The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Rowan Williams, has set up an investigation in a diocese in southern England on Thursday, responding to allegations that priests who have been accused of abusing children have not been removed from their position and have been allowed to continue working.
A statement released from Lambeth Palace, has said that the inquiry was in response to concerns within the diocese of Chichester in West Sussex, but it did not disclose which specific cases were involved. According to an article by the AAP, the investigation will be focused on alleged pedophile priests still working within the Anglican Church.
Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC will carry out the inquiry, a brief statement on the Archbishop’s website revealed, and had the backing of Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr John Hind. The investigation “will involve examining current child protection arrangements as well as making recommendations for the future.”
The statement also reveals that Williams will receive a preliminary report of the findings by the end of February 2012, after which the Church will decide what actions to take. It is unclear whether the investigation will focus on the history of child abuse in the Anglican Church, or only on current cases taking place.
Although the Catholic Church has received most of the attention when it comes to child sex abuse cases which have surfaced in many countries around the world, the Anglican Church has also had to deal with the issue. Back in May 2011, a review discovered that two priests accused of serious child abuse had been allowed to continue working.
A former Anglican chaplain pleaded guilty earlier this year to 18 counts of indecent assault on six schoolboys between 1956 and 1978, and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years of prison, the BBC has reported.
The chaplain, 84-year-old Leslie Carter of Warminster, Wiltshire, first abused a boy in a school in Cape Town, and continued assaulting boys between the ages of seven and 14 when he was appointed to Quainton Hall School in Harrow, north-west London in 1968.
Back in 2007, secret papers revealed that child abuse in the Church of England had gone unchecked for decades, The Telegraph reported. It said that “the Church has no idea how many pedophiles are in its midst,” since many allegations had not been recorded and information and evidence that could have prevented abuse had been “lost or destroyed.”