CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The Church of England has promised to make far-reaching changes in dealing with future sex abuse cases after the publication of the first independent review commissioned by the country’s established church into its handling of such cases in the past.
The report’s conclusions highlight the “deeply disturbing” failure of those in senior clerical positions to pass on information about the cries for help from a survivor known only as “Joe” over a period of almost four decades.
A report Tuesday (March 15) in The Guardian identifies the clergy as Tim Thornton, bishop of Truro; Richard Holloway, former bishop of Edinburgh; John Eastaugh, deceased bishop of Hereford; and Stephen Platten, former bishop of Wakefield.
According to The Guardian, the victim — who was 15 and an altar boy at the time — was subjected in 1976 to a “sadistic” assault by Garth Moore, then a leading figure in the church. Moore died in 1990.
The report said that for the next four decades, Joe pleaded for help and contacted members of the Anglican hierarchy.
None of the men he contacted was able to fully recall the conversation with the survivor.
Holloway became a figure of controversy in Scotland as one of the first big-name campaigners for full Christian rights for gay men and women.
The report is deeply embarrassing to the church, which acknowledged it made for “uncomfortable” reading. In a statement Wednesday, the Church of England said it would offer “full cooperation.”
Last October, the church paid Joe 35,000 pounds (or $49,300) in compensation.
(Trevor Grundy is an RNS correspondent based in Canterbury)