Inquiry into alleged sexual abuse by the late Dean of Manchester

The Archbishop of York has announced an independent inquiry into the Church’s handling of reports of alleged sexual abuse by Robert Waddington, formerly Dean of Manchester, who died in 2007. The full terms of reference are as follows:

“Having consulted the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, the Archbishop of York hereby:

1. Commissions an Independent Inquiry into the issues surrounding the reports relating to alleged child sexual abuse by the late Robert Waddington.

2. Appoints as Chair of the Inquiry Her Honour Judge Sally Cahill QC, Mrs Nicola Harding, Solicitor, and Registrar for the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds, will act as Secretary to the Inquiry, and Mr Joe Cocker will act as Independent Social Work Consultant.

3. Calls upon the Inquiry:

(i).    to establish what information suggesting that Robert Waddington had committed sexual abuse was made known to whom in the Church of England and when;

(ii).  to focus upon an examination of the way in which the relevant Child Protection Policies were or were not applied between the years 1999 and 2005 in the handling, (a) by the Diocese of Manchester and (b) by the then Archbishop of York, of the information provided to them suggesting that sexual abuse had been committed by the late Robert Waddington;

(iii). to consider whether and if so to what extent the handling of that information might have been dealt with differently if the current safeguarding Policies of the Church of England as set out in ‘Protecting all God’s Children’ (2010) and in ‘Responding Well’ (2011) had been in place.

4. The Inquiry will have access to all relevant files held at Bishopthorpe Palace, at the office of the Bishop of Manchester, and at the office of Manchester Cathedral. The Inquiry will liaise with church authorities in the Diocese of North Queensland and the Royal Commission in Australia to ensure that they have had access to all relevant communications between the Diocese of North Queensland,  Australia, and the offices of the Bishop of Manchester and the Archbishop of York. The Inquiry will also conduct interviews (if necessary) with those who may have relevant information.

5. If considered necessary the Inquiry will report to the Archbishop about alterations or extensions to these terms of reference.

6. The Inquiry will take into account any information which may come forward, that is considered relevant by the Chair to the Inquiry.

7. All those who believe that they have information relevant to these matters are invited to submit evidence to the Inquiry.  This may be done in the first instance by writing to Mrs Nicola Harding at Tunnard & Co Solicitors, Cathedral Chambers, 4 Kirkgate, Ripon HG4 1PA, e-mail  njh@tunnardsolicitors.com.

8. The Inquiry will report to the Archbishop of York with recommendations by the end of October 2013. The findings of the Inquiry will be made public.”

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