The Church of England has apologised for its handling of the allegations of abuse by Bishop George Bell, who died in 1958, but resisted a key recommendation in the review it requested.
The leading barrister and former MP Lord Carlile of Berriew was asked by the Diocese of Chichester to review its handling of the accusation by ‘Carol’.
Although he accepted that the diocese had acted in ‘good faith’, one of his key recommendations was that there should be a confidentiality provision, at least where cases are settled without admission of liability, as in this case.
Lord Carlile was not asked to decide on the veracity of the claims, which ‘Carol’ asserted happened when she was a child. These events date back to the 1940s and 1950s. The terms of his review were solely on how the Church handled these.
But on this point he was damning. While acknowledging that the Church’s actions were informed by history, in which the Church has been seen to be slow to acknowledge abuse by its clergy, or even turning a blind eye, he concluded: “The process followed by the Church in this case was deficient in a number of respects.”
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