ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF BIRMINGHAM
12-16th November 2018
Evidence summary David Greenwood (representing RC-A31, RC-A32, and RC-A33)
Monday 12th November 2018
Counsel to the Inquiry (“CTI”) Jacqueline Carey set out the structure of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. There are 5 Archdioceses, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Southwark and Westminster. The Birmingham Archdiocese is the largest with 250 parishes. Former Archbishops are :-
1947-65 Francis Grimshaw
1965-81 Gerard Dwyer
1982-99 Maurice Couve de Murville
1999-09 Vincent Nichols
2009-present Bernard Longley
There are also 65 separate Orders of Religious in the diocese.
The Nolan report in 2001 made recommendations on safeguarding. In 1994 Gerry McArdle was placed in charge of child protection for the diocese. Prior to this the Archbishop would deal with allegations. Nolan recommended that statutory authorities should be notified immediately when an allegation was received.
In around 2002 COPCA was established with Eileen Shearer as its head. She tried to introduce nationwide standard policies. COPCA’s successor, CSAS, did an audit of Birmingham in 2010 and found its paperwork needed improving.
The Nolan report was reviewed by Baroness Cumberledge in 2007. She asked CSAS to provide annual reports and asked it to re-commit to the paramountcy principle of putting the interests of children first.
In Birmingham in 1997 a Commission was established, now called the safeguarding Commission. Despite the existence of the Commission the Archbishop can still decide to ignore CSAS advice on how to deal with allegations.
A child protection co-ordinator, Jane Jones, was placed in post in 2003. He or she should liaise with survivors and deal with perpetrators. The co-ordinator is accountable to the Archbishop. What oversight and support was provided to Jane Jones?
A major difference of opinion arose between the national advice body COPCA and Jane Jones. Eileen Shearer of COPCA asked for the names of perpetrators before giving advice but Jane Jones refused to provide them. The Archbishop Vincent Nichols was aware and content with the impasse. Why the secrecy?
The Inquiry has identified four case studies; Samuel Penney, James Robinson, Tolkien, and F167.
Only Robinson and Penney have been convicted. A schedule of allegations will be published on the IICSA website at INQ002763. 78 Individuals are accused. Some are dead.
Born 1939 Ordained 1967. Charismatic, engaged with children in youth groups and trips. Abused at least 7 children. Convicted in 1993 and imprisoned for 7 ½ years. Laicised in 2006.
In 1980 a headmistress at the primary school to which he was allocated complained that he was interfering with the school. He was taking children into secret interviews and became abusive when he was confronted about this. In 1984 a mother said that Penney had made an inappropriate suggestion to her son. In 1986 Penney was arrested. No police documents exist of that arrest and neither Penney nor the police told the church that he had been arrested. In 1990 parents complained that Penney had abused their son. The Vicar General, Daniel Leonard, was told it is not known what action was taken. In 1991 a complainant, Mr Flanagan, told Bishop Pargeter that he had been abused by Penney (document CHC001507_024). The complaint was made in July 1991. The Bishop wrote to Mr Flanagan and said he had dealt with it. Penney was sent to a retreat house in Scotland then in 1991 to a house at Heringbrooke. He was treated. It was not secure. Penney was free to leave and actually returned to his local parish where he abused A357 when Penney had been invited into his home by the family. In May 1992 Penney was treated at the Gracewell Institute. In 1993 he was convicted and sentenced to 7½ years in prison. He was given financial support by the Archdiocese throughout until 2015.
On the 22 October 2010 James Robinson was found guilty of offences of buggery and indecent assault. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison. There were four complainants and two other victims who gave evidence. RCA31 had tried hard for more than two decades to bring him to justice. In 1985 some members of the church helped Robinson to leave the UK to go to California after an allegation had been made by RCA31. Robinson was a professional boxer. He rode a motorbike. He attended Oscott College. He applied but was rejected from the Diocese of Miami in 1975. He was ordained in 1971. There were concerns about Robinson in 1972. A347 told a friend that he had been abused by James Robinson. This friend was A337. He had been abused by Eric Taylor and told the church on the plight of A347. These abuse experiences were reported to Canon McCarthy and Sister Bernadette at Father Hudson’s home. David Mason and Karen Coine at the home received the complaints also it is not clear what action was taken.
