The British state church has been accused of "an appalling, shocking level of negligence" by a lawyer who specialises in child abuse cases. The claim, reported in the Daily Telegraph, followed the leaking of confidential Church of England documents that say that its bishops have concealed decades of child abuse.
One document quoted by the newspaper says that "most serious concerns will have been known by the senior staff at the time" and that there have been large scale systemic failures.
Earlier this year an Anglican vicar was jailed for 5 years for abusing 6 boys over 30 years. When complaints against him were lodged in 1983 the Church claimed that it had dealt with the problem. Also this year, a choirmaster was allowed to leave the Church quietly when officials were told that he had abused boys 17 years before.
The Church has said that as a result of these revelations it will investigate urgently.
The Church of England is the state church of Britain. It appoints 32 bishops to sit in Parliament as legislators. Six of the Church Commissioners who manage the Church’s property and stock market assets hold state office. They include the prime minister and the sport & culture minister. The commissioners are accountable to Parliament and to the General Synod of the Church.