Bishop John Gladwin and The Revd Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC have published a damning interim report on their visitation in relation to safeguarding in the Diocese of Chichester.
The visitation arose out of concerns surrounding the cases of Colin Pritchard and Roy Cotton. Pritchard, Vicar of St Barnabas, Bexhill, was arrested in 2007 and in 2008 pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys and was jailed for five years. Cotton was ordained in 1966 despite having a conviction for indecently assaulting a choirboy in the 1950s and, it was alleged, went on to abuse at least 10 boys from Eastbourne – but the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was not enough evidence to charge him and he died in September 2006. In January 2012 Pritchard and Cotton were the subjects of a historic cases review by Baroness Butler-Sloss, former President of the Family Division. She recommended, inter alia, that
“it should be clearly understood that the decision of the police not to pursue an investigation or not to investigate at all or of the CPS not to prosecute does not relieve the Diocese of its duty to assess, on the civil standard of proof, any potential risk to children in the Diocese and to act appropriately” (9.2).
In addition to the historic cases, three retired priests resident in the Diocese are currently facing charges of sexual offences against children.
Bishop Gladwin and Chancellor Bursell were appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 21 December 2011 as commissaries for a visitation of the Diocese of Chichester
Archbishop of Canterbury condemns child abuse failings
Colin Campbell – Report on Diocese of Chichester child abuse failures – Interview with Bishop John Gladwin
Robert Pigott – Archbishop Williams criticises child abuse failings
Steve Doughty – Archbishop of Canterbury apologises after Church report accuses clergy of ‘disastrous’ failure to protect children from paedophile priests
David Batty – Child sex abuse inquiry damns Chichester church’s local safeguarding
Charlie Cooper – Archbishop sorry for child abuse failings
Archbishop appeals for abuse victims to come forward
There is an excellent summary report by Frank Cranmer at Law and Religion – “UK Child protection (or the lack of it) in the Diocese of Chichester”.