RCA31 states that he complained to a number of priests in confession before 1985. In 1980 A337’s aunt became suspicious of Robinson. A337 returned from accompanying Robinson to a Coventry City Football match and he said that he did not want to see Robinson again and was upset. His aunt confronted Robinson. Robinson wrote a letter to A337 at CHC000611 during the period his aunt was keeping him away from Robinson. The letter was passed to Father Hanlon. Father Hanlon described it as a funny little letter (its contents show that Robinson was trying to be very persuasive in bringing A337 back into contact with him in order that he could sexually abuse him). Father Hanlon did not report the letter to the police. In autumn 1984 Robinson had been ill and a doctor recommended that he have a less stressful environment.
On the 5 May 1985 RCA31 attended Digbeth Police Station to report his complaint of abuse from Robinson. RCA31 went straight to see Father Grady at Smallheath. Father Grady said he would meet with Daniel Leonard. Father Grady said that Daniel Leonard was upset and angry. Father Grady learned the next day that Robinson had gone to the States. Father Grady felt upset and angry.
On the 7 May 1985 RCA31 had secretly tape recorded a conversation he had with Robinson in a local park in which Robinson admitted his relationship with RCA31 from the age of 10 to 16. One copy was given to the police which was subsequently lost. A copy was given to friends. We have a transcript of the conversation.
On the 8 May 1985 RCA31 told his parents. RCA31 has complaints about how the police handled his complaint to put it mildly. He believes his complaint was not taken seriously in any sense in that he was actually accused himself of blackmailing Robinson. Daniel Leonard, the Vicar General, wrote to RCA31’s father in a defensive tone (document INQ002478). Robinson was shipped out of the UK with the help of the Vicar General and Archbishop. In October 1985 Daniel Leonard wrote to his counter-part in California (letter CHC000246_044). In the last paragraph Daniel Leonard admits that Robinson was moved as a result of the allegation made by RCA31. The Los Angeles Diocese was not keen to keep Robinson but Archbishop Couve de Murville urged them to hang onto him. In 1986 Robinson wrote to the Los Angeles Diocese (CHC000246_287) denying the abuse and accusing RCA31 of being a “mentally ill Homosexual”. Daniel Leonard also wrote on the 6 February 1986 to the Los Angeles Diocese providing more cover for Robinson and a good reference.
In 1993 Archbishop Couve de Murville wrote to the Archbishop of Los Angeles admitting that the relationship between Robinson and RCA31 had taken place. In the same year the Archbishop of Los Angeles removed Robinson from his parish. Robinson at the same time requested financial assistance from Daniel Leonard, the Vicar General. This was paid from Parish funds and reimbursed from Diocesan funds.
In 1995 RCA31 tried to get the police to reopen their investigation but was rebuffed. In 1997 Robinson came home twice to see his mother and tried to contact Archbishop Couve de Murville without success. In 1999 another victim came forward. Father McArdle asked police to arrest Robinson. In December 2000 there was another request for police investigation. There was a police investigation in 2002. West Midlands Police discovered that documents relating to the 1985 complaint had been passed by the police to the Archdiocese. It is suspected that DI Higgins gave them to the church to help them expel Robinson from the church.
The Archbishop wrote to Robinson (CHC0001044_090) asking him to return. Robinson replied, denying the abuse and refusing to return from Los Angeles.
In October 2003 a journalist, David Baxter, and Paul Kenyon had put together a BBC documentary “Kenyon Confronts”. The programme makes confronted Robinson in a trailer park in Los Angeles about the abuse. Vincent Nichols put out a press release stating that the BBC was hostile to the Catholic Church and tried to stop the publication.
In 2007 extradition laws changed and it was easier to bring back Robinson. He was convicted in 2010.
In 2015 Archbishop Longley was involved. Robinson agreed to be laicised. Rome was informed and he was laicised in February 2018.
Throughout this period both RCA33 and RCA31 tried to persuade West Midlands Police to investigate the case without success. It was eventually taken up in 2016 by the IOPC. It is not in dispute that someone provided the church with the police statement. The question has to be asked why did they assist the church. It is suggested that we cannot know for sure (the writer’s suggestion is that officers of the West Midlands Police were assisting the church to help Robinson evade justice by getting him out of the country before he could be arrested). At best this is an extreme negligence by the officers concerned and at worst it is a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. It is suggested that the IOPC and the West Midlands Police itself have each failed to critically analyse the behaviour of West Midlands police officers.
Born in 1917 and ordained in 1946. He is the son of the author named Tolkien. He was abusing in the 1950s and 1960s and died in January 2013.
The complainant, Christopher Rooney (name changed to Carrie) complains of abuse at Tolkien’s presbytery. Tolkien was reported in October 1993 to Couve de Murville (document CHC000253_021) but Mr Rooney says Tolkien continued to work in the church.
