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CLOSING SUBMISSIONS RC Archdiocese of Birmingham 16th November 2018

SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF RC-A31, RC-A32, RC-A33

IICSA – ARCHDIOCESE OF BIRMINGHAM

SWITALSKIS

 

  1. We act for A31-A33, instructed by Switalskis. Two were victims of James Robinson. The other of Eric Taylor. You heard evidence from A31. All have campaigned tirelessly for justice. The Church opposed them for decades.
  2. Our submissions are:
  3. The Archdiocese of Birmingham has proved to be a deceitful and malign institution. It is has proved to have little understanding of how to protect children in its care. Successive top level staff have ignored and covered up allegations. Jane Jones with her dubious views on child protection was recruited to do the Archbishop’s bidding keeping matters in house wherever possible. We reject the excuses and apologies and emphasize the impediments to self-governance presented by:
  1. Catholic teaching;;
  2. Its hierarchical structure;
  3. Its culture;
  4. Its unincorporated status.
  1. We recommend, in summary:
  1. Mandatory reporting as recommended by the MANDATE NOW campaign group.
  2. The creation of a new statutory body with powers to police and enforce basic standards of child protection. We envisage a body similar to the Health and Safety Executive.

Background

  1. You have seen 78 reported cases in Birmingham [INQ002763]. In Robinson’s case he was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for offences committed over decades. There were at least six victims. I do not know if that sentence is a record for the many perpetrators you have heard in the course of this Inquiry. It is a sentence reserved in our society only for the gravest crimes.
  2. The Dioceses’ response must be measured against the seriousness of what they knew or suspected these priests had done. Robinson’s sentence is a measure of the sort of criminal that the Catholic church has harboured, protected and supported.
  3. You heard from A31 that he had ‘confessed’ as a child to the sexual abuse in the confessional. You heard how Robinson then ‘vanished overnight’ to Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The ‘seal of the confessional’ was apparently breached to protect Robinson and the Church.
  4. Later, Robinson was allowed to make a new life in California, probably after the police tipped the Church off about A31’s allegations in 1985. He was given a stipend of £800 a month, paid to him in a circuitous, difficult-to-trace way.
  5. Despite A31 obtaining and providing to the police a compelling tape recording of Robinson, the police refused to pursue the matter further in 1995. It is deeply concerning that Robinson felt able to implore the Vicar General Leonard, at the time to use his influence with the police to stop any investigation [CHC000246_127] (probably 11/10/95).
  6. It took a BBC investigative journalist to help track Robinson down in 2003. Archbishop Nichol’s response was not gratitude, but fury at what he took to be anti-Catholic bias. The IOPC only decided to investigate the police’s actions at the start of this Inquiry. Three-years in the making,  the report is cursory and superficial. DI Higgins refused to cooperate. The IOPC investigation has exposed serious short-comings with the agency and the police complaints legislation.
  7. These men, these damaged men, have had to fight for right, largely on their own and against formidable opponents. Many others will have been broken before they got any sort of justice. These are only some of the cases that we know about. Many others will have been successfully covered-up or dealt with internally in closed ecclesiastical courts.
  8. Despite Robinson’s conviction in 2010, he was only defrocked in February 2018. A31 [and the others?] has yet to receive a penny in compensation. Anybody involved in litigation with the Catholic church will know how hard they fight even the clearest cases. Any technical defence available to the Church is seized upon and argued to the bitter end. You will look around this room and note the eminent counsel deployed on the Church’s behalf. When it comes to the Church’s interests, no expense is spared. When it comes to the victims of their most heinous crimes, parsimony.
  9. You have heard i) how hard COPCA and the Safeguarding Commission had to fight for resources ii) how Jane Jones would put money from speaking engagements into the pot  iii) how badly paid the staff were compared to their professional peers  iv) the reliance on volunteers, part-timers’ and agency staff. It is hardly surprising  – and perhaps it was the intention – that only devout Catholics were likely to take these posts. In Jane Jones’ case it resulted in a biddable amateur with – to the Church – agreeable views on the nature of child abuse as Child Protection Coordinator in Birmingham. This was a ‘Safeguarder’ who committed to paper and circulated her views that ‘The first victim was [the abuser] himself.’ This was a ‘Safeguarder’ who never did, and was never likely to, challenge the authority of His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. This was a ‘Safeguarder’ who refused, point-blank, to provide the name of a suspected abuser to COPCA despite clear and repeated requests to do so. Her answer to why she refused was simply that that was what the Commission had resolved. This was the Safeguarder who took exceptional umbrage at failing Adrian Child’s audit.
  10. You have also heard how Cardinal Nichols was, despite the obvious conflict of interest, both chair of COPCA and Archbishop of one of the most scandal-ridden Dioceses in the country. You have heard how he was seemingly unable to get his own Diocese to comply with what Eileen Shearer said were the clear national policy requirements of the Church. COPCA was powerless to do anything about it.  The Church instead cavilled about the meaning of a ‘volunteer’, the use of the word ‘compliance’  and tried to chisel away at policies they regarded as too onerous.
  11. That is, in the opening words of Counsel to the Inquiry,  the ‘uncontroversial’ background. ‘Uncontroversial’ because that background is not, and could not be, controverted. But it remains one of the most scandalous accounts of cover-up in the Catholic Church – that we know about.
  12. You will understand that when His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols writes that, “I wish to express my profound distress and sorrow for these repeated acts of evil committed in our Church”, the victims wonder at the sincerity of it; that when he writes, ‘We have not always understood the dynamics of the abusers, the web of deceit and manipulation which create to imprison a victim’, he understands only too well because the Church was a party to that deceit and manipulation; that when he says he offers ‘no excuses’, he knows the Church has ducked responsibility at every turn.
  13. Inferences
  1. This uncontroversial background demonstrates:
  1. The Church will go to extreme lengths to protect even the most heinous abusers and cover-up;
  2. A lack of will, even to this day, to do the right thing by those they know to have been victims of the most serious abuse;
  3. A willingness to admit only that which is incontrovertible;
  4. A willingness to pay lip-service only – and sometimes not even that –  to their own national policies and guidelines;
  5. That the leaders of the Church – even if I am wrong about all that – are incapable of imposing any good will they may possess. The structure of the Church means that every Bishop and head of religious is accountable, ultimately, only to himself. That is why Cardinal Nicols writes, ‘Persuasive cooperation is more of the manner of working in the Church. Conformity is not easily achieved, but convinced cooperation is more effective in the long-run.’ That is essentially an admission that leaders of the Church have great influence, good or ill, but little real power over its members.
  1. As the SCIE audit concluded only a month ago, “the gap between [the vision] and a safe, reliable safeguarding system functioning across the Archdiocese is stark’ and ‘A radical culture change is needed’.
  2. But it will not come from within. The Church is institutionally incapable of self-reform. When this Inquiry is over and the Catholic church vacates its current hot-seat, who can trust that it will not revert to type?
  3. None of this is new to you with respect to the Catholic Church. You concluded your executive summary into Ampleforth and Downside with David Molesworth’s contemporary assessment on those schools “‘I do not believe currently that the organisation as a whole understands or accepts their responsibilities for child protection issues … . We appear to be dealing with denial or downright obstruction.” The same applies here.
  4. There must be an end to the special pleading that the Catholic Church is a special case requiring special treatment. There must be one set of national standards for all with real sanctions for breach. We do not see how ‘name and shame’ could possibly be described as the ‘nuclear option’. That is the very least that is required.In 1985 A31 reported to police and to his local priest. Police met his complaint with an allegation that he was attempting to blackmail Robinson and gave his statement to the Vicar General. The police told his Father to keep him quiet. Within 2 days Robinson was out of the country. We do not know what the police did with A31’s tape recording in 1985 but his statement was passed to the Vicar General allowing Robinson to escape. The police had been recruited as an agent for the church just as Jane Jones would be in subsequent years.

Mandatory reporting

  1. A new law should require professionals who work with children in ‘Regulated Activities’ to inform the LADO (‘Local Authority Designated Officer’) or, in appropriate circumstances, children’s services, where the professional knows, suspects, or has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting child abuse or sexual abuse by those in a position of trust. We support and promote the work of www.mandatenow.org
  2. Strong laws should lead cultural change. In the absence of a legal requirement to report those staff who do report presently are, by default, whistle-blowers with very little protection. Without strong laws any institution – no matter how benign its culture – is vulnerable to a powerful person within that organisation acting without integrity.Mandatory reporting must make no exception for the confessional. We have seen in this case how the seal of the confession was gladly broken to relocate Robinson in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

New statutory body

  1. The creation of a new independent statutory body to enforce basic standards of safeguarding, and to receive and deal with complaints of child sexual abuse in all institutions which are responsible for the care of children.
  2. This new statutory body would police and enforce minimum national standards of child-safeguarding. This body would have similar powers to the Health & Safety Executive. The Health & Safety Executive operates for the safety of workers. Children are an even more vulnerable group. The absence of a powerful statutory body dedicated to their protection is a serious defect.
  3. The new independent statutory body will:
  1. Establish a register of relevant Institutions that look after children.
  2. It will be an offence to look after children without being on the register.
  3. To be on the register institutions have to introduce a corporate structure.
  4. Registered institutions will be forced to adhere to minimum safeguarding regulations.
  5. The body will have the power to prosecute regulated organisations for breaches of these regulations (similar to prosecutions by the Health & Safety Executive). Fines will be imposed.
  6. All complaints are to be passed to the independent body by a receiving institution with a criminal sanction for failing to do so.
  7. The body will gather information from complainants, regulated institutions and third parties. It will have the power to compel disclosure of material.
  8. It will liaise with and assist civil authorities such as the police and social services. It would ensure the police and other statutory organisations are taking appropriate action within reasonable timescales. It will have the power to compel the police to investigate and refer cases to the CPS.
  9. It will provide coordinated support to victims, particularly those required to give evidence.
  10. The body will investigate the complaint using the balance of probabilities as the standard of proof. There will be no statute of limitations. It will have the power to make an award of compensation, similar to the CICA. It will decide the support to be offered to the complainant. A scheme will be established to provide adequate compensation for victims of child sex abuse which takes into account the effect on quality of life and a series of relevant factors (as opposed to the rigid CICA system).
  11. Complainants will be allowed to take advice from lawyers and a contribution towards legal costs will be awarded.
  12. The cost of the body’s work, support, reparations and legal costs are to be paid from a levy on the institutions with those found culpable paying the costs of dealing with individual cases in which they are involved.
  13. It will provide to Government regular reports on its progress and, inter alia, the extent to which its activity is promoting the UK’s obligations under the UN convention on the Rights of the Child.

Standing Inquiry into institutional failures in child abuse

This Inquiry is considering particular case studies. Many more examples of very bad practice have and will emerge and are worthy of full inquiry. We ask the panel to recommend that the Inquiry’s work is extended indefinitely to allow the investigation of other institutions.

