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Church of England cover up. Breaking news

26th Apr 2007 | in Social Care

Church of England denies cover up

By Avril Ormsby Reuters - Thursday, April 26

LONDON (Reuters) - The Church of England denied a cover-up on Thursday over an ex-choirmaster who was reported to a local vicar and bishop for child abuse but continued to work with young boys for a further 16 years.

Peter Halliday, 61, who was a choirmaster in Farnborough, Hampshire, was sentenced to two-and-half years at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday after admitting indecently assaulting boys between 1985 and 1990.

He was also ordered to pay 2,000 pounds to each of his three victims.

Halliday was initially reported to church authorities by the parents of a victim in 1990, but the church did not report him to police.

The law was changed shortly afterwards making it obligatory to report credible child abuse accusations to the police.

Instead he was told to leave his job and to never work with young boys again.

Yet during the following years he regularly attended residential music courses for young choir boys organised by the Royal School of Church Music.

The school said it learned about the accusations against him only when he was arrested last year.

David Wilcox, the bishop who dealt with the case at the time, told BBC radio that the church had "acted in the best interests, not only of the church but of the family and of everybody concerned at that time".

"If you are hinting there that there was some kind of cover-up, I mean I am absolutely clear that was not the case," said Wilcox, who was Bishop of Dorking in 1990.

"The church took firm actions in this case."

He said standards had since changed in how such cases would be dealt with.

"Things were very different then. I think that we make a mistake in trying to read back what we now know and how we would now do things," he said.

"I don’t think we had that knowledge or that experience and I don’t think the court systems and the police systems were geared up as they are today."

Pearl Luxon, National Safeguarding Adviser for the Church of England, said Church practice had changed and all such cases would now be reported to police: "We would not react in the way we did, we appeared to have done then.

"We have robust policies in place. We treat these matters very seriously and recruit people very carefully," she told BBC Radio’s Today Programme.

There was "no evidence to suggest that there were large or significant numbers of these cases", she said.


  • On 25th Sep 2011 at 09:34 PM Dinez taxi and private car hire said...

    The new law will surely benefit the vulnerable kids.

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