In November 2000 Mr Carrie wrote a book named Kloneit, an anagram of Tolkien and at that point I asked the police to investigate. West Midlands Police and the Crown Prosecution Service no longer had their papers from 1993 and in 2002 Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public’s interest to proceed. Mr Carrie started a civil claim.
In June 2002 A348 wrote to Vincent Nichols to say that he had been abused by Tolkien. Vincent Nichols advised A348 to go to the police. Archdiocesan solicitors spoke to two other men and they were advised to pursue civil action and it appears that the Archdiocese were aware of Tolkien’s abuse of scouts in 1968 and the case was settled for £15,000. A343 brought a civil action and is angry at how the church defended his civil claim so strongly when they were aware of Tolkien’s abuse in 1968.
F167 was a teacher in 1985. There was an allegation that he had touched boys at his school. He left his teaching job and applied to become a priest in 1987. He was ordained in 1990. Two boys later went to the police and F167 was put on leave. In 1997 criminal proceedings were stayed. F167 was appointed to a parish after 1997 with primary school. A safeguarding group asked for a psychological assessment but was inconclusive. In 1998 a complaint was made that F167 had asked inappropriate questions in confession. He categorically denied this but was put on leave fully paid between 1999 and 2007. In 2007 he decided to leave the Ministry and became a teacher with a clear CRB check. The case was considered in 2004 /2005 by Jane Jones who asked advice from Eileen Shearer at COPCA, the Catholic Advisory Service on safeguarding but Jane Jones would not provide his name and this led to disagreement about cross-referencing of names and a requirement to provide COPCA with names.
The Diocese decided that he should be allowed to resign and the case was closed.
Safeguarding in the Diocese
Reviews were carried out in recent years by Jan Pickles and SCIE.
Jan Pickles Diocesan Review
Revealed that priests were in a position of great power and ability to groom. They were able to take children on trips and priests had been moved between parishes when allegations had been made in the past. Legal advice tended to focus on the protection of the church. She found there was no risk assessment pro-forma of the status of any assessments was questionable. She also found that the Diocese needed a case management system as the paperwork and files were difficult to follow.
Jan Pickles Parish Review
Miss Pickles, an experienced safeguarding professional, visited parishes and found individuals in favour of safeguarding, priests being aware of risks and all said they would refer any allegations to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team but found that Jane Jones was under funded and demands on her were high.
Found that there was good information sharing with the police, good and regular training and parishes thought highly of the safeguarding team.
Areas of concern were as follows:-
1. Policies of Birmingham did not adhere to CSAS policies.
2. There was no case management system and files were not well kept.
3. Safeguarding Commission in the Diocese did not provide scrutiny.
4. There was a tangible and explicit fear that those accused should remain anonymous.
5. Feedback from anyone using the service was not welcomed. Criticism of the team or the Diocese was not welcome.
6. The Archbishop Bernard Longley accepts SCIE’s concerns.
The Child Protection Coordinator, Jane Jones, has rejected these criticisms, views them as personal and has resigned.
Openings were then given by Slater and Gordon, David Greenwood on behalf of those represented by Switalskis, on behalf of D2, by David Enright on behalf of F48, F49, F53 and F59 who were at Crewe Court, Mr Hoarewell for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, Mr Mount for Jane Jones and Tanya Griffiths for Eileen Shearer and Adrian Child.
Tanya Griffiths remarked that the Diocese of Birmingham had serious problems. They included individual and organisational failures. COPCA and CSAS at national level did its best to help Birmingham but the Archdiocese of Birmingham failed to respond to the advice. Jane Jones of Birmingham saw CSAS as “secular outsiders”. Jane had the support of Vincent Nichols and Bernard Longley according to the 2010 Audit. Jane Jones complained that CSAS was non-Catholic and was telling her what to do. Jane Jones felt that CSAS was unjustifiably expensive. About Adrian Child’s findings in the 2010 Audit that there was lack of adherence to national standards, a lack of procedure and forms and the lack of governance, these all emerged from organisational failure which could not be laid entirely at the door of Jane Jones. Jane Jones was not qualified, was not supported by enough staff, was conflicted due to her developed Catholicism and was not properly managed.
Met Samuel Penney early in the 1980s. Penney was charismatic and magnetic. It fostered an environment of vibrancy. A15 considered him a friend. He chose special children to go on camping trips and stay overnight at the Presbytery. A15 stayed over on numerous occasions and slept in his own room. Penney encouraged him to call him Sam. In the 1980s they went away to Rhyll in Penney’s VW campervan. On the third night he was asleep next to Penney when he felt Penney’s hand run down his side. A15 brushed it off but on the fourth night A15 woke with Penney’s hands on his genitals. A15 pushed them away, turned over and the next day felt in his own mind that he had to try to deny that anything had happened. Penney the next day became aggressive and sullen. A15 wanted to maintain the friendship and didn’t tell anyone at home.
