Bishop provided reference for Wiltshire sex abuse priest


October 6, 2020

The Bishop of Carlisle has apologised for providing a character reference to a colleague who was subsequently jailed for molesting children.

The Church of England has launched an investigation after the Rt Rev James Newcome’s reference was used in a case which saw Rev Robert Bailey jailed.

Bishop James said he made “an error of judgment” in providing the reference.

Bailey was jailed for eight years and four months in September after he admitted molesting two girls.

Bishop James said that he had provided a reference for Bailey, whom he had known for 18 years, but later asked for it to be withdrawn.

He said: “In April and at [Bailey’s] request, I agreed to provide a character reference to go before the courts.

“On reflection I considered this to have been an error of judgement on my part and asked that the reference be withdrawn.

“I’m truly sorry that the reference was submitted and understand the pain that this will have caused those who suffered as a result of Robert Bailey’s crimes.”

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