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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball Investigation Report

B.1: Introduction to the Diocese of Chichester case study


1. The Diocese of Chichester stretches over East and West Sussex, from Hastings in the east to Chichester in the west. It was founded in 681 by St Wilfred and is one of the oldest dioceses in England. During the Anglo Saxon and medieval period, this part of the United Kingdom was of considerable economic and strategic importance.

2. The Diocese is mostly rural, its major urban centres being Crawley, Redhill and the city of Brighton and Hove. It has a larger than average population of retirees in comparison to the rest of the country. This includes a significant number of retired clergy, which was over 400 at the last count.

3. The Diocese has areas of wealth. It also has pockets of significant deprivation, most significantly in East Sussex around Hastings and Brighton. There are 506 churches in the Diocese, 365 parishes grouped into 286 benefices, 450 clergy and employed lay workers, and 265 readers.[1]

Map of the Diocese of Chichester, delineated into its archdeaconries

Diocese of Chichester, showing archdeaconries

4. The Bishop of Chichester is a diocesan bishop. He is assisted by the Bishop of Lewes and the Bishop of Horsham, who are known as suffragan bishops.

5. Some of those who gave evidence told us that Chichester was more limited in its approach to the ordination and ministry of women than other dioceses. Since 2012, the role of ordained women in the Diocese has been enhanced. Following the appointment of Richard Jackson as the Suffragan Bishop of Lewes in 2014, it has been possible to ordain men and women together. Fiona Windsor was made Archdeacon of Horsham in 2014 and from 2016 the Bishop of Horsham has also ordained women to the priesthood.[2]

6. From 1984, an area scheme operated under which suffragan bishops were responsible for appointments within their area and for granting permission to officiate. They generally administered to their own areas of the Diocese with limited oversight from the Bishop of Chichester. The area scheme was revoked in 2013, at which time these responsibilities reverted to the diocesan bishop.

7. The area scheme had a deleterious impact on the oversight of safeguarding, particularly in the eastern part of the Diocese. It led to an absence of adequate governance during the lifetime of the scheme. A lack of effective leadership, or alternatively a failure of effective oversight, is an issue which the Inquiry has examined in both case studies.

8. The Diocese of Chichester was selected as a case study because a number of its clergy and volunteers have been convicted of sexual offending over the past 10 years. Moreover, internal Church reviews have evidenced patterns of difficulty with governance and leadership, which led to failures in child protection. All of these issues required further examination. However, as the Archbishops’ Council has recognised,[3] the problems found in Chichester were not unique to it. They are reflective of difficulties which existed in the Church as a whole at the time in question.

Child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Chichester

9. Over the last 50 years, the Diocese of Chichester has been home to a substantial number of child sexual abusers. Using the Archbishops’ Council’s own figures, 18 individuals with connections to the Diocese of Chichester have been convicted or pleaded guilty to sexual offending against children and young people before 2018. This can be compared to seven individuals in the Diocese of York, five in the Diocese of Birmingham, and three in the Diocese of London.[4] We cannot know if the increased focus on Chichester has brought to light more offenders than may otherwise be the case in other dioceses, but in any event it provides the Inquiry with a chance to examine widespread offending.

10. The allegations of abuse perpetrated by those working in the Diocese of Chichester spanned several decades, from the 1950s until the 21st century. A series of allegations came to light within the last 20 years, and were followed by a multitude of further complaints.

11. A full list of convicted perpetrators from the Diocese of Chichester can be found at Annex 6. For the purposes of this case study, the Inquiry has focussed its examination upon the following abusers:

a. Terence Banks: A volunteer steward at Chichester Cathedral. In 2001, he was convicted of 32 sexual offences against 12 boys. The abuse had taken place over a period of 29 years, from the 1970s to the 1990s.

b. David Bowring: He was a teacher at The Prebendal School in the 1970s. This was an independent residential school which had strong links to Chichester Cathedral and provided many of its choristers. In 2003, he was convicted of six charges of indecent assault against four boys. All of the offences were committed in the 1970s, when the victims were pupils at The Prebendal School.

