Three cathedrals have been criticised for safeguarding failings in the case of William Scott Farrell, a sex offender.
Mr Farrell, a former director of music at Rochester Cathedral. was sentenced to five years imprisonment in August 2019 for sexual offences involving children (News, 16 August 2019).
The “lessons-learnt” review, which was published on Thursday, found that there were “a number of opportunities” to challenge his behaviour that were missed by the cathedrals that employed him. The review makes 11 recommendations to the Church of England to “improve culture, support and develop existing good practice, remove barriers, and improve safeguarding outcomes”.
In 2019, Mr Farrell pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency with a boy under 16 (relating to three different victims), which occurred while he was assistant organist of Ely Cathedral from 1999 to 2002, and to two counts of voyeurism and one count of taking indecent images of a child, committed in Rochester (News, 31 May 2019).
Mr Farrell was also employed by Newcastle Cathedral between 2002 and 2008. He was not charged with any offences the occurred during this time; however, the review found that there were “a number of concerns raised and missed opportunities to deal with inappropriate behaviour” during his time in Newcastle.
“To them [the victims], I say again how truly sorry we are for what happened, and for the part we played in allowing Farrell’s abuse to take place." https://t.co/FTf3DF56rV
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) May 27, 2022