UK

Church of England 'will change' after abuse report

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe victim said the Church needed to make "a very rapid set of changes"

The Church of England has promised to change the way it handles sexual abuse claims after a report into alleged abuse of a young man by clergymen.

The abuse allegedly took place 40 years ago, and the man's repeated attempts to get help from the Church resulted in "frustration and failure", child protection expert Ian Elliott said.

His report said "very senior" church figures were reportedly told of abuse.

The Church accepted the recommendations of the "deeply uncomfortable" report.

The man has already received an "unreserved apology" and a "financial settlement", the Church added.

Only a summary, conclusions and recommendations have been published, but the BBC has seen a copy of the full report.

'Felt ignored'

The independent report by Mr Elliott said the claims made by the man - referred to as Survivor B, or just B - were "credible" and contained a "tragic catalogue of exploitation and harm".

"The many attempts made by B to secure help from the Church within which he had grown up resulted in frustration and failure," the report said.

"This increased his sense of anger at what had happened to him. He felt ignored."

The report calls it "deeply disturbing" that many people to whom Survivor B told about the abuse now have no memory of it.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's PM programme, B alleged that a clergyman tried to rape him in London when he was 16. Two years later he claims he told another clergyman what had happened during confession and he began an inappropriate relationship with him.

"It was entirely wrong of him to use the confession in that way and to lead me into a kind of romantic kind of liaison, arising directly out of my rape story," he said.

"I was a confused, damaged, fairly bewildered young person and looking for help."

B's allegations of abuse were against three people - two "very senior" members of the Church hierarchy and one person outside the Church.

BBC News understands that one of the alleged abusers was the Reverend Garth Moore, a senior canon lawyer and vicar of St Mary Abchurch in the City of London. He died in 1990, aged 84.

Mr Moore is said to have groomed the victim and plied with him alcohol before abusing him when he was 16 at a flat in London.

Another clergyman carried out sexual activity that the report describes as "inappropriate" when the victim was 18, directly after hearing his confession. This alleged perpetrator was later promoted.

'Swifter to listen'

Bishop of Crediton Sarah Mullally said the abuse had "clearly devastated" the victim's life.

"I apologise profusely for the failings of the Church towards him, and for the horrific abuse he suffered," she said.

"It has taken him years of heartache and distress to get his story heard and believed by those in authority and it is clear he has been failed in many ways over a long period of time.

"We should have been swifter to listen, to believe and to act. This report is deeply uncomfortable for the Church of England."

She said the Archbishop of Canterbury had seen the report's recommendations and would ensure they were implemented "as quickly as possible".

The recommendations include training for people who "may receive a disclosure of abuse", and detailed recording of all abuse allegations.

Related Topics

More on this story