We are pleased to note that the Church of England have now appointed Her Honour Judge Sally Cahill Q.C. to lead an independent inquiry into the abuse perpetrated by senior cleric Robert Waddington.
This has come after the recent public apology from the Church of England for the sexual abuse perpetrated by Anglican priests. The Church admitted that they failed to listen properly to those who attempted to speak out and failed to acknowledge the wrong done. It is encouraging to see the Church of England put into practice its promise to improve policies and procedure.
The inquiry will investigate failures made by the Church, in particular by the former Archbishop of York, who received three reports of alleged abuse by Waddington between 1999 and 2004. Although Waddington was stripped of his permission to conduct services, the Church failed to report the abuse to the police or social services. Please see this blog for more details; Church accused of failing to report child abuse allegations - our Child Abuse Solicitors discuss.
It is encouraging to see the monumental shift in society’s approach to sexual abuse allegations. This was once again highlighted by two further charges which were made Monday in relation to Operation Fernbridge.
Father Tony McSweeney of St George’s Church in Norwich was charged with three counts of indecent assault, three counts of making indecent images of a child, one count of taking indecent images of a child and one of possessing indecent images of a child. John Stingemore, former deputy head of Grafton Close Children’s Home, was charged with eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of taking indecent images of a child. A third man has also been arrested.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place at Grafton Close Children’s Home in Hounslow, West London during the 1970s and 1980s and relates to seven victims who were aged between 9 and 15. It has also been alleged that boys from the Children’s Home were taken to organised parties which took place at the Elms Guesthouse in Barnes where they were sexually abused. We await further developments surrounding the investigation of the Elms Guesthouse in Barnes.
Tony McSweeny and John Stingemore are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 4th September 2013.
If you would like to discuss this article or have been the victim of abuse, either within the church or elsewhere and would like to speak to a member of our specialist abuse team we are more than happy to speak to them free of charge. Please contact a member of our team on 020 7657 1658/1653/1502. Any communication will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.
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