Bishop Explains Apology over Abuse Vicar

By Simon Haworth
Evening Gazette
November 14, 2007

A BISHOP today shed further light on why the church is apologising for the actions of a disgraced vicar 20 years after he was arrested for child abuse.

The Rev Trevor Ward was removed from his post and jailed for seven years after being convicted of abusing young boys.

On Saturday, the Bishop of Whitby, the Right Rev Robert Ladds, will make a public apology for the child sex abuse committed by Ward while he was a vicar in Middlesbrough.

The service will be held at 2pm at St Agnes' Church in Easterside, and will include prayers for the cleansing of the church and reconciliation with the community.

Ward was Vicar of St Agnes' Church from October 1981 until he resigned on his arrest in November 1987.

He was convicted of nine counts of sex abuse in March 1988 and jailed for seven years at Teesside Crown Court.

He died last December.

The service was suggested by the present Priest-in-Charge of Easterside, the Rev Margery Grange, who will give an address.

It will include an apology by the Bishop of Whitby for "the church's failure to appoint a good and godly minister to Easterside in 1981".

It will also say sorry for its "failure to acknowledge and empathise adequately with the depth of hurt he caused" and for "the length of time it has taken for such an apology to be made".

The Rt Rev Ladds said there were a number of reasons why the apology was being made.

He said: "We have been aware over a long period of time that this unfortunate event did a great deal of damage in the Easterside community and that memories of it live on in a very real way."

He said the Church had decided that all historical child abuse cases would be reviewed in order to make sure they had been dealt with "properly and openly".

There is an open invitation to attend Saturday's service.

Those invited to the service include victims of Ward's abuse, some of whom are believed to still live in the area.


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