Bishop of Chester hands over safeguarding responsibilities after retired priest convicted

Cheshire Chronicle

March 29, 2019

The Bishop of Chester has handed over safeguarding responsibilities after he was criticised for how the case of retired priest Gordon Dickenson was handled.

Dickenson was jailed on Friday, March 15 at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a boy more than 40 years ago.

During a police investigation in 2017, a letter to the Diocese of Chester came to light.

The letter, dated 2009, had been sent by Dickenson to the Diocese and detailed the accusations against him.

Following its release, Bishop Peter Forster was heavily criticised for his lack of action at the time, and the Diocese of Chester issued an apology to the sexual abuse survivor .

Now, Bishop Forster has come forward to say he will no longer be in charge of safeguarding responsibilities following the incident.

Instead, the Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, will take the lead on decisions regarding safeguarding.

In a statement Bishop Peter Forster said: “I have asked the Bishop of Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair, to lead on all safeguarding arrangements in the Diocese of Chester and have formally delegated this responsibility to him with immediate effect.

“I have taken this decision in response to recent comment into my handling of the Gordon Dickenson case in 2009.

“An independent review will seek to identify where any failures in procedures arose, and what lessons can be learned and I look forward to contributing to the review and to giving a full account of my actions in relation to this matter.

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