George Bell 2
Church of England

The "absurd fiction" of the need for secrecy in the trial of Bishop George Bell

 

The living who are falsely accused of child abuse are slowly destroyed – physically, emotionally and spiritually. “I now have difficulty seeing myself being remotely employed, sociable, and relaxed enough to pursue any kind of relationship. The deterioration of my physical appearance caused neighbours and family members who visited to approach me differently. I feel like I have become a failure,” says Rhys, a man who has lived under the cloud of alleged paedophilia for so long that he can no longer feel the sun on his face, and perhaps never will again. But there is a hope that he might. He is alive. His doubt and self-loathing may yet be transformed by the love and support of family and fellowship. And time really does heal.

But the dead who are falsely accused of child abuse cannot be destroyed any more in their corporeal feelings or expression of faith: all that remains is to smear their reputations with wickedness and expunge people’s perceptions of their saintliness.

The campaign to secure a review of the Church’s decision to (effectively) declare the late Bishop George Bell to have been a child abuser has taken another step forward. We don’t know whether he has falsely been accused because we may not see the evidence. But we do know that the allegation represents an injustice – morally, pastorally and legally – if only because justice has not been seen to be done.

Last week, Chichester City Council resolved to re-hang a picture of the Bishop in its offices, having initially removed it for fear of vandalism (or that is the excuse they gave). The Council’s sub-committee chairman, Councillor Tony Dignum, explained that the decision to restore the portrait was based upon the Chichester Diocese’s failure to offer any evidence in support of its decision to condemn the Bishop beyond the uncorroborated claim of the accuser.

In this week’s Sussex press, a letter has appeared in support of the Council from a member of the General Synod:

I write as a member of the Church of England General Synod, a member of a Diocesan Safeguarding Group and a solicitor for 35 years with experience of hundreds of cases of child abuse, having represented victims of child abuse, those rightfully convicted and those wrongfully accused.

The Chichester Council is absolutely right to conclude that the Church has not yet put into the public domain sufficient evidence to enable a safe conclusion to be drawn that Bishop Bell was guilty of child abuse. This Is unfair to all, not least the accuser. The Church’s lack of transparency prolongs the agony for all, and its explanation that nothing can be said about its processes, because everything is confidential is misconceived in law.

Every week, the Law Reports publish detailed judgements concerning cases of sexual abuse.

They routinely describe the nature of the allegations, a summary of the evidence, for and against; the names and expertise of the experts; their points of agreement and disagreement, a summary of the applicable law, the evaluation of contested evidence and the Court findings on disputed fact. All this is done in the public interest without compromising the identity of the accuser to the slightest degree.

In the light of such routine transparency, why does the Church continue in the absurd fiction that it cannot answer the most basic of questions about the processes by which it reached a conclusion in the case of Bishop George Bell? Nobody is asking for clues to identity, only evidence that a process of due diligence has been undertaken.

All we are getting is “Trust me I am a Bishop” which paradoxically, embodies precisely the toxic culture of deference and unaccountability which dropped the Church into such messes in the first place.

Martin Sewell
Gravesend
Kent

The focus hitherto has been upon Justice for Bishop George Bell, but with this letter Martin Sewell broadens it to the fact that the secretive processes by which the Bishop was judged is not simply a matter of historical accuracy, but a very live issue for the Church of England today, as it will be tomorrow and the day after, and will continue to be so until his questions are answered.

This coming week, the House of Bishops will discuss the Elliott Review, which offers recommendations on how the church should handle child abuse cases in the future. It was written by a consultant social worker, which is a perfectly respectable and relevant discipline. Yet it is worth reflecting that Martin Sewell is a lawyer who is very experienced in the intricate processes by which evidence is gathered, evaluated and judged. That objective, forensic approach contrasts with the pastoral empathetic care which is the first impulse of the modern bishop.

