Re­sign! Spank­ing vic­tims’ de­mand to Arch­bishop over abuse ‘hypocrisy’

The Mail on Sunday - - Lifestyle - By Jonathan Pe­tre

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 t he same ‘ in­tegrity’ as t he 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 t he c o un­try t han 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.

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.

‘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.’

OUT­RAGE: Justin Welby and, in­set, camp leader John Smyth

PROTEST: An­drew Morse was beaten at sum­mer camp

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