Bishop of Chichester George Bell's sex abuse victim gets compensation

  • Published
Rt Rev George BellImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Rt Rev George Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in 1958

A victim who was sexually abused as a young child by a former Bishop of Chichester who died in the 1950s has received compensation from the Church.

Allegations against the Rt Rev George Bell were first made by the victim in 1995 but were not investigated or referred to the police.

Bell was Bishop of Chichester from 1929 until his death in October 1958.

Current Bishop Dr Martin Warner issued a formal apology after the Diocese of Chichester settled the civil claim.

'Remains bitter'

He paid tribute to the victim's courage in coming forward to report the abuse.

"I am committed to ensuring that the past is handled with honesty and transparency," he said.

The allegations of sexual offences against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern an individual who was at the time a young child.

The victim first reported the abuse to the then Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, in August 1995 but no action was taken until contact was made with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's office in 2013.

Following settlement of the claim, Bishop Warner wrote to the survivor formally apologising and expressing his deep sorrow.

Image source, Diocese of Chichester
Image caption,
The current Bishop of Chichester Dr Martin Warner issued a formal apology to the victim

The victim's solicitor said they remained bitter their 1995 complaint was not properly listened to or dealt with.

"The failure to respond properly was very damaging, and combined with the abuse that was suffered has had a profound effect on my client's life," said Tracey Emmott.

"For my client, the compensation finally received does not change anything."

Another retired Church of England bishop was jailed last week for a string of offences against teenagers and young men.

Peter Ball, 83, the former Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester was sentenced to 32 months for misconduct in public office and 15 months for indecent assaults, to run concurrently.

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