had worked. This strategy worked as complainants came forward in 2002 and 2003. Despite being aware the Diocese staff failed to pass this information on to the police. This new corroboration would have caused the original allegations to be re-investigated.
Phil Johnson kept trying to raise work out why Cotton’s activities had not come to the attention of the Diocese officials before. He tried to meet with senior clergy but was rebuffed. In 2006 just by chance the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (‘DSA”), Tony Sellwood died in a car accident. His computer was recovered and the a letter from him to Phil Johnson was noticed by the caretaker DSA, Janet Hind. By this time Northampton Police were investigating Colin Pritchard for his activities in Northampton and the letter found its way to them. Northants police contacted Mr Johnson and this led to Pritchard pleading guilty to child sex offences in 2008. Despite this new information Mr Johnson discovered that the police file from the earlier Sussex investigation had been destroyed. Meanwhile Phil Johnson had corresponded with Bishop Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes who had responsibility for Eastbourne where Cotton had been operating. Mr Johnson wanted to find out what Wallace Benn had known and when (as it may have led to a more positive outcome to the first police investigation). He managed to meet with Wallace Benn and Shirley Hosgood (the new DSA) in 2008 and at that meeting Benn told them that he had known about “something from Cotton’s past” at that time and told the meeting that he had “pushed him into retirement” in 1999. Wallace Benn’s account of what he found out and when is questionable as we shall see in later evidence to IICSA.
Around this time the church nationally was putting together a review of their safeguarding figures called “The past cases review”. A social worked called Roger Meekings put the figures together for Chichester and was in theory allowed access to all files (there are doubts about his access to some files and documents namely Peter Ball, Vickery House and Gordon Rideout files).
Mr Johnson raised the controversy about what Wallace Benn knew when with Roger Meekings and pushed for a review of the position on this and other cases which had been flagged up by Mr Johnson and Shirley Hosgood. Mr Meekings embarked on a further report. This report, now best known as “The Meekings Report” was critical of Wallace Benn, accusing him of knowing about Cotton and Pritchard much earlier but of failing to pass on his knowledge to either the DSA, his bishop or the police.
It seems Wallace Benn was so unhappy with the Meekings Report that he threatened libel proceedings and created a state of catatonia in the diocese. The Meekings Report was not published until much later. To try to break the impasse Baroness Butler Sloss was brought in to work out whether the Meekings Report was accurate (she concluded it was). Mr Johnson incidentally was suspicious about Baroness Butler Sloss as she was a supporter of the church and not independent. He worked out that two Bishops had lied to her and she had to correct her report as a result.
Mr Johnson talked about the Arch Episcopal visitation (essentially an inspection by the Archbishop’s staff). He was content with its findings (essentially that Chichester had become dysfunctional on safeguarding due to poor systems and disagreements at the top).
Mr Johnson feels DSAs should be completely independent, an independent system of providing counselling support should be introduced and paid for by the church, that a culture change will only come via legislation and criminal sanctions. Overall his life has been blighted but he has tried to turn his experience into positive change.
On one final note he reflected that he often thinks about the person he would have been if the abuse hadn’t shaped his life and missed opportunities.
Was the DSA between 2007 and 2010. She is a qualified social worker. It was a part time post and whilst she had support at the parish level she felt unsupported by the Bishops.
She describes arriving to find files very disorganised. There were 3 different types of files in 3 different locations.
She criticised a lack of a counselling protocol.
She had specific criticisms that Gordon Rideout’s Permission to Officiate (“PTO”) had not been suspended after he had been arrested in 2008. She discovered that Wallace Benn had driven him to a police station to be questioned in 2002 and yet had still not suspended his PTO in 2008.
Shirley was concerned there was an un-monitored covenant of care for Pritchard known about by Philip Jones, the Lewes Archdeacon, yet this wasn’t passed on to the police and could have affected his 2008 trial. A 2008 blog regarding Pritchard passed to her by Phil Johnson was not passed to the police.
