Church of England “colluded and concealed” sex abuse claims: Anglican leader

June 22, 2017 10:30 pm

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (Photo by AP)

The Church of England has “colluded and concealed” to suppress claims of long-term sexual abuse against one of its bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says.
The Anglican Communion leader issued a statement on Friday following the publication of an independent review into the Church’s response to claims against former bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for 32 months in 2015 after pleading guilty to historical offences.
The “Abuse of Faith” report “makes harrowing reading,” Welby said.
“The Church colluded and concealed rather than seeking to help those who were brave enough to come forward. This is inexcusable and shocking behavior,” he added.
The report, chaired by former civil servant Moira Gibb, said that Ball had “abused many boys and men over a period of twenty years or more.”
“That is shocking in itself but is compounded by the failure of the Church to respond appropriately to his misconduct,” it added.
“The Church at its most senior levels and over many years supported him unwisely and displayed little care for his victims,” it noted.

Former Bishop of Lewes Peter Ball

The report said that Church officials had “made significant progress in recent years” but that “we can see how difficult it is to make change across the complex structures of the Church.”
It warned that faster improvement was still required, and made 11 recommendations focusing on victim support and the oversight of bishops.
Welby said that he “fully endorsed the recommendations” and that he wanted “once again offer an unreserved apology” to Ball’s victims.
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