A week later he stayed over at the Presbytery and was asked by Penney to sleep in his room. Penney had a bed and there was a camp bed for A15. Penney asked him to get into bed with him and A15 said “I’m not like that”. He locked the bedroom door and tried to coax A15 into bed. Penney named other boys that had got into his bed. For two hours Penney tried to break him down and persuade him to get in. There was a point at which A15 almost gave in but he didn’t get into bed. Penney said eventually “I trust you are adult enough not to tell parents about this”. Within a couple of days A15 did tell his mum. His mum could tell something was wrong at a service and he left very quickly after the service at the church. A15 told his mum that Penney was gay. He didn’t tell her about the camping trip but he told her all about the bedroom. His parents got in touch with the Archdiocese quickly within a couple of weeks.
He was unsure what happened. In 1993 a letter came out of the blue from the BBC about the Everyman documentary. His mother was in the programme in silhouette. Couve de Murville was directly denying the report of his mother to Daniel Leonard. A15 was shocked and very surprised that an Archbishop who knows the truth would deliberately deny the truth. A15 later went to see Cardinal Hulme but said there was nothing he could do about Couve de Murville.
A15 had a strong faith from being a boy and had a sense of calling. He wanted to be a priest. He had an interview with an Archbishop. A15 told him he was part of the Penney complainants and the Archbishop told him “we don’t need to talk about that”. A15 became a curate. He landed in a parish where his predecessor had just been convicted of child abuse. Some parishioners were in denial about the priest and some agreed that it had happened. A15 apologised to the parish. In the early 2000s A15 met a woman and fell in love. He found the priesthood isolating and had a desire to have children. He left the priesthood. He recalls that in a seminary there were only three female teaching staff (nuns) and the rest were male. He recalls that when he was being taught, the Penney case and Couve de Murville’s denial was used as an example of how NOT to respond. Some seminarians’ did not engage well with this training, others took it in. He recalls being trained to report allegations to police and to help support victims but was not taught the impact of trauma on survivors. He still has a strong faith and believes in light, not shadow.
It was announced to the Inquiry that Vincent Nichols was unwell, had a doctor certify him being unable to attend on the 13 November 2018. It is suggested that Vincent Nichols gives evidence on the 13 December 2018.
13 November 2018
A31 was abused by James Robinson between the ages of 10 and 16. It started in 1970 and ended when A31 punched Robinson when he made an advance towards him at the age of 16. Robinson wrote to A31 a letter in 1974, essentially a love letter. A31 told priests in confessionals many times what he was doing with Father Robinson but did not tell his parents. He was from a family of Irish Catholics who had moved over to Birmingham in the 1950s.
In 1985 A31 had had no contact with Robinson for ten years and felt that he was old enough to tell the police. He arranged to meet Robinson in a local park and secretly tape recorded their conversation in which Robinson admitted the long standing relationship with A31 from the age of 10. The tape was used in the criminal trial in 2010 to convict Robinson.
There was no prosecution in 1985. In 1995 A31 asked West Midlands Police to investigate Robinson again. A31 received a letter from the police telling him that they did not see that the secret tape could stand up as evidence in court and A31 was rebuffed again.
In 2003 West Midlands Police looked at the case again and a letter from a detective, Sarah Bowen, recorded that the 1985 documents had been destroyed but that the police had passed his 1985 statement to the church. Relevant documents are OHY005312, INQ002478_015, INQ002478_019 and CHC000246_173.
A31 was shown a letter of forgiveness that he wrote to Robinson in 2013. A31 became upset at this and asked for a break in proceedings.
When proceedings resumed A31 explained that the forgiveness letter was recommended by his therapist.
A31 stated that the cover-up has systematically destroyed his life. A31 explained his work with David Baxter and Paul Kenyon on the Kenyon Confronts programme for the BBC in October 2003 entitled “Secrets and Lies”. A31 was “Mark” in the programme.
Vincent Nichols tried to stifle the story. Vincent Nichols has only ever replied to one email or letter from A31. This was in 2003 just before the Kenyon Confronts programme. Vincent Nichols offered to meet A31 to which A31 replied that he would meet Vincent Nichols but it would have to be on BBC news night.
