A BBC Panorama investigation has discovered that two former Bishops of Lincoln failed to report allegations of abuse to the Police.
Panorama has reported that the late Right Reverend Kenneth Riches failed to report allegations of abuse made against Roy Griffiths in 1969. At the time Griffiths was the Deputy Head Teacher of Lincoln Cathedral School. A year later another similar complaint was made against him.
Neither Lincoln Diocese nor Lincoln Cathedral School passed the allegations to the Police. The same year Griffiths mover to work at an Anglian School in Papua New Guinea.
In 2018 Griffiths admitted abusing 6 boys at Lincoln Cathedra School and is now serving a prison sentence.
Kevin Bennington was abused by Griffiths as a boy. He has said that his mother told the Bishop when she became aware of the abuse he was suffering, but nothing happened.
Panorama has investigated another Bishop, the Right Reverend Robert Hardy. In the 1990’s Bishop Hardy was approached by one of his employees, John Bailey who was the Director of Education for Lincoln Diocese. John Bailey had been accused of sexual touching a girl, the family wrote to Bailey telling him “of the ordeal” their daughter had suffered. Bailey admitted to Bishop Hardy that the allegation was true, but it was a “one of” Hardy did not contact the family or take any steps to investigate further.
In 2017 Bailey was jailed after admitting 25 counts of indecent assault against three girls.
The details of 53 members of Lincoln Diocese Clergy and staff were passed to the Police regarding concerns about the handling of past allegations. The Police have confirmed that this number was reduced to 25 after investigation.
Detective Superintendent Rick Hatton, who led the force’s Operation Redstone investigation, told Panorama:
“We whittled it down to about 25 names, whereby we either knew that they’d committed offences or there was some issue around risk to members of the public from them.
There was the ongoing concern that actually those people were working with children. Potentially there was still a risk.”
The investigation resulted in 3 people being convicted.
Lincoln Diocese have admitted that they have not handled matters well in the past.
The Right Reverend Dr Nicholas Chamberlain, Bishop of Grantham and lead bishop for safeguarding for the Diocese of Lincoln, said:
“The Diocese of Lincoln wishes to acknowledge that past matters have not been handled well.
The Diocese is committed to learn from its mistakes. I am very sorry that it took so long for justice to be served.”
The Diocese said its safeguarding team has now developed an effective partnership with Lincolnshire Police, working with them to secure convictions and, where this was not an option, to make sure that risk was managed appropriately.
It said there is mandatory safeguarding training and promises to offer support to anyone who contacts the diocese about issues of harm or abuse.
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