‘I don’t recall hearing about Chichester’s problems,’ Lord Carey tells IICSA

16 March 2018

PA

Lord Carey (left) and Peter Ball

Lord Carey (left) and Peter Ball

A FORMER Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has denied any recollection of safeguarding issues or allegations relating to the diocese of Chichester during his tenure.

Instead of a full witness statement, Lord Carey submitted two paragraphs to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA), which was read out on Friday morning during the public hearing in London.

Lord Carey, who was Archbishop from 1991 to 2002, was forced in 2017 to resign from his position as an honorary assistant bishop in the diocese of Oxford after the publication of an independent report by Dame Moira Gibb on the Peter Ball case and the Church’s part in it (News, 30 June 2017).

By the time Lord Carey was Archbishop, the soon-to-be disgraced Bishop of Lewes, Peter Ball, had been translated to Gloucester. He was arrested in 1992 and given a police caution for gross indecency in early 1993. He stood down as Bishop of Gloucester.

In December 1992, Dame Moira reported, Lambeth Palace received seven letters containing “potentially disturbing information” about Ball, but did not release them during the police investigation. She reports that Lord Carey received a written briefing about them. She does not state how many of them relate to Ball’s time in Lewes.

Lord Carey chose not to place Ball on the “Lambeth list” — naming clerics of questionable suitability, and during a CRB check of Ball in 2004, no evidence of the police caution was recorded.

In his witness statement, Lord Carey writes: “I have no present recollection of being made aware of difficulties in the diocese of Chichester relating to safeguarding and responding to child sexual abuse while I was Archbishop of Canterbury. It is of course quite possible that the occasional piece of correspondence may have gone to Lambeth Palace on this subject.

“I had staff at Lambeth Palace to assist me with correspondence so if there were such matters, they may or may not have reached me personally. If they did I cannot recall them. After several days of looking at the egress documents with which I have been provided by the Inquiry in preparation for writing my witness statement, I have seen no documents which suggest that anyone complained to me during this period: 1991 to 2002.”

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Two survivors are due to give evidence on Monday, followed by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, and the National Safeguarding Adviser for the C of E, Graham Tilby.

Lord Carey’s witness statement in full. “I, Lord Carey of Clifton, will say as follows: I have been asked by the Inquiry to provide them with a witness statement relating primarily to my involvement with the time of, and following Peter Ball’s arrest in December 1992 when I was Archbishop of Canterbury. For various reasons, it has not been possible for me to complete my witness statement on all of these topics but I do understand that the Inquiry and other core participants and witnesses need to know whether I am able to give any evidence as to the difficulties in the diocese of Chichester relating to safeguarding and responding to child sexual abuse.

I retired as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002. I because Archbishop of Canterbury in 1991 at which time there was no safeguarding or child protection training available to clergy in the Church of England. I have no present recollection of being made aware of difficulties in the diocese of Chichester relating to safeguarding and responding to child sexual abuse while I was Archbishop of Canterbury. It is of course quite possible that the occasional piece of correspondence may have gone to Lambeth Palace on this subject. I had staff at Lambeth Palace to assist me with correspondence so if there were such matters, they may or may not have reached me personally. If they did I cannot recall them. After several days of looking at the egress documents with which I have been provided by the Inquiry in preparation for writing my witness statement, I have seen no documents which suggest that anyone complained to me during this period: 1991 to 2002.”

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