A31 considers that the findings in the IOPC report of 2018 (released just before the start of this Inquiry) are preposterous. He explains that he has been complaining to the police and about the failure of the police to investigate for decades and that the IOPC investigation only started after he became a core participant.
RC-A343 describes sexual abuse at Cruden Court by a PE teacher who buggered him. He told a nun but was told by the nun that he should not lie and that he would rot in purgatory. He was beaten by the nun in front of the school assembly. He told no one of the abuse for forty five years until 2015. He reported it to the West Midlands Police but received no response.
RC-A1 RC-A493 (Read)
A1 was at Besford Court. He describes a teacher touching him. A swimming teacher touched him too. Also the caretaker paid him each week to allow him to sexually abuse him. A1 self-harmed by putting stinging nettles on his genitals and hit his own bottom with a stick. He reported the abuse to West Mercia Police in the 2000s but no prosecution took place. He asked again in 2018 for West Mercia Police to investigate again. There came a time when he asked for his Bedford Court records from Jane Jones, the Diocesan Child Protection Coordinator. He felt that Jane Jones was dismissive. She took him to a room in the cathedral and showed him records there. He saw a picture of himself as a boy and cried. His records were eventually sent to his home address. He burned them between 2005 and 2015 and got a new set when he approached a solicitor in 2017. He called Jane Jones in 2018 to give her more detail. He felt that she was being sarcastic and he shouted at her and passed the phone to his wife. He felt frustrated and upset at how the church had dealt with his complaint.
14 November 2018
Jane Jones Diocesan Child Protection Coordinator 2003 to present
Jane Jones was a woman in her fifties with dark shoulder length hair wearing a black top. She was evasive throughout her evidence to the point of treating the questions with contempt towards the end of questioning.
She was a qualified social worker and a committed catholic. She worked as a field social worker in Birmingham in the late 1970s until 1982. The emphasis was then on physical abuse. Since then she has lectured and taught in sociology. She became involved with the Columban Fathers to help them with their safeguarding supervision in the 1990s and was asked by Father McArdle of the Birmingham Diocese to write a paper on the Samuel Penney convictions in the 1990s. Following the Nolan Report in 2001 the Diocese wanted to recruit a child protection coordinator. They interviewed three people. Carmel Knowles got the job and Jane Jones was asked to support her. Carmel developed some problems and Jane Jones took over the role in 2005.
She was responsible for developing practice, advising the Archbishop, making referrals to the police, advising parishes, overseeing safeguarding agreements, coordinating support and advice to victims. It is a wide ranging role incorporating dealing with vulnerable adults and non-clergy abuses in parishes. Forty percent of the referrals she receives comes directly from the police.
Non-Diocesan orders of religious (there are sixty five of these in the Archdiocese of Birmingham) are asked to align themselves with the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission’s rules. Thirty have aligned. She was not certain how many others are considering becoming aligned or indeed how many others exist in the Archdiocese.
When asked about her supervision by Archbishop Vincent Nichols when he was the Archbishop she became evasive, giving unclear answers such as “I have no recollection of being unhappy about his direction. If there was a conflict between me and the Archbishop I don’t recollect it”. Jane Jones used evasive and non-committal language such as this throughout in answers.
When asked about Eileen Shearer and COPCA/CSAS her main criticism of Eileen Shearer was that she was from a “secular background”. Jane Jones thought that Eileen Shearer lacked the understanding of the structure of the Catholic Church. Jane Jones seemed to draw a distinction between the CSAS rules of reporting and language Catholics would deal with cases. When asked to explain all she could say was “the church is a body of believers”.
Eileen Shearer’s complaint that Jane Jones appointment was not advertised externally, that she did not fill in the necessary forms and did not have sufficient experience of child protection practice were refuted by Jane Jones.
She was shown a document in the COPCA Protocol which states “details of abuser and victim will be given to COPCA before COPCA can cross-reference and advise”. This was dated 03/02/04 document number CSA003225_0001.
There was dispute between Jane Jones and Eileen Shearer about whether Jane Jones should tell Eileen Shearer the name of the abuser and victim before Eileen Shearer could give advice. A letter from a COPCA employee to Jane Jones stated “you told me Archbishop Nichols was the person who advised you not to provide the name to COPCA”. Jane Jones replied that she did not have a clear recollection of her conversation with Vincent Nichols about this. Jane Jones stated that the Commission (the body in the Archdiocese of Birmingham which reviewed her work) advised her that she could seek advice without giving the name.
