The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, announced on Saturday
afternoon that an independent inquiry is to be set up into
allegations that a former Archbishop of York, Lord Hope of Thornes,
failed to report allegations of child abuse, either to the
police, or to independent child protection agencies.
A joint investigation by The Times in
London and The Australian newspaper in
Sydney, published on Friday, reports that Lord Hope was told of
accusations against the Very Revd Robert Waddington
(above), a former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, in 1999
and in 2003. He removed the Dean's permission to officiate in
2005 but did not report the allegations to the police or child
protection authorities. Robert Waddington, who was Dean of
Manchester from 1984 to his retirement in 1993, died in 2007.
The statement from Dr Sentamu's office says that the Archbishop
is "in the process of setting up an Independent Inquiry
specifically into the issues surrounding the reports relating to
alleged child abuse by the late Robert Waddington".
It continues: "When any church related abuse comes to
light, the Church's first concern must be for the victim offering
support and apologising for the abuse, acknowledging that the
effects can be lifelong. When the Inquiry makes its report the
Archbishop will make its findings public. The Church of England
continues to review its Child Protection and Safeguarding policies
regularly to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all. Child
abuse is a heinous and personally damaging crime, it is therefore
incumbent on the Church to treat such matters with the utmost
The inquiry's terms of reference and membership would be
announced in due course, the statement said.
Allegations of abuse were first made in England in 2003 by the
family of a former chorister at Manchester Cathedral, Eli Ward. The
Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, who was Bishop of Manchester from 2002
until his retirement this year, was made aware of the allegations
by the diocesan child protection adviser, but a diocesan child
protection report claimed that "little could be done" unless the
victim himself came forward.
On Friday, Bishop McCulloch said he had been "shocked and
saddened" to learn of the allegations. He had asked his chaplain to
contact the child protection officer for the diocese "in order that
the correct procedures following such allegations could be properly
Bishop McCulloch also reported the matter to Lord Hope, who
asked the child protection officer to contact him. Bishop McCulloch
said on Friday: "The child protection officer, having been told by
the members of the family who had made the allegations that the
alleged victim did not wish the matter to be reported to the
police, urged them very strongly to do so. In responding to and
reporting this tragic alleged abuse, I believe that I and the child
protection officer followed correctly the then current 1999
guidelines laid down by the Church of England."
At this time, Lord Hope was aware of previous allegations
against Dean Waddington from Australia, where Dean Waddington was
Headmaster of St Barnabas School, Ravenshoe, from 1961 to 1970.
The Australian reports that, in 1999, Bim Atkinson told
the Rt Revd Clyde Wood, then Bishop of North Queensland, Australia,
about years of abuse at the hands of Dean Waddington, while he was
a pupil at St Barnabas. Bishop Wood reported the allegations to the
Rt Revd Christopher Mayfield, Bishop of Manchester from 1993 to
2002, who said that Waddington had retired in 1993. Lord Hope was
then told and he confronted Dean Waddington.
In 1999, Lord Hope wrote to Bishop Wood saying that Dean
Waddington was "shocked and distressed" by the allegations and that
Church records showed no "hint of such behaviour throughout the
time of his ministry here in England".
Lord Hope wrote of Dean Waddington: "He was clearly shocked, and
indicated to me that, whilst he may have acted at times in a way
which could have been misinterpreted, he could not recall any
particular incident or incidents which were of the 'seriousness'
which you describe in your letter.
"He said he was deeply sorry for anything he may have done so to
offend, and wished to extend an unreserved apology to the young man
concerned and to make it very clear that there is no question of
any such behaviour occurring again."
Mr Atkinson said that Bishop Wood had told him that Dean
Waddington had denied everything and was close to death. Mr
Atkinson asked for a copy of the letter from Lord Hope before
"relinquishing the Anglican Church" from any responsibility for the
alleged abuse. Bishop Wood then wrote to Lord Hope: "I can only
hope and pray that this matter now having been raised, and Father
Waddington being traumatised by the receipt of the allegations,
that now notice of closure from this end, will not leave Father
Waddington permanently distressed by this matter."
In 2002, learning that Dean Waddington was still alive, Mr
Atkinson made a complaint to the police. He was joined by a fellow
pupil, who made similar allegations. Police said that there was not
enough evidence to extradite Dean Waddington to Australia.