She was concerned about when Wallace Benn had found out about Cotton’s conviction as no action had been taken to suspend or discipline him in the late 1990s during the police investigation. She was taken to a transcript of a covert recording of the 2008 meeting between herself, Wallace Benn and Phil Johnson. She felt it was clear Bishop Wallace Benn had known about Cotton’s conviction in 1999 and despite this he’s been given a PTO. She added that she tried to work with Philip Jones, the Lewes Archdeacon, but he failed to respond and didn’t give sufficient weight to her concerns.
She felt the Meekings report was positive and explored the facts adequately. She felt it should have been shared with survivors (even if it had been redacted).
On Gordon Rideout in 2010 a blemished CRB arrived. She recommended the withdrawal of his PTO immediately. Bishop John Hind asked the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group to look at it again. She said in evidence “I was amazed at his response”. The DSAG did but unanimously decided his PTO should be immediately withdrawn.
She felt Bishop john Hind was initially good but that after the Meekings Report he prevented an open and honest discussion of the Report’s findings. She had no confidence that the bishops had learnt anything from the Meekings Report.
In relation to Bishop Wallace Benn Shirley hosgood had these observations :-
I felt it was not safe to appoint a youth worker and he said he was a personal friend and he tried to change my view. It was a difficult phone conversation.
The diocese had not learnt the lessons of the Cotton and Pritchard failures. PTOs were being given without looking at the blue files.
There were communication failings. Wallace Benn was very angry with her and this stifled communication.
Eventually Shirley Hosgood was denied access to a meeting at which 4 cases would be discussed between Wallace Benn, Philip Jones and the Diocesan Secretary, Clive Dilloway. Shirley was not invited. She did however write a letter to explain her view on each case. She felt so side-lined that she resigned.
The panel Chair, Alexis Jay asked whether senior clergy were aware of their duty to report to which Shirley Hosgood replied that they did, that senior clergy chose to ignore the requirement. She mentioned that one member of clergy told her he wouldn’t tell her about concerns as she’ll tell the police. No one checked to see how procedures were being implemented.
In questioning from panel member, Ivor Frank, Ms Hosgood confirmed that she ran all contacts with survivors past EIG, the insurers, first.
In questioning from panel member, Sir Malcolm Evans, Ms Hosgood confirmed that she knew the 1954 Cotton conviction was there in 2007 on his blue file but also that Wallace Benn knew about it in 2001 and she presumed it had come with him from the Diocese of Portsmouth in the late 1960s.
Wednesday 7th March 2018
Bishop John Hind
He confirmed he was the Diocesan Bishop of Chichester. He had 2 area Bishops. He failed to supervise their activities and allowed them almost a free reign in their parts of the diocese (Lewes and Horsham).
He confirmed he would not break the seal of the confessional even for child abuse cases.
He refused to take responsibility for action or inaction in the area of Wallace Benn (Lewes).
He now wishes he’d given DSAs unfettered access to the blue files much earlier (they only got access in 2008).
He explained how in 2001 with the Data Protection Act coming into force he organised staff to take “ephemora” out of blue files. He did some of the document removal himself. He referred to guidance from Lambeth Palace. He agreed he did not closely supervise this and that some records of a safeguarding nature may have been destroyed. He said “ It is possible that child protection matters could have been removed. We didn’t have trained staff”.
There had been an internal inquiry into what went wrong at the Chichester Cathedral written by Edina Carmi. It was not published as reports were not published back then. He and Shirley Hosgood had no jurisdiction to look into the Cathedral.
He recalled the conflict which arose between Roger Meekings and Wallace Benn and also Shirley Hosgood. Wallace Benn threatened to sue him. The Butler Sloss report was intended to break the impasse but failed.
He remarked that no children were harmed as a result of the internal struggle but it got in the way of good responses to survivors.
John Hind eventually delegated responsibility for safeguarding to Archdeacon Philip Jones and the implementation of the Meekings recommendations was done piecemeal.
He agreed with 4 of the 5 findings of Butler Sloss :-
- There was a lack of understanding about child abuse and its seriousness in the Diocese (agreed).
- The Diocese was slow to recognise the importance of DSAs even though one had been in post since 1997 (not agreed).
