in the back
It’s all bish, bash and tosh
Church News, Issue 1476
george-carey.jpg
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, whose sin of omission delayed a proper investigation into former bishop Peter Ball by 20 years
NO ONE emerges smelling of incense from the recent inquiry into the crimes of former bishop Peter Ball but the worst stink undoubtedly surrounds Lord Carey, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury.

“I couldn’t believe a bishop could do this,” Carey told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) two weeks ago, when reminded that in 2015 Ball had been convicted of offences against 18 teenagers and young men. Such was his disbelief that when Ball was first arrested, in December 1992, Carey withheld four letters he had received from victims. Asked by Fiona Scolding QC why he didn’t give the letters to Inspector Knacker at the time, Carey said: “The police never asked for them.” His sin of omission delayed a proper investigation for 20 years.

‘Safe space to exercise his ministry’
After that 1992 arrest, Carey wrote to reassure Ball that “the matter does not diminish my admiration for you and my determination to keep you on the episcopal bench.” Although Ball had to resign five months later after accepting a police caution – effectively an admission of guilt – Carey gave him £12,500 from church funds towards his legal fees, plus a holiday. The disgraced bishop’s permission to officiate (PTO) was restored within two years.

In the light of this, the decision by Bishop Steven Croft to restore Lord Carey’s own permission to officiate (first revealed in Eye 1474) only looks more misjudged. Croft compounded the offence by announcing at the end of the IICSA inquiry that his Oxford diocese would be offering “support” to Carey and “providing him with a safe space to exercise his ministry” – while saying nothing about support for those whose suffering was exacerbated by his actions.

Credulous bishop
In restoring PTO to a credulous archbishop, Croft was following precedent. Lord Carey’s former Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, was – like Carey – forced to resign his honorary bishopric when it was revealed in 2014 that he had ignored allegations against a former Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Robert Waddington. As with Carey, however, it wasn’t long before he was back in the pulpit. Bishop Hope’s PTO was restored in 2017 by the Bishop of Leeds, Nicholas “Call me Nick” Baines, who did not explain what had changed to justify this rehabilitation.

Baines may seem the very model of a J.C. Flannel, with his tweeting and blogging – “Musings of a Restless Bishop” – and fatuous Thought for the Day homilies. Rather less groovily, however, he is now threatening libel action against a victim of clergy rape in his diocese, Revd Matthew Ineson.

Legal threat against a sex abuse victim
As a teenager in the 1980s, Ineson was abused by the Revd Trevor Devamanikkam, who was eventually charged last year with six counts of serious sexual assault. (Devamanikkam took his own life on the eve of the trial.) Ineson has been receiving professional counselling from an independent charity in Leeds, at a cost of more than £2,000 so far, but the diocese has offered the charity a one-off “contribution” of just £500 – described by Baines as “a significant level of support” and “in line with our policy in such matters”. At a protest outside the General Synod meeting at York Minster last month, Ineson and other victims displayed a poster summarising the bishop’s version of the Good Samaritan parable as “walk away from the abused on the other side”.

To Ineson’s astonishment, Bishop Baines promptly wrote to warn him about the “defamatory” placard: “I am taking legal advice on the matter and wish to make you aware of this. I expect you to withdraw the image and confirm that you have done so. Deliberate publication of misrepresentative and untrue statements is unacceptable and a line needs to be drawn.”

With a fine sense of timing, this legal threat against a sex-abuse victim was issued just four days after the General Synod mandated the House of Bishops “to introduce, as a matter of urgency, ways to improve relations between the church and those survivors currently in dispute with the national church institutions.” The Synod motion added that survivors of abuse “will receive a compassionate response” and “will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling and support according to need”.

More top stories in the latest issue:

TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
With target-driven contracts and no chief safety officer, TfL’s plan to cut deaths and serious injuries in accidents involving buses seems far-fetched.

ACCESS BAGGAGE
The government hosts a global disability summit in London to promote inclusion and accessibility. Shame about the venue.

SPINNING HEELS
The UK lobbying firm hired by a Gulf sheikhdom to draw up lists of dissident exiles in London and keep files on ‘unsympathetic’ BBC hacks.

MATTERS OF FACT
Lord Janner’s son is challenging a decision by the child sexual abuse inquiry to keep open the option of making ‘findings of fact’ against his late father.

LEE BALKWELL UPDATE
Essex Police is being taken to court for not holding a murder investigation into the suspicious death of Lee Balkwell at a farm with links to organised crime.

HOSPITAL INQUEST
The high court orders a fresh inquest into the death of a woman of 89 on an ill-equipped and poorly staffed ward at King George Hospital in Ilford, Essex.

DEALS ON WHEELS
As fire stations close, jobs are cut and response times worsen, some brigades have hit on a neat way to ensure fire chiefs avoid paying tax on their flash cars.

TV LICENSING
Outsourcing giant Capita excels itself with its continued harassment of two pensioners for not having a TV licence when, er, they do have one!

SCHIZOPHRENIA: AN EPIC FAIL
A man with schizophrenia who repeatedly slashed his wrists and stabbed himself was failed by police, an NHS trust and a mental health charity, an inquest has found.

BABCOCK AND BULL
Confusion reigns as the MoD rejects a bid by Babcock to add more vehicles to its £900m contract to maintain and repair army machinery.

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