Glowing Reference after Sex Abuse Allegations

ABC News
May 25, 2012

An inquiry into child sex abuse at a Northam Hostel has heard an Anglican Bishop gave the warden a glowing reference after sacking him for alleged sexual misconduct.

Bishop Michael Challen was the head of Saint Christopher's Hostel board when allegations of sexual abuse arose against the warden, Roy Wenlock including that he would invite boys to his flat to wrestle him in their underpants while simulating sexual intercourse.

Yesterday, an inquiry investigating sexual abuse allegations at the hostel was told a meeting was held between the bishop, one of the victims and a local member of Parliament in 1976 to discuss allegations of abuse.

Bishop Challen denies he attended the meeting.

He says he found out about the abuse for the first time at the end of 1977 and immediately sacked Wenlock.

The inquiry was told he praised Wenlock in a reference letter to the church, noting the positive impact he had made at the hostel.

Bishop Challen told the inquiry he did not make the reasons behind the dismissal public because a victim's parents asked him to keep it quiet.

The inquiry is investigating whether the hostel's board dealt with the allegations appropriately.








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