Archbishop of Canterbury speaks out over child abuse in Chichester diocese after damning report

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THE Archbishop of Canterbury will continue to supervise protection of children and vulnerable adults in the Chichester diocese after a report revealed it fell ‘woefully short’ of expectations.

Dr Rowan Williams – who set up an inquiry into child protection policies in the diocese – said an interim report showed ‘many and long-standing failures in implementing a robust and credible safeguarding policy.’

Dr Williams appointed Bishop John Gladwin and Chancellor Rupert Bursell QC to conduct the inquiry in the wake of child abuse scandals – the first such appointments for more than a century.

In May last year a review found serious failings after two priests were allowed to continue working despite being accused of child abuse.

Colin Pritchard was vicar of St Barnabas in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, until 2007, despite having been reported to police over sex offences a decade earlier. He was later jailed for sexually abusing two young boys.

One of the boys was also abused by Roy Cotton, who was a parish priest in Brede near Rye. But prosecutors decided there was not enough evidence to charge him before he died in September 2006.

Dr Williams said: ‘I am very grateful...to all who have co-operated with this process – not least those survivors of abuse who have shared their experience.

‘The abiding hurt and damage done to them is something that none of us in the Church can ignore.’