WILLIAM CHAPMAN

DAVID GREENWOOD

16th November 2018

 

IICSA RC Archdiocese of Birmingham evidence summary 20-16 November 2018

IICSA INQUIRY
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.
Samuel Penney
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.
James Robinson
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.
Father Tolkien
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.
RC-F167
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.
SCIE Review
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.
RC-A15
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
RC-A31
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
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
Eileen Shearer
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.
Adrian Child
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
RC-A494 (Read)
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.
David Greenwood
17.11.18

Huddersfield Child Sexual Exploitation

Details of the Prosecution of 20 sex criminals in Huddersfield were released to the press on Friday 19th October 2018.
This large organised gang was able to rape and degrade girls as young as 11 in West Yorkshire from at least 2004 until 2015. This came despite parents reports to police and some of these girls being in the “care” of social services.
How could he police ignore these serious offences ? Why didn’t they use their powers to get these serious criminals off the street ? Was it due to a lack of resources , a lack of understanding, a lack of training or a lack of commitment ? We’re these girls categorised as being “out of control” or unworthy of intensive help and support ?
We need to know the answers. Only then will we be able to understand and disrupt the activities of organised exploiters.
We must not just assume the modus operandi of all Asian origin exploiters is the same. Rotherham has its fair share of criminals who used girls as a currency. There are reports that the culture and teachings of Islam gives West Yorkshire groomers a green light to attack white girls. Whatever the motivations we need to understand the background and motivation of them in the same way that suspected terrorists are analysed. The harm done is certainly comparable. After all a significant proportion of a whole generation of Rotherham women have been deeply affected by child sexual exploitation. We must do whatever we can to prevent it for the future. My sincere hope is that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse header by Prof Alexis Jay will dig deep and provide guidance in the coming years.
In the meantime what is clear is that both Social Services and the Police in West Yorkshire have dramatically failed significant numbers of vulnerable girls and their families. I have asked he council and the police to each commission independent inquiries into the scale of Child Sexual Exploitation and their organisational responses and failures.
I will also continue to pursue legal claims for compensation for all girls affected. These girls will need ongoing support and compensation will help.
David Greenwood heads a team of female solicitors who have successfully pursued cases against councils and police in Rotherham and Oxford. If you need to speak confidentially call 01924 882000 or e maildavid.greenwood@switalskis.com

PAST CASES REVIEW AND SINGLETON REPORT – 22nd June 2018

COMMENT ON PAST CASES REVIEW AND SINGLETON REPORT – 22nd June 2018

The past cases review (PCR) published in 2010 was announced with the following declaration in the church press release “We firmly believe that any concerns about a member of clergy or other office holder’s suitability to work with children have now been thoroughly examined in the light of current best practice by independent reviewers”

Contrast this with just one submission from one Diocese in which 390 personnel files were reviewed and 76 were found to have had no checks at all. 114 PTO files reviewed 12 had no checks at all. Of the 390 files reviewed and 24 needed further investigation. 1 person was ordained despite having a conviction for indecent assault; 1 person’s file had been taken by the Metropolitan police Paedophile squad. In another, “nasty” pornography discovered but no action taken. This information does not square with the quote above in bold. To our knowledge none of these cases were followed up, investigated further or reported to the police.

The true story is of vast cover up and avoidance of responsibility on an industrial scale.

The church set out in its review criteria to minimise any damage which could result from opening up the books. The criteria given to reviewers were that they should include (1) The number of files reviewed (2) The numbers referred to statutory authorities (3) The number dealt with formally internally. There seems to have been no concern that these three criteria ignored more detailed but still important safeguarding concerns such as cases where clergy had been arrested without being internally disciplined, retired clergy who still pose a risk, clergy against whom no action has been taken despite allegations against them, clergy with no CRB checks. Parish employees and volunteers were ignored. Non-diocesan organisations such as Cathedrals and monastic Orders were excluded

The question has to be asked what has happened to all these cases which remained very much live but which were ignored and swept under Rowan William’s bulging carpet ?

In the closing weeks of the PCR while the final results were being tallied – there was an extraordinary process in which Archbishop’s Council and senior figures in both Lambeth Palace and Church House were inviting dioceses to whittle their numbers down to zero. So for example in their original return, Chichester returned over 50 cases – but were asked to reduce this to zero on confused criteria that seemed almost to have been invented in closing stages. Chichester’s final return was in fact 3. 3 out of 13. Another diocese returned nearly 40 but this was reduced to zero. This seems to have been the pattern. We now know that Lincoln diocese has sent many files to the police, perhaps as many as 50 – but only within the last two years. Presumably many if not all these files should have led to arrest and potential prosecution at the time of the PCR.

In short the PCR was a whitewash. It was never going to be anything other. It left vast numbers of clergy un-investigated, unreported to the police, free to continue abusing and effectively protected by the church. This amounts at best to misfeasance in public office and at worst perverting the course of justice and harbouring criminals. Church officials’ behaviour should be investigated by the police.

Roger Singleton in his evidence to the IICSA IN March 2018 was critical of the Past Cases Review, its methodology and how it created a false rosy picture about safeguarding problems in the church. He made the point that files are very poorly kept and the press statement on the Past cases review was “under-evidenced”.

Yet we heard this morning on BBC R4 Today Roger Singleton now defending the past cases review by denying there was any cover up by the church. How can we have any faith in the review chaired by him when he has been so soft on the ludicrous charade that was the PCR? His review of the PCR has now been published. It is another attempt to keep things “in house” and persuade IICSA that “they can handle it”. Mr Singleton and his reviewers don’t get it and have been far too lenient with the church.

Mr Singleton’s report amounts to another attempted cover up. He uses loose words, and fails to call the PCR what it was – organised massage of the figures which hid abuse and allowed perpetrators and the good name of the church to be protected. He misses the point which is that the PCR was largely a statistical exercise unconcerned with rigorous assessment of church responses. There was no assessment of whether the church response in each case was appropriate (ie whether the alleged perpetrator had been treated too leniently or whether a case was reported to the police).

The CofE shoehorned a massive problem into an eggcup and hoped to get away with presenting this as a misrepresentation of reality. It has taken 8 years for this story to come to light as Phil Johnson and other members of MACSAS tried to get both the Church and the media to attend to this at the time. And we are seeing now today a whitewash of a whitewash. The church has vowed to introduce limited independent oversight but their idea of independence (for example their use of Roger Singleton) is not our idea of independence.

We need a bold minister to step in and appoint an truly independent reviewer to do a thorough examination of the cases and make referrals to the police of abusers and those responsible for covering up for them – and the church should pay for it.

David Greenwood and Gilo

22nd June 2018

IICSA Anglican Chichester closing submissions 23rd March 2018

IICSA

Anglican Inquiry

Chichester Inquiry

Closing statement of David Greenwood on behalf of Core Participants Phil Johnson, Rev Graham Sawyer, Professor Julie MacFarlane, AN-A1, AN-A2, AN-A5, and AN-A6

1. Over the last three weeks I have been struck by just how inappropriate an organisation the church is to have charge or care of children or vulnerable adults. Personally I would not want my son to spend a moment in the company of a member of this organisation. Its lack of a coherent structure, the possibility of clerics carving out places where they can abuse, the ability to blame one-another, the defensiveness and lack of accountability are just a few criticisms. If this organisation were a school it would have been closed down a long time ago.

2. Issues of the status of the church in the constitution are the province of others and I see no reason why the church cannot continue doing its good work in other sectors but on safeguarding there has to be a case for (to use the words of Edina Carmi) “de-constructing and then re-constructing with appropriate checks and balances”.

3. Whilst I appreciate you must reserve judgement on the Anglican church until the final inquiry scheduled for 2019, it appears to me and the core participants I represent that Anglican church has proved itself incapable of self-governance in the protection of children in its care.

4. We reject the flaccid policies, apologetic language, excuses and promises of action in the future. Myself and members of MACSAS have worked to point out all the issues for many years but have been met with only a listening ear and half-hearted engagement.

The evidence of Chichester and the church as a whole

5. We have heard a catalogue of lamentable failures in Chichester and at national level.
6. A15 – 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.
7. Phil Johnson – told us his story of having been extensively groomed by Roy Cotton and others, of safeguarding failures and of the danger caused to others by the police investigation having been starved of evidence by Wallace Benn. He explained his attempts to bring failures to light and how he had to go to extraordinary lengths in search of the truth which was never volunteered by the church.
8. 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 by encouraging the church to behave better towards survivors. 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.
9. Shirley Hosgood
10. In relation to Bishop Wallace Benn Shirley Hosgood said she felt it was not safe to appoint a youth worker and Bishop Wallace said he was a personal friend and he tried to change my view. It was a difficult phone conversation. She felt 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 an important safeguarding crisis meeting. She felt so side-lined that she resigned.
11. John Hind
12. Bishop John Hind 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. It is significant and perhaps not unconnected that there was a 27 year black hole in Roy Cotton’s file.
John Hind told us that “there was definitely collusion and conspiracy taking place among abusing clergy in the East (Lewes). It was clear people were working in concert”.
13. Philip Jones told us 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 2001 but it emerged he had known during the currency of the earlier police investigation.
14. Alana Lawrence (former chair of MACSAS) set out the work of MACSAS. Her Stones cry out recommendations accord with the ones I make on behalf of the Core Participants I represent.
15. Roger Meekings – I won’t repeat his evidence save to say that he was thorough and meticulous reviewer. The notion that he somehow ‘missed’ the crucial evidence relating to Bishop Peter Ball and Bishop George Bell is inconceivable. If it had been available to him he would have noticed it.
16. Ian Gibson – 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 clergy and staff didn’t have a CRB check. He 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.
17. Janet Hind – was undoubtedly sincere in her evidence and her efforts and admitted making mistakes on 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. Unfortunately everyone else presumed that she had.
18. Edmund Hick (Sussex Police) 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 previous convictions on arrest. He added that if he had known about the 2003 complainant the file would have been re-opened. He said 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). He was effectively sacked for trying to bring his professional expertise to bear and being involved in the disciplinary action against Wallace Benn.
19. Wallace Benn – complained bitterly that Roger Meekings had turned speculation into fact. When it was put to WB that he had agreed with a chronology setting out his knowledge of Cotton’s activities which included him knowing about the 1954 conviction in 1998 he said “I was busy at the time and only gave it a cursory look. I corrected it later in 2008. WB maintained he didn’t know about Cotton’s conviction until he saw Cotton’s declaration in 2001. He maintains any paralysis from the diocese was self-induced. He said he had inherited a paedophile ring of priests. Overall he said “I could have done some things better but I was cleared of the CDMs made against me”. He regarded the Safeguarding Adviser’s criticism of him as ‘Nit-Picking”.
20. Rupert Bursell – was a commissary for the Arch Episcopal Visitation. Its findings were in summary that :-
· The Diocese of Chichester was slow to identify abuse taking place.
· Dysfunction caused mainstream reports of abuse to be sidelined.
· Safeguarding was not at the forefront of the Diocesan agenda
21. Julie Macfarlane – Survivor and law professor recounted her abuse and the difficulties she faced with the adversarial civil justice system. She and many of the other Core Participants I represent found the process retraumatising, especially the ‘hostile’ adversarial psychiatric assessments.
22. Bishop Mark Sowerby – identified a sub culture which accepted sexual abuse of children around Lewes. There are basic patterns involving Anglo-Catholics mainly not married. Most abusers were single and looked out for each other. They were a “tribe”. If threatened they responded by defending one another, regardless of the threat – even if it was an allegation of child sex abuse.
23. Bishop Martin Warner – MW doesn’t want to see safeguarding go to an independent body on the basis that he wants Parishes to take responsibility. MW would like to see a laminated card with the top 10 safeguarding issues rather than a long book. He thinks he should explore what can be done with a website. He doesn’t think Mandatory Reporting is the way to protect children. On the confessional he wants to keep it in its present form as it enables disclosure and the unburdening of survivors.
24. Former Archbishop Rowan Williams – confirmed that despite the abuse allegations emanating from the Catholic Church he mistakenly thought the problem was far smaller in the Anglican church. The Past Cases Review press release read to the effect “We have done a thorough review and are certain that the church has no problem cases”. RW admitted this was “an ambitious statement” (In our view it was entirely misleading). On the confessional he is in favour of preserving the seal as he says it allows vulnerable people to use the space. He admits we can’t know how big a problem it is due to the secret nature of the conversations. Under his watch, The Church appears to have wasted over £2m on an ill-conceived review that only identified 13 problematic cases from 40,000 clergy. Even a fraction of this figure could have provided significant amounts of support for survivors.
25. Bishop Nicholas Reade – On Roy Cotton he told Wallace Benn about the police investigation in to him in Dec 1997. NR personally took no further action until 12 months later when Cotton told him his ordination had been postponed due to earlier trouble (organ loft issue). He didn’t say there had been a conviction. NR said “It didn’t occur to me to ask (about a conviction) I take priests at their word. The idea of a priest telling lies to a Bishop horrifies me”. This typifies how the present system relies on trust and why reporting should be mandated. On the issue of Robert Coles he tried to minimise the seriousness of a serious sexual assault of a boy by Rideout as a way of justifying not reporting the confession Coles had made to him to the police despite him being aware that Coles had made a “no comment” interview to the police. “He never admitted rape” was Bishop Reade’s declaration. He felt Eric Kemp should have made the decision.
26. Colin Perkins – was clearly getting on with his work within a flawed system. We had the impression that his system works because of him taking the issues seriously whereas in other dioceses with weaker DSAs or more forceful Bishops the same mistakes as in Chichester can occur. Chichester is often now held up as a beacon of good practice. This has not happened out of the desire for the church to change and improve. It is a reaction to the crisis and has been driven by the pressure and determination of the survivors in their fight for truth and justice.
27. Sir Roger Singleton – was critical of the Past Cases Review, its methodology and how it created a false rosy picture about safeguarding problems in the church. He made the point that files are very poorly kept and the press statement on the Past cases review was “under-evidenced”.
28. A8 and A7 described in detail how they were groomed and abused by Bishop Peter Ball and again the difficulties faced in the civil justice process.
29. Bishop David Walker – explained that there is no outside control over religious communities.
30. Graham Tilby – explained in great detail (and sometimes in management speak) the efforts being made to improve the system in the church notably on training and the ability of DSAs to overrule Bishops. There was criticism that improvements were very slow and that following guidance is still not mandated.
31. Edina Carmi – recounted her findings that there were unacceptable practices at the Cathedral and then a resistance to allow her to do her work, then attempts to destroy all copies of her report.
32. A11 – the boy chorister who had been abused by Terence Banks and suffered with debilitating mental health issues. He complained again of the harmful nature of the compensation process.
33. Dean Peter Atkinson – said “I can see John Treadgold would have been defensive with the police. At the time of his retirement he burned a number of files. He had left the Deanery and returned, removed files from the basement and had a bonfire in the garden. I don’t know what the files were. They might have been Chapter files but could have been his own. We found it odd and told the police.”
34. Elizabeth Hall – (former national safeguarding adviser) gave her opinion that :-
· This can happen anywhere (not just in Chichester).
· People can abuse in plain sight
· These men are obsessed with creating safe places for them to abuse and take care to carve out spaces.
In questioning Ivor Frank asked about document ACE006654_002 which relates to the Bishop of Peterborough having a massive bonfire of documents when he retired. She said there is a theological underpinning to this – to give his successor a fresh start.’ She is also aware that clergy remove and keep documents in their attics after retirement.
35. Justin Welby – agreed that he has no real power and can only use his influence. He was non-specific about his views on many of the suggested changes.
36. Bishop Peter Hancock – He agreed the man in the street won’t know what giving “due regard” means legally and thinks there should be a change to clarify this. He agreed there should be a separate procedure on capability in the CDM. He agreed DSAs should be recruited nationally and work locally. Discussions are starting on a redress scheme. He agrees the seal of the confessional should not apply to child abuse. He is working on improvements to monitoring PTOs including a register with Crockfords. He refused to agree the church should implement Mandatory Reporting, instead stating it is the responsibility of everyone in the country to report. He feels the church is as close as it can get to MR.
37. For structure I return to the four essential ingredients which have prevented good safeguarding responses.