- There were failures by Bishops to communicate important information to DSAs (agreed).
- There was no access to blue files by DSAs until 2004 and then only open access after 2008 (agreed).
- There was a failure to respond well to victims (agreed).
On Gordon Rideout Bishop John Hind knew of his 1972 court martial and that Wallace Benn had driven him to the police station yet despite this he wrote to Rideout when he was arrested in 2008 “It goes without saying that you have my full confidence and I hope so mush everything will soon be resolved”.
Why did he write this ? “I thought the matter was closed when the police took no action”.
Rideout went on to be appointed an acting Archdeacon. Things then got much worse as a blemished CRB check was received. Wallace Benn asked john Hind not to disclose it to Shirley Hosgood as Rideout was a friend. John hind refused to hold it back.
John Hind eventually agreed that “there was some sort of collusion and conspiracy taking place among abusing clergy in the East (Lewes). It was clear people were working in concert”.
John Hind advocated a more systematic approach and independence of safeguarding from institutional structures.
Archdeacon Philip Jones
He was a trouble shooter for the Bishop of Chichester.
He was critical of the lack of independence of Roger Meekings as he had been Shirley Hosgood’s supervisor. Jones felt he was an intermediary between Wallace Benn and Shirley Hosgood. The impasse affected the diocese’s response to survivors. Wallace Benn’s threat of legal proceedings.
There came a point at which he became aware that Wallace Benn had misled him about when he knew about Cotton’s 1954 conviction. Wallace Benn had told him he knew only in 2003 but it emerged he had known during the currency of the earlier police investigation. Philip Jones felt this was unedifying, he personally was embarrassed and realised Shirley Hosgood had not been treated well.
There was discussion about a lack of proper checks on Cotton’s PTO. He was said to have been spoken to by Nichols Reade about restrictions on his PTO but there was in fact no trace of a PTO and it emerged that conditions cannot be placed on PTO.
Philip Jones feels Wallace Benn is a believer that wrongdoers can get forgiveness even on safeguarding matters. This went to the extent that in the eyes of God the event hadn’t happened.
Ivor Frank pressed Philip Jones on the standards of proof he used to decide issues of safeguarding and pointed to a document in which Jones (ACE022267_375-8) in which Mr Jones said there was a need for absolute certainty (which as a lawyer he knew was a very high standard).
Thursday 9th March 2018
Former MACSAS chair. MACSAS is the support organisation which supports survivors of clergy abuse (Christian churches). It advocates on survivors behalf, supports and signposts them. It runs a helpline which has 400+ calls per year and 500+ e mail contacts. These have increased over the last 5 years.
She and MACSAS were shocked in 2009 with the past cases review which under-reported the scale of clergy abuse.
Alana tried to help on the group which was putting together guidance for the church but left as she was being sidelined in 2010. She criticises the 2011 “Repsponding Well” document for being a pastoral support document only.
She participated in the Stop Church Child Abuse campaign after the pope’s visit.
She felt motivated to respond to the Past Cases Review by putting together MACSAS’s own study from real cases “The Stones Cry Out”.
Alana helped Elizabeth Butler Sloss write her recommendations.
There came a series of meetings with the C of E head of safeguarding, Paul Butler, to try to improve the church’s systems. This resulted in opening up places on the National Safeguarding Panel for Phil Johnson and Jo Kind and the Safe Spaces project and MACSAS tried to make safe spaces independent of the church but the church wanted to control it and keep it in house.
Her recommendations are :-
- Mandatory reporting
- Guidance won’t work as good people do wrong things not only abuse but failing to report it.
- Independent support to be provided (therapy etc)
- Balance of probabilities should be the test.
- Mandatory risk assessments for all reports.
- Mandatory suspensions.
- Abolish the seal of the confessional.
- Stricter reports to Disclosure and Barring Service
- Where convicted abusers should be permanently removed.
- All records must be kept.
- Parish safeguarding officers should be told of those with conviction so they can monitor at parish level.
- There should be a national safeguarding monitoring system which is independent of the church.
