Hundreds of Church of England figures have been convicted of child sexual abuse

LONDON – Suspected Church of England child predators have received more support than their victims, according to a report released Tuesday that exposed a toxic culture of allowing abusers to hide in plain sight for long periods of time. decades under the pretext of providing care and love.

The report, written following an independent investigation into child sexual abuse, found that 390 church leaders were convicted of child sexual abuse between 1940s and 2018. In 2018 alone, 2504 Safeguarding concerns were raised about vulnerable children or adults, and there were 449 allegations. recent sexual abuse of children. Less than half of these allegations were reported to outside authorities.

The report comes from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales, which was set up in 2014 after hundreds accused former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile of sexual abuse of children after his death in 2011. Over the past six years he has systematically investigated complaints against public and private institutions in England and Wales, as well as against powerful public figures like Savile, presenter TV and radio DJ.

The damning report said that, just like in the case of Savile, alleged abuse may have occurred due to a culture of deference to power, which made the church a place where suspected predators “could hang out. hide ”without consequences. The investigation said its evidence showed that for decades the Church had undermined “its own underlying moral purpose of providing care and love to the innocent and the vulnerable.”

“Deference to church authority and individual priests, taboos surrounding discussion of sexuality and an environment where alleged perpetrators were treated with more support than victims presented barriers to disclosure than many victims could not overcome, ”said the highly critical report, which was posted online Tuesday.

The document added: “Another aspect of the culture of the Church was clericalism, which meant that the moral authority of the clergy was widely perceived to be beyond reproach.” He concluded that church leaders “should not take operational responsibility for safeguarding” and that professional safeguarding officials should be engaged.

Richard Scorer, an attorney representing dozens of abuse survivors in the church, said The Guardian: “It’s a very damning report. He confirms that despite decades of scandal and endless promises, the Church of England continues to fail victims and survivors. Bishops have too much power and too little responsibility. National policies are not properly applied. Sexual offenses committed by the clergy continue to be minimized.

Church of England leader Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby did not comment on the report’s findings, but promised in a letter shortly before the report’s release “to listen, to learn and act, ”and added,“ We ​​are truly sorry for the disgraceful manner in which the Church has acted.

He continued, “We cannot and will not make excuses and can once again offer our most sincere and sincere apologies to those who have been abused, as well as to their families, friends and colleagues. We are absolutely committed to taking action to make the Church a safe place for all, as well as to meet the needs of survivors for support and redress.

A victim of abuse, who says she was raped by a Church of England clergyman over 40 years ago, told the BBC it would take “the courage” of the Church and its leaders to “save and redeem themselves”.

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