AN INDEPENDENT inquiry is to be set up into allegations that a
former Archbishop of York, the Rt Revd Lord Hope of Thornes, failed
to report allegations of child abuse, either to the police, or to
independent child-protection agencies. The Archbishop of York, Dr
Sentamu, announced the inquiry on Saturday afternoon.
The case has raised questions about whether the Church has a
responsibility to pass allegations by adult survivors of alleged
abuse to the police when consent is not given by the survivor. The
chief executive of the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service
(CCPAS) warned on Tuesday that "overriding" the wishes of an adult
who does not give consent could reinforce his or her sense of
After a joint investigation, The Times in London and
The Australian newspaper in Sydney reported last Friday
that Lord Hope had been told of allegations against the Very Revd
Robert Waddington, a former Dean of Manchester, in 1999 and in
As Archbishop of York from 1995 to 2005, Lord Hope had removed
the Dean's permission to officiate in 2005, but had not reported
the allegations to the police or child-protection authorities. Dean
Waddington, who who was Dean from 1984 until he retired in 1993,
died in 2007.
On Thursday, fresh allegations were published in The
Times. The victim, who asked to be identified only as P, told
the newspaper that he met Dean Waddington in 1993 and was subjected
to "frequent indecent assaults" over a period of years. This is the
first time that allegations have been made about the Dean's
behaviour after his retirement in 1993.
Allegations of abuse perpetrated by Dean Waddington were first
made in Australia, where he 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, when Mr
Atkinson had been a pupil at St Barnabas. Mr Atkinson had been made
solo treble of the school choir, aged nine, and the alleged sexual
assaults had begun. Waddington had raped him "once or twice a week
for years", he told the newspaper.
Bishop Wood says he 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 confronted Dean Waddington.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Church House said that Bishop
Mayfield's successor, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, disputed whether
Bishop Mayfield had been informed.
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 the report in The Times on Thursday, P claims that
Dean Waddington was "as fit as a fiddle" in 1999.
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 the Dean 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 Atkinson received a
£50,000 compensation payout from the Church, but no admission of
liability. The Bishop of Queensland, the Rt Revd William Ray, has
since said that he will refer the handling of the case to the
General Synod and Australia's Royal Commission on institutional
child abuse, established this year.
Allegations were first made in England in 2003 by the family of
a former chorister at Manchester Cathedral, Eli Ward. Bishop
McCulloch, who retired this year, was made aware of the allegations
by the diocesan child-protection adviser; but a diocesan
child-protection report said that "little could be done" unless the
victim himself came forward.
Mr Ward was seven when he joined the cathedral choir in
Manchester in 1980. In an interview published in The Times
on Friday, he described a "lengthy grooming process". By his
mid-teens he was spending almost every weekend and many nights at
the Dean's house, going on holiday with him to Cornwall, the Lake
District, Paris, and the South of France. This had prompted him to
ask "severe, strong questions of my family: why did you let it
happen? I was the boyfriend of a monster - so what does that make
me? Why didn't people say anything at the time? Why didn't somebody
do something about it?"
While at university, Mr Ward phoned Dean Waddington, then
retired, to ask him questions. The Dean told him: "Forget those
memories and push them to the far reaches of your brain and never
tell anyone again, and come and see me."
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, 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
Last year, after the Jimmy Savile scandal emerged, Mr Ward
"started to scream very loudly that I needed help". He contacted
Lambeth Palace, the diocese of Manchester, the police, and a
solicitor. He decided to make his experience public after
discovering about the allegations from Mr Atkinson, and the
Church's knowledge of them in 1999.
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
On Thursday, The Times published an interview with "P"
in which he claims that, after meeting Dean Waddington in 1993, he
was subjected to "frequent indecent assaults over a period of years
when he regularly visited Waddington, who retired from Manchester
to live in York". P said that he was one of several boys who
attended Chetham's School of Music and sang in the choir at
Manchester Cathedral who were targeted by Dean Waddington. Dean
Waddington was a governor at Chetham's from September 1984 until
September 1993. The school is currently the subject of an
investigation by Greater Manchester Police into allegations of
abuse. Operation Kiso focuses on both Chetham's and the Royal
Northern College of Music, and is currently investigating 39
Last Friday, Bishop McCulloch said that he had been "shocked and
saddened" to learn of the allegations made by Mr Ward's family. He
had asked his chaplain to contact the child-protection officer for
the diocese, and had also reported the matter to Lord Hope, who had
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."
On Thursday of last week, Lord Hope 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
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."
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.
A statement from the diocese of Manchester said that it was
"working co-operatively 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 specifically with children."
Question of the week:
Should every allegation of abuse be referred to the