- There should be national guidance on conduct, investigating and managing allegations. NB 75% of cases are non-recent.
- An independent body to award compensation in cases where there has been an allegation but no court determination.
Mr Meekings was initially asked to collate the information for the national past cases review but went on to review files due to concerns of Bishop John Hind that issues had arisen in safeguarding.
He had access to files. He thought he was being given access to all files. It transpires that some files and parts of files were withheld.
He found there was no consistency with files, few CRB checks, a policy of not keeping CRB checks on file, files had been inconsistently filetted (some papers taken out).
For instance the Pater ball file he saw at the time was much thinner than the 440 page file produced to the inquiry. Robert Coles had admitted an assault on a young boy but Mr Meekings didn’t see any record of this. On Rideout there was no information about the 2002 arrest despite Wallace Benn having driven him to the police station. Vickery House was simply not named by Bishop John hind as being a person of interest.
On the issue of Wallace Benn’s knowledge of Cotton’s conviction he spoke to Bishop Wallace and prepared a chronology of what he knew and when he knew it. This included entries to cover being aware of the conviction in 1998. Bishop Wallace agreed the chronology (ACE022270_12). He had concluded that Cotton told Nicholas Reade in 1998. Reade told Wallace Benn in 1998. Cotton told Wallace Benn in 1999.If the police had been told at the time it might have changed the course of the investigation.
Later Bishop Wallace disagreed with the report and threatened to sue for libel.
Roger Meekings reccomendations are :-
- End the Church’s exemption from the Equalities Act.
- Implement an independent safeguarding body.
- A national database of allegations.
- Clergy Discipline Measure requires a complete overhaul.
Worked as Bishop’s Chaplain in 2004. He was responsible for filing.
- Found files in disarray.
- PTOs were being granted without blue files being checked
- 90% of people didn’t have a CRB check.
- Found in a separate cabinet a file for Peter Ball
- He was present when Wallace Benn asked John Hind to hold back the blemished Rideout CRB.
- Bishop Wallace called Ian Gibson a liar and denied the incident.
Friday 10th March 2018
Was the diocesan Secretary. Started Feb 2011. Communicating well can built confidence but lack of clarity can reduce confidence.
The diocese didn’t pay Wallace Benn’s bill for legal advice.
The structure of the organisations in the diocese meant it was hard to work out who was accountable in Charity Commission terms.
This witness came across as unconvincing in her attempts to defend the organisation.
She was a social worker. After social work she worker half time for the diocese of Chichester and half time for the Diocese of Guilford. She withdrew from the Chichester role when her husband became the Bishop of Chichester.
She was undoubtedly sincere in her evidence and her efforts and admitted making mistakes or some safeguarding matters.
She drew up a safeguarding policy in 1996.
Mrs Hind was overruled on the issue of Michael Walsh in the 1990s and produced her note of the case.
On Robert Coles he had admitted abuse to Nicholas Reade (Archdeacon) who told Mrs Hind. She admits she should have told the police but didn’t. She assumed someone else would have told the police.
It is worth noting that her own 1996 protocols require the DSA to report to the police.
She became the National Safeguarding Adviser orking 2.5 days per week.
She recommends :-
- Arbitration on an appeal process is survivors are unhappy with processes.
- General child protection should be done within dioceses.
- The balance of probabilities test should be used.
- A culture of informed vigilance needs to be developed with parents and congregations.
He is the former police officer in charge of the police child protection investigations in Sussex.
He agreed the first investigation into Cotton was very slow.He agreed the police destroyed the file in around 2005/6 because it had been categorised as an offence against an adult (Philip Johnson) rather than against a child.
He agreed that if he had known of the conviction of Cotton during the first investigation its complexion may have been different. He said it was routine to get pre-cons on arrest.
He added that if he had known about the 2003 complainant the file would have been re-opened.
The Diocese seemed to resent statutory agencies and the police and other safeguarders had to drag them into the 21st Century. It has been hard at times.
He later worked on the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group which was disbanded (he suspected he and others on the group were being a nuisance).
Resumes on Monday 12th March 2018