Archbishop of Canterbury's office criticised for 'ignoring' abuse complaints
By Martin Evans
March 15, 2016
|Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury|
Photo by Ben Curtis
|Lambeth Palace in London, where the Archbishop of Canterbury has promised to offer sanctuary for Syrian refugees|
A Church of England sex abuse victim was repeatedly snubbed when he attempted to raise the matter with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, a damning report has found.
The man, who was abused by two senior members of the clergy more than 30-years ago, attempted to alert Justin Welby on at least 18 occasions, both in writing and by telephone, but was persistently ignored, causing further pain and trauma.
An independent review into his case concluded there had been a string of “deeply disturbing” failures by senior Church of England figures to take his concerns seriously.
It revealed that he had repeatedly sought to bring the details to the attention of the Archbishop in 2015, but had been left “angry and frustrated” by the lack of response.
The review concluded: “The Archbishop of Canterbury, as head of the Church of England, is not in a position where he could be expected to reply personally to each safeguarding concern that is received by his office, no matter how deserving they may be.
“However, it is important that where a survivor chooses that route they receive a response that is meaningful and helps them to move on. This did not happen in this case.”
The report described how the first case of abuse occurred when the victim was a teenager and was invited to stay overnight with a priest named Garth Moore, who was a family friend.
He said after plying him with alcohol Rev Moore – who died in 1990 – attempted to rape him.
The following year he became involved in a relationship with another senior member of the Church, who was in his 60s at the time and was subsequently ordained a Bishop.
The victim said while he had considered the relationship to be consensual at the time, he subsequently realised that it was exploitative and abusive.
He later suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder which he blamed on the abuse.
Neither of the men were ever held accountable for their actions and enjoyed very senior positions within the church.
Last year the victim received £35,000 in compensation after the Church of England accepted that his abuse had been a matter of “deep shame and regret”.
Responding to the report the Bishop of Crediton, Sarah Mullally, issued a profuse apology to the victim for the abuse suffered.
She said: “We should have been swifter to listen, to believe and to act. This report is deeply uncomfortable for the Church of England.
“I know we have made some progress but we still have so much to learn and to do, and we need to do it quickly.”