c. Michael Walsh: He was a teacher at Bishop Luffa School in the 1980s. He was also Head of Music within a parish at an Anglican church. In 1990, he was convicted of five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse involving pupils.

d. Roy Cotton: He was a vicar in the Diocese of Chichester, serving in three different parishes between 1971 and 1999. In 1954, whilst training to be ordained and acting as a Scout leader, he was convicted of indecently exposing himself to a child. He was subsequently ordained as a priest in the late 1960s, despite the Church knowing of his conviction. Allegations were made that he abused boys and young men in the 1970s and 1980s. He was also the subject of two police investigations in the 1990s, neither of which resulted in any charges. He died in 2006 before the police could investigate new allegations and reopen the earlier investigations, which the police now accept were inadequate.

e. Colin Pritchard: He attended theological college with Roy Cotton and was ordained in 1970. Having served in several parishes in the Midlands, he moved to the Diocese of Chichester in 1989. In 2008, he was convicted of three counts of indecent assault of a male and three counts of gross indecency with a child. The offences took place during the 1970s and 1980s, whilst he was a priest in Northamptonshire. In 2018, he was convicted of a further seven offences of child sexual abuse committed in the late 1980s. This offending involved a boy aged between 10 and 14 years, again whilst working in Northamptonshire.

f. Gordon Rideout: He was ordained in the Diocese of Chichester in 1963. Between 1963 and his retirement in 2003, he worked in several parishes in Sussex and was an Army chaplain from 1967 to 1973.[5] In 2013, he was convicted of 36 offences of child sexual abuse against 16 victims. In 2016, he was convicted of a further charge of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 years. These offences were committed between 1962 and 1973 in the Diocese of Chichester.

g. Robert Coles: He was ordained as a priest in 1969, and went on to work as a priest in Northampton. Between 1978 and 1997, he was a vicar in Eastbourne. He was convicted in 2012 of 11 offences of child sexual abuse. This included seven counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery, all of which took place between 1979 and 1984.[6]  He was a friend of Jonathan Graves.

h. Jonathan Graves: He was a teacher who became a curate in the East Sussex area in 1984. He remained in this position until 2004, when he moved to Devon as chaplain at a boarding school.[7]  In 2017, he was convicted of seven counts of indecent assault, two counts of indecency with a child and four counts of cruelty to a child. The offending occurred between 1987 and 1992 in the Diocese of Chichester.

i. Peter Ball: He was the Bishop of Lewes from 1977 to 1992. His offending is set out in detail in this report, but in short he was convicted of multiple offences in 2015, including misconduct in public office and indecent assault.

12. During the course of the public hearing, the Inquiry heard and read evidence from several victims. They told us not only of their harrowing experiences at the hands of their abusers, but of the unacceptable treatment they received from the Church after coming forward. When individuals found the courage to disclose their abuse to members of the Church, they were often dismissed as liars and troublemakers. On other occasions, they were merely ignored and allegations of serious offending were not reported to the police.

13. Little or no pastoral support was offered by way of counselling or contact. Senior clergy steadfastly refused to apologise to victims, even after their perpetrators had been convicted and imprisoned. The Church displayed a flagrant disregard for their suffering, its primary concern being for its own reputation. The Archbishops’ Council has acknowledged that the Church’s performance fell “far short of what was to be expected … the Church could and should have done better at the time”.[8]

14. The Inquiry thanks each of the victims, survivors and complainants for their help and for their bravery in telling their individual stories. We could not have conducted this investigation without their contributions.

Issues covered by the Chichester case study

15. The Chichester case study has considered the following themes:

15.1. The nature and extent of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese.

15.2. The nature and extent of any failures of the Church of England, the Diocese, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting authorities and other public authorities or statutory agencies to protect children from such abuse, and to report abuse promptly and in line with relevant standards in force at the time.

15.3. The adequacy of the response of the Church of England and any other relevant institutions to allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese, including the response to adult survivors.

