TWO clergy in the diocese of London who were strongly criticised for safeguarding failures in the case of an ordinand who was a rapist will not face proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM).
An independent review commissioned last year by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, considered the diocese’s part in the case of Timothy Storey, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of three charges of rape and one of sexual assault against teenage girls (News, 22 April).
Mr Storey worked first as a youth pastor at St Michael’s, Chester Square, where he met his two victims, before being sent to Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, to train as a priest. Both girls reported Mr Storey to the Church, but there was a “wholesale failure” by the diocesan safeguarding team to stop his offending, Judge Philip Katz QC said during sentencing.
The independent review recommended, among other things, “consideration of whether in light of the findings of the review an investigation under CDM is warranted or appropriate in relation to” two clerics referred to in the report only as “clergy persons A and B”. Clergy person A was the voluntary, unpaid Bishops’ Adviser in Child Protection in the Two Cities and Stepney areas of the diocese. Clergy person B was the Two Cities area director of ordinands. Both have since stepped down from these posts.
The review also recommended managing confidential files properly, co-ordinating safeguarding cases that crossed diocesan boundaries, and making a full written apology from the diocese to the victims.
When the diocese published the review last October, it said that it was “considering the most effective way forward” in relation to the recommendation of a CDM assessment. A further statement last week said: “Subsequent analysis of the legal position concluded that there were not sufficient grounds to pursue complaints under the Clergy Discipline Measure, and that any failed process would inevitably cause further pain to the survivors.
“The safeguarding team has since been working with the survivors and their families, and the clergy concerned, on a process of mediation, alongside the continuing support that is being provided to the survivors themselves.”
Furthermore, the clergyman who was strongly criticised by Judge Katz for “arrogantly refusing” to give a statement to prosecutors at the trial has written his explanation of his actions, and this has also been sent to the victims and their families.
The statement acknowledges that Mr Storey carried out a “series of appalling crimes” and that “policies and procedures which the diocese had in place at the time were not followed and this contributed considerably to the suffering of survivors.”
The review suggested a meeting between Bishop Chartres, the two clerics, and Mr Storey’s victims. The diocesan statement says: “The Bishop of London has written to [the victims] personally and met with them to apologise for the Diocese’s failings, fully accepting that these failings created further anguish beyond the abuse itself. The Diocesan Safeguarding Team has been providing direct assistance and, where they have been wanted by the survivors, private face-to-face meetings have taken place.”
The review also said that a diocesan employee should attend every day of court proceedings when a safeguarding case had gone to trial, but the diocese said that it did not have the resources to do this. Instead, a representative would attend for the first day, the summing up, and sentencing.