Below is the content of an e-mail sent to "The Christian Community," and others, along with one of its attachments, the other attachment (template letter) is published on Rico Sorda's Blog HERE.
Regular readers will be aware that the Dean of Jersey (Bob Key) was suspended by the Bishop of Winchester (Tim Dakin) as a result of the Dean's alleged mishandling of a Safeguarding issue concerning a complaint from a vulnerable parishioner of alleged abuse which we have reported on HERE and HERE.
The suspension (or not) has raised some huge constitutional issues between the church and the crown which have been very well covered by former Health Minister Stuart Syvret HERE. Former Deputy, Human Rights Campaigner, and 30 year MET Police Veteran Bob Hill has also reported on this case with the treatment of the alleged abuse victim being his focus and is a must read which can be read HERE.
The e-mail/letter below, in our opinion, demonstrates that nothing has been learnt from the Savile and Haut de la Garenne atrocities, here in Jersey, indeed the very same culture that allowed/enabled the abuse to carry on for decades is as strong now as it ever was.
For those who have followed the Haut de la Garenne Child Abuse cover up you will recognise the formula employed to discredit the investigation and the investigator(s) and not least the victims. This is usually done through our State Media.
Readers might recall Channel Television winning an award for little more than a cut and paste job concerning the expenses of the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation (Operation Rectangle) which was seen as "A Kick In The Teeth" by some Abuse Victims/Survivors as published HERE.
The discredited, and disgraced, BBC, in our opinion, has also played its part, not so much in what it HAS reported but equally as important in what it HASN'T reported as demonstrated HERE and HERE.
Then we have Jersey's only "news"paper who spent a great deal of its time, in our opinion, doing whatever it could to discredit "Operation Rectangle" and its investigators as exposed in a damming report, a link to which can be found HERE.
Where in all of this has the support for the victims been?
So here (below) we have, what we see to be, a continuation of the "recognised formula" where there appears to be little support for the alleged abuse victim, full support for those who allegedly failed her, and an attack on those who tried/are trying to support her.
Attached to this e-mail you will find two documents.
The first is a summary of our issues and concerns with some points to raise in a letter to the Bishop, copied to the Archbishop, addresses supplied.
Secondly there is a letter that you can just add your name and address to and send if you prefer.
I urge you to act as we have a powerful collective voice in the Church, please do not leave this to other people!!
Also it matters not what denomination you are as Bob is the only overtly Christian voice representing us all in the States and I believe that cross denominational support adds strength to the case.
Please therefore not only write your own letter or sign and send ours but send this on to all your contacts, or print it off and hand it out to those who don't have e-mail.
Together we can make a difference!
Finally, please pray for all concerned in this unhappy situation, for
truth and justice to prevail and for a swift reconciliation.
A people’s response to the suspension of the Dean, Bob Key
Many of us have been shocked and confused by the recent suspension of Bob Key, the Dean of Jersey. For many of us in the Christian Community in Jersey, Bob has long been a pivotal member – a devoted leader, a compassionate pastor, a wise advisor and a faithful minister of the gospel. Indeed Bob seems to embody the description of the man of God in Micah 6 ‘ to act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’
A number of people have also asked how you can help – who you can write to and what you can say to express your support for Bob. This letter aims to clarify some issues that are being discussed and to ask you to show your support for Bob by writing a letter to the Bishop of Winchester copied to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Some points you may wish to include in a letter are set out at the end of the email.
Issues and concerns
There are a number of issues and concerns that have emerged in the days following the Dean’s suspension. Set out below are some of these, with some comments which you may find of use.
Reason for suspension: There has been some misrepresentation of the reasons why Bob has been suspended. At no point is Bob in any way suspected of behaving inappropriately towards this vulnerable adult. Indeed, at no time in Bob’s long ministry has there ever been the slightest suggestion of inappropriate conduct. The investigation and subsequent suspension are related solely to alleged irregularities in the way the investigation was handled.
Cooperation: It has been said in the review, and in the Diocese’s press release, that Bob did not cooperate with the review. This is categorically not the case. Reading the review you could easily infer that Bob did not speak with the reviewer – on the contrary he met with the reviewer on two separate occasions as requested, for several hours. At all times Bob was open and participated willingly. He was reserved in responding at times where it was not within his authority to disclose information, but the accusations about his failure to cooperate are damaging and untrue.
Failure to act: The review and press reports have stated that Bob failed to act quickly and appropriately in dealing with the allegations made. Again this is untrue. As soon as Bob received the allegation he began to investigate it. I am sure you know from personal experience of Bob that he is a man of great pastoral capability with a gracious manner and a keen concern for justice. Bob took this matter very seriously, acted swiftly and was at all times extremely concerned to ensure that the complaint was dealt with appropriately. It is easy in hindsight to pick holes in the order and timing of particular actions.
Legality of suspension: It is not at present clear whether the Bishop’s actions are entirely lawful within the island. As you know, Jersey is a separate legal jurisdiction and the Dean of Jersey is a crown appointment. Further the Dean has a specific and particular ceremonial and advisory role in the government of the island. It does not prima facie seem appropriate that the Bishop act to suspend the Dean apparently without sufficient consultation and agreement with the appropriate parties.