15.4. The extent to which the Church of England (including the Diocese of Chichester) sought to investigate, learn lessons, implement changes and provide support and reparations to victims and survivors, in response to:

15.4.1. allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

15.4.2. criminal investigations and prosecutions or civil litigation relating to child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

15.4.3. investigations, reviews or inquiries into child sexual abuse within the Diocese including, but not limited to, the Carmi report, the Meekings report, the Butler-Sloss report, and the Archepiscopal Visitation;

15.4.4. complaints made under the Clergy Discipline Measure; and

15.4.5. other internal or external reviews or guidance.

16. These themes have been distilled from the definition of scope set by the Inquiry for the Anglican Church investigation and by the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry set by the Home Secretary. The terms of the definition of scope for this case study are:

“3.1. the Diocese of Chichester and, in particular, consider:

a) the nature and extent of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

b) the nature and extent of any failures of the Church of England, the Diocese, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting authorities, and/or other public authorities or statutory agencies to protect children from such abuse;

c) the adequacy of the response of the Church of England, including through the Diocese of Chichester, and the response of any other relevant institutions to allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

d)  the extent to which the Church of England, including through the Diocese of Chichester, sought to investigate, learn lessons, implement changes and provide support and reparations to victims and survivors, in response to:

i)  allegations of child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

ii)  criminal investigations and prosecutions and/or civil litigation relating to child sexual abuse by individuals associated with the Diocese;

iii)  investigations,reviewsorinquiriesintochildsexualabusewithintheDiocese, including, but not limited to, the Carmi report; the Meekings report; the Butler­ Sloss report; and the Archepiscopal visitation;

iv)  complaints made under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure; and/or

v)  other internal or external reviews or guidance.”

Chronology of internal reports

17. Over the past 20 years, a number of investigations into child sexual abuse have been carried out within the Diocese of Chichester. The Inquiry examined these investigations along with their findings, the recommendations they sought to implement, and whether or not changes were in fact made.

18. The process and conclusions of each investigation are explored in more detail within this report. A brief chronology of those investigations is set out below.

Year Name of report Description
2001 The Carmi review Following the conviction of Terence Banks, Mrs Edina Carmi (independent safeguarding consultant) was commissioned to conduct a case review of the Diocese between the 1970s and 2000. The report was not published until 2014.
2007–2009 National Past Cases Review The Anglican Church conducted a national review of historic child sexual abuse cases. Independent reviewers were appointed in each of the Church’s 44 dioceses. The full results of the review have never been published. In July 2018, the Church of England published a report which identified that this review was a “curate’s egg”.[9] The Church described it as a well‐intentioned piece of work, but one which had shortcomings in terms of its scope and execution. The Church has therefore concluded that it cannot be regarded as a comprehensive review of all past cases.[10] 
2009 The Meekings report Mr Roger Meekings (independent social work consultant) was commissioned to carry out the Past Cases Review in the Diocese of Chichester. He also produced an addendum and further report into the cases of Reverends Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard. The Diocese did not accept all of his findings and the Cotton/Pritchard report was not published until 2012.
2011–2012 The Butler‐Sloss report Lady Elizabeth Butler‐Sloss (former chairperson of the Cleveland Child Abuse Inquiry and President of the Family Division) conducted a review of the Meekings report. She produced her report in May 2011, but was obliged to issue an addendum in January 2012 after the BBC revealed inaccuracies in some of the factual information.
2012–2013 The Archepiscopal Visitation reports The Archbishop of Canterbury ordered an Archepiscopal Visitation to the Diocese, which investigated the handling of child abuse allegations. It was carried out by Bishop John Gladwin and Canon Rupert Bursell QC. An interim report was produced in August 2012, followed by a final report in April 2013.
2017 The Carlile review The Bishop of Chichester commissioned an independent review by Lord Carlile of Berriew (senior criminal barrister and peer), the purpose of which was to examine the Church’s response to the George Bell case. The report was published in December 2017.
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