CofE braced for new sex abuse claims

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to Andrew Marr about Islamic extremism and an inquiry into sex abuse

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Fresh allegations of child sex abuse against the Church of England (CofE) are likely to surface, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he was braced for an abuse inquiry to reveal "bad stories" about the Church.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that he dealt with the issue daily and that the Church needed to be transparent.

It comes after the Home Office backed Baroness Butler-Sloss as the right person to lead that inquiry.

Concerns have been raised about her over a previous review role in which she is alleged to have told an abused choirboy that she wanted to exclude some of his allegations in order to protect the CofE.

She has said she never put institutions before victims.

Archbishop Welby said abuse survivors needed to be shown justice and called for transparency from the Church in how it dealt with the issue.

Asked if he was prepared for more "bad stories" of child abuse within the establishment, the archbishop told the BBC: "I would love to say there weren't, but I expect there are. There are in almost every institution in this land.

Phil Johnson Phil Johnson was abused as a nine-year-old choirboy

"This is, it's something I deal with every day and it is becoming clearer and clearer that for many, many years things were not dealt with as they should have been dealt with."

He added that the Church needed to apologise and explain how "utterly devastated" it was about the "terrible things" that were done in the past.

On Saturday, the Home Office gave its "unreserved" backing for Baroness Butler-Sloss to lead an inquiry into allegations of historical child abuse linked to public institutions in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Phil Johnson, who was abused as a choirboy, claimed she excluded allegations in a 2011 report and told him that she "cared very much about the Church".

The former High Court judge - who was appointed by the home secretary last week to head a wide-ranging inquiry- insisted she had never put institutions before victims.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire has pledged his support, saying her "integrity shines through".

He also told the Murnaghan show on Sky News that a panel of experts would sit alongside the baroness in the investigation, but he did not reveal if they would have equal powers.

Esther Rantzen set up the helpline in 1986

Meanwhile, ChildLine founder Esther Rantzen said Baroness Butler-Sloss was "possibly the wrong person" to lead the inquiry.

This, she said, was because of her close links with the judiciary, her previous report and the connection with her late brother, the former attorney general Sir Michael Havers, who tried to prevent ex-MP Geoffrey Dickens airing claims about a diplomat in Parliament in the 1980s.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper failed to give Baroness Butler-Sloss her unequivocal backing.

Asked on Sky News if the former judge was the right person for the job, Ms Cooper said: "I think she is an extremely experienced person who will be very good to do this job, but… she needs the Home Office to take action to make sure they can address these concerns.

"If they can't they will need to make changes and rethink the whole thing. I think the ball should be in the Home Office's court now to set this [inquiry] up in the right way and make sure they can do that, because I do think she has immense expertise that should be drawn."

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