Showing posts with label Church of England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Church of England. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

Church Times Article on Abuse and the Church Sounds Painfully Familiar

The sad saga of the late John Smyth, who allegedly brutally beat more than 100 boys while operating church summer camps connected with the Church of England, has been front and center in the UK, as media examine both the allegations and accusations that church officials ignored and covered up the allegations for decades. The controversy, which reaches all the way to the Archbishop of Canterbury, sounds painfully similar to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and its role in covering up and ignoring Bob Malm’s misconduct. As such, it serves as a cautionary tale of the myriad ways church officials abuse power as they seek to protect to the reputation of the church.

Before we go further, I want to be clear: Bob Malm is not accused of sexual misconduct, and Smith’s alleged conduct does not imply or suggest similar activity on Bob Malm’s part.

What is telling, however, is that the allegations about Smyth swirled from the 1980’s until his death approximately 30 years later. Not only does it appear that senior church officials were repeatedly informed, but at one point a senior official urged Smyth to leave the country. He then moved to Zimbabwe, where allegations of misconduct were almost constant. 

It was not, however, until a youth under his care was found dead that any effort was made to hold Smyth accountable. The resulting criminal charges were later dropped when an official in the case was found to have a conflict of interest.

Survivors further allege that the Justin Welby, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, has known for many years of the allegations, and to this day has not requested to see documentation of the abuse compiled by survivors. Here is what the Church Times says about Welby:

Andrew Graystone, an advocate for the survivors, said that he was aware of 26 victims in the UK, of whom two are deceased, bringing the estimated number of alleged victims to 116.

He said: “I have spent the last three years researching Smyth’s life and his abuse. One of the most alarming and difficult facts of the case is that so many people in the Church have deliberately chosen to look away. . .

“Archbishop Welby is aware that I have this information, too, but for the last two and a half years he has chosen not to ask for it.”

A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said: “We would urge anyone who has information pertaining to victims of abuse to give it to the police or relevant statutory authorities immediately.”

The Archbishop has always maintained that at no time was he aware of the abuse taking place. It is understood that he has offered to meet survivors, and that he is committed to a review taking place with or without other parties involved.

Last month, a group of survivors wrote to Lambeth Palace to correct the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that Smyth was “not actually an Anglican” — a comment made during an interview on Channel 4 News (News, 18 April). The letter lists 14 points of dispute about the Archbishop’s comments, including that Smyth had been a licensed Reader in the diocese of Winchester.

These comments appear very similar to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s comments about Bob Malm’s conduct. Pretty words, but no substance, and an absolute unwillingness to actually do anything to address Malm’s perjury and other abuse/abuse of power.

Read the full Church Times article here.

Friday, May 10, 2019

DioVA Response to Abuse Mirrors Failures in Church of England

As many now know, an independent commission in the UK recently released a scathing report on abuse in the Church of England. The report had its genesis in allegations of abuse involving Bishop Ball, who had ties that extended all the way to the British royal family.

Sadly, the report sounds very much like the Diocese of Virginia and the way the latter handles allegations of clergy misconduct, particularly in regard to Bob Malm’s ongoing abuse of power. Indeed, change the names and you have my experience, almost verbatim.

Noting that the Church of England had, in multiple cases, protected its reputation at the expense of victims, it went on to outline in damning terms an ongoing series of reprehensible moral failures, including:
  • Discounting Ball’s conduct as “trivial and insignificant” while displaying “callous indifference” to the complaints of victims.
  • Delaying a proper investigation into the matter for two decades.
  • Failing to have sufficient regard for the well-being of those injured by Ball’s abuse.
  • Issuing an unconvincing apology.
  • Giving a popular priest preferential treatment, while demonstrating a lack of compassion for the victims.
This willingness to utterly disregard all moral and ethical reference points when convenient appears to me to be endemic in organized religion, and particularly prevalent in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Indeed, the only thing the latter appears to do well is to litigate over property. But without love or compassion, or genuine concern for others, why bother? The litigation, which I foolishly supported, was a complete waste of time and money. In short, it was the proverbial case of two bald men fighting over a comb.

Here’s a screen cap summarizing the findings in the Church of England report.





Friday, June 1, 2018

See for Yourself: Statement from the Rev. Stephen Parsons, Expert on Abusive Churches

The Rev. Stephen Parsons is a retired Church of England priest and internationally recognized expert on abusive/shunning churches.

After reviewing Bob Malm’s actions, here’s what he wrote:





Keep that in mind the next time you hear Bob Malm carrying on about how he’s being defamed, complaining about how he’s the victim in all of this, and his usual bag of tricks.