Failures of process: Throughout this process there has been little, if any, pastoral support for Bob and his wife Daphne through what has been a particularly difficult and challenging experience. The way Bob has been treated is unkind and disrespectful in the extreme and has not in any way followed either good practice or common humanity. Bob was not given a draft of the review, was not given an opportunity to respond and comment on the factual accuracy of the review, indeed he had no opportunity to see or read the review before it was published on the Winchester website.
If you would like to write a letter in support of the Dean here are a few points you might like to consider including. In addition a draft letter is attached for convenience. Please feel free to write separately, use the letter as it is, or amend it to include any other points you would like to raise with the Archbishop.
· Character of the Dean: The Dean is well known in the island as a man of integrity, wisdom, and compassion who has a real concern to preach the gospel of Jesus and support the Christian community in Jersey. He is very well loved and respected and an important leader in our society here and this suspension has been very damaging both to the Christian community and to the cause of the gospel in Jersey.
· Importance of safeguarding: it is important to take issues of safeguarding seriously and distressing to learn that a vulnerable member of our community has been damaged through the course of these events. All Christians in Jersey would affirm the importance of appropriate and effective procedures to ensure that these things do not occur, and are properly dealt with if they do.
· Heavy handed response: The suspension of the Dean appears to be very heavy handed in the circumstances – there is no evidence of an attempt to balance the perceived procedural failures against the very many years of faithful ministry in Jersey and elsewhere. Publishing the review on the internet and issuing press releases containing strong accusations against the Dean does not seem to be a biblical or brotherly way to handle the matter. No space has been given in the review or the press releases to the long service the Dean has rendered to the gospel and the church throughout his career and in recent years his dedicated service to Jersey.
· Unfair bias: the review and subsequent press releases appear to be unfairly biased against the Dean – the review appears to be very concerned with the failings of the Dean as an individual rather than the overall adequacy or otherwise of the procedures and the responsibilities of all parties involved to handle these matters. Indeed the review seems to be very personal – which has very significantly and unhelpfully undermined trust in the Bishop and the Diocese. Further the press releases by the Diocese, while nominally asserting that the action taken is a neutral measure, contain a number of allegations about the Dean’s behaviour in relation to the review which are clearly not neutral.
· Integrity of the review: the way the review has been approached is a matter for grave concern – there are repeated and heavy references to the ‘Interim Report on the Visitation of the Diocese of Chichester 2012’ and the ‘Review of the Diocese of Chichester 2012’ which were published some four years after these events. The layout of the review regularly implies that the Dean failed to implement these recommendations. This appears unreasonable given the disparity in dates between the reports (published 2012) and the events being investigated (2008) and would therefore seem to undermine the credibility and reliability of the review itself.
· Christian representation: the Dean of Jersey is the voice of all Christians in Jersey – his role in the States of Jersey and the respect and attention given to his views mean that he is able to express the Christian viewpoint in many areas of our civic life. The suspension of the Dean means that this key ministry has been summarily cut off and all Christians, from across the denominations, have been disenfranchised in Jersey.
· Justice: all parties in this affair should be treated with justice, including the Dean, which does not at present appear to be the case. The Dean’s suspension should be revoked imminently and steps taken to repair and restore relationships between the island churches and the Diocese of Winchester.
It would be wonderful if you feel you are able to write a letter in support of Bob and to encourage others to do the same.
Please address your letter to the Bishop of Winchester and copy it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and your own minister (if applicable). Please feel free to make any or all of the points above, and anything else you consider to be important. Please also pass this on to others you know and encourage them to write as well. The attached letter can be printed and name and address added by hand if that is easier for some. It is probably best to email a copy of your letter to the Bishop and Archbishop, and then, if you can, to send a signed hard copy in the post in order to ensure that as many letters as possible are received as soon as possible. The Bishop’s and Archbishop’s email addresses and postal addresses are included in the attached letter.
Thank-you for taking the time to read this lengthy letter – please take action to support Bob and ensure that our voice is heard. Please feel free to forward this email or share it with anyone who you feel might be interested and prepared to support the Dean.(END)
We ask our readers to show support for the alleged abuse victim by writing to the Bishop of Winchester in support of his actions, in suspending the Dean, or withdrawing his commission, making it clear that the good people of Jersey want to see an end to this "recognised formula" and to start putting the safety, well being, and protection of vulnerable people as their priority.
Alternatively readers can leave comments here in support of "HG" and Bishop Tim Dakin's decisive action as the Winchester Diocese will be reading it/them.
We also ask the question, when there is this kind of campaign for those who allegedly failed "HG," what chance does she stand of gaining justice and some kind of closure, while this recognised formula continues to prevail?
The Bishop can be contacted by letter at:
The Bishop of Winchester
The Rt Revd Timothy Dakin
Winchester SO23 9ND
He can be e-mailed at:
Readers on Twitter can also Tweet this posting to the Winchester Diocese @CofEWinchester