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Deceased clergy files to be reviewed following child abuse concerns
THE Archbishop of York has appointed an independent reviewer to examine the files of deceased clergy, following growing concerns about child abuse in the Church.
Dr John Sentamu said all the files of deceased clergy who served in the York Diocese from before 1950 to the present day were being recalled from the archives.
A spokesman for the Archbishop said the protocol for the Church of England’s National Review of Past Cases of Child Abuse, which took place in 2008/9, did not include the files of such people, but it was now recognised it was important to review those files as well.
“Where relevant material is found, this will help to inform the response of the Church and of relevant statutory agencies to any reports which may surface in relation to those who have since died,” he said.
The move follows the General Synod’s vote last month to acknowledge and apologise for past safeguarding wrongs in the Church, and also the launch of an independent inquiry into alleged child abuse carried out by the Very Rev Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, who died in 2007. Dr Sentamu said: “The damage done by the sexual abuse of children is immense, and the passage of time does not in itself bring healing.
“Where young people are shown to have been betrayed by individuals in a position of trust and by the institution’s failure to protect them, it is for the Church to acknowledge the hurt which has been done, to offer a full apology, and to prove, so far as is possible, that policies and practices are improved such that the same systemic failure could never be repeated.”
The Archbishop’s Chief of Staff, the Rev Malcolm Macnaughton, said that because of policies now in place, he believed today’s young people were in a much safer position but there was no room for complacency.
A spokesman said anyone wishing to report known or suspected abuse in the Diocese could speak to one of the Archbishop’s chaplains by calling 01904 707021.
“Callers should be aware that for safeguarding purposes, the information given may by law have to be passed on to the police or to the relevant Safeguarding Children’s Board.”