Bishop Provided Reference for Wiltshire Sex Abuse Priest

October 6, 2020

Robert Bailey admitted child sex offences

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.

The Rt Rev James Newcome offered a "heartfelt apology"

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James said that he had provided a reference for Bailey, whom he had known for 18 years, but later asked for it to be withdrawn.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"On reflection I considered this to have been an error of judgement on my part and asked that the reference be withdrawn.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."

Bishop James said he would "co-operate fully" with the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team investigation.

Jailed for offences

Bailey was a vicar in the Diocese of Carlisle from 1999 until his retirement to Salisbury in 2011.

The offences he was jailed for took place while he was working in Bishops Canning, near Devizes.

A statement from Carlisle Diocese said no complaints were made against him during his time in Cumbria.

It added: "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who have been affected, particularly the victims and their family."








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