a. Internal rules (including disciplinary rules, secrecy and rules on the confessional and lack of mandatory reporting);
b. The limitations of Hierarchical structures;
c. Church Culture;
d. The Church’s Unincorporated status.

INTERNAL RULES
We have heard that the development of internal rules within dioceses was hap hazard, with Janet Hind committing them to paper in 1997 and not until 2004 did we see basic national rules. Over the last 2 years we have seen a torrent of new internal guidance. We question whether DSAs actually have the power to overrule a Bishop due to the employer/ employee relationship.
Mandatory reporting is still a long way off for the church. Even the October 2017 rules still only require “due regard” to be taken to the guidance.
It should be noted that at every turn you have heard Bishop after Bishop find ways to keen oversight structures in house. There has been strenuous resistance of external oversight in the face of the evidence.
Colin Perkins is held up as a model of how things are alright now. The reality is that the church does not have a Colin Perkins in each diocese. Systems have to be designed to be operated by mediocre or even poor employees. In our view the church’s systems are inadequate on almost all levels.
The CDM has been exposed as a hopelessly cumbersome instrument with impenetrable rules. No-one has been successfully disciplined for failing to report abuse. It has been shown to be ‘Not fit for purpose’ in safeguarding matters. Some changes have been made but a vulnerable complainant has to be aware of it in the first place, be able to interpret the rules. There is a need for independent arbitration and a child abuse procedure. PTO is still open to abuse.
The lack of Mandatory reporting has allowed the Chichester cover ups and failures to happen. All the bishops and DSAs would have been required to report yet we have heard or repeated failures to alert the police.
Centralised Rules on records need to be stringent and there needs to be document retention. Again these need to be fully mandated. We have heard of files being filleted, that safeguarding reports could have been thrown away. We have head of at least two bonfires of papers and that this may have been a widespread practice at the end of Bishops’ times in office.
Hierarchical structures;
38. The Church of England operates a highly hierarchical structure with the Diocesan Bishop sitting at the top of the pyramid and having the last say on all matters relating to safeguarding. Whilst an attempt has been made at diluting this structure with the implementation of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers and allowing them to overrule a Bishop it will still take a brave and self-confident person to do this as they still owe their actual employment to the Bishop and can find themselves bypassed if the Bishop does not agree with their decisions.
CHURCH CULTURE
We have heard of cultures of deference, factional cultures, anglo-catholics, evangelicals, tribes, middle ground being shut out. We have certainly seen Egos on display. Wallace Benn, Philip Jones and Nicholas Reade were certainly not shrinking violets. These differing cultures created conflict in Chichester and they are no doubt causing problems right now elsewhere in the country.

However the most important culture in the church is the defensive culture. None of our complainant witnesses have described having been welcomed and assisted at any point by church officials. Instead there are attempts at all levels to minimise the seriousness and volume of cases. For instance Rowan William’s evidence on the past cases review which was in fact an attempt to minimise the problem. Julie Macfarlane’s legal claim was resisted on the basis she was out of time and consented to it. There have been repeated attempts to resist Phil Johnson’s questions to get to the truth. The church at National level was prepared at one point to sacrifice Bishop John Hind to minimise the spread and protect Rowan Williams. We have heard some of the skulduggery around Peter Ball which we will hear more of in July, particularly around the Tyler report. The Halliday and Waddington cases elsewhere have demonstrated this is happening elsewhere.

The church and Justin Welby may have you believe that most of this is caused by having a hapless disorganised and disjointed structure. In reality the evidence demonstrates the church institutions have worked in concert to resist cases. It could be said that the Catholic Church’s more brazen approach to resisting cases due to their written rules on secrecy is actually less malign than the Anglican resistance which has requires conscious effort to treat survivors badly.

UNINCORPORATED STATUS
We have heard that the church is a very loose structure of unincorporated bodies and individuals with no strict system of control. They are not corporate and so not accountable. Better responses and serious attention to good safeguarding practice will only be achieved through serious sanctions such as fines, withdrawal of charitable status or closure of the offending organisations. Our recommendations to remedy this issue are set out below.
Recommendations

It will be for the panel to decide on the evidence but on behalf of the Core Participants I represent we will be asking the panel to agree the following :-

1) That the Anglican Church is unable to effectively respond to child sexual abuse risks. What is required is legislation to introduce mandatory reporting. Legislation is also required to introduce an independent statutory body to enforce basic standards of safeguarding. This statutory body would establish:
2) A Register of Institutions fit to look after children.
3) It would be an offence to look after children without being on the Register.
4) To be on the Register the institution will have to introduce a corporate structure.
5) The registered institution should be forced to adhere to the minimum standards of safeguarding regulation.
6) The independent body would have the power to prosecute organisations for breaches of regulations. Fines would be imposed for breaches. Organisations could be prevented from working with children.
7) All complaints would be passed to this independent body by any receiving institution with a criminal sanction for failing to do so.
8) The body would gather information from complainants, regulated institutions and third parties. It would have the power to compel disclosure of material.
9) The body would liaise with and assist civil authorities such as the Police and Social Services. The body would ensure that police and other statutory organisations are taking appropriate action within reasonable timescale.
10) The body would investigate complaints using a “balance of probabilities” standard of proof. There would be no statute of limitations under this scheme. The independent body would have the power to make awards of compensation similar to the CICA. It would have the power to decide on the support to be offered to a complainant and a scheme would be established to provide adequate compensation taking into account the effects on quality of life and a series of factors.
11) Complainants will be allowed to take advice from lawyers and a contribution to legal costs would be awarded.
12) The cost of the body’s work would be paid from a levy on institutions and those culpable would pay for the costs of dealing with individual cases in which they are involved.

Report potential offences
Having read through a great deal of the evidence gathered so effectively by the lawyers to the Inquiry we see that there are individuals whose conduct may require referral to the police. I ask the panel to consider referrals.

Commission of Inquiry
I do also ask the Panel to consider a recommendation that a permanent Commission of Inquiry is set up to carry out investigations elsewhere in the church and in other bodies similar unregulated bodies.

David Greenwood
23 March 2018

IICSA Anglican Chichester Inquiry Week 2 summary

IICSA

Anglican Inquiry

Diocese of Chichester

Notes of week 2 (12th to 16th March 2018)

 

Wallace Benn

Wallace Benn (WB) was an elderly man wearing a purple shirt and dog collar. He spoke with a soft Scottish accent. His manner was of self-confidence in his belief that he had no responsibility on safeguarding matters.

WB was Bishop of Lewes between 1997 and 2012. His boss was the Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp then Bishop John Hind.

He felt he had inherited some poor appointments in terms of clergy in the Diocese of Lewes, being individuals appointed by Bishop Peter Ball, who had been B of Lewes for 17 years.

He complained that he hadn’t been given enough safeguarding training. He had 4 days in 15 years.

If there were safeguarding issues he saw his responsibility as being to report to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser or the Bishop of Chichester. He had access to only some Blue files. He said even the DSA procedures drafted by Janet Hind had required her to do the reporting to the police.

On Shirley Hosgood he commented :”I think she had a chip on her shoulder from her previous safeguarding job (Catholic). She and Roger Meekings were overly aggressive saying “We’re the professionals and you’re the amateurs”. She was nit-picking. He gave the example of her criticising his delay in passing on the Nov 2007 blog on to the police until Feb 2008. It is disputed whether that would have helped the police to prosecute Pritchard earlier.

On the issue of him failing to report Cotton’s previous conviction to police or B of Chichester he said “Looking back I could have queried things a bit more but it was Janet Hind’s job and I didn’t have to tell the police and there was fear of litigation from the priest himself… It looked like it wasn’t that serious as it had been dropped by the police…I thought (Cotton) was a villain. There had been a false accusation that had stopped him being ordained. What I did was refer him to my then boss, Eric Kemp…who said @in my opinion he’s alright – give him PTO’…I did tell Nicholas Reade and Janet Hind…I only found out about Cotton’s 1954 conviction in 2001.”

WB denied that when he said “You can’t write off a good guy because of a bad day” it concerned safeguarding.

WB complained bitterly that Roger Meekings had turned speculation into fact. When it was put to WB that he had agreed with a chronology setting out his knowledge of Cotton’s activities which included him knowing about the 1954 conviction in 1998 he said “I was busy at the time and only gave it a cursory look. I corrected it later in  2008. WB maintained he didn’t know about Cotton’s conviction until he saw Cotton’s declaration in 2001. He listed his reasons for this and it is only fair to reproduce them here :-

  • Nicholas Reade mentioned “something” in the past – not a conviction
  • If either of us had known we’d have told Janet Hind
  • The conviction was news to me in 2001
  • Type of services he was allowed to take were consistent with his conviction having been discovered after 2001 (their nature changed after that date).
  • WB had a very unpleasant conversation with Cotton after altering his PTO in 2001.
  • The allegation was mentioned in the staff meeting in 1997. If it had been a conviction I’d have mentioned it.