Mr Atkinson continued to press for an investigation. In 2005,
the Anglican Professional Standards Committee wrote to him saying
that it did not believe that "spending a huge amount of money on
another investigation will benefit anyone". Mr Aktinson received a
£50,000 compensation payout from the Church but no admission of
The report compiled by the diocese of Manchester after the
allegations made by Mr Ward's family in 2003 refers to a "previous
referral about sexual impropriety some time ago from
Australia, where RW had been the headmaster at a school. An
ex-pupil had made a complaint to the Bishop of (north) Queensland
who had relayed it to the Archbishop (of York)." Mr
Ward's family was not told about this, and the report says that
Bishop McCulloch considered telling the family that Dean Waddington
was ill, a course of action rejected by diocesan staff.
On Thursday night, Lord Hope, who was Archbishop of York from
1995 to 2005, said: "I strenuously deny (and am obviously
disappointed at) the suggestion that myself or my team at the time
would have acted negligently in this or any other safeguarding
Throughout his time as bishop and archbishop, he had "always
adhered to the statutory practices of the Church of England
concerning safeguarding", which, at the time, stated that there was
"no automatic legal obligation on the Church to refer allegations
by adults to the police or social services."
Lord Hope said: "In considering whether children would be at
risk from Robert Waddington I decided under these guidelines that
this would not be the case, given his serious ill health following
cancer surgery. The following year I revoked Robert Waddington's
permission to officiate. He died two years later."
He was "deeply aware of the pain caused to any victim of child
abuse, especially at the hands of a trustworthy person within the
Greater Manchester Police was not made aware of the allegations
until last year, when Mr Ward made a report to officers. He has
begun legal action against the diocese of Manchester.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the office of the Archbishop of
York confirmed that the Dean and Chapter of Manchester Cathedral
had received a "letter of claim" which had been referred to its
insurers and solicitors. This letter had not been seen by the
Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, who would therefore not comment. A
statement from the diocese of Manchester said that it was "working
cooperatively with the parties concerned".
A statement from Manchester Cathedral said: "We are
shocked and saddened by the nature of these allegations relating to
events in the early 1980s. We want to reassure parents and
congregation members that for a number of years Manchester
Cathedral has had in place a robust child protection policy with
CRB checks made on all clergy and those who work with specifically
Bishop McCulloch said: "This is a particularly sad story
of abuse that has brought deep and lasting distress to a young boy
who had put his trust in the Church. Since 2004 new guidelines for
responding to allegations of abuse have replaced those of 1999. All
such allegations are now reported automatically to the police by
the Church. I express my sympathy with all who are victims of such
unacceptable and damaging behaviour and urge those who are made to
suffer in this way to report the matter to the
On Friday, the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd
Paul Butler, who chairs the Churches National Safeguarding
Committee, said: "When any church-related abuse or allegation of
abuse comes to light our first concern is always for the victim. .
. As a Church we will always apologise for past systems that let
down the vulnerable and offer support to anyone whose life has been
"Today we have robust safeguarding policies in place and
although we can never be complacent, we remain committed to
ensuring that the Church is a safe place for all. We would
encourage anyone who has any safeguarding concerns within a church
context to come forward, with the assurance they will be listened
The current safeguarding guidelines for The Church of England
(Protecting All God's Children, 2010) state that: "People
who have committed sexual abuse against someone years ago could
well be abusing children today. The individual survivor should be
encouraged and supported to report the matter to the police if this
has not already been done."
Dean Waddington, born in 1927, joined the The Oratory of the
Good Shepherd (OGS), an Anglican religious order of celibate
clergy, in 1960, becoming the Superior in 1987. He was a Canon
Residentiary at Carlisle and the Bishop's Adviser for Education
from 1972 to 1977, when he was appointed the general secretary of
the General Synod's Board of Education.
An obituary for the Church Times described him as "full
of contradictions. He was contemplative, private, and sometimes
depressed . . . He preferred simplicity and avoided ostentation;
and yet could suddenly splash out on a 'flashy car'." He was, the
obituary claimed, "always the teacher", his sermons to children
Mr Ward told The Times of how the abuse by Dean
Waddington had caused an "identity crisis" in his life: "It feels
to me now that the things I love today, they're all linked to him.
. . I come from Salford but I speak like this because of him. I
come from a very poor background but yet people think I'm a wealthy
individual or I've gone to public school. This is the identity
crisis that I've had and still have because I don't know who I
The Bishop of Queensland, the Rt Revd William Ray, has said that
he will refer the handling of the case to the General Synod and
Australia's Royal Commission into institutional child abuse,
established this year.