While Christians are urged to be as gentle as doves, we are also required to be wise as serpents. Complainants undoubtedly have the right to be heard and to have their accounts taken seriously and treated compassionately. But that ought never to be confused with the need for instant belief: no complainant can reasonably demand uncritical acceptance of an allegation, and no judge should give it.

The Church needs its pastors, but it also needs its prophetic critics to ensure that its policies and procedures are just and rigorous. Martin Sewell is right to remind us that justice must be transparent and accountable – two features which are unnecessarily lacking from the Diocese’s ongoing handling of this case. The Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner may dismiss the “strident voices” which are seeking to “undermine” the “survivor’s” claims against George Bell, thereby exacerbating her suffering in a deeply un-Christian way (the intended inference). But George Bell can no longer grieve for his reputation or demand rehabilitation. Trust demands justice, and justice must be seen to have been done. This is not going to go away, and the voices will remain as “strident” as they need to be until the necessary transparency and accountability are secured.

  • The Explorer

    Isn’t use a voice that questions be described as ‘strident’ by the Bishop? I think a definition of ‘strident’ is in order.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The Bishop’s definition would probably be “a voice I’d rather not listen to.”

  • Ian G

    I’d like to challenge the assumption that pastors should be nice guys. “Thy rod and thy staff comfort/strengthen/encourage me”. The rod is a weapon, mostly used to against the predator. The staff generally corrects the flock. (See: http://www.antipas.org/commentaries/articles/shepherd_psa23/shepherd_07.html).

    The church desperately needs real shepherds.A real shepherd would not have allowed this situation to arise.

  • Anton

    A very good letter by Martin Sewell. The correct thing to do is for the church put all the evidence in the public domain (or as much as possible if the complainant wants anonymity) and leave people to reason for themselves.

  • IanCad

    As Pubcrawler pointed out a few days ago; there is a three year statute of limitations for treason. An act so dastardly as to have – in stouter times – demanded the death penalty.
    The circus of “Historical” child abuse cases has to stop. Apply the same standards for prosecution as those required under the Treason Act.

    • chiefofsinners

      The victims of child abuse are by definition those who are unable to defend themselves. They are easily intimidated and usually too frightened to tell anyone for a long time. A three year limitation would see vast numbers of abusers walk away scott free. It would reward intimidation and further encourage abuse.

      • IanCad

        You make a good point Chief and I can see where a youngster could be scared to talk about it. Five to ten years instead?

        • chiefofsinners

          A child abused at five will often still be very afraid of the abuser at fifteen.

          • IanCad

            OK Then! I see I’m going to have to modify my original suggestion. How about no SOL until age eighteen then three years?

          • Readiness to disclose abuse, and most especially sexual abuse, isn’t determined by age. Why is there a need for a statute of limitation in either criminal or civil proceedings?

          • IanCad

            Because memory is a fickle thing Jack. Not only do we tend to forget, we are also prone to the influence of imagination.

  • CliveM

    Our national institutions love secrecy. They have a whole series of reasons and justifications for their secrecy.

    Can’t help but feel the biggest reason is to avoid justifying their decisions.

  • David

    Secrecy is a British disease affecting all our institutions. It is the enemy of democracy, justice and fair play. Secrecy is loved by the powerful as it enables their actions and decisions to escape scrutiny. Far, far too much is secret in this country, and the C of E is no exception.
    Free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of conscience are the very hallmarks of a just society. Maintaining freedom is a constant struggle. In struggling to demand an end to secrecy we honour those who worked and sacrificed to give us those freedoms that we still enjoy.

    • preacher

      Agreed, & yet the historic Dolphin Square cases of abuse by members of the government, highly placed civil servants, judges & others have been dropped, despite the claim that at least one boy was murdered.

      Also it seems that a Madame had evidence of child abuse by a former Prime Minister ( since deceased ) which was dropped before being investigated.

      If George Bell was guilty, the Church must in the name of justice produce the evidence for public scrutiny. Otherwise they should declare the case not proven for whatever reason & clear his name.

