THE diocese of London has admitted that its safeguarding procedures have to improve, after a former ordinand was convicted of raping two teenage girls he met while working as a children’s pastor at a London church.
Timothy Storey, aged 35, was found guilty at Woolwich Crown last week on three charges of rape and one of sexual assault.
The court heard how Mr Storey began grooming his victims through social media while working at St Michael’s, Chester Square, in central London.
Both of his victims told the court that they had told the Church about Mr Storey’s crimes, but felt “brushed aside”. One of the girls reported Mr Storey to the diocese, but was only given a letter from the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, explaining that the safeguarding team were investigating.
In 2009, while Mr Storey was training at Wycliffe Hall, in Oxford, the diocese’s child-protection adviser looked into the case, before consulting with the Metropolitan Police’s child protection team, believing that Mr Storey’s actions were “an offence under the 2003 Sexual Offences Act”.
But the police decided that no crime had been committed. A spokesman for the diocese said that, although they had acted to withdraw Mr Storey from ordination training and reported him to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), more should have been done for the victims.
“We do regret that these individuals were not kept more closely informed by the diocese of the process that was taking place,” the spokesman said. “We now have a much more rigorous system in place for supporting individuals who have made complaints.”
Mr Storey’s first victim was 17 when he raped her at his home. She said: “He had me trapped, and I knew that if I didn’t do what he wanted me to, I wouldn’t get the good things. He ground me down and treated me like a piece of meat.
“When he wants sex, he will not stop until he gets it. I put him on a pedestal, and he knew it.” On one occasion, he raped her at his home before telling her to leave as he wanted to watch a film and order a Chinese takeaway.
Mr Storey then went on to begin training for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall, but he continued his offending.
He contacted his second victim, whom he had met at St Michael’s when she was 16, through Facebook, asking her what underwear she was wearing and if she would send him pictures of herself in her school uniform.
A few months later, he invited her to a concert in Birmingham, before plying her with alcohol and taking her back to his student rooms at Oxford, where he raped her twice.
She felt so under his thumb that she felt unable to report the abuse to the police, believing Mr Storey to be more “influential than God”.
Despite later being withdrawn from ordination training, Mr Storey then took a job as an administrative assistant at another church in the diocese, St Margaret Lothbury, in the City of London.
The first victim also spoke of her ordeal with Prebendary Jeremy Crossley, who was Rector of the St Margaret Lothbury and had been a curate at St Michael’s. She told the court that he said the Church must consider Mr Storey’s “welfare and needs”. Prebendary Crossley was asked to comment, but declined.
The full scale of Mr Storey’s offences came to light only when his two victims approached the police last year. They had read newspaper reports of a separate case where Mr Storey was convicted of seven counts of inciting children to engage in sexual activity and two counts of making indecent images of children.
He was eventually jailed for three years for these crimes. He will be sentenced on three counts of rape and one of sexual assault in April.
A spokesman for the diocese of London said: “Timothy Storey has been convicted of a series of appalling crimes and we are profoundly sorry for what his victims endured.”
When Mr Storey took the job at St Margaret Lothbury, he was not under police investigation, although he had been withdrawn from ordination, the spokesman said.
“He did not have a youth worker role — indeed, there was no one under the age of 18 at the parish. As soon as the diocese notified St Margaret Lothbury about the ISA submission, his employment was terminated.”
Wycliffe Hall was also asked to comment. It released a statement that recounted the diocese of London’s actions, and also said: “Wycliffe Hall has been appalled to learn of the offences committed by Timothy Storey, and that he offended in Oxford while he was a student. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his victims.”