- 2.3.11 The Dean of Jersey:
Sunday, March 24, 2013
A TEMPLATE LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE DEAN - THE JERSEY WAY IS ALIVE AND KICKING
" THE CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT"
"ENTER THE DEAN OF JERSEY"
"THE VERY REVEREND ROBERT FREDERICK KEY"
"A REPORT BY THE DIOCESE OF WINCHESTER"
"A TEMPLATE LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR THE DEAN"
Much has been written about the suspension of the Dean of Jersey. The links below make for compelling reading. This suspension could have a huge constitutional implications for Jersey.
What about the alleged victim in all this? This is what really concerns me. There seems to be a closing of ranks within the Jersey Church community and a rallying call to come out in support of the Dean. We must also remember that suspension is a neutral act. I can't help but notice some similarities between the suspension of the Dean of Jersey and the suspension of the former Chief of Police, Graham Power. These will be highlighted in future postings.But remember this. Graham Power was suspended for the heinous crime of exposing decades long child abuse in the Jersey care system. The Dean was suspended for not following the Church of England protocol in relation to care and safeguarding within the church.
Former Deputy, Bob Hill, has asked for a statement to be made by the Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator, Ian Gorst. I will quote from Mr Hill's blog:
On page 41 the author records, “The decision and manner of H.G.’s deportation requires further investigation. It is clearly a matter of concern that a vulnerable adult in such a distressed state could be removed from Jersey with no thought to her imminent care needs. It seems surprising that the complainant against H.G., in this case the Dean of Jersey on behalf of the Church, was not consulted or informed about the decisions taken, or action planned, concerning H.G.’s future. There are no records of communication from R.K. with the Diocese at this time and Bishop Michael later expressed shock and distress that the deportation had occurred.”
This is a statement I entirely endorse the need for further investigation and to this end I shall forward details of this Blog to our Chief Minister. I believe this is an Island matter and should be addressed via an Inquiry/investigation. I will request the Chief Minister to take immediate steps to address the matter and make his intentions known via a Statement before or at the next States Sitting which because of the Easter holidays is not until Tuesday 16th April.
The author records “the Church let H.G. down. Despite the difficulties of her background and disablement, and struggle with some everyday practicalities, H.G. was none-the-less in employment, pursuing hobbies, socializing and wanting to be accepted in the church community. Over the next three years H.G.’s life changed from having no history of being in trouble with the law, to having a police record and being a displaced person, homeless on the streets of the mainland.”
As a responsible and caring community how could the above happen, are our Health, Social Services, Police, Courts, Legal Advisors and other relevant agencies fully trained and resourced to respond to people like HG? Given her experience one is left to wonder."End
It raises serious questions regarding the legal advise received by the alleged victim. The matter of deportation and what happened after must be seriously looked at. Was Jersey just washing their hands of what they saw as a nuisance?
Let us now look at the template letter that has been sent out:
The Bishop of Winchester
The Rt Revd Timothy Dakin
I am writing to express my shock and concern at the recent suspension of the Dean of Jersey. 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.
I fully recognise the importance of taking issues of safeguarding seriously and am distressed to learn that a vulnerable member of our community has been damaged through the course of these events. My prayers are for healing and restoration for her and I am sure that 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.
Nonetheless I have a number of significant concerns about how this matter has been handled by the Diocese of Winchester. 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.
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 our 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.
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.
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.
I would like to see all parties in this affair treated with justice, including the Dean, which does not at present appear to be the case. I hope that you will take my concerns seriously and that we will see the Dean’s suspension revoked imminently and steps taken to repair and restore relationships between the island churches and the Diocese of Winchester.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
____________________________ Minister of__________________ Church
(Minister’s Name) (Name of Church)
I could spend some time telling you, the readers, what I believe to be wrong with the above letter. I will leave this for the comments section.
Let us not forget what the Dean of Jersey said in the States of Jersey when speaking on the "Committee of Inquiry" debate. This debate was for the States of Jersey to finally agree to a Committee of inquiry into decades long child abuse in the Jersey Care system. This speech was given on March 6th 2013.
I rise very briefly to endorse what Members have said about the welcome that should be given from all areas of society to this proposal and I am particularly glad that it has been enlarged to include the third sector, so that we are not simply saying this is about government-run institutions or government-run child care but is about all those who in any way provide things in which children and young people participate. Of course it is right that there must be justice for those who have suffered. There must also be justice for any who consider themselves to have been falsely accused or tried by innuendo and rumour. I rose some years ago when Haut de la Garenne first broke and asked the then Chief Minister, Senator Frank Walker, for 3 assurances. One was that there would not be any financial limits on the investigation. The second was that there would be no place to hide no matter what connections or influence anybody involved in this should have, and the third was that looking to the future Jersey would develop 5-star gold standard ways of dealing with children and young people. It seems to me that this proposition is where the answer to that finally lies. Of course when the report is made we will then have to think about how we implement recommendations and indeed how we evaluate those recommendations. But as somebody who did take an interest those years ago and indeed where we arranged the first service at St. Martin de Gouray for those who had been involved in any way and for the police who were conducting the investigation, it seems right that I should welcome, in the name of the charitable and third sector, this particular proposition and also to undertake on behalf of my colleagues who have any leadership responsibility in that charitable and third sector our utmost wish to co-operate and encourage others to co-operate in whatever ways seem appropriate not only with the inquiry, but also to make sure that we genuinely achieve that 5-star gold standard for the future. We are not necessarily, in this Chamber now, responsible for what may have happened 20 or 30 years ago, but we are most certainly responsible for what happens in the next 20 and 30 years.
Two days later, on the 8th March ,The Dean was suspended.
Was the Dean as good as his own words when he states:
"But as somebody who did take an interest those years ago and indeed where we arranged the first service at St. Martin de Gouray for those who had been involved in any way and for the police who were conducting the investigation, it seems right that I should welcome, in the name of the charitable and third sector, this particular proposition and also to undertake on behalf of my colleagues who have any leadership responsibility in that charitable and third sector our utmost wish to co-operate and encourage others to co-operate in whatever ways seem appropriate not only with the inquiry, but also to make sure that we genuinely achieve that 5-star gold standard for the future"
Did the Dean fully co-operate with the investigation concerning his own actions? This is from the Winchester Report regarding the Dean and his apparent lack of of co-operation:
There seems to be no spirit of willingness or inquiry in this matter. I found that some of the Island clergy had been actively discouraged by the Dean of Jersey from fully engaging with me and therefore complying with the Bishop’s request.
However, as a result of the absence, or withholding, of records on Jersey and Dean R.K.’s resistance to co-operate with my requests, against the expressed desire of his Bishop, I have had to look more deeply into the possible reasons for this and comment upon whether there are disciplinary matters involved
Have we not learnt any lessons from the past? Look at how this victim of alleged abuse has been treated and is still being treated by some in the Church community. The Jersey Way is still alive and kicking - make no mistake about it.
Check this VFC Posting on the latest:
Part Time Investigative Journalist