      • Maalaistollo

        Might it not be the case that the manifestly unfair pursuit of the apparently blameless and/or deceased is designed to get the public to the point where they will acquiesce in further historic abuse investigations of all kinds being dropped, thus letting the real and surviving but highly placed perpetrators off the hook?

        • David

          Yes, maybe indeed – or pursuing certain individuals, who are probably innocent, is cynically used as a decoy to deflect attention away from living establishment figures where there is desire to not investigate their alleged crimes.

      • David

        Yes, agreed. Cases are dropped if pursuing them are deemed to be “not in the public interest”. The “public interest” is a shapeless idea that can be used by the establishment to protect its own, it seems.

  • Martin

    Are social workers a respectable discipline? They’ve been seen to have allowed their political views to influence their practice and hidden behind claims of confidentiality.

    • David

      Well Martin it depends what you mean by “respectable”. There’s academic respectability, professional respectability, social respectability – which is seldom static, and of course political respectability, for which our lackey mainstream media considers itself to be the arbiter.
      However I agree with you that Social Workers usually subscribe to an essentially Marxist influenced world view. I suspect that vanishingly few of them are conservatives.

      • Anton

        That is because there is no such thing as a private social worker, unlike doctors, lawyers etc. All social workers are employed by various arms of the State and are therefore instruments of the State. As the State worsens, they will do worse things to the institution of the family. I know personally social workers who are Christian and do their best to make things better, but a point will come when they should “come out of this profession, my people”.

        • David

          Yes, your analysis is spot on !
          Any profession where, by nature, all of its practitioners are employees of the state, Civil Servants in effect, is susceptible to such pressure from the state, with all of the inevitable consequences that can lead from such pressure.

        • Social work was not invented by the government. It’s roots lie in philanthropy and charitable work. Successive post war governments ‘professionalised’ it pulled it into its sphere. Was this really such a bad thing? There are indeed private social workers who act independently of the State. Also, there are many registered social workers employed by independent charities and other bodies and thus free of the State. The social work code of practice makes clear that whilst they are employed by the State, they are not its instruments.

          • carl jacobs

            There you are, Jack. I’ve been looking for you. I’m not quite the expert on soccer that you are so I have a question. That own goal on Tuesday. Does that count as both a goal for and a goal against? And do you get some special bonus for making the goal three minutes into stoppage time?

            Just wondering. 0:-)

          • Agreed, you are indeed lacking in expertise on football. Good to see you admit this – finally.

            66 points, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            That’ll teach me to listen to an infallible Papal pronouncement. I should have known better. Anyways, you were sweating.

            I wonder if DDG has fixed his fax machine yet.

          • Anton

            It remains the case that there is no such thing as a private social worker advertising services with a plate outside his or her door unlike doctors, lawyers, and anybody who is employed by the State is its instrument. Please notice that I accept there are social workers who are committed Christians, whom I have not criticised in any way. They walk a difficult tightrope that I believe will become impossible in the forseeable future.

          • There is nothing to stop registered social worker offering their services privately. Many do, particularly as case reviewers and as independent witnesses to courts. A number of private companies now employ social workers too. The British Association of Social Workers actually runs a directory of independent practitioners.

          • Anton

            Well, let me know when you see a plaque saying “social worker” outside the door of a business premise.

            Am I right in sensing that each of us can see *some* merit in what the other is saying?

          • I’m really just correcting your ignorance about the history of social work, its worth and the independent status of some of its practitioners. I’ve not commented on the other points and really don’t intend to.

          • Anton

            A shame if you want to play it rough, but I am guessing that your lofty refusal to respond to my challenge to cite somebody with a plaque outside their door saying “social worker for hire” is because you can’t.

          • That’s a ridiculous test to establish whether there are private and independent social workers or not. If you want to verify the existence of such professionals just go to the BASW directory of independent practitioners.

