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Diocese apologises to victims

05 October 2012

THE diocese of Carlisle has issued an unreserved apology to the victims of abuse perpetrated by a former Canon of Carlisle Cathedral. The diocese had failed to report allegations made against him to the authorities, and had moved him to a parish position.

At Carlisle Crown Court on Thursday of last week (News, 4 May), the Revd Ronald Johns admitted a series of child-sex offences. He assaulted three teenaged boys between 1983 and 1991.

The diocese has confirmed that, when the allegations were first made in 1993, the matter was "not handled well" by the Bishop at the time. It was "absolutely wrong" that Mr Johns had been offered another post. Mr Johns was Rector of Caldbeck, Castle Sowerby, and Sebergham from 1994 to 2000, when he retired.

"We apologise unreservedly to his victims that we failed to take action that we should have taken to prevent children and young people from being harmed," a statement said. "We apologise to the parishioners at Caldbeck, and we recognise the profound and damaging impact [made] on all those affected."

The diocese said that it had recently reviewed, and was implementing, a new safeguarding policy, which follows national guidance from Social Care and the Church of England. There was now a "robust system of chaperoning" at the cathedral.

Mr Johns was bailed to return to Carlisle Crown Court on 19 November for sentencing.

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