WB agrees he should have stopped Cotton’s PTO altogether in 2001.

There were numerous inconsistencies in his recollection put to his and the way in which his recollection does not marry up with the evidence of others but WB continued to assert he had done nothing wrong if failing to report Cotton earlier to the police or his Bishop.

On the subject of Colin Pritchard WB was accused of failing to suspend him when in 2007 he knew of his activities. He agrees in hindsight he should have suspended Pritchard.

He feels traduced by the Meekings report which criticises him. On the subject of his threat of legal action he maintains that although he discussed legal action against the diocese if it published the Meekings report he denied threatening proceedings. He maintains any paralysis from the diocese was self-induced.

He said he had inherited a paedophile ring of priests.

By way of comment – a pattern seems to have emerged around WB. He fell out with almost everyone in the Diocese – Janet Hind, Shirley Hosgood, John Hind, Philip Jones, Roer Meekings, E Butler Sloss, and Rupert Bursell.

On the subject of Robert Coles who had been engaged in sexual relations with a young socially inadequate parishioner he admitted knowing and said he thought the police knew about it and in any case it was Janet Hind’s responsibility to report it. He assumed it had been done. WB was unwilling to accept any responsibility.

On Gordon Rideout, despite evidence to the contrary and a letter supporting Rideout and he has “affection for Gordon and concern for his welfare” WB denied he did anything wrong when he asked John Hind not to forward a blemished CRNB check to Shirley Hosgood. He explained it didn’t show anything new and a later return would give the full picture. At this point he called Ian Gibson a liar for giving evidence to the contrary.

Overall he said “I could have done some things better but I was cleared of the CDM s made against me”.

Ivor Frank of the panel in questioning rebutted WB’s assertion that his “standard letter” in response to Cotton’s request for PTO was standard as it had been tailored by WB.

In further response to Mr Frank WB said “Saving my skin wasn’t the predominant issue.”

Rupert Bursell

He was a commissary for the Arch Episcopal Visitation.

Its findings were in summary that :-

  • The Diocese of Chichester was slow to identify abuse taking place.
  • Dysfunction caused mainstream reports of abuse to be side-lined.
  • Safeguarding was not at the forefront of the Diocesan agenda
  • Colin Perkins (new DSA) was doing well but with limited finance.
  • There was a tendency to believe the cleric rather than the abused because the accused was a colleague.
  • The CDM against WB demonstrates the dysfunction.
  • The area scheme could have worked if the personalities had co-operated.
  • Eric Kemp believed in forgiveness.
  • Training for senior clergy was not good.
  • Until the church deals with the past and acknowledges ongoing complaints there can be no reconciliation.
  • Apologies need to be genuine.

On the CDM his concerns are :-

  • It is too cumbersome
  • Individual Bishops shouldn’t participate (due to conflict of interest)
  • The “trivial” threshold should be removed (at present CDMs only go forward if the priest could be removed from office if found proven.

On the confessional he said “It is a considerable problem” and believes there should be an exemption to the seal of the confessional for child abuse crimes.

He commented “The church won’t do this voluntarily so we need legislation for Mandatory Reporting”.

He discussed Spiritual abuse and exorcisms and feels they need more regulation. Good behaviour contracts are unenforceable. Fairness is needed in dealing with posthumous allegations. Provision of Therapy support should be centralised. On the October 2017 guidance he criticised the use of the words “Due regard” as being unclear to non-lawyers.

Professor Julie Macfarlane

Julie Macfarlane is a professor of law at Windsor University, Ontario. She has written books on conflict resolution.

She became an evangelical Christian in the 1970s and was converted by listening to Billy Graham. F12 was a priest in her area and age 16 she was beginning to have doubts about her faith so went to him for spiritual guidance. He told her God would want her to engage in sexual activity with him there and then in his study and believing he was truly being told this by God she did this. It led to him taking her out regularly under the pretext of learning to drive and regularly sexually assaulting her. This turned into stalking and she was finally able to escape his clutches by moving to University.

She wasn’t able to tell anyone about the abuse until her Father died. Then she told her Mum who didn’t appear to react with any distress. The professor found F12 was still a priest in a country abroad and raised a complaint about him. A hearing was set but F12 resigned before it took place and moved to work in a church of a different denomination in the same city.

Professor Macfarlane complained to the police in 2014 after hearing there was another complainant. Throughout she has been unimpressed by the police who seemed to take her complaint begrudgingly.

Professor Macfarlane was so unhappy with how the Defendants in her civil case had tried to resist her case that she wrote an article for the Church Times. This met strong opposition from the police but with a lot of effort it was published.

As part of Professor Macfarlane’s settlement it was agreed that the insurance company EIG would not treat other survivors the same way. She and David Greenwood, her lawyer, set out standards they wanted the insurance company to adhere to which were :-

  • Limitation defence never to be used
  • No use of a defence of consent for under 18s
  • No use of consent for adult abuse by clergy
  • Not to discontinue pastoral support when a civil case starts

Her overall reflections are :-

Adversarial system is totally inappropriate for these cases as it causes trauma by 1) having to hear defence assertions, 2) Unwillingness by defence to talk about settlement, 3) examination by Maden too long and traumatic.

Her view is that an independent redress system like Canada’s residential school process is needed. Australia looks at these cases from the starting point that there are very few false claims.

Overall she believes :-

  • Better measures of compensation to make people feel whole again are needed.
  • The test should be balance of probabilities.
  • There are low false reports so a basic clear and competent investigation only is needed.

Bishop Mark Sowerby

A youthful looking man clean shaven with short grey hair and wearing a purple shirt and dog collar.

Mark Sowerby (MS) is the Bishop of Horsham. He confirmed the area scheme has been revoked. In terms of safeguarding in Chichester the Diocesan Bishop deals with recruitment and departures. The two suffregan Bishops deal with granting PTOs and licencing readers. The principal point of contact with statutory agencies is the DSA Colin Perkins.

MS has found an unwillingness among parishioners to believe allegations. Older people have a lot of deference for clergy. Long tenures in parishes allowed different customs to become the norm. MS has identified a sub culture which accepted sexual abuse of children around Lewes. There are basic patterns involving Anglo-Catholics mainly not married. Most abusers were single and looked out for each other. They were a “tribe”. If threatened they responded badly.

Bishop Martin Warner

Bishop Warner (MW) is a thin man with a bald head and round glasses wearing a black shirt and a dog collar.

He arrived to a situation in Chichester where there was pressure to remove Bishop Wallace Benn. The local authority were requiring his removal from office. Various perpetrators had been convicted during WB’s time in office.

When he arrived he found paralysis. He detected a culture of deference to clergy and a defensiveness. Many people thought Peter Ball had been badly treated. He is trying to give parishes direction. His aims for parishes are Safeguarding, Growth, and Giving. He has visited every parish in the first 18 months.

On the files – the DSA has full access to files now.. He undertook a Visitation to the Cathedral in 2016 and required them to put together an updated safeguarding policy and to defer to the DSA. Chaplains now need a licence from him.

MW doesn’t want to see safeguarding go to an independent body on the basis that he wants Parishes to take responsibility.

MW would like to see a laminated card with the top 10 safeguarding issues rather than a long book. He thinks he should explore what can be done with a website.

MW is opposed to the ordination of women and won’t accept the sacrament from them but he thinks sexism is unacceptable. He thinks there is a danger of missing paedophiles when the church focusses on equating being gay with being a paedophile.

Me doesn’t think Mandatory Reporting is the way to protect children.

On the confessional he wants to keep it in its present form as it enables disclosure and the unburdening of survivors (and possibly abusers, Martin ?).

He wanted to register his sorrow for the abuse and how it was subsequently handled.

On questioning by Alexis Jay he confirmed he would welcome examination by another diocese but does not support entirely external independent oversight.

On questioning by Druscilla Sharpling MW confirmed the church also needs to be alert to domestic abuse in the community.

Overall MW wants to preserve the status quo.

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams (RW) was Archbishop of Canterbury between 2002 and 2012. Now a master at Magdalen College, Cambridge. He has wiry grey hair and a beard reminiscent of a folk singer, wore glasses and a black shirt and dog collar.

He confirms he knows little of safeguarding and had little involvement.

In answer to a question from David Greenwood he confirmed that despite the abuse allegations emanating from the Catholic Church he mistakenly thought the problem was far smaller in the Anglican church.

On the question of the past cases review he admits a few high profile cases caused him shock and he had to make a visible gesture and a willingness to examine his own back yard. Hence he took part in designing and implementing the Past Cases Review (PCR). He the measurements made in dioceses failed to look at cases where there had been arrests but no further action by police, where the clergy had died or retired, where there were no allegations made by actual complainants and whether there were CRB checks.

The PCR press release read to the effect “We have done a thorough review and are certain that the church has no problem cases”. RW admitted this was “an ambitious statement” (In fact it was entirely misleading). He agreed the PCR was inadequate in three respects :-

  • It failed to do justice to victims
  • The stats produced gave us a clearer bill of health than was justified
  • It looked too much backwards and not to the future.

On the confessional he is in favour of preserving the seal as it allows vulnerable people to use the space. He admits we can’t know how big a problem it is due to the secret nature of the conversations.

On Peter Ball he is sorry he didn’t do enough for victims. He launched the Arch Episcopal Visitation as Wallace Benn’s CDM had not succeeded in removing him. An e mail from Andrew Nunn to George Pitcher at Lambeth was revealed that showed a strategy of “throwing Bishop John Hind to the press as a sacrifice to avoid it getting to the Archbishop” RW denied knowing about the strategy.

There came a point at which the head of Education at Sussex Council wrote a 7 page letter to RW to demand measures in schools run by the Church. RW replied with what Fiona Scolding describes as an “impossibly weedy response” (a 2 paragraph letter thanking the council and assuring them that all was in hand). RW said “What I wanted to say was that Wallace Benn had no contact with children, was not an abuser, was just possibly incompetent and we were trying to negotiate his exit. WB didn’t have the confidence of his colleagues or the wider world. I could have initiated a CDM but that would have been cumbersome. There needs to be something akin to an employment law type measure.”

On peter Ball RW explained that PB was pestering him for rights to officiate and had to repeatedly turn him down. The Northants police investigation was launched and the Mellows report recommended waiting before taking further action until the outcome of the police action. This ended with no action so Kate Wood reviewed the papers and found letters. We contributed to a risk assessment of Ball, and brought the file together (at this point the famous e mail from Chris Smith to RW setting out the plan was quoted “So much has been swept under the carpet for so long that we are in peril of the furniture tumbling over.” The plan was to gather all files on Ball together and be prepared for press intrusion. This took almost 3 years from 2009 to 2012 before the police were involved and RW regrets the delay.

Retired Bishop Nicholas Reade

Nicholas Reade (NR) was a bald man wearing a black shirt and dog collar. He has an incredibly “posh” accent and his mannerisms had an air of caricature. He was confident and self-assured, willing to admit he had not taken safeguarding seriously. He had a strong personality which was almost domineering.

NR was Archdeacon of Lewes 1997-2003. He described himself as “a trouble-shooter”.

On Roy Cotton he told Wallace Benn about the police investigation in to him in Dec 1997. NR personally took no further action until 12 months later when Cotton told him his ordination had been postponed due to earlier trouble (organ loft issue). He didn’t say  there had been a conviction. NR said “It didn’t occur to me to ask (about a conviction) I take priests at their word. The idea of a priest telling lies to a Bishop horrifies me”.

“Bishop Eric should have checked the file and found the 1954 conviction in 1997. Cotton later told Cotton in 2001 about his conviction. WB told me in 1999 he thought Cotton was a villain and I was always personally uneasy about him. When the police closed their case I thought that was it. I now know his PTO was abused after retirement.”