            I take it you accept you were wrong about the historical origins of social work and its presence outside of the machinery of the state.

          • Anton

            Yes and No, Jack; you and Clive have caused me to rethink and to phrase my thesis more carefully, for which I am grateful. I believe now that the phrase “social worker” came in when the government effectively nationalised much charitable work. (I am aware that the claim there was no medical help for the poor pre-NHS is a leftist lie given the charitable sector, and perhaps the same is true in social matters.) I assert that the number of people employed in such work mushroomed when the government began employing them and naming them as ‘social workers’ (eg in job ads in The Guardian); I stand by my comment that all government-employed social workers are ultimately instruments of State policy (consider for example the Named Person scheme in Scotland); and I continue to assert that the ones who are Christian will find their job increasingly difficult to reconcile with their consciences in the forseeable future. In this thread I have nowhere criticised the characters of social workers whether Christian or not; I am grateful for your corrections, but you do seem rather sensitive about the subject.

          • CliveM

            I don’t have a plaque outside my door, but I’m not employed by the state either. What’s the relevance of a plaque? You said all social workers are employed by arms of the state, which is not true.

          • Anton

            I’m willing to be educated; please explain the status and title involved in this counter-example.

          • CliveM

            Anton I just don’t get your obsession with a plaque and how it relates to your assertion that all social workers are employed by arms of the state.

          • Anton

            Then never mind about the plaque for now; please educate me about social workers employed privately. The request is genuine, not polemical.

          • CliveM

            Anton

            I think HJ has highlighted a few of these areas already. They work as independent consultants, for charities, for Churches like the Church of Scotland’s CrossReach programme. I don’t know but I would expect other Churches, like the TC’s do as well.

            Just in case I confused in my original post, I am not a Social Worker. I have neither the patience or compassion required!

          • Anton

            I take the point about charities and churches; thank you. My comment about plaques expresses a scepticism (which remains) about them acting as independent consultants.

          • CliveM

            Well Anton this you’ll have to take my word for. A close family member ran childrens services for a period for a major council followers a poor ofsted report. Part of the recovery involved bringing in an external consultant to identify what needed to be done to pull it round. It would appear that he made a good living doing this for various councils arose the country.

            I don’t want to give to much detail on this.

          • Anton

            OK, thanks.

          • CliveM

            Pleasure! Also I’ve tidied my comments, sigh I hate predictive.

    • CliveM

      Martin

      Like every profession there is good and bad. Having a family member who is a Social Worker, I know he doesn’t have Marxist views and it is a largely thankless job with poor pay. Not helped by Govt targets and poor resourcing. Each week he’ll spend less then a dozen hours with his clients, the rest of the time (and he works more than 40 hrs per week) is spent filling reports.

      • Martin

        Clive

        I’m afraid that social workers are as much their own enemy as they are maligned. They are too slow to condemn bad practice and too quick to defend it.

        Perhaps in them we see another aspect of Romans 1:18-32.

        • CliveM

          Martin

          Again this is true for some, not all. For any large group of people, you get the problems, these are the ones who the press like to highlight.

          • Martin

            Clive

            That doesn’t excuse the closed ranks.

          • CliveM

            But you don’t damn a whole profession for the actions of a few. If so, which profession would emerge unscathed?

          • Martin

            Clive

            The closed ranks aren’t the actions of a few.

          • Anton

            Quite so. They almost all work for the government, which means they almost all vote Labour, which means they have a particular worldview that involves social control by government, and very few of them believe that man is sinful. When they take your children away, is the result better or worse for society? The answer needs to take into account what it presently does not, that the “takeaway threshold” will be lowered with each such incident, and the matter of what alternative arrangement will be put in place for the children until they are adults.

        • chiefofsinners

          Social workers are good people doing an extremely valuable and difficult job which most wouldn’t cope with for five minutes.

