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Archbishop of Canterbury accused of knowing about abuse in the church and doing nothing

Archbishop of Canterbury accused of knowing about abuse in the church and doing nothing

The Archbishop of Canterbury faces growing accusations that he has known about abuses in the church and remained a silent observer. In the high profile case of John Smythe, it has come to light that Archbishop Justin Welby had close ties to the organization for which Smythe was working when he beat boys in his garden shed. Welby had, in fact, worked for the organization, although not during the time of the abuses. Welby has claimed that he knew nothing of the beatings until 2013, when a criminal investigation was launched, and has apologized to the victims for not acting sooner. However, there was a previous investigation, in 1982, by the Iwerne Trust, which ran the camps where Smythe perpetrated his acts of violence. This investigation led to Smythe’s banishment to Zimbabwe, but Archbishop Welby claims to have had no previous knowledge of said investigation. Smythe now lives in South Africa, and has been accused of similar abuses in both countries. The results of the investigation were smoothed over by officials of the Trust, and those officials rose in the ranks of the Church of England.

In another case, a victim of sexual abuse, identified only as Gilo, says he contacted the church and specifically Lambeth Palace for years, to no avail. For over four decades, Gilo told church officials, including three bishops, but nothing was done. He wrote seventeen letters to Lambeth palace, but received only one response: a letter from a clerk offering prayers. He received a settlement from the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG), but as a consequence of the agreement, can receive no pastoral care from the church. Gilo has been vocal in criticizing both the EIG and the church in their handling of his case, and in particular, how long it took for there to be any response.


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Laurel Tuttle

When institutions lose their purpose and direction, particularly religious ones, abuses are hidden. After all, no one wants to lose power. Maybe we all need to rethink organized religion. After all, our Anglican origins are somewhat sketchy as it is.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Welby could resign.

Carolyn Johnson

Sad situation. Particularly troubling to me is the case of Gilo. To receive a settlement would seem to me that there was something going on and then to provide NOT pastoral support seems to be absolutely horrible. I would think that for a believer, that might be far more important than money.

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