cathy fox …complicit

Follow the MoneySenior Clerics on EIG board of directorsThe Church, EIG and ATL have all claimed the “church is simply another client” and that the insurer is entirely separate from the CofE. Whilst this may be legally accurate, Companies House records show high-ranking clerics on the board of directors of EIG across the past four decades. Archdeacons, deans and even bishops have been involved in running the insurer. Sir Philip Mawer, former Secretary General of the CofE Synod, has been on the board twice. The first time during his years serving as the church’s most senior civil servant.It may be coincidental, but during decades of cover-up and suppression of abuse stories, the board has had three and even four senior church figures at a time. For example in 1993 – an archdeacon, two cathedral deans and a bishop – over a third of the board. Currently there is only one senior cleric – but until recently there had always been three or four. That’s considerable institutional heft and influence. It’s not hard to imagine the deference, embedded loyalty, patronage, and shared mutual interest that would have accompanied so much senior church presence. A bishop in any boardroom is likely to receive most deference in the room. A board made up of a third senior clerics cannot in any way be characterized as a “church is simply another client” situation – as one of the bishops and EIG and ATL have tried to claim in emails. The Church needs to be a good deal more honest about this corporate affiliation and the flow of money.It has been suggested by Child Sexual Abuse campaigners that an independent Panel of Inquiry may be the best way forward for the problems faced in getting the truth across about the widespread child sexual abuse and subsequent hign level cover ups by politicians, press and police. This is mostly due to the success of the Hillsborough Independent Panel of Inquiry (HIP) set up in 2009. It got to the truth more than 2 previous inquiries with more formalised theoretical powers. This was the first inquiry of its type.It was set up by the Home Secretary, and he appointed the Panel and the terms of Reference/purpose/remit available here x The remit was largely about disclosure of documentation without redaction as a means to getting to the truth about the deaths and aftermath of 96 people where the polcie had lied, and sussequently altered police and witness statements on large scale. The Daniel Morgan Murder Independent Panel of Inquiry (MIP) was announced in May 2013 and nothing has been heard about it since. It was also set up by the Home Secretary of the day and its remit is here xx Its focus is more on shining the light on corruption after 5 (five) police inquiries failed due to police corruption ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-284 below-entry-meta” src=”″ alt=”Clerics on EIG” style=”background: transparent; border: 0px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; max-width: 100%; height: auto;”>This powerful nexus throws up many ethical questions. I have tried to engage both church and insurer with a range of conflict-of-interest questions for nearly two years. But there has been little will to address them. The Church’s senior caseworker treated the questions with hostility and boredom during a mismanaged meeting last year. When raised with the National Advisor and current Lead Safeguarding Bishop, the questions have drawn a blank. When raised with two trustees of ATL last year after the Elliott Review, an irritated retort from one senior cleric was “We don’t own our own insurer”. This senior cleric sits on the board of Trustees that owns the insurer, and also on the Archbishops’ Independent Safeguarding Panel. If that’s not a conflict of interest – I don’t know what is. It’s not surprising that many survivors feel the CofE National Safeguarding is in place to safeguard institution and hierarchy! And EIG’s compliance director has treated me in phone conversations as an idiot who knows nothing about the world of corporate affairs. Most people don’t need a degree in ‘corporate’ to recognise moral affiliation … and the moral responsibility that should accompany it.The two may be legally separate. But in terms that the general public would understand, the church and its insurer are morally and institutionally joined at the hip. These two corporate cultures have clearly shaped and reinforced each other over the decades. It’s a strange picture when put alongside the silencing and cover ups so many survivors have experienced. Would it be likely that senior figures in Ecclesiastical have been club-able with other bishops who’ve covered up abuse in the past? If any of these figures were approached by survivors in their dioceses – would they have informed them as part of their pastoral response of the potential conflict of interest? Have these senior clerics been advised to quietly encourage the structure to turn a blind institutional eye? Cover-up seems almost to have been a requirement for the job in past bishops! And ultimately, to whom have these clerics owed alleigance? The Church and its stated pastoral aims, or does fiduciary responsibility to the insurer claim priority? These are just some of the questions raised by this interwoven nexus. But cognitive dissonance and denial in CofE culture prevents senior figures or a too deferential Safeguarding from engaging with them.Together with a whistle-blown House of Bishops document published last year, the image is of a church that pretends a ‘robust’ response whilst consciously operating a mirage. Instructions from the CofE’s legal head advised diocesan bishops to use “careful drafting” to “effectively apologise” without enabling victims to get compensation. The Church and insurer have in effect ran an ‘affiliated corporate hand-wash’ with both parts washing hands of responsibility for actions of the other. They maintain the pretence of seperation. The Church wants to quietly have its cake and eat it.“Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers).“With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it.”excerpts from House of Bishops documentNot one bishop commented on this document when it emerged last year. A nameless ‘spokesperson’ issued a three line defence. This corporate strategy bats any further questions away. Yet the policy and culture hidden in that document since 2007, involved all of the senior layer, and ran counter to the Church’s stated aims in Responding Well. This was a moment when bishops might have taken ownership of the deceptive mirage played out on survivors. Instead the article came out to a backdrop of silence as bishops ran to ground. Survivors see again and again this running to ground by the Church which only seems to respond when embarrassment is sufficiently acute. One wonders whether any of the bishops stood up, when the advice was issued by their senior lawyer, to say “Not my role to be an adjunct to an insurer – my role is to be a pastor and help heal survivors, not hoodwink them.” Perhaps some did say something like this privately. They didn’t have enough moxie to speak out.The document matched the blanking and silencing of major questions by