          • Martin

            CoS

            That’s the claim, I’m not so sure it is true. But remember, there are no good people and often those who take up these jobs are people who probably shouldn’t.

  • Uncle Brian

    When Bishop Warner complains of “strident voices,” what he really means is, “Oh, shit, they’re calling our bluff.”

    To recapitulate, here is what Archbishop Welby told the BBC early last month (link below):

    “Someone came forward who said that they had been abused by him. On the balance of probability, at this distance, it seemed clear to us after very thorough investigation that that was correct.”

    Surely Archbishop Welby must have noticed by now that nobody actually believes the Church conducted a “very thorough investigation”. I’m surprised he’s not embarrassed to go on repeating it. Now that a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer has called his bluff, let’s see what he does next.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35898627

    • Sigfridiii

      Lambeth seems to operate the same school of spin as that practised by No.10. Keep on saying it and eventually everyone will either believe it, or capitulate.

  • CliveM

    “Martin Sewell is a lawyer who is very experienced in the intricate processes by which evidence is gathered”

    Apologies but he describes himself as a solicitor in the letter you quoted.

    • alternative_perspective

      Isn’t the latter a subset of the former, akin to a GP being called a doctor?

      • chiefofsinners

        Possibly has confused two very different professions: solicitor and soliciting.

        • Anton

          That’s a very tart comment.

      • CliveM

        Two related but distinct roles.

  • Inspector General

    The Inspector is reminded that the church of the Middle Ages jealously guarded its right to discipline its clergy. Ecclesiastical courts then as now. Of course, state criminal law now supersedes in the area of criminality and a good thing too, but the church just has to hang on to its, well, we’ll call them the sanctimonious privileges of accusation. It’s rather a shame that this righteous finger pointing no longer takes place in the case of Marxist clerics, or religion dismissing humanists, or indeed the many atheists or agnostics whom one suspects dons priestly garb, or even a certain bishop who cannot bring herself (sic) to utter ‘God the Father’. The very words Jesus used…

  • Inspector General

    While Christians are urged to be as gentle as doves…

    Really, Cranmer? Are you sure, that fellow. You weren’t very dove like when those Advertising Standards bully boys had a go. You did not role over like some beloved pet resigned to endure his belly and nipples being rubbed and tickled. You did not acquiesce to them, signing your letter ‘your most obedient and contrite gutless kitten’

    Fight the good fight, Cranmer, and with ALL your might at that, as you do…as must we concerned Christians with you…

  • Albert

    Excellent post. If the CofE isn’t careful, it is going to look like it panicked and decided the best way to make the matter go quiet was to drop +Bell in it because he cannot answer back. In other words, the failure to produce evidence looks like a cover up of bad and unjust procedure, which was itself designed to limit bad publicity, at the expense of +Bell’s reputation.

    Please note: I am not saying that this is what the CofE has done. I am saying that this is what it increasingly looks like it has done.

    And yes, as the OP says, this is also about caring for the accuser. No reasonable person can currently accept that +Bell is guilty. But what if he is? The secrecy surrounding this case is making us all question the veracity of the accuser, which, if she really is the survivor of child abuse must be very painful indeed.

    No one is benefiting from the present unjust situation.

    • Malcolm Smith

      As I have said before, the proper response would have been to listen carefully and compassionately to the accuser, give her the benefit of the doubt, provide her with whatever counselling, or even compensation, within reason, but insist on confidentiality. There was absolutely no reason to publicise Bell’s name. He can’t do anybody else any harm on the off-chance that the accusations were true.

      • Anton

        Insisting on confidentiality didn’t work very well for the Roman Catholic church early on in its own travails: it looks like a cover-up if more stuff emerges.

        • Albert

          There you go again, singling out the Catholic Church for what everyone was doing. I don’t blame you for blaming the Catholic Church (I blame the Catholic Church for that, myself), but I do think you are unjust to single us out.

