Chichester child abuse: How did one small Church of England diocese produce so many paedophile reverends?


March 25, 2018

By Andreas Whittam Smith

Evidence at the inquiry concluded that the abuse was ‘normalised’ because it was practised by so many. Worse still, one member of the clergy believed that God had forgiven him and therefore ‘his slate was wiped clean’

For a long time, I have wanted to understand why one small area of the Church of England has had a large number of the clergy sent to gaol for sexually abusing young people and children. The place is Sussex, particularly East Sussex, part of the diocese of Chichester.

I have not been alone in wanting this question answered. For the Government has set up an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales and this body has turned its attention to the diocese of Chichester. The hearings have been going on for some weeks now. I shall make extensive use of what the inquiry has been told.

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