Investigation over child abuse claims into former Bishop of Chichester was ‘wholly inadequate’

Rt. Rev. George Bell. Picture: PA Wire
Rt. Rev. George Bell. Picture: PA Wire
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A review into the Church of England’s handling of the case of the late bishop George Bell will reportedly criticise the inquiry that led to him being named as a paedophile as inadequate.

The independent report, by Lord Carlile of Berriew, will be published today and is expected to detail failings in how the Church acted following a single claim made decades after the bishop’s death.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, who has led the review into the Church of England's handling of the case. Picture: Paco Anselmi/PA Wire

Lord Carlile of Berriew, who has led the review into the Church of England's handling of the case. Picture: Paco Anselmi/PA Wire

According to the Telegraph, it will say that there was no proof Bishop Bell was guilty and accuse the Church of carrying out a ‘wholly inadequate’ investigation.

A key recommendation will be that alleged abusers should not be named unless there is proof of guilt, the paper said.

Lord Carlile, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, was named as the independent reviewer of the case just over a year ago.

The review was commissioned by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team.

In 2015 the Bishop of Chichester issued a formal apology following the settlement of a legal claim over allegations of sexual abuse by Bishop Bell, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until shortly before his death in 1958.

The review will examine the processes surrounding the allegations which were first brought in 1995 to the Diocese of Chichester and again in 2013, this time to Lambeth Palace.

It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of expert independent reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead bishop on safeguarding, said the review will look in detail into how the Church handled the Bell case.