          • Anton

            You made the same point yourself to Malcolm in your reply to the same comment of his: it would look like a cover-up. I am making the point by example and, if you think I am unjustly singling out Rome, please name another denomination which has handled this issue badly and been accused of cover-up in the mass media.

          • Albert

            I did not single out the Catholic Church.

            if you think I am unjustly singling out Rome, please name another major denomination which has handled this issue badly and been accused of cover-up in the mass media.

            Errr…the Church of England? Granted it’s not such a large scandal, but then again the whole Anglican Communion is about 1/12 of the size of the Catholic Church, and it has not been as proactive in education etc. as the Catholic Church. There are numerous examples. I assume you don’t need me to cite them?

          • Anton

            Are you being deliberately obtuse or merely accidentally? It is the CoE that is under discussion, and the question is what other significant Christian denomination (and related media reaction) the CoE should learn from, regarding this issue. We all know which denomination people will think of, don’t we?

          • Albert

            Why bring the Catholic Church into it at all?

            and the question is what other significant Christian denomination (and related media reaction) the CoE should learn from, regarding this issue. We all know which denomination people will think of, don’t we?

            Actually, that’s two questions. In answer to the first, that is only a question because you’ve raised it, so your answer there is not really an answer. In answer to the second, which other denomination is sufficiently large for people to hear about the problems?

          • Anton

            One, perhaps, in which the proportion of bishops known to have had this problem in their diocese who then covered it up is 100%.

          • Albert

            That’s not a fact. That’s a prejudice.

          • Anton

            O, really? I’m content to let others decide about that. Such as the people of Ireland who have good political reason to be loyal to Rome but have become so disgusted with the universal episcopal cover-up there that the Catholic church has lost all popular authority. Go tell the Irish it’s their prejudice.

          • Albert

            I’m content to let others decide about that.

            On what basis?

            Go tell the Irish it’s their prejudice.

            This was your claim:

            One, perhaps, in which the proportion of bishops known to have had this problem in their diocese who then covered it up is 100%.

            What is the evidence that 100% of bishops covered it up? You have provided none, and I remember reading (though I can’t remember where) of counter examples. Your assumption that this is the case, is not evidence.

          • Anton

            I’m not interested, Albert; you are simply nitpicking in order to try to maintain a position which is absurd, as even Ivan pointed out. Rome has blown it in Ireland and if you think it is prejudice, tell that to the Irish people in their disgust.

          • Albert

            I’m not nitpicking. You made a claim and you have not supported it. My claim is not that the Catholic Church is without blame – only that it is wrong to single us out.

          • Anton

            I do understand your total inability to think in any way other than legalistically, but no smart lawyer faced with the Irish situation being brought up before a jury would do anything other than shut up. I’m not falling for your attempt to divert the discussion into whether any one bishop out of hundreds did actually alert the authorities to child abuse by one of the priests in his diocese before Rome gave them explicit instructions to. You used the word prejudice and if you think it is prejudice then tell it to the Irish people in their disgust with a church they once loved. But do carry on embarrassing yourself and Ivan and others.

          • Albert

            I do understand your total inability to think in any way other than legalistically

            It’s not an inability. I just think that in serious matters, it not appropriate to make untruthful statements about others, even if they are intended as hyperbole. I will refrain from referring to the 10 Commandments, for fear of being accused of legalism.

          • Anton

            It would be a statement, not an accusation! Still legalism…

          • Albert

            Oh for goodness’ sake, an accusation just is a statement which acc…Oh never mind.

          • Ivan M

            I don’t think Anton is singling out the RCC. He is indicating that the standard since the Nixon days is that a cover-up is worse than the crime,

            On another note, I recall the glee with which numerous entities, in Brutus fashion plunged their knives in the RCC’s back when it was fashionable back in 2000-2010. Not much concern then about the innocence of the priests, or the severity of the accusation in relation to loss of honour of the accused.

