Bishop accused of child sex abuse ‘will have good name restored’ by inquiry
A CELEBRATED bishop whose reputation was destroyed when the Church of England labelled him a paedophile is set to have his good name restored, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
An official review of the handling of abuse allegations against the late Bishop George Bell will criticise the original Church investigation as flawed and unfair, it is understood.
Bishop Bell, pictured, the wartime Bishop of Chichester who died in 1958, was praised for speaking out against Hitler in the 1930s – and he was granted the Anglican equivalent of a Saint’s Day, an annual commemoration.
But to the fury of devotees, his character was blackened when the Church declared two years ago that ‘on the balance of probabilities’ he had sexually assaulted a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Senior Church officials apologised and paid £15,000 compensation to the anonymous complainant, known only as ‘Carol’, who said she had been molested during visits to the Bishop’s Palace in Chichester.
But insiders said the review, commissioned last year after criticism of the Church’s handling of the case and which was led by top lawyer Lord Carlile, is believed to be critical of the investigation, although it does not rule on the bishop’s guilt or innocence.
Lord Carlile handed his report to the Archbishop of Canterbury last week. The Church of England said it would issue a response when it was published.