Victims of abuse by the leader of a Christian summer camp where Archbishop Justin Welby once worked have demanded he resign
Victims of abuse by the leader of a Christian summer camp where Archbishop Justin Welby once worked have demanded the resignation of the Church Primate after his ‘staggeringly hypocritical’ criticism of the BBC’s handling of Jimmy Savile.
The Archbishop yesterday said the Corporation had not shown the same ‘integrity’ as the Church had in dealing with allegations of abuse.
Speaking about how society had changed over the past 60 years, he told Radio 4’s Today: ‘I think we are a kinder society – more concerned with our own failures, more willing to be honest where we go wrong in most of our institutions.’
But, he added: ‘There are still dark areas.’ When asked where, the Archbishop replied: ‘I’d say the BBC is one. I haven’t seen the same integrity over the BBC’s failures over Savile as I’ve seen in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church of England, in other public institutions over abuse.’
But one of the victims of John Smyth – who was accused of savagely beating boys at Christian summer camps where Welby was a dormitory supervisor in the 1970s – said there was no ‘darker place’ in the country than Lambeth Palace.
Andrew Morse is to confront Archbishop Welby at an international Anglican summit at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday because he and other victims of Smyth, 76, have had no response to a heartfelt letter they sent in February.
Andrew Morse is to confront Archbishop Welby at an international Anglican summit at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday because he and other victims of Smyth, 76, have had no response to a heartfelt letter they sent in February
The protest comes at the opening of a Government inquiry into allegations that the Church of England covered up clerical abuse for decades.
Mr Morse, a tutor from Farnham, Surrey, said he was astonished by the Archbishop’s attack on the BBC, saying it was the experience of most victims that it was the Church that lacked transparency. He said they had been repeatedly ‘blanked’ by Church leaders, who had erected a ‘wall of silence’.
Mr Morse, 56, said he felt particularly hurt because he had met Justin Welby at the Iwerne Christian camps when the future Archbishop was a helper, though he has denied knowledge of the beatings.
The father-of-two has described being lashed until he bled by Smyth, who claimed he was punishing boys for their ‘sins’. Mr Morse said: ‘It is just staggering hypocrisy to criticise an institution for inappropriate coverage of abuse when almost unanimously victims who have had to deal with the Church have really been treated absolutely appallingly.
‘Having heard what he said today I think he should resign. I don’t think the Church is a safe place for victims as long as he is leader if he is going to come out with that sort of hypocrisy.
John Smyth (pictured with his wife Anne) was accused of savagely beating boys at Christian summer camps where Welby was a dormitory supervisor in the 1970s
‘Every day he remains silent it appears to us that he is protecting our abuser rather than looking out for victims who he says are his main priority.’
Mr Morse said he had already had support for his call for Archbishop Welby’s resignation from several other survivors of abuse within the Church. He estimated that at least 100 survivors may be at the protest on Friday.
The BBC said it did not recognise the Archbishop’s description of its handling of accusations against Savile, whose abuse remained largely hidden until his death in 2011.
A Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said Archbishop Welby had made safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults the ‘highest priority’ and there were now ‘robust’ policies in place.
She added: ‘The Archbishop believes this level of rigorous response and self-examination needs to extend to all institutions, including the BBC.’