A SURVIVOR of child abuse
perpetrated by a priest in the diocese of Chichester has welcomed a
letter of apology from the diocesan Bishop, Dr Martin Warner, as "a
clear signal that he's trying to sweep in a change".
Gary Johnson and his
older brother, from Eastbourne, were abused by Roy Cotton, a former
Rector of Brede with Udimore, near Rye, in the 1970s and 1980s.
Dr Warner met Mr Johnson
earlier this month, and sent him a private letter the day after. It
was "a genuine statement of apology" that "comes from me
personally", Dr Warner said, "but also from me as the person who
bears responsibility for representing the diocese of Chichester as
its Bishop. I am deeply ashamed of the way that you have been
treated by us."
Mr Johnson told BBC
South East this week: "I've been validated, and I've been met
at a level where I don't feel like a victim or a survivor. I feel
like I'm a party worth talking to."
He said that Dr Warner
"needs to be applauded" for his efforts to engage with survivors of
abuse: "I think his choice of diction in the letter is very
carefully put to send a clear signal that he's trying to sweep in a
change, and really put the deception and cover-up behind the Church
that he now represents."
Diocese to pay compensation.
On Tuesday, the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher
Foster, agreed that the diocese would pay compensation of £200,000
to a former choirboy who suffered years of abuse in the 1970s by a
priest on the Isle of Wight, The award follows the imprisonment of
the Revd Max Halahan, a retired priest, two years ago. Mr Halahan
was Vicar of St Faith's, Cowes, from 1970 to 1977.