senior bishops leading up to the Elliott Review. Ultimately 17 letters to Archbishop Welby were ignored on the advice of the insurers and laywers acting on their behalf. Finally after an 18 month wait and colossal effort, two bishops – Bishop of Durham and Bishop of Truro – are due to come to a mediation to account for the blanking of these questions and give personal apology. To my mind it is the insurers who have most dug these bishops into such an uncomfortable and embarrassing position. That and a culture of denial and fear in the senior layer. And poor theology.MACSAS tell me many survivors could match this document to their own experience of the Church’s response. It ticks too many boxes. Perhaps in time when attitudes change across the top, mediation will be a way forward where bishops have responded to survivors dishonourably or without healing in mind. Many current senior figures face difficulty, with a significant portion of senior bishops having faced recent CDM’s (Clergy Disciplinary Measure proceeedings) including Archbishop Sentamu, Bishop Paul Butler, Bishop Steven Croft, Bishop Martyn Snow and others. Eventually the Church will put its hands up properly and start being transparent.Let’s look at a specific story of church/insurer contaminationSent by Teresa Cooper as part of a joint press release with JoeTeresa Cooper who has spent thirty years campaigning for truth and justice for Kendall House is seeking explanation and profound apology from the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, for his handling of her case in 2007. Teresa was summoned to a meeting to give account of her abuse and found herself meeting three men on her own. One was the bishop; another was Canon David Grimwood from Church in Society which had jurisdiction over Kendall House. The third man was from Ecclesiastical. Teresa says “The Bishop of Rochester proceeded to discredit and undermine my story directly in front of the insurer. In effect, he called me a liar and said there were no drugs used at Kendall House, which was astonishing”. It was later reported by the BBC that Rev David Grimwood removed critical files which later provided clear evidence of what took place at the Church of England home. Teresa also has clear evidence in a private email sent between Kent County Council and this senior priest that lawyers acting for the insurer instructed him and the diocese to withhold critical documents from her. This later affected the outcome of her case in 2010. The three men at that meeting all knew that Teresa was seeking access to these files to show evidence of the allegations. It took another nine years before a full inquiry into Kendall House took place. Teresa now insists on a public statement of apology from Bishop Nazir-Ali and proper acknowledgement from the church of decades of cover-up. She has received what she considers to be a “pretence of justice”. Teresa says, “I deal daily not only with serious health conditions, but also live with the reality that my children were born with birth defects as result of the chemical experimentation I was subjected to as a teenager.” Teresa goes on to say, “the church and their insurer worked together to suppress the truth and discredit the facts – this is undeniable. It is a shocking part of my story that the church does not want to acknowledge! Bishop Nazir-Ali couldn’t even be bothered to tell the new bishop about the Kendall House situation.” She is seeking a meeting and apology from Archbishop Welby in recognition of the layers of cover-up and all the profound impact on her life and continuing health struggle she undoubtedly faces. She hopes to explore mediation with the Church so they can help her move forward with the rest of her life. The CofE has so far refused her any help and therapy.This story powerfully illustrates the nexus of church and insurer working in tandem. It looks more than a little cosy. It looks frankly corrupt. There’s an overwhelming case for justice and it’s time the CofE stopped washing its hands – and gave Teresa real justice.Headmasters on EIG board of directorsIn addition to senior CofE figures, three headmasters have also been on the board of the insurer. Ecclesiastical’s website states that it insures over 40% of independent schools. These three headmasters, across more than three decades, are listed on Companies House as having been directors (governors) of other prep schools in addition to headship of their own schools. More than half these have had abuse cases and media reports. One example is Caldicott. All three headmasters had governance of this school at different times – a school with a complex abuse history spanning decades and centred around its own headmaster. But many of the other schools too have been subject of abuse allegations:Abingdon, Ashdown, Ashfold, Cothill Trust, Loretto, Millfield, Mount House, Radley College, Repton, Stoke Brunswick, Summerfields, Wellington CollegeDoes the presence of headmasters, presumably representing the interest of all these schools, on EIG raise similar ethical questions? Have survivors from these schools been informed that heads/governors of their schools were part of the insurer possibly handling claims? Those I’ve asked had no idea and were shocked to discover these potential conflicts of interest. One Caldicott survivor told me that one of these had praised Peter Wright as the “finest prep school headmaster of his generation” at Wright’s retirement speechday. There’s no grounds for suspecting any of the three had prior idea that Wright had been subject of rumours from the late 1960’s onwards and across the decades. But these links between the worlds of private school, church and insurer are bound to raise questions for survivors. Has EIG insured all these schools? I asked a few. They were reluctant to say.The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland) has released a copy of the Sheridan Report [2] in response to a Freedom of Information Request [1]. This appears to be a post Kincora Hughes Report Assessment of Northern Ireland Departments Care Home Supervision. My preliminary assessment is that in the aftermath of Kincora, it appears that the DHSS from Britain assessed the Northern Ireland equivalents handling of the supervision of childrens homes and hostels and this is the report. I try and release reports as quickly as possible so that others who the reports mean more to, may read and study them so this may not be entirely correct. Any corrections or additions gladly received. There is much information held in Northern Ireland and if anyone would like to help apply for some of this information, please contact me. Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this report. The Sanctuary for the Abused [3] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [4] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [5] and Havoca [6] Links and References [1] FOI request [2] Sheridan Report….pdf [3] Sanctuary for the Abused [4] NAPAC [5] One in Four [6] Havoca cathyfox the truth will out ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-280 below-entry-meta” src=”” style=”max-width:100%;” />

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