Church of England News Release on Kendall House Abuse Cover Up Accusations
KENDALL HOUSE STATEMENT
The Diocese of Rochester and other bodies have received enquiries from a journalist regarding the
administration of Kendall House, a residential home for young women placed in care by a number
of local authorities which closed in 1986.
On 26 March 2009, the Diocese of Rochester issued the following statement:
“We understand that Teresa Cooper has historically brought various allegations to the attention of
the police and social services. To date, none of these bodies have sought to investigate matters
with the Diocese of Rochester.
The Diocese of Rochester is unable to discuss individual circumstances for legal reasons. It would
be wrong for the Diocese to speculate on how Ms Cooper may choose to take her allegations further
or what may come of them. However, if the police, social services or appropriate legal body
initiates an investigation, the Diocese will cooperate fully with them.
When Ms Cooper was accommodated at Kendall House, it was run by a separate Charitable Trust
under the auspices of the Diocese of Rochester. It would be inappropriate for the Diocese to initiate
any internal enquiries since we are not qualified to do this. In any event, it would be essential for
any investigation to be conducted both professionally and impartially.” The statement ended here.
The Diocese of Rochester still stands by this earlier statement. In addition, we would like to
add the following:
“The Diocese of Rochester recognises that Teresa Cooper feels her life has been blighted by events
in her childhood outside of her control, and has every sympathy for her. Members of the Church of
England clergy have offered Ms Cooper pastoral support and remain committed to this.
In 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service determined that there was insufficient evidence for them to
bring a successful prosecution and in April 2009, the British Government declined an invitation to
investigate this matter.
We understand that allegations have been made recently that the Diocese of Rochester and other
bodies are involved in some sort of so-called “cover up”. We strongly refute this and repeat our
earlier statement that if an appropriate legal body such as the police or social services deem it
appropriate in the public interest to investigate these complex matters, we will do everything we
can to assist them.
Some confusion has arisen regarding files which originated in Kendall House.
In a further genuine attempt to assist Teresa Cooper, Kent County Council prepared a report for her
in December 2008, which outlined procedures concerning the archiving and retrieval of files
originating in Kendall House. That report was prepared by members of staff from Kent County
Council only. Neither David Grimwood nor any other member of staff employed by Church in
Society had any input to the writing of the report. Kent County Council, however, have stated that
they sought assistance from Church in Society in their endeavours to shed light on past
events and asked David Grimwood to confirm the accuracy of the report once it had been drafted.
This is entirely compatible with the statement from the Diocese of Rochester that no members of
Church in Society compiled this report. Any suggestion to the contrary is entirely disingenuous.
As Chief Executive of Church in Society at the time, David Grimwood was not in a position to
disclose information regarding previous Kendall House residents which fell outside of an individual
Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act. He was careful to seek legal advice about
this at the time in order to comply with and not inadvertently breach the Data Protection Act. The
Diocese of Rochester believes that in so doing, David Grimwood acted correctly.
Three individual women made Subject Access Requests under the Data Protection Act and Mr
Adrian Spellar, employed by Church in Society at the time, has now confirmed that he furnished
them with the appropriate information. One of these applicants was Teresa Cooper, and she has
publicly thanked staff at Church in Society for their assistance. In April 2007 she said, “Thanks
also to Church in Society, especially Adrian and David for providing information, files, listening to
me when I needed someone to talk to and for their support.” The Diocese of Rochester is
confident that Mr Spellar acted entirely in accordance with his responsibilities at the time.
Although this unfortunately contradicts the Kent County Council report that no files were removed
from the archives, we believe that this is a reflection of human error and in no way represents a
deliberate attempt to mislead or misinform Ms Cooper.
We would like to reiterate that any concerns or allegations should be brought to the attention of the
police and social services who have the competence to investigate them. As we have said
repeatedly, we will cooperate fully with any such investigation.”