There was discussion about Cotton’s PTO and whether WB knew that he was actually ministering after retirement outside the care home where he was said to be (he was actually in his own house in Seddlescombe). In summary Nicholas Reade only knew of Cotton being in a nursing home from 2003. Wallace Benn declaring that NR had told him this information in 1999 cannot be a genuine memory.

On the issue of Robert Coles NR’s pathetic attempts to defend him removed what credibility he had until this point in his evidence. He tried to minimise the seriousness of a serious sexual assault of a boy by Rideout as a way of justifying not reporting the confession Coles had made to him to the police despite him being aware that Coles had made a “no reply” interview to the police. “He never admitted rape” was NR’s declaration. He felt Eric Kemp should have made the decision.

Colin Perkins

Colin Perkins was a smartly-dressed man wearing a tie with short hair aged around 50.

He has been the DSA since 2011 in Chichester. He explained how collaborative working with other agencies has been a vast improvement in Chichester. He agrees the diocese was in a state of paralysis when he arrived. Things became so bad that he and others on the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Group (DSAG) launched a CDM against WB.

On reporting to statutory authorities he confirmed “We no longer ask the Bishop’s permission to report out. We just get on with it.”

A number of cases were examined and CP explained how things on reporting had gone wrong.

On the adequacy of the CDM mechanism he confirmed its failures are :-

  • There was a 1 year time limit until 2016 and now you have to justify an exemption
  • There is power to suspend clergy only when arrested (Bishop now has a discretion to suspend)
  • All CDM complaints have to be made in writing
  • The standard of proof was high until the late 1990s
  • It is not possible for a complainant to speak only to a woman
  • A CDM could not be pursued if someone was acquitted before 2013
  • Penalties can only be by consent
  • There is no monitoring of statistics
  • There is no central record of complaints or the type of complaint

Overall Colin Perkins was clearly getting on with his work within a flawed system and was complacent about how well the system was working. I had the impression that his system works because of him taking the issues seriously whereas in other dioceses with weaker DSAs or more forceful Bishops the same mistakes as in Chichester can occur.

Roger Singleton

Sir Roger Singleton (RS) id a grey-haired man with a pleasant manner in his 60s. He sits on the national Safeguarding Advisory Panel. He complains it doesn’t decide anything.

He was critical of the Past Cases Review, its methodology and how it created a false rosy picture about safeguarding problems in the church. He made the point that files are very poorly kept and the press statement was “under-evidenced” (presumably a euphemism for “a lie”).

The most significant problems he saw were :-

  • Work on Culture
  • Appropriate responses to survivors
  • Prevention
  • Forgiveness is too entrenched
  • Recording quality and standards must improve

He said there is a serious case for having serious allegations investigated outside the church.

On Mandatory Reporting he agrees we need MR but more clarity on triggers to reporting.

Lord George Carey

(Archbishop of Canterbury 1990-2002). His statement was read. He essentially says he can remember nothing and will have to consult the records before he can give a statement for the Peter Ball Inquiry in July 2018.

End

IICSA Opening statement on behalf of Chichester Core Participants 5th March 2018

IICSA

Anglican Inquiry

Chichester Inquiry

Opening statement of David Greenwood on behalf of Core Participants Phil Johnson, Rev Graham Sawyer, Professor Julie MacFarlane, AN-A1, AN-A2, AN-A5, and AN-A6

  1. I would like to start by paying tribute to the brave survivors of clergy sex abuse who have dared to emerge from their own communities (sometimes in the face of hostility from their families or other congregants) and to tell their stories. Without them this Inquiry would not be possible. As well as all those who have contributed directly to this Inquiry the input of all brave survivors deserves recognition. It takes real grit to speak to anyone about sex abuse and when one is brought up in a religious environment there is an element of disclosure being a gamble against losing friends and family.
  1. In the context of the Chichester Inquiry, the efforts of Phil Johnson from whom we will hear later have been significant. With the help of Colin Campbell, a BBC reporter at BBC South East, Mr Johnson has documented and investigated the criminal activities of a series of abusers operating in the Diocese of Chichester.
  1. I have been asked whether there is something peculiar to the Diocese of Chichester that so many paedophiles were operating there. My response has been that Chichester is probably not unique. We have actually seen the potential for unlawful activity on the same scale being uncovered in other dioceses which have yet to be fully examined. Note the current large police investigation into failings at the Diocese of Lincoln, Operation Redstone. The inquiry into Robert Waddington in Manchester assisted by Archbishop David Hope. The catalogue of failings around Rev Garth Moore of Cambridge, of Rev David Smith in the Diocese of Bath and Wells and the Peter Halliday failure to report. These are just a few examples of appalling lack of positive action to protect children, each assisted by senior members of the Clergy.
  1. What we will hear in this Inquiry is a series of systematic, cultural and personal failures which have created places to which paedophiles are attracted in the knowledge that they are unlikely to be reported to the authorities, unlikely to be disciplined internally and importantly unlikely to be investigated by the police. Chichester attracted Peter Ball, Vickery House, Roy Cotton, Colin Pritchard, Robert Coles, Gordon Rideout, Ronald Glazebrook, Christopher Howarth and Noel Moore all of whom abused children in their care.
  1. I am instructed by Phil Johnson, Rev Graham Sawyer, Professor Julie MacFarlane, AN-A1, AN-A2, AN-A5, and AN-A6, all survivors of clergy sex abuse in this Inquiry. Each has felt affronted not only by the abuse they endured children or young adults but by the church’s shambolic and at times malevolent response to the allegations they raise.
  1. As part of my work with survivors of abuse I have studied in detail the structures, internal disciplinary codes and cultures of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England including the Methodist Congregation.
  1. I have found that poor responses revolve around four broad themes :-
  • Internal rules (including disciplinary rules, secrecy and rules on the confessional and lack of mandatory reporting);
  • The limitations of Hierarchical structures;
  • Church Culture;
  • The Church’s Unincorporated status.
  • Internal rules

 

    1. We will hear in evidence in the coming days that the Church of England has failed repeatedly to act on independent report recommendations..
    2. The pace of providing guidance from the centre of the church has been lamentably slow. The Nolan report centring on the Catholic church safeguarding procedures was seen as an intended watershed and whilst the Roman Catholic church embraced its recommendations, at least on paper rather than in practice, the Church of England took no steps until 2004 with the publication of “Protecting All God’s Children” which itself amounted to weak guidance which maintained the complete discretion of each Bishop on safeguarding. All this is of course set against the background of the clear guidance given by the “Working Together” document to which all bodies should have been working from the early 1990s.
    3. The Past Cases Review of 2009 was billed as an audit of safeguarding cases but its public incarnation relied on reporting dishonestly low rates of “problem cases” in order to publicly whitewash over the problem.
    4. 2010 saw the implementation of the euphemistically-named “Responding Well” document which again provided non-mandated guidance, mainly around pastoral care issues, leaving responses again in the hands of untrained Bishops.
    5. The Church has insisted throughout on pet projects to keep responses “in house” such as the listener and safe spaces projects, each of which appear to be designed to perpetuate secrecy around clergy sex abuse.
    6. The October 2017 Church of England Guidance entitled “Responding to, Assessing and Managing Concerns or Allegations against Church Officers”, whilst being detailed lacks independent oversight and does not mandate any action. The seal of the confessional is maintained. Inadequate support procedures are provided and Bishops still decide on sanctions or actions following risk assessments.
    7. There are a number of fundamental systemic flaws in the approach of the Church of England and Methodist Church in England and Wales:
    8. Any system operating without mandatory reporting imposed through legislation is reliant on the discretion of Bishops as to what action to take.
    9. There is no recourse for complainants who are dissatisfied with church responses.
    10. Internal guidance is operated at the discretion of each Bishop of the Diocese and good responses are therefore dependent on personal preferences, allegiances and protection of reputations.
    11. Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors are appointees of Bishops and are beholden to the Bishop’s views on certain issues. Each individual Bishop has differing views on the robustness of safeguarding responses he or she wishes to operate.
    12. Support offered to complainants is not independent. The provision of therapeutic support is not guaranteed and its duration is negotiable at best.
    13. Meanwhile the Church continues to insist on the inviolability of the confessional.

Hierarchical structures;

The Church of England operates a highly hierarchical structure with the Diocesan Bishop sitting at the top of the pyramid and having the last say on all matters relating to safeguarding. Whilst an attempt has been made at diluting this structure with the implementation of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers, they still owe their positions to the Bishop and can find themselves bypassed if the Bishop does not agree with their decisions. We will hear more of this when we examine the relationship between the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Shirley Hosgood, and Bishop Wallace Benn. This ultimately led to Ms Hosgood leaving her position due to insurmountable differences of opinion.

We will hear however that Shirley Hosgood (an experienced social worker) has the following criticisms to make of safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester. They appear to be linked to the in-built deference to the Bishop as the ultimate decision-maker :-

      1. She felt unsupported by Bishop John Hind
      2. She found that the Bishop’s discretion often overrode good safeguarding advice
      3. Bishops were reluctant to accept her advice
      4. The management of allegations were not centralised
      5. There was no centralised standard of record keeping
      6. Bishop Wallace Benn had made subjective decisions about allegations against Cotton and Pritchard in the early 2000s
      7. She discovered that Bishop Wallace Benn had actually taken Gordon Rideout to the police station to answer an allegation in 2002 but this was not recorded on Rideout’s employee file, and was not included in the past cases review return in 2009.
      8. When she later discovered a blemished CBR check on Gordon Rideout, Bishop John Hind was reluctant to suspend Rideout’s Permission to Officiate certificate and Bishop Wallace Benn intended to deal with the situation outside the normal protocol. He stated in a letter this was due to his “affection and concern for Gordon”.
      9. Shirley Hosgood suspects that a declaration made by Gordon Rideout in 1998 acknowledging an arrest at that stage (which she read in 2010) had been temporarily removed from his employee file during the period that Roger Meekings was examining the files for his report. She feels Mr Meekings would not have missed such a significant document. She is alleging deceit by someone at or close to the top of the Diocese.

Cultures;

We will hear in this Chichester Inquiry of a culture in which burning paper files in the Cathedral yard was tolerated. Bishops ignoring past convictions and allegations was common place. We will see that there was a hopelessly dis-jointed system for dealing with allegations meaning that Clergy employee files did not contain reports of past allegations. We will hear of the removal of documents from files. We will hear of Bishops granting Permission to Officiate certificates to convicted paedophiles and to those facing criminal allegations. There is a strong suspicion of an organised conspiracy between clergy and Bishops in the Diocese of Chichester to enable children to be abused and it will be painful for all involved to hear. On behalf of the Core Participants I represent it is submitted that the poor practices you will hear about is a result of weak guidance, a lack of mandatory reporting and independent oversight.

We will hear evidence of highly subjective assessments of risks by Bishop Wallace Benn who at one point decided that Rev Roy Cotton was probably guilty of offences against Philip Johnson but that Rev Colin Pritchard had persuaded him that he was innocent.

There will be some questioning of whether Bishop Wallace Benn actually told the police of the allegations that were reported to him.

We will hear of disagreements between Bishops and a Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and of Bishops providing untrue accounts to another records examiner, Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss.

We will hear of refusals by successive Bishops to publish the findings of the Carmi and Meekings reports and of Bishop Wallace Benn taking legal advice about potential defamation.

All this evidence points towards a rotten culture pervading safeguarding activities in the Diocese of Chichester, a culture enabled and perpetuated by weak safeguarding rules, an unaccountable structure, and of misguided allegiances among fellow clergy.

Unincorporated status

At present the Diocese of Chichester like all Church of England Dioceses does not have external accountability built in to its system. Diocese do not punish members for poor performance. Instead they rely on vows, promises and loyalty to motivate good behaviour. Secular laws can only catch up with individuals or corporate bodies.

Bishop John Hind in his statement to the Inquiry acknowledges the issue. He says :

“A diocese has no clear identity in law. It is easy to speak about “the diocese” but this is not a clearly defined institution, but rather a number of interlocking entities each with a distinct corporate personality – for example its constituent parts, the Bishop, the Diocesan Board of Finance, the Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council, the Diocesan Board of Education. The issue is further compounded by understandable but incorrect assumptions about the power of a Bishop and his inability to command access to funds and counselling”.

