Bishop of Carlisle facing call to quit over reference

News & Star

October 11, 2020

By Phil Coleman

A Cumbrian activist fighting for victims of church related child abuse has called for the resignation of The Bishop of Carlisle after he wrote – but later withdrew – a character reference for a paedophile priest.

Former Carlisle Cathedral canon Robert Bailey, 71, was this week jailed after he admitted four sexual assaults against two young girls. One told a court that his abuse –committed after he left Cumbria – had ruined her life.

When his case came to the crown court for sentencing, it was revealed that the current Bishop of Carlisle, the Right Reverend James Newcome, had written a character reference for Bailey, though he later withdrew it and issued a ‘heartfelt’ apology to the priest’s two victims.

The Church of England is now investigating why the Bishop wrote the reference.

The issue became public in the week that the influential Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse’ released its report into the Church’s handling of child sexual abuse. The inquiry’s damning report concluded that the Church of England failed to protect children from sexual abuse.

It said the church created a culture where abusers “could hide”, with perpetrators often given more support than victims.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.