Victor Whitsey was the Bishop of Chester in the 1980’s. Cheshire Police have recently confirmed that 13 different people have now raised allegations in relation to abuse by the Bishop. The Police statement confirmed that the abuse was alleged to have taken place whilst the Bishop was living and working in Chester.
Farleys have been acting for one of the victims for approximately a year. During that period the Police investigation has been ongoing despite the fact that Whitsey died in 1987.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu has issued an apology. He quite rightly describes sexual abuse as a heinous crime. With a possible reference to the status of the abuser in this case he described the abuse as a shameful breach of trust.
This latest scandal follows various other high profile cases involving the Church of England. An independent report into the actions of Peter Ball, a former Bishop of both Gloucester and Lewes found that the Church of England had colluded over a 20 year period with the disgraced former Bishop.
The Church also was forced to issue a formal apology in relation to abuse by George Bell, the late Bishop if Chichester.
In the case of George Bell the Church settled a civil claim brought by one of his victims.
I now expect many more victims of abuse within the Church and in particular at the hands of the former Bishop of Chester to come forward. One concerning aspect to the case is a suggestion that the Church of England knew of the allegations but failed to take any action. It will be interesting to see whether a further Independent Inquiry is ordered to examine the actions of the Church in relation to this disgraced former Bishop.
If you have been the victim of abuse and would like to speak to an experienced solicitor in confidence, please call Farleys Solicitors specialist abuse team on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email.