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Bishop of Carlisle offers apology for clergy abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, October 28, 2012 p 4. October 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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The Rev. Ronald Johns

The Bishop of Carlisle has met with parishioners of St Kentigern’s Church, Caldbeck in Cumbria to apologize for his predecessor’s handling of allegations of child abuse committed by the church’s former vicar, Ronald Johns.

On 15 Oct 2012, Bishop James Newcome apologised for Bishop Ian Harland’s actions. After allegations of abuse were made against Johns in 1993, Bishop Harland transferred him from his post as canon at Carlisle Cathedral to serve as vicar of Caldbeck and Castle Sowerby with Sebergham in 1994.

While the victims did not press their charges against Johns at that time, on 27 Sept 2012 Johns (75) pled guilty to two charges of indecent assault and four counts of gross indecency against one victim, two charges of gross indecency with a second victim, and two charges of gross indecency with a third.

Following Johns’ plea, the diocese released a statement saying “We have been deeply shocked and grieved by the Rev. Ron Johns’ admission of very serious child sexual abuse. It is right that the highest standards should be expected of clergy – and Mr. Johns has not lived up to his vocation and profession.”

The diocese added that it “too must take its share of responsibility. When the first allegations of abuse were made in 1993, the matter was not well handled by the then Bishop: even though at that time the complainants did not wish to pursue the matter with the Police, it was absolutely wrong that Mr Johns should have been offered another post.

We apologise unreservedly to his victims that we failed to take the action that we should have taken to prevent children and young people being harmed. We also apologise to the parishioners at Caldbeck and recognise the profound and damaging impact on all those affected,” the diocesan statement said.

Bishop Newcome said, “I unreservedly condemn this and any abuse. Jesus made it clear that those who are most vulnerable should be most precious, and hence safest with the Church. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

Johns will come before the Carlisle Crown Court on 19 Nov 2012 for sentencing.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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