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Church investigating Archbishop’s handling of abuse complaints

The Church of England is investigating the Archbishop of Canterbury’s handling of allegations of abuse by the late John Smyth QC.

Smyth died in 2018, shortly after a Channel 4 News expos into the sadistic abuse of young men groomed at Iwerne Camps, run by the trust he chaired, in the 1970s.

Archbishop Justin Welby worked at the evangelical holiday camps as a dormitory officer but has denied knowing about the abuse.

Following a report on Channel 4 News on Monday night, the Church confirmed that it had received a formal complaint against Welby in connection with Smyth.

It said the complaint was being reviewed by the National Safeguarding Team and would be considered by the Makin Review, the Church of England’s own investigation into the Smyth case launched last year, the findings of which are due to be published in 2021. 

“It is in the public domain that when Lambeth was contacted in 2013 about an allegation against Smyth it liaised with the relevant diocese,” it said in a statement.

“This was to ensure that the survivor was being supported, police had been informed and that the bishop had contacted the Bishop of Cape Town, where Smyth was then living.

“However, since a formal complaint has now been received by the National Safeguarding Team, it is reviewing information and will obviously respond on this to the person who brought the complaint and take any further action if needed.” 

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