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Jersey-case statement from Dakin

29 November 2013

"Relieved" at decision: the Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Bob Key

"Relieved" at decision: the Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Bob Key

THE Dean of Jersey, the Very Revd Bob Key, said this week that he was "thrilled", after the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, announced that he would not be taking disciplinary action against any member of the clergy in relation to the handling of a safeguard- ing complaint in Jersey.

"In the Jersey Evening Post on Saturday, the headline was 'Dean cleared'," Dean Key said on Monday. "I have waited eight months for that headline. And I prayed that it would come, so I feel immense relief and thanksgiving to God really."

In March, Bishop Dakin withdrew his commission from Dean Key, after an independent report, commissioned by the diocese's safeguarding panel, identified "failures in the implementation of policies in relation to a safeguarding complaint in 2008" (News, 15 March). The report, by Jan Korris, a psychotherapist, looked at the handling of a complaint by a vulnerable 26-year-old female parishoner (named as HG) alleging abusive behaviour by a churwarden at a church in Jersey.

In May, it was announced that Dame Heather Steel, a former judge of the Court of Appeal in Jersey, would revisit the Korris review (News, 17 May) and advise Bishop Dakin if there was any reason for disciplinary action to be taken against any member of the clergy.

Dean Key was reinstated in May, after apologising for his handling of the complaint (News, 3 May).

On Friday, Bishop Dakin issued a statement confirming that Dame Heather was "finalising" her report. After receiving legal representations from an interested party, and acting on legal advice, he would not be releasing the report to any person.

On the basis on Dame Heather's findings to date, he said that disciplinary action would not be taken. He had sought the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a "pastoral visit" to the Channel Islands, "so that a fresh perspective can be taken on safeguarding". This would be led next month by the Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, and the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott. "In all of this, the victim at the heart of the original complaint should not be forgotten. As a Church, we are called to reach out to the least, the last and the lost, even though at times they may reject the help we offer. In HG's case, that rejection has been entirely understandable, given how she sees her experience of the Church of England."

On Saturday, HG told Radio Jersey that she was "insulted and damaged" by the Bishop's statement. "I do not understand how the bishop has the audacity to 'offer help', while he has absolved the wrongdoers and seriously harmed me."

On Monday, Dean Key said that he wanted the Steel report to be published.

Among the conclusions of the Korris review was: "The Church let HG down."

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