            The John Jay Report is always handy, when reflecting on the exaggerations then current.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Jay_Report

          • Albert

            I don’t think Anton is singling out the RCC. He is indicating that the standard since the Nixon days is that a cover-up is worse than the crime,

            This is what he said:

            Insisting on confidentiality didn’t work well for the Roman Catholic church early on in its own travails about this issue: it looks like a cover-up if more stuff emerges.

            How precisely is this not singling out the Catholic Church?

          • Ivan M

            I read it as a prime example of what happens when cover – ups are attempted. There were priests and bishops that used the cover of the Catholic Church to escape justice and a fair reckoning.

          • Albert

            But he did single us out, when others, when the numbers are taken proportionately, did the same.

          • Ivan M

            It so happens that the Catholic Church’s missteps are very well known as it should be.

          • Albert

            Indeed so. But, as you’ve indicated, the real story does not justify the Catholic Church being singled out. But Anton did it anyway. Why?

      • Albert

        Ah, but that would look like a cover-up.

    • carl jacobs

      No one is benefiting from the present unjust situation.

      The CoE leadership has absolutely benefited from this strategy. It may look bad, but only a small collection of people is paying any attention. They have largely removed the story from view. They have avoided the possibility of a trial with no good defense except discrediting a potentially sympathetic victim. From the point of view of a slithering reptile lawyer, that’s a win. There was no good outcome for the CoE that involved contradicting the accusation. Rapacious carnivores Lawyers don’t deal in justice, after all. They protect the interests of the client. They aren’t paid to worry about collateral damage.

      The CoE will refuse these requests until Hell freezes over. The only way the true story gets out is if someone leaks it. That’s because the true story is written in legal advice: “Don’t worry if it’s true of false. Accept it and bury this corpse before it hurts you.” I doubt there was any substantial investigation at all. Just enough so that the CoE could say “We investigated” without telling an outright lie.

      • Albert

        That’s a very depressing post, if it is correct.

        • Uncle Brian

          Carl’s argument sounds very convincing to me. All too convincing.

  • Sigfridiii

    Is it not likely that the insurers have insisted on a gagging clause of some kind, and all other considerations are subservient to their demands?

    • Uncle Brian

      If that was the explanation, Welby would be free to tell us that, wouldn’t he?

      • Anton

        Not necessarily.

        • Uncle Brian

          Anton, unless I’m reading too much into your cryptic two-word comment, you seem to be suggesting something like this:

          Premise No. 1.—The Church holds an insurance policy that covers indemnity payouts to victims of sexual abuse by Anglican clergy, but a clause in the policy stipulates that the Church must treat the existence of the insurance policy as strictly confidential.

          Premise No. 2.—In the present case, the bishops are refusing to publish details of their “very thorough investigation” because to do so would be somehow to breach the confidentiality clause in their insurance policy.

          Conclusion.—By their very silence, the bishops are publicly (albeit only implicitly) giving confirmation that they do in face hold an insurance policy of the kind described. Therefore, by publicly giving such confirmation, they have breached the confidentiality clause in their insurance policy.

          Is that it, Anton? In that case, what happens next?

          • Anton

            No! I was suggesting merely that an insurers’ gagging clause might include the condition that the existence of the gag not be revealed.

      • Sigfridiii

        Unless the gagging arrangement applies to all parties to the agreement.

    • carl jacobs

      I think it much more likely that CoE lawyers want this information suppressed. They throw the dead bishop under the bus, settle with the victim, and then stonewall any requests for information. They thus hope to inflict a quiet death upon the story. It is a given that CoE leadership is protecting itself by refusing to release this information. I suspect this is so because of the cynical way in which they responded to the accusation. They don’t want their rather (ahem) practical calculations exposed.

  • steroflex

    Virtue signalling by a bunch of third raters.
    Gossiping old men and women causing people to be condemned without cause.
    Being forced to prove your innocence…
    And this is the Church of England?