Bishop Hind is of course referring only to the Diocesan level of complexity. Nationally the position of even more dis-jointed yet operationally inter-woven. There is no central promulgation of rules and ideas as we have seen in the Catholic Inquiry so far. The Church of England’s legal structure is so opaque that many advocates are calling on Government (via this panel’s recommendations) to bring enforcement mechanisms to bear on the Church of England’s structures.

Church organisations are actually legally simply groups of individuals like a cricket club. They are not corporate and so not accountable. Better responses and serious attention to good safeguarding practice will only be achieved through serious sanctions such as fines, withdrawal of charitable status or closure of the offending organisations.

Recommendations

It will be for the panel to decide on the evidence but on behalf of the Core Participants I represent we will be asking the panel to agree the following :-

  1. That the Anglican Church is unable to effectively respond to child sexual abuse risks.  What is required is legislation to introduce mandatory reporting. Legislation is also required to introduce an independent statutory body to enforce basic standards of safeguarding. This statutory body would establish:

a.     A Register of Institutions fit to look after children.

b.     It would be an offence to look after children without being on the Register.

c.    To be on the Register the institution will have to introduce a corporate structure.

d.     The registered institution should be forced to adhere to the minimum standards of safeguarding regulation.

e.    The independent body would have the power to prosecute organisations for breaches of regulations. Fines would be imposed for breaches. Organisations could be prevented from working with children.

f.    All complaints would be passed to this independent body by any receiving institution with a criminal sanction for failing to do so.

g.    The body would gather information from complainants, regulated institutions and third parties. It would have the power to compel disclosure of material.

h.    The body would liaise with and assist civil authorities such as the Police and Social Services. The body would ensure that police and other statutory organisations are taking appropriate action within reasonable timescale.

i.    The body would investigate complaints using a “balance of probabilities” standard of proof.  There would be no statute of limitations under this scheme. The independent body would have the power to make awards of compensation similar to the CICA. It would have the power to decide on the support to be offered to a complainant and a scheme would be established to provide adequate compensation taking into account the effects on quality of life and a series of factors.

j.     Complainants will be allowed to take advice from lawyers and a contribution to legal costs would be awarded.

k.     The cost of the body’s work would be paid from a levy on institutions and those culpable would pay for the costs of dealing with individual cases in which they are involved.

Report potential offences

Having read through a great deal of the evidence gathered so effectively by the lawyers to the Inquiry we see that there are individuals whose conduct may require referral to the police. I ask the panel to be vigilant and to be willing to make such referrals.

Commission of Inquiry

Finally, whilst no other Diocese has been subject to this level of scrutiny to date and recognising that this Inquiry is not designed to find all wrongdoing in the church, I do ask the Panel to consider a recommendation that a permanent Commission of Inquiry is set up to carry out investigations elsewhere in the church and in other bodies.

David Greenwood

03 March 2018

Catholic Church – Benedictine Inquiry oral submissions

CLOSING SUBMISSIONS

From C18-C19

William Chapman (counsel)

David Greenwood (Switalskis)

Switalskis act for C18 and C19. Both were sexually abused by Benedictine monks: not, as it happens, at Downside or Ampleforth. It does not matter. The experience was the same. The reasons for it are the same.
Our submissions are:
The EBC has proved itself incapable of self-governance to protect children in its care. We reject the reasons why offered by the Benedictine monks who have appeared before you. We emphasize the impediments to self-governance presented by:
Catholic teaching; Canon Law; The rules of the Benedictine Order;
Its hierarchical structure;
Its culture;
Its unincorporated status.
We recommend, in summary:
. The creation of a ‘failure to report’ offence with no exception for the confessional.

i. The creation of a ‘failure to protect’ offence.

ii. The extension of ‘position of trust’ offences.

iii. The creation of a new statutory body with powers to police and enforce basic standards of child protection. We envisage a body similar to the Health and Safety Executive.

iv. A review of the powers of the Charity Commission.

Items i) to iii) are recommendations made by the Australian Royal Commission in its ‘Criminal Justice Report’ published last week.

There are real obstacles to the effective enforcement of external regulation that are peculiar to the EBC for the reasons given in a).
d. So long as the EBC is engaged in the care and education of children the EBC may, even with the measures we recommend, pose an unacceptable risk to children. This raises a wider question of the extent to which faith-based education is conducive to the safety of children. We reserve our position on this wider question until the conclusion of the further investigations relating to the Catholic and Anglican church.

The EBC is incapable of self-governance

3. The EBC has failed to implement appropriate child-safeguarding over decades. Those failures have persisted post-Nolan (2001), post-Cumberlege (2011) and post-Carlile (2011). In 2010, on a review of the Downside files concerns were raised in relation to 16 out of the 23 monks at Downside.

4. Those failures persist now even in the face of this Inquiry. Children are still at risk at Downside & Ampleforth according to their own former Abbot and headmaster, Aidan Bellenger. Writing as recently as 1 July 2017, in a letter he never expected to be made public:

‘RC-F77’s attitudes are perverse and criminal and he should not be allowed to reside at Downside. His case parallels that of RC-F18 at Ampleforth’.

5. James Whitehead, the departing headmaster of Downside said in his statement,

“The real reason for my impending departure, in my interpretation, is the fact that, on a number of occasions, I have had to challenge the poor management of Dom Leo as Chair of Governors which extends to a range of areas of School life, including safeguarding.”

6. Those failures have not only exposed children to the risk of abuse: they have in a number of cases been directly responsible for further abuse [give e.g.s]. [Richard White and Gregory Carroll]

7. The EBC has failed for reasons that may prove common to other institutions you will investigate. But is also clear that it has failed for reasons that are peculiar to the English Benedictine Congregation.

8. Let me first reject the various explanations offered by the clerics who came before you:

i. That times were different and social standards were different;

ii. That they were naive;

iii. That we are judging them with the benefit of hindsight;

iv. That child safeguarding measures were not as highly developed in the past as they are now.

v. That record keeping and filing in the past was poor.

9. All those things may be true, but they are not the reasons why the Benedictines failed. A good case study is that of Anselm Hurt because it is a case that spans decades. We know from that case:

a. Social standards were not different then:

. We know that the headmaster in 1970 reacted immediately to the disclosure of Anselm Hurt’s abuse by:

Dismissing him
Reporting him with full details to the statutory authority
i. We know that a parent at the time wrote to the Abbot in these terms because she was concerned that Hurt was preying upon her 15 year old son in 1970 even after his dismissal:

“We were…. told by Father Watkin the real reason for the dismissal…. This man is amoral and evil. He is a member of your community and you must take some responsibility for him…..Father Passmore, if harm comes to [my son] I shall find it very hard indeed to forgive you.”

These offences were as repugnant to right-thinking people then, as now. There were no elaborate safeguarding protocols in 1970. Yet a statutory authority was informed and at least one parent was told why he had been dismissed. The views of the headmaster were clear: that Hurt

‘should not work in a school or youth club or anything of that character in future”.

The monks in charge were not naive then. They were not naive later. They are not naive now.
i. Over the course of the next 40 years, the monastery re-integrated this monk into society and finally into monastic and priestly life. This process of reintegration took place at the same time as child safeguarding awareness and policies developed. Even though Hurt had been kicked out of the monastery, he was looked after. It was a cradle-to-grave service.

ii. The Abbot provided references for various jobs Those jobs included ‘Trainee Child Care Officer’ and ‘probation officer’ a job that involved ‘supervision of offenders of all ages as well as young people who, because of their home circumstances, need special care’. Hurt wrote to the Abbot thanking him for one such ‘glowing’ reference’. He felt bold enough to ask that he would ‘be grateful if you did not raise the matter of the ban [on teaching], as this could naturally complicate things, and possibly weigh against me in a competitive selection’.

iii. Hurt was provided with money. His last letter to the Abbot was in 1974 to ask for money to buy a house. With the support of a Catholic psychiatrist, Dr Seymour – commissioned and paid for by the Abbot – he eventually overturned his ban on teaching. It seems he got a job in Liverpool, married and had children. Stage 1 was completed: he was reintegrated into society.

This was not naivety. The Abbot knew full well that the headmaster’s view, as clearly communicated to the education department

Stage 2 began again with Abbot Charles and Hurt’s reintegration into monastic life in the 1990s. It is particularly telling that the chief reason – when you piece together the correspondence – that Hurt was prevented from returning to Downside was the continued presence of Father Aelred Watkin at Downside – the same man who had said Hurt should not be let near children. That tells you that the much vaunted change of atmosphere at Downside heralded by Abbot Charles was as much about tolerating known paedophiles in their midst than it was about common humanity.
d. Nor was the Abbot of Glenstal naive. He wanted to know about Hurt’s past for the sake of the Abbey and their potential civil liability, not the safety of children. He wrote in 1994: “I have just attended a series of meetings on the whole topic of child-abuse by the clergy, and the insurance implications – quite apart from more exalted considerations – are horrendous” Abbot Charles reviewed the file and sent it. In reply, the Abbot of Glenstal said he would ‘destroy that which was specifically damaging to Anselm as some letter from Rome recommends’. That was pure cynicism, a cynicism that did not receive any reproach or comment from Abbot Charles. On the contrary, Abbot Charles sought to suggest to you at this Inquiry that the proposed action by the Abbot of Glenstal was entirely appropriate.

e. The baton passed to Abbot Yeo. Yeo remembered Hurt from his school days and then as postulant as someone with an ‘engaging personality’. On 11/4/01 he supported his return to the priesthood: Hurt was free to perform all the sacraments and would be most welcome to visit Downside. He did so without any knowledge of what Hurt had done for the last 30 odd years. On 14/7/01 Yeo was elected Abbot President. In September 2001 the final Nolan report was published with its final recommendations:

i. Recommendation 69: It is important to treat current allegations about abuse that took place some years ago (‘historical allegations’) in exactly the same way as allegations of current abuse.

ii. Recommendation 70: Bishops and religious superiors should ensure that any cases which were known in the past but not acted on satisfactorily (‘historic cases’) should be the subject of review as soon as possible, reported to the statutory authorities wherever appropriate, and that there is appropriate follow-up action including possibly regular continuing assessment.

f. Those were recommendations which Yeo said he supported. He said this did not cause him to reflect on what he’d just done for Anselm Hurt. We invite you to reject that. He clearly did reflect on it. He knew what he should do. He deliberately failed to do it.

g. And so we see how over the course of 40 years a known abusive monk, that had been kicked out of the monastery was gradually reintegrated back into the fold, in an Abbey with a school, and with no restrictions on his activities.

h. What happened with Anselm Hurt was not naivety. It was cynicism. It is not judging them with the unfair benefit of hindsight. Father Watkin knew Hurt was a danger from the start until his death. The monks that came after knew what they should have done at the time and flatly refused to do it. It wouldn’t have mattered what safeguarding guidance was in place or how much training they had. They would always have refused to follow it.

i. We reject the excuse that the filing system was inadequate. Abbot Charles told you,

“I think monasteries generally are rather keen on archives, so things don’t get thrown away…..I would say the files are pretty complete, at least with what has been given to be filed.”

He had no difficulty finding Hurt’s records from 20 years before. It contained the relevant information. The problem with the records is that the filing system was opaque to outsiders.
k. Of course, there is not much to be done if records are deliberately destroyed or if the filing system is opaque to outsiders. No one is unlikely to forget the evidence of Leo Davis and how he barrowed loads of monks’ files to a distant wood to burn them over the course of several days.

11. These are highly educated men, all from very similar backgrounds: top public schools, top universities, white, upper middle-class. They ran large estates and large enterprises. These are not unworldly men who could not have been expected to know better. These were monks, who should as a body, have helped lead the way. In many cases they did not even follow. They were following a script of their own. Some, like Yeo, paid lip-service to child-safeguarding. Some like Timothy Wright, did not even do that. Some like Cuthbert Madden made seeming efforts. But as Adrian Child said in respect of essentially voluntary guidance,

“a lot of this seems based on the integrity of individuals….[even where progress was made] it was dependent on the skills and expertise of the coordinator and the doggedness in the endeavour of the abbot”.