Eileen Shearer took up the issue with the Vicar General, Mr Moran. At this, Jane Jones became evasive stating that she did not recollect conversations and did not recollect a direction from Vincent Nichols about holding back the name. She did at least state that the Diocese is responsible for its own affairs and does not have to take orders from COPCA or CSAS.
Jane Jones was directed to an attempt by her to backtrack and suggest that when she was asking for advice she was asking a “policy query” rather than individual advice. In fact it was clear that she was asking for individual advice on this case. The case was actually F167’s case, the abuser who moved from being a teacher to a priest during the 1980s and 1990s.
Jane Jones then became evasive and blamed her decision making on being told not to release the names by the Commission. In fact there was evidence that Vincent Nichols had been the source of this advice.
There was mention that Adrian Child encountered the same problem with Jane Jones when he took over from Eileen Shearer in 2007 and COPCA was renamed CSAS.
Jane Jones suggested that the successor to Adrian Child, Collette Limbic at CSAS only asked for names on a case by case basis. It was shown that when referrals were made to the police or the LADO, names were given. She could not explain why they were not given to CSAS other than to prevent the generation of more records.
Jane Jones was shown documents at CHC001639_001 and _005 in which Vincent Nichols and she tried to excuse parish volunteers from having to have CRB checks on the basis that they are known within the parish.
She was told that Adrian Child viewed Jane Jones as being hostile after he had carried out the 2010 Audit. He described Jane Jones in CHC001464_004 at paragraph 66 as follows: “The attitude of Jane Jones was cynical and not conducive to making the church a welcoming place for all”.
She was questioned on her contact with A1 but denies being sarcastic or dismissive to him.
She was referred to document CHC001640_001 which was her position paper on Samuel Penney written in approximately 1993. She explained that it was intended for the eyes of only two or three people, that she was teaching when she wrote it. She recalls it was seen by Archbishop Couve de Murville who sent her a letter about this piece and that he felt it was a useful document. Within the document she seems to consider that abuse within a family is not necessarily a crime, that sexual activity in this context can be warm and comforting, that all the children are not as vulnerable as younger children and she speculated that one of the mothers in the Everyman programme in 1993 was fantasizing about having a sexual relationship with Samuel Penney. She states in the article that the first victim here is Penney himself.
This is a prime example of someone working for the church, putting the church and abusers first above the interest of victims.
She confirmed that Archbishop Couve de Murville, Bishop Budd and Bishop Longley knew about the briefing paper and approved it in around 2000. Anyone reading the paper would find it deeply disturbing. It should be published on the IICSA website. The person who holds these views should not be in a position of responsibility and safeguarding situation. There were other instances of her mentioning touching as a minor act of abuse essentially reducing the seriousness of particular cases.
In relation to the SCIE Report criticisms were:-
1. There is little evidence that CSAS Protocols were being used.
2. Policies and procedures of CSAS were not being used.
3. The recording system was fairly inadequate. There was no case management system.
4. The quality of response was good.
5. Contributors to the report (service users) suggested that the safeguarding team were more concerned with protecting the church and Jane Jones and senior clergy do not understand the harm done by abuse. Jane Jones response was “I hope I don’t have an ignorance about huge consequences of this evil”.
Jane Jones explained that she resigned a week ago as she feels that she has been side-lined in the preparation for IICSA since February 2018.
In questions, Alexis Jay, demonstrated that when Jane Jones assessed F167 as having no current risk, she could not have decided this. She also confirmed that she was not a registered social worker and has never been registered.
In questions from Drusilla Charplin she admitted that she now thinks she should have provided names of abusers and victims to CSAS so she changed her mind over a period of time.
In questions from Ivor Frank, Jane Jones agreed that the person supervising her was in fact a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission (Sister Anna O’Connor).
15 November 2018
A woman in her forties, dark hair, black jacket, self-assured. Statement document number INQ002671. Eileen Shearer was the Director of COPCA between 2002 and 2007. She was brought in to implement Lord Nolan’s report of 2001. Vincent Nichols was the Chair of COPCA.
Eileen Shearer explains that she had very strong opposition in Birmingham and there was overt hostility on occasions from some quarters. Some others did their best and wanted her to succeed. Her job was to unify safeguarding procedures throughout all Dioceses.
She felt that Vincent Nichols was generally positive. Birmingham had a regrettable history. Couve de Murville had not handled cases well. Vincent Nichols was a conscientious Chair of COPCA but did not put a real drive into to influencing others to adopt COPCA’s procedures and did not promote COPCA enough.
