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Diocese of Chichester abuse report released after 10 years

Wed 09 Jul 2014
By Antony Bushfield

A report looking into allegations of child abuse in the Diocese of Chichester has been published more than 10 years after it was written.

The review was called after the conviction of the head steward at Chichester Cathedral - Terence Banks in 2001.

He was found guilty of 32 sexual abuse offences against 12 boys over 29 years.

The report was commissioned in 2004 amid concerns about how the diocese responded to allegations about Banks but has only now been released after pressure from victims.

It said he used alcohol to "break down inhibitions" of victims and then showed them pornographic material to "start the process of abuse".

The investigation found Banks was still able to access children at the cathedral even after initial allegations had been made about him.

The Anglican community had been "slow to change their child protection responses" according to the report.

It also said the dean of the cathedral wasn't told about an allegation from a 12 year old boy.

Banks was jailed for 16 years in 2001 for his crimes.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said: "Today, as we publish this report, first and foremost our thoughts are with the survivors and their families.

The effects of abuse can last a lifetime and the passing of the years may or may not have resulted in any kind of healing.

As Christians we are profoundly ashamed of abuse that has happened in church or church institutions. 

We extend our most sincere apologies to all survivors and their families, though we know that this can never repair the damage done.

It is our sincere hope that those affected by these crimes will regard the publication of the Report as a positive step.

Our intention is to shed light on past events, to aid learning, build trust and foster openness, not to cause further pain. 

In this way, the publication is intended to reinforce our commitment to a continuous review of our safeguarding practices and procedures."

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