11. What Abbot, with any sense of responsibility, in relation to a known abuser in his community, would write (Charles Fitzgerald-Lombard, 18/6/97)

“I am hopeful that the climate among our national witch-hunters will be sufficiently muted for him [Nicholas White] to take up a strictly monastic residence again”.

12. If that is what they are prepared to put in writing or to outsiders, to what depths of cynicism do they descend between themselves on the telephone and in the refectory?

13. Fitzgerald Lombard, Yeo and Wright did not act with integrity. Men of faith, they acted in bad faith. Better men may come. But what if they do not? Had it been left to men like Yeo and Wright, the perpetrators would have avoided criminal justice. The consequence of avoiding criminal justice is that i) the perpetrator goes unpunished ii) there is no public record of the offence iii) he is not subject to any of the restrictions the criminal law then imposes iv) children remain at risk. These monks have sought to create – with some success – a latter-day Benefit of Clergy.

The real reasons for the failings

14. The primary reasons for EBC’s failure is a) the lack of accountability of those responsible for the welfare of children and b) the conflict of interest that inevitably arises when those in charge are responsible for the welfare of children and potential perpetrators.

15. Those reasons are likely to be typical for a number of the institutions you investigate. But there are features of this particular manifestation of the Catholic Church that show how intractable the solution is likely to be.

16. The first is what these men believe in: the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Rule of St Benedict.

a. According to the rule of St Benedict, the Abbot is ‘believed to hold the place Christ in the monastery’ and ‘..the Abbot must never teach or decree or command anything that would deviate from the Lord’s instructions’. Abbot Charles said that ‘apart from the Almighty’ he did not answer to anyone. Even the Abbot President was limited in his power over the Abbot.

b. Abbot Wright wrote, ‘An Abbot’s first task, before all else, is the care of his monks….each of the brethren offer their obedience….Their home is the one place to which they can always return, regardless of what has happened, because their home is defined by an enclosure from which externs are excluded.’

c. When Abbot Wright had the temerity to challenge the paramountcy principle, he was merely stating his truth: monks came before children.

d. The power of the Abbot is qualified only by the necessity of election by the monks every 8 years, the teachings of the Catholic Church, Canon Law and instructions from Rome. The Holy See could remove an Abbot. The Holy See could issue instructions in individual cases. We have seen how powerful that allegiance can be:

i. By Canon 489:

§1. In the diocesan curia there is also to be a secret archive, or at least in the common archive there is to be a safe or cabinet, completely closed and locked, which cannot be removed; in it documents to be kept secret are to be protected most securely.

§2. Each year documents of criminal cases in matters of morals, in which the accused parties have died or ten years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence, are to be destroyed. A brief summary of what occurred along with the text of the definitive sentence is to be retained.

Abbot Dillon of Glenstal appears to have received a standing instruction from Rome to destroy documents damaging to a monk.
iii. The seal of the of the confessional is absolute: even where a child tells a priest in confession that he/she has been sexually abused. The seal of the confessional protects abusers and encourages them to abuse further by granting absolution. You can infer from A221’s (the boy at Downside abused by Richard White) evidence and that of Richard Yeo that these monks confessed their sexual abuse to their fellow monks and did so repeatedly as they carried on abusing.

iv. Richard Yeo himself told us that there was sufficient concern that there were elements of Catholic theology that ‘might tend to encourage abusive behaviour’ that the EBC sponsored a conference about it. His own particular concern was that:

‘there is something in the nature of the priesthood deriving from the fact that, according to Catholic theology, there is an ontological effect on the person on becoming a priest, does this have an effect in creating an atmosphere where child sexual abuse is — I won’t say facilitated, but made less unlikely.’

This begs the question: if there is a conflict between Catholic theology, teaching and practice, and the abuse of children, what will the Benedictines do about it? The answer has, we say, been demonstrated in the evidence. The safety of children comes second.
f. This is the same concern raised by the United Nations when it wrote in 2014:

“the Committee reiterates its concern about the Holy See’s reservations to the Convention which undermine the full recognition of children as subjects of rights, and condition the application of the Convention on its compatibility with the sources of law of Vatican City State”.

17. The second reason is the hierarchical structure of the EBC.

a. The harmful concentration of power in one individual – the Abbot – was demonstrated by the evidence of George Corrie. Even as Prior and safeguarding officer, he was unable to persuade the Abbot to adopt a child protection procedure.

b. The person with power at Ampleforth, Abbot Timothy Wright, was able to resist outside interference for an extended period by refusing to hand over or name individuals against whom there had been complaints. He recruited a lawyer to help with the resistance (and may have avoided full disclosure – we will never know as the police didn’t pursue a search warrant. See the evidence of Barry Honeysett of North Yorkshire Police.

c. Both Eileen Shearer and Jane Dziadulewizc made it clear they were frustrated that guidance by the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service was simply that: advisory only.

18. The third reason is the culture and traditions of the EBC.

. This was an old boys’ club. Once in, you were catered for, for life. These were almost exclusively, public-school (usually Ampleforth/Downside), Oxbridge-educated, upper middle-class, white, men. They often knew each other from school or university days. They lived literally, and not just figuratively, like brothers. They worked together, ate together, prayed together, celebrated mass together – and heard each other’s confessions. A clear case of the operation of this old boys’ club was the case of Anselm Hurt. Even after estrangement lasting over 20 years he was levered back to full monastic life.

a. It’s a club that came with very worldly benefits. Jane Dziadulwicz: “Downside Abbey is absolutely beautiful. It really is beautiful, as is the school, and it has beautiful facilities, it is a beautiful environment. The monks’ rooms are well furnished and they are very comfortable. Their private spaces are comfortable. There are plenty of private rooms within the abbey that are very comfortable.”

b. A job as an EBC monk also came with high status. You were not just a priest, but a well-to-do pillar of the community. Deference came automatically from parents who were, effectively, lay members of this club. We heard how A221’s father a) sought an injunction to prevent publicity as much for the Church’s sake as his son’s and b) was prepared to shake the hand of Father White even after he had learned that White had abused his son.T

c. To outsiders this is often intimidating. It played its part in inhibiting decisive action and the full use of their powers by, for example, Barry Honeysett (who acknowledged some reluctance to embark on a search of the Ampleforth premises) and DC Mark Smith (who was on the verge of arresting Aidan Bellenger for obstructing his inquiries) and even Elizabeth Mann who hesitated before disclosing the contents of her risk assessments.

19. The final reason is the legal status of the EBC.

. Religious organisations do not have a corporate structure and so cannot be held accountable. In law these organisations are simply groupings of individuals who by their nature can leave the organisation, disappear or die. They are simply unincorporated associations. It is a point raised by Richard Yeo himself: ”The only juridical persons associated with religious congregations in this country are the charitable trusts which hold the property of most of our congregations.”

a. As unincorporated associations the EBC (and many other Church organisations) are not, and cannot be, subject to effective external regulation.

b. The absence of a corporate structure leads to confusion and non-standard practice.

c. The internal working of religious communities is not based on sanction for poor performance. It is based on trust that each individual is performing well.

20. We agree with Adrian Child when he said:

“..I don’t see any value in tinkering around the edges and saying, “Here you are. Here is a third opportunity [post-Nolan, post-Cumberlege]. Go away and sort this out yourself….there needs to be accountability and some kind of mandatory enforcement.”

Recommendations

Mandatory reporting

21. The panel should make it clear that the moral obligation is to report known or suspected child abuse to the police.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1b8ROVtFjmUG8DTnBlxnXsKzbY-egGYiF0S9ryVhMMeAIvQa1CfFZDtBfuScjvFyc5IZ6t3gpiYrTNmeDV-w1rkkoqDroSN1xRl0q1bLiIBSSFSYL1hOm5zKgI8MNqXLNFXb1M7J

22. The panel recommend the creation of a failure to report offence targeted at institutions where the relevant person:

a. Knows or suspects that a child is being or has been sexually abused or

b. Should have suspected (on the basis that a reasonable person in their circumstances would have suspected)

By a person associated with the institution.

23. We appreciate that this would impose criminal liability for failure to report a suspicion that the person did not form.

24. A law which requires professionals who work with children in ‘Regulated Activities’ to inform the Local Authority Designated Officer (‘LADO’) or in appropriate circumstances children’s services the professional knows, suspects, or has reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting child abuse. Failure to inform would be a criminal offence. Presently this is only guidance which is all too frequently ignored.

25. This legislation would introduce a much stronger culture of abuse prevention as well as supporting and protecting mandated staff. In the absence of law those staff who do report presently are, by default, whistle-blowers with very little protection. Law can be a catalyst for behavioural and cultural change. The aim of the proposal is not to criminalise staff but to support them when they are faced with the most challenging circumstances – concerns of potential or known child abuse. Being legally mandated to report removes an enormously challenging set of decisions staff are currently being asked to make. We have seen in this case study the effect of the absence of mandatory reporting.

26. We are satisfied that, where the elements of the reporting obligation are met, there should be no exemption, excuse, protection or privilege from the offence granted to clergy for failing to report information disclosed in or in connection with a religious confession.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/TdZPUWYtdMBJxwiMlUunSy_eUIWn70T0slYFSPXzytZiW0c4bB2dYpw3xVqMG2CVCfx1FdWl3RPmY9w_aisQSaVLvBUVSy-Edix3Nag-MPv2wuxhOT1YUq10oJeGPLRzfVlGc6Cj

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/hEB5yFxmp2fhZjk-S71bP-QgY63qp6pmORSUOUS_p5khjA7sUNDu03Xw9AdXgkUe9NboZIDmtnpotOMen_1ec_ffrjf2_k8x_iwUbOPpFdViATzCAGK_uTwiPqXO9WoLJrKYdL2D

Failure to protect offence

27. The panel should consider introducing an offence of failing to protect a child from the risk of sexual abuse. Such a law has already been enacted in the Australian State of Victoria in 2015. Under the Victorian offence in section 49C, persons in authority in an organisation are required to protect children from a substantial risk of a sexual offence being committed by an adult associated with that organisation if they know of the risk. They must not negligently fail to reduce or remove a risk which they have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove.

28. “Many of our case studies reveal circumstances where steps were not taken to protect children in institutions. These include examples where persons were allowed to continue to work with a particular child after concerns were raised, and they continued to abuse the particular child. They also include examples where persons who had allegations made against them were allowed to continue to work with many other children and they went on to abuse other children. In some cases, perpetrators were moved between schools or other sites operated by the same institution.”

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/Bn-EQqcknPeylzKWehto1fCewhQYx3CyU80GRHLUr2co9qIAjarMPluAQtl8jOGG40uJN5kO1MRC6Ab0rmYufeySPXRcXRe9lpRBBxYgEvsLhsFzKq9A1XroVAUY1oc5Z1LCSBeg

The extension of ‘position of trust’ offences.

29. The panel should review the criminal offence of ‘abuse of position of trust’ under sections 16-24 of the Sexual Offences Act 2005. It should consider whether the existing categories of forbidden relationships with 17 & 18 year olds should be broadened. It might be broadened to include the case where the offender has an established personal relationship with the victim in connection with the provision of religious, sporting, musical or other instruction to the victim. We make this suggestion following the evidence of A117 who was abused by F80 when she was 17 and wheelchair-bound and he was 52 and a senior monk at Downside. We make the suggestion whether or not it proves possible to capture the described behaviour of F80. The categories as they currently stand are too narrow.