There was a police investigation into Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, arising from the Father Hill/Stanstead Airport case. Vincent Nichols was defensive and thought that COPCA had no role in this. Eileen Shearer thought that COPCA should have had a role. In the appointment of Jane Jones she confirmed that the process of the appointment was flawed, Jane Jones had been a social worker only pre-1982. The post was not advertised externally and she was a devout catholic. Eileen Shearer wrote to Vincent Nichols to complain about this that the appointment was not compliant with Lord Nolan’s recommendations. Vincent Nichols defended her appointment. Eileen Shearer felt that the Diocese had appointed her by tapping her on the shoulder rather than using an external process. Perhaps in this way the Diocese was able to use malleable and biddable people to do their work which included protecting the good name of the Diocese from scandal and protecting priests from prosecution.
Documents were shown to Eileen Shearer which charts the history of her writing to Vincent Nichols and explaining to him the reason why it is important for names of abusers and victims to be passed to COPCA. Eileen Shearer recalls that Vincent Nichols became unhappy when she started to ask questions about what was happening in the Diocese as he felt that she did not have a mandate to poke around in the Diocese. She explained that Vincent Nichols refused to step in to overrule the Commission on the issue of providing names. His excuse was that it would not be showing independence in his role. In reality the independence of Vincent Nichols on the COPCA Board was a sham in any case. Vincent Nichols comments that because F167’s case had been referred to the Education Authority and the police, Jane Jones had done her job, ignores the possibility that a central database at COPCA could have picked up abuse by F167 elsewhere and the police elsewhere may have been interested and assisted.
In questioning, Alexis Jay underscored the assistance which could have been provided if names had been provided and cross-referencing could have helped people elsewhere. In answer to Alexis Jay’s questions, Eileen Shearer stated that there had been problems elsewhere but problems were particularly acute in Birmingham.
In questions from Drusilla Charplin, cross-referencing point and assisting other statutory agencies was well made.
A man in his fifties with thinning grey hair, wearing a dark jacket and tie and giving matter of fact delivery.
Adrian Child had been a social worker in the 1980s and became a Social Work Manager in the 1990s and Head of COPCA in 2007 after Eileen Shearer. It became CSAS after 2007. CSAS also experienced resistance from the Birmingham Child Protection Coordinator’s office in that they opposed having to be audited. He was required to audit every Diocese in the country. He recalls that Jane Jones was defensive about being audited. The main problems he found with the audit was that the files were jumbled and confused and case notes were poor. Two cases were sent off for review as they showed serious deficiencies.
He noted a later change in the approach from the Coordinator’s office and they became more willing to cooperate and constructive.
Adrian Child complained that in public the Diocese would say one thing but in practice do another. There was some discussion of the Diocese having put out an erroneous story to the press in the Leamington Spa Courier of the 7 July 2006.
Adrian Child did not think that Jane Jones met the specification for the Child Protection Coordinator’s role. Her experiences in safeguarding was not recent. Her relevant experience had been only in 1982.
Adrian Child had also met resistance to providing names of abusers and victims.
Adrian Child thought that the Commission was dysfunctional between 2003 and 2008 as Birmingham had not implemented any of the COPCA national policies during that period.
Adrian Child felt that “patronage militates against adequate safeguarding”. By this he meant that priests are dependent on their Bishop for money, housing and vocation and unless they get employment rights they will not speak out against their Bishop or those who influence him.
Adrian Child’s final point was that the focus here in on Birmingham. It is a good example of where things go wrong. Other Diocese do a lot of good work and across the church as a whole significant improvement has been made since before Nolan.
Collette Limbrick (CSAS) (Read)
She gives statistics on correspondence with Jane Jones. She feels that Jane Jones has had a positive attitude to safeguarding and makes a significant contribution to the training. She has not had any concerns about a disclosure of names and others require names on a case by case basis.
16 November 2018
A494 was at Cruden Court in the 1960s. He tried to run away a couple of times. Each time he was brought back, stripped and hit with a leather belt by the nuns. He recalls Archbishop Dwyer visiting there at the time. He told Archbishop Dwyer about what the nuns had done to him. He recalls Archbishop Dwyer saying “the nuns wouldn’t do that”. He was then moved to Father Hudson’s home. A member of staff, F264 also caught him out of bed at Cruden Court at night and started to groom him, touch him but A494 rejected his advances.
In recent years he contacted Jane Jones for his records and told her about his experiences. He has been deeply affected by this.
The statements of RC-A15, Brian Hennessy, A32, A33, Amy Flanagan, A579 and David Mackle will be published on the IICSA website.
