“A child sex abuse inquiry has exposed “stupidity, incompetence and lying” at the highest levels of the Church of England a serving bishop has said, calling for an independent body to oversee safeguarding policy.
During two weeks of evidence sessions, with another week still to go, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has heard numerous accounts of abusers within the church whose offences were ignored, dismissed or covered up by senior figures.
The Right Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, agreed with calls on Twitter for the handling of safeguarding policy within the church to be handed to an independent external body. He wrote: “Yes. A terrible week with evidence of stupidity, incompetence, lying, dumping responsibility at every level including the highest. Bishops must be accountable.”
The IICSA has heard claims from senior clergy that they did not believe priests were capable of wrongdoing due to their holy orders, hearing from Nicholas Reade, the former Archdeacon of Lewes and Hastings and Bishop of Blackburn, that: “I take priests at their word. The idea of a priest telling lies to the bishop horrifies me. However, I’m afraid I did learn this had happened.”
Bishop Wilson told The Times last September that the church’s stock response to abuse allegations was to “hide and call the lawyers”.”