30. We note this was a recommendation made Australian Royal Commission in the recently published Criminal Justice Report.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/X7GUiQ4tOaTPdtCLT5IcnR-Pj5XzP4S3ApJ8PuH4i34lc-pStRSfQrfL5GptytoNprcM8-rbZeBsaHjVmdvfpwjwrShLrlzAbITNN5oH5vwUZBofUN-2P5v4cssQ55xuXrrmT0pv

The creation of a new statutory body to police and enforce regulatory

31. We invite the panel to consider the creation of a new statutory body to police and enforce minimum national standards of child-safeguarding. We envisage such a body having similar powers to the Health & Safety Executive. The Health & Safety Executive operates for the safety of workers. Children are an even more vulnerable group. The absence of a powerful statutory body dedicated to their protection is a serious defect.

32. Such a body will:

a. Establish a register of relevant Institutions that look after children.

b. It will be an offence to look after children without being on the register.

c. To be on the register institutions have to introduce a corporate structure.

d. “regulated” institutions will be forced to adhere to minimum safeguarding regulations.

e. have the power to prosecute regulated organisations for breach of this guidance (similar to HSE prosecutions). Fines will be imposed.

f. All complaints are to be passed to the independent body by a receiving institution with a criminal sanction for failing to do so.

g. The body will gather information from complainants. It will have the power to compel disclosure of material.

h. It will liaise with and assist civil authorities such as the police and social services. It would ensure the police and other statutory organisations are taking appropriate action within reasonable timescales. It will have the power to compel the police to investigate and refer cases to the CPS.

i. For the purposes of making an award of compensation and support It will investigate the complaint using the balance of probabilities as the standard of proof.

j. The body will decide on reparations and support to be offered to the complainant.

k. Complainants will be allowed to take advice from lawyers and a contribution towards legal costs will be awarded.

l. The cost of the body’s work, support, reparations and legal costs are to be paid from a levy on the institutions.

m. It will provide to Government and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child with regular reports on progress of UK organisations in fulfilling their obligations at the UN conventions.

Charities Commission

33. Both Ampleforth and Downside schools have charitable status. The panel should:

a. review the powers of the Charity Commission to change that status when serious child safeguarding concerns are revealed;

b. Consider whether the ‘advancement of religion’ should remain a charitable purpose given the conflict between that purpose and child safety.

34. Should the State be subsidising institutions that, in the words of Aidan Bellinger, tolerate and encourage paedophiles or where, in the words of Richard Yeo, there are elements of the promoted theology that encourages child abuse?

35. it is a wonder any parent would feel confident sending their child to these schools, let alone those who, because they are necessarily rich, have a choice. As it is, these schools have long enjoyed charitable status and the tax relief that follows. If these were state schools with a less august history and a lesser sense of their own importance – if they were not, in short, pillars of the Catholic establishment – they would have been closed.

36. What happened was beyond mere negligence, a lack of understanding of proper procedures or a naivety that is excused by their cloistered existence. The evidence is that these monks deliberately put children at risk to protect paedophile monks and the institutions in which they lived. They fomented an environment that promoted abuse and tolerated it when discovered. Given the requirement for confession to fulfill their priestly function, discovery was almost immediate. They have behaved like this not just in the dim and distant past but recently: post-Nolan, post-Cumberlege. I should like to say the Benedictine Order have at least paid lip-service to modern reforms. In the case of Abbot Timothy Wright, you could not even say that.

37. Stripped of the religious cloth that has hung like a heavy pall over all these proceedings there is nothing left but an unincorporated association. One whose care of children should not be tolerated in any walk of life. To the extent you hesitate at such a suggestion I would invite you to consider that the reason for your hesitation is simply the power and influence of these revered institutions.

—–

I would like me to record my gratitude for the tenacity and bravery of those victims of abuse who have given evidence. I would also like to give credit to organisations such as the Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group for their support and ideas.

Week 3 of the English Benedictine Congregation Inquiry – Crass Disregard for Children and Burning Records

The evidence started this week with former headmaster, Aidan Bellenger, who was complacent and slightly evasive in his evidence. He agreed there was a conflict between the best interests of children and having the monastery in the control of the governors and finance. He admitted being involved in the decision-making on allowing a serial abuser, Richard White, back into the monastery. He told the Inquiry he wasn’t aware that DC Mark White considered that he was obstructing the police investigation and was close to being arrested. He denied being slow to reveal documents to the police. He was aware that monks who had abused were appointed in 2006 and 2007 to the board of governors and board of trustees. He agreed he took no steps to remove them.

Mr Bellenger agreed he wrote two letters in 2016 and 2017 setting out what he felt were the failures at Downside and pointed out that previous Abbots had protected abusers and that 3 abusers were still being harboured by the monastery. He is in the process of leaving the Benedictines.

The deputy Head, Andrew Hobbs, gave evidence that child protection at Downside had not been good enough. He recounted the failed Ofsted inspections of 2010 and 20011 and the steps taken to retrieve the situation. Changes now include better recruitment checks, physical separation between the school and the monks quarters, training for all on safeguarding, and better information sharing. he agreed there was more to do.

“Prior Administrator” Leo Davis gave evidence in an uncertain way. He was a man in his late 60s with white hair. He recounted disastrous dealings with Anselm Hurt and Richard White, both of whom had been known offenders but who were allowed back into the monasteries and into contact with pupils. He agreed publicity was a principal concern and advice from a barrister QC to disclose abuse of Richard White to the police was rejected. An interesting statistic arose that 16 of the 23 monks at Downside had safeguarding complaints lodged against them. He confirmed that RC-F77, another monk against whom a complaint had been lodged, was still living at Downside under a “behaviour covenant”. He had been made a trustee in 2007. RC-F77 breached his covenant in 2012 by walking across the school playing fields and attending a church service which boys attended. Not all parents have been told about his presence on site. Another monk accused of persuading a pupil to give him oral sex was moved from Downside to a parish in Turvey but the monastery didn’t tell Turvey of the risk he posed to children. F Leo denied knowing about Dunstan O’Keefe downloading pornography in spite of a letter from one monk to the Abbott that “We all knew he was downloading images”. An internal note was produced which set out steps to be taken to clear O’Keefe’s position up. The note included the words “destroy hard drive and floppy…computer destroyed…theft”. O’Keefe was even told by the Abbot Richard Yeo to “lie low and keep out sight” at the school. He was in fact allowed to be a novice master and has access to boys.

Most of the evidence we have heard is characterised by a systematic disregard for safeguarding good practice but evidence given by Leo Davis on 12th December 2017 was the height of crass disregard for the law by these monks. Leo David was the headmaster at the time but in July 2012 he set about moving large numbers of documents from the Headmaster’s basement and carting them over the space of 4 days off site in a wheelbarrow through the woods surrounding Downside and burning them. He claimed he didn’t know what they contained. This was two years after the police had asked for documents but felt they had been held back. He agreed the monastery had employed a PR consultant, Tony Domain, to “avoid hazards and advise on what to say to parents”. Leo David agreed he wanted to avoid media interest.

Richard Yeo, the former Abbott of Downside and former Abbott president agreed that the status of priest creates a risk of child abuse by creating an atmosphere where priests feel protected. He confirms that an abuser who was allowed back in to the priesthood, Anselm Hurt, had been a childhood friend of his and that he helped him gain position at Downside. He admitted failing to report Richard White or Dunstan O’Keefe in 2002 after the Nolan report recommended he should. Richard Yeo went on to help the Abbott of Ampleforth to introduce a secret safeguarding code. This had been kept secret from CSAS, the Catholic church’s central safeguarding advisory body.

It appears to have been standard practice for Abbotts and headmasters at Downside to interfere with and try to undermine boys who had complained. There came a point in his evidence where he had described the fact that a complainant was alcoholic and asking his Mother for money as “that little nugget” – as if it would help to defeat the allegation made by the former pupil. Did he not question the root cause of his alcoholism ?

It was put to him that Canon 489 requires a secret archive to be kept for complaints about priests. Yeo said this referred to Bishops and not Religious (the term for heads of religious Orders such as monks, brothers and nuns).

When questioned about the confessional he could not recall if any monk had confessed child abuse to him. He agreed that if a child told him it has experienced sexual abuse in the confessional he would be bound by sanctity of the confessional and would not be able to report it to the police. Overall Richard Yeo came across as extremely evasive and failed to give a straight answer to any of the questions posed.

Adrian Child, former Assistant director of COPCA and CSAS (the national body advising Catholic organisations on safeguarding) gave evidence.

  • He found that not all Dioceses adopted the centrally agreed safeguarding guidance.
  • He had put together a dispute resolution procedure for cases where there was an allegation but no conviction but 50% of dioceses and orders rejected it, including CCIA, the Catholic Insurance office. To quote his evidence “To say ‘my hands are tied or my insurer won’t let me settle the case’ is not moral or adequate”.
  • He criticised the lack of money put into safeguarding.
  • He criticised the seal of the confessional for getting in the way of safeguarding.
  • He described Ampleforth as a microcosm of the Catholic Church.
  • He criticised the fact that safeguarding depended on goodwill between Bishops and Religious leaders.

He summarised by saying that the system needed legislative oversight for all religious bodies, sport, drama, music, etc where children are looked after. Legislation is needed that has teeth and can deliver sanctions for breaches of safeguarding. To quote his words to Professor Jay and panel “Don’t tinker around the edges. We need accountability and mandatory enforcement”.

Claire Winter, The Somerset County Council LADO (“Local Authority Designated Officer”), gave evidence to confirm she was involved with overseeing Downside between 2010 and 2016. She counted allegations against 16 of the 23 monks at Downside.

She recommended a safeguarding audit as the state of record keeping was poor. There were CRB/DBS check missing for staff, records missing and files were separated between school and monastery records.

She found that she couldn’t entirely rely on the Abbott telling her about which monks or priests were a concern. She was not confident that restrictions on monks activities were being monitored. One monk forbidden to have access to the internet was discovered to have unlimited access .

Evidence from Helen Humphries, HM Inspector of Education was heard. She explained the nuts and bolts of school inspections. Kate Richards of the Independent School Inspections body explained the standards the schools should have attained.

I will be working on oral closing submissions with William Chapman and will post a copy once it has been handed in to the Inquiry. A full written submission will be posted here next Friday.

David Greenwood

Wednesday 13th December 2017

 

 

 

 

MEDOMSLEY DETENTION CENTRE – 7 Ex officers charged 21st November 2017

MEDOMSLEY DETENTION CENTRE – 7 EX-OFFICERS CHARGED

The Crown Prosecution Service and Durham police have charged 7 men who used to work at Medomsley Detention Centre, Consett, County Durham, with a series of abuse offences.
The charges arise out of ‘Operation Seabrook’, a police investigation that has been running since 2013 into allegations by over 1,400 ex-detainees that they were abused at the centre. The abuse allegations include incidents of both physical and sexual assaults allegedly committed by a large number of officers.
Medomsley was open from the 1960’s until 1988 and housed young inmates on relatively short-term sentences, many of whom had been sent there for relatively minor offending.
Kevin Blakely, Alan Bramley, Brian Greenwell, David McClure, John McGee, Christopher Onslow and Neil Sowerby, aged between 61 and 73, are due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court on 19th December. They face charges relating to individual complaints by ex-detainees and have all been charged with Misconduct in a Public Office.
The police have confirmed that their investigation continues with the CPS still considering files relating to a number of other ex-officers. They will welcome contact from ex-inmates who have not previously spoken to them, and ask that they be contacted on the police ‘101’ number or by email at operation.seabrook@durham.pnn.police.uk.
Switalskis Solicitors have for a number of years been representing clients who were abused at Medomsley and currently have a substantial number of clients whom we are assisting in making claims against the Ministry of Justice. If you have been affected by treatment you received at Medomsley then our experienced and expert team will be able to talk with you in confidence about how we may be able to help you.
If you would like a private consultation then please do not hesitate to contact our Caroline Chandler or Rob Casey who are dealing with claims arising out of Medomsley abuse, under the expert guidance of our David Greenwood, one of the leaders in the field nationally in this area of law.
We can be contacted on 01924 882000 or by email (caroline.chandler@switalskis.com or rob.casey@switalskis.com)