Bernard Longley (Archbishop of Birmingham 2009 to present)
He is a stout man with short greying hair, steel rimmed glasses, wearing a black suit, a dog collar and a black shirt. He has a slightly aloof manner.
In the 1970s and 1980s complaints of sexual abuse were taken by the Vicar General for a parish priest.
He agrees that he has ultimate responsibility for safeguarding in the Archdiocese of Birmingham and he will be free to disagree with CSAS policy. When pressed on this he gave a slightly evasive answer, explaining that policies initially conceived at the Bishop’s Conference (in reality polices are refined by CSAS who are responsible for ensuring that they are implemented nationwide).
He had a handover from Vincent Nichols when he took up his post and Vincent Nichols told him about Jane Jones being the Child Protection Coordinator.
He has appointed a CEO for the Diocese who was previously a Governor of Catholic Schools.
There was discussion of institutes and orders and how much control he could have over them (very little).
Cannon law was discussed and Bernard Longley agreed that “in safeguarding matters civil or criminal law takes precedence”. When pressed he said “I have never refused to accept a risk assessment on a priest so far as I can recall” (again an uncertain and slightly evasive answer).
He was challenged by being quoted the social work expert, Jan Pickles, view. She said “I was left in doubt as to whether Cannon law was more influential than criminal law in the Archdiocese. I found much more reference to the former than the latter in matters relating to priests about whom there were either allegations or concerns surrounding children”.
Bernard Longley was challenged as to why he wrote a “without prejudice” letter of apology to A491. He responded by saying that the letter was actually drafted by Jane Jones. He confirms that Jane Jones till drafts his letters but then changed his answer to saying that he usually drafts his own and then sends it to Jane Jones for amendments. He agrees that his apologies are not his own words but he agrees that this is not a caring response.
So we now know that the Archbishop of Birmingham does not use his own words to apologise to victims. He said he uses a devout catholic Child Protection Coordinator to draft his letters.
Bernard Longley acknowledged that this is a mistake. He also acknowledged that some mistakes have been revealed this week about the Archdiocese of Birmingham. He tries to apologise but Counsel to the Inquiry suggests that it may be too late. He responds “I hope it’s not too late”.
He tries to justify his actions by saying “as a charity, how do we hold together the legal requirements of a charity with a pastoral response?”. He goes on to say “I hope recommendations from the Inquiry will help”.
The Archdiocese clearly had no plans to change course. It continued to disregard very serious complaints from survivors of abuse, issuing insincere apologies and opposing claims for compensation with heavy handed legal tactics.
Care of Abusers
The Archbishop, Bernard Longley, admitted that Robinson had been paid £800 per month between 1985 and 2003. He also admitted that F167 had been paid between 1995 and the present day.
As a comment surely this is a great illustration of jobs for the boys/money for the boys.
Bernard Longley agrees that if a person is convicted before being laicised they would still receive payment until they are laicised. If they are not convicted before being laicised they would still receive pay until they are laicised. In fact the Archdiocese paid Penney for three years between his conviction and laicisation and Robinson between his conviction in 2010 until laicisation in 2018 and also Bede Walsh who was convicted in 2012 and is not yet laicised. There may be others.
He acknowledged that between the CSAS Audit in 2010 and 2016 when the Archdiocese of Birmingham was selected as a case study by IICSA, there was no audit or review of the quality of the Child Protection Coordinator Department to work and that this is a failing in addition to the failings pointed out in the Jan Pickles and SCIE reviews.
SCIE audit October 2018
It found :-
1) Recording systems were wholly inadequate. The paper trail was very poor.
2) In feedback from service users they described Jane Jones as hostile and interested most in protecting the church’s reputation. They felt marginalised and unsupported.
3) Potential whistle blowers feared retaliation. Priests and parish safeguarding reps felt unable to criticise the church for fear of losing their positions. Criticism is not welcome in 2018.
4) There is a gap between the official vision and the lack of a safe reliable safeguarding system functioning across the Archdiocese is stark”.
In response Bernard Longley plans to recruit a new child protection co-ordinator and the commission has devised a plan to meet the SCIE criticisms CHC001646-007
Questions from the panel revealed slightly evasive answers but he admitted he felt charitable status caused inhibition in responding better to victims. He also told the panel he was content with the advice he got from legal advisers.
Closing submissions were made by Slater and Gordon, Switalskis, D2 (Besford Court), Howe and Co, Mr Mant (for Jane Jones) and Mr Horwell QC OBE for the Archdiocese.
Vincent Nichols will give evidence on 13th December 2018 and written submissions can be submitted by 20th December 2018.