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Durham examines sex-abuse allegations

31 May 2013


DURHAM Cathedral is in liaison with the police about allegations of sexual abuse by a former headmaster of the Chorister School.

A former pupil, now in his 60s, has said that Canon John Grove, who was headmaster of the school from 1957 to 1978, abused him during the late 1950s. He has taken the allegations to both Durham Police and the current headmistress of the school. Canon Grove retired in 1978 and died in 2001.

The alleged victim told The Daily Star that the abuse had left him "emotionally scarred". The recent child-abuse scandals in the press had caused the "terrible memories" to come "flooding back".

A spokeswoman for Durham Police said that an allegation was first received in November, and a statement taken, but it was "not possible to prosecute someone who has died". Two more alleged victims had come forward, both men of a similar age to the first, alleging abuse in the early- to mid-1960s against Canon Grove.

Detective Sergeant Dave Walton said: "We are carrying out an active investigation into these allegations and are following a number of lines of enquiry. We would encourage anyone who suffered abuse at the school, or has any information that would help with our inquiry, to come forward. Historic-sexual-abuse victims can be confident they will be offered the same level of support they would receive if the crime committed against them had occurred more recently."

Liz Dux, a solicitor, said that she was drafting a Letter of Claim.

On Sunday, The Northern Echo reported that two more alleged victims of Canon Grove had come forward.

On Tuesday, the Dean of Durham, the Very Revd Michael Sadgrove, said: "When any church-related abuse, or allegation of abuse, comes to light, our first concern is always for the victims: both that they are being supported, and with an acknowledgement that the effects of abuse can be lifelong.

"As a Church, we will always apologise for past systems that let down the vulnerable, and offer support to anyone whose life has been affected.

"Durham Cathedral has been made aware of allegations relating to historic abuse over 50 years ago at the Chorister School, and is liaising with the police. As there are ongoing civil proceedings, we are unable to provide any further comment at this time."

Before working at the Chorister School in Durham, Canon Grove was chaplain of two independent schools: Dover College, and Clifton College, Bristol.

Reading priest arrested. A priest in Reading has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences. An assistant curate in the benefice of Loddon Reach, the Revd Peter Jarvis, was arrested on suspicion of grooming and inciting sexual activity with children, Newbury Today reported. Mr Jarvis was Chaplain of John Madejski Academy, a secondary school in Reading, from 2011 until this year. From 2006 to 2011 he was Team Vicar at St Mary's, Thatcham.

A police statement said that a complaint was received in April, and that allegations involved several children, aged between 12 and 16, between 2009 and 2011. The alleged offences are "connected with a school in the West Berkshire area". Mr Jarvis has been released on police bail until 15 June.

On Tuesday, the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, said: "We can confirm that the Revd Peter Jarvis has been arrested on suspicion of sexual offences. The Church of England expects the highest standards of personal conduct in its clergy, and the diocese of Oxford takes allegations such as this extremely seriously.

"Mr Jarvis will not be undertaking any duties in relation to the Church's ministry while the police investigation continues."

Bishop Proud was "holding in his prayers all those affected by this case".

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