Child sex abuse allegations uncovered in Church of England files

Allegations that priests sexually abused children which were never properly investigated have been unearthed in a sweeping review of more than 40,000 Church of England files.

Telegraph, UK/February 25, 2010

Four priests and two lay officers were referred to the police as the result of a review of child abuse allegations, while a further five church workers were reported to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) who may bar them from ever working with children again.

Two priests with previous convictions for child pornography and child sex abuse we among those referred to the ISA.

The Church of England said a total of 13 cases - two of which were dealt with by the Church - were identified as requiring formal action as part of the review.

The Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford and chairman of the Church's central safeguarding liaison group, said: "As a result of this review, we are now able to say that nobody representing the Church in a formal capacity has allegations on file that have not been thoroughly re-examined in the light of current best practice, and any appropriate action taken.

"But there is no room for complacency, and the Church, like other organisations working with children, remains committed continually to developing our procedures for safeguarding vulnerable people."

The review was announced in 2007 after a high-profile abuse cases involving the Church of England.

These included the jailing of the Rev David Smith, then 52 and formerly vicar of St John the Evangelist Church in Clevedon, Somerset, in May 2007 for five and a half years for grooming and then molesting six vulnerable youngsters over nearly 30 years.

But concerns had been raised with the Church of England on two occasions about the vicar, firstly in 1983 and again in 2001.

Former choirmaster Peter Halliday, 61, of Farnborough, Hampshire, was jailed for two and a half years in April 2007 for sexually abusing boys in Hampshire in the late 1980s, amid claims that the Church had "covered up" his crimes.

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