A VICTIM abused while a choirboy in Chichester diocese has added
his voice to the criticism of Baroness Butler-Sloss, who stood down
as chair of the government into institutional abuse on Monday.
Phil Johnson met Baroness Butler-Sloss at the House of Lords in
2011, after she was appointed by the Diocese to review its handling
of abuse allegations. The review centred on abuse perpetrated by
two priests: Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard. Mr Cotton died in 2006
and Mr Pritchard was jailed for five years in 2008 (News, 1 August,
On Friday, Mr Johnson told the BBC that he had also made
allegations about a Bishop of Lewes, the Rt Revd Peter Ball. He
alleged that Baroness Butler-Sloss had told him that, if she
included the Bishop's name in her report, it would distract from
the more serious abuse of the two priests.
But he also stated that she "didn't want to generate any
excessive negative publicity for the Church. . . She expressed that
by saying that 'the press would love a bishop', and she didn't want
to give the press that trophy."
He said: "She told me that she cared very much about the Church
and seemed to be wanting to protect the Church's image."
He accepts that she did pass on his allegations about Bishop
Baroness Butler-Sloss, a retired judge resigned, saying she
was "not the right person" for the job. Her brother, Sir Michael
Havers, was Attorney General in the 1980s, when many of the
allegations of abuse took place. He has been accused of failing to
act on allegations made to him at the time.
Baroness Butler Sloss said that she "did not sufficiently
consider" the effect of her family links when accepting the task of
chairing the inquiry into sexual abuse in the Government, the
Church, and other institutions
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said on Monday that she did not
regret appointing her. She told the Home Affairs select committee
that she still believed that Baroness Butler-Sloss had been the
"right person for the job. . .
"I do not regret the decision I made. I continue to believe that
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss would have done an excellent job as chair of
Bishop Ball was charged with indecent assault and misconduct in
public office in March this year (News, 28
March). He was unable to answer the charges in court in
April due to ill-health (News, 17 April).
Baroness Butler-Sloss told the BBC: "Throughout many years of
public service I have always striven to be fair and compassionate,
mindful of the very real suffering of those who have been victims
of crime or other injustice.
"I have never put the reputation of any institution, including
the Church of England, above the pursuit of justice for
Mr Johnson was present with other survivors at General Synod on
Friday, where members discussed proposals to improve safeguarding
in the Church. Under the legislation, convicted sex offenders or
those on a safeguarding barred list will not be allowed to be
church wardens, lay readers or members of PCCs.
Bishops will be able to insist that a priest deemed to present a
possible safeguarding risk undergoes a risk assessment. Incumbents
and PCCs will be duty-bound to have due regard for the House of
Bishops' safeguarding policies, and clergy and lay readers will be
obliged to attend safeguarding training.
All diocesan bishops will have to appoint a safeguarding adviser
and ensure national standards are achieved. Clergy without
authority from a diocesan bishop will not be allowed to officiate
or robe. Finally, it will be possible for allegations of sexual
misconduct against a child or vulnerable adult to be made more than
one year after it has alleged to have taken place.
Introducing the legislation, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd
Paul Butler, who chairs the Churches National Safeguarding
Committee, said: "We have made far too many mistakes in the past in
relation to safeguarding. . . We must not be complacent."
Survivors of abuse hosted a fringe event on Friday evening. At a
press conference held afterwards, Mr Johnson was critical of the
Church's response to survivors: "Where survivors go through the
legal system and get compensation, the Church seems to think its
responsibility ends there. If someone loses a leg in an accident
and they are compensated for the loss of their leg that does not
mean they have got their leg back. They have to live with that.
"With the new inquiry coming up there are going to be lot more
people coming forward and we need funded provision in pace to
support those survivors. Too often the Church judges whether you