The diocese of Chichester was used as a case study for inquiring into child sexual abuse in the Church of England. Some have wished to claim immunity from our failings, regarding us an aberration and unlike more “normal” dioceses.
More careful consideration, however, suggests that what happened here was characterised by attitudes that were not unknown elsewhere.
If, for example, we look at the case of one highly manipulative offender, Roy Cotton, factors emerge at an early stage that might account for why no effective disciplinary action was taken against him.
First, academic snobbery: Cotton was an Oxbridge graduate. Second, social snobbery: he worked in an independent preparatory school before ordination.
Third, manipulating episcopal patronage: he was exempted from selection scrutiny and spent only one term in training. After being ordained in his home diocese and serving a curacy there, he moved to Chichester with a glowing reference from his bishop, and subsequently moved from one parish to another with apparent ease.
Fourth, at the end of his ministry in Chichester, he was dealt with leniently in old age because of illness and infirmity….