South East Today, BBC1 (South East), 5 November 2015 CofE abuse victim criticises bishop’s ‘no cover-up’ response, Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

An item in the programme and an associated online piece, on the handling of allegations of sexual abuse against clergy in the Diocese of Chichester, stated that there were 11 cases in which men connected with the diocese had been proven to have been involved in sexual abuse, and that the late Bishop George Bell was among them.  The journalist Peter Hitchens complained that this was inaccurate, as the allegations against Bishop Bell had never been tested in court and, although the church authorities had recently apologised to and settled a civil claim with his accuser, they were not in a position to determine his guilt and had not in fact stated that they believed him guilty.

The original statement by the church authorities had not explicitly said they believed Bishop Bell to have been guilty, but a subsequent statement said they had accepted the veracity of the allegations on the balance of probabilities.  This, however, did not warrant reporting as a matter of fact that the allegations had been proven.  Noting that South East Today had accepted in previous correspondence that the term was inappropriate and had undertaken to avoid it in future, the ECU considered that the issue of complaint had been resolved.