A "Call for Evidence" Briefing Note.

We will shortly be launching a "Call for Evidence" to better understand the nature, degree and prevalence of Institutional HinduOdium, Racism and Abuse of Authority in the British InterFaith sector. In anticipation of the launch, we share a first hand account of British InterFaith by Pt Satish K Sharma in which evidence is provided to underline the urgent need for such an investigation. 

Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) Against Bishop Sarah Mullally for Victimisation of CDM Complainant

Lambeth Palace has acknowledged that a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (CDM) has been filed against Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, by Survivor N, a black Vulnerable Adult victim alleging some fifteen years of sexual abuse, stalking and bullying at the hands of a vicar and trained police chaplain in Hackney.  The vicar, William Campbell-Taylor of St Thomas’ Church, Clapton Common, is also currently the subject of a legal CDM complaint.

Some of the safeguarding and other allegations concerning the cleric and former Labour Party councillor, have already been published in the article, “William Campbell-Taylor, the Bishop Peter Ball Report and Clergy Abuse of Power” on VirtueOnline, in the context of the Gibbs Report on Vulnerable Adult abuse, and examples of gifts given by the vicar to the survivor together with affectionate dedications from the cleric are also published online.


The Ecclesiastical Law Society’s Final Report on reform of the Clergy Discipline Measure continues to uphold a “central role” for bishops in judging safeguarding concerns.  However, the witness statements and evidence in this case detail a history of extreme retaliatory harassment by the respondent vicar after the survivor submitted CDM complaints against him, with some alleged involvement therein of Diocese of London bishops and Church officials. 

Senior abuse lawyers acting for survivors have described this as, “the worst example of post-abuse victimisation of a CDM complainant we have ever seen”.


Survivor N (who cannot be named for legal reasons) is also a Core Participant Witness in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and was a key whistleblower to IICSA on the Bishop of London’s employment of the controversial scandal management company, Luther Pendragon Limited.  This article about retribution against a BAME survivor within the CDM process is therefore compiled in consultation with witnesses and advisors in this case.

Being a first-hand witness over the years of this case who knows Survivor N, I have watched as Anglican institutional abuse collides with Anglican institutional racism in the persecution of this black abuse victim and CDM complainant.  I testify how the escalating retaliation caused this Vulnerable Adult to recently try to take his own life.  A passer-by found him in the early hours crumpled on a remote riverbank, and he was rushed to hospital and placed on a drip to counter the poisoning.  His liver is permanently damaged, and he remains under supervision for risk of suicide.


The respondent vicar, William Campbell-Taylor, was previously Labour councillor in the City of London Ward of Portsoken.  On the coat tails of Justin Welby’s public marketing of “good” Church of England’s heroic struggle against “bad” Wonga and City bankers, Campbell-Taylor was star of the film, “The UK Gold”, concerning the City of London Corporation, and gave his self-description as the “turbulent priest who heads into danger and causes an uproar”.  I believe he has expressed interest in standing again next year as Labour candidate for Portsoken, with his bishop’s support.


However, in contrast to the cinematic spin, actual working class residents of Portsoken Ward who were acting under “Stage 1” of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, wrote a multi-signature letter to the Bishop of London about their vicar-councillor in which they alleged “multiple instances of bullying, harassment, stalking, blackmail, false and untrue public statements, including dishonest claims of credit for work done by others”.  The complainants asked for an urgent meeting with Sarah Mullally and Archdeacon of London, Luke Miller, who is currently Chaplain to the Queen.  Despite a raft of safeguarding and other concerns raised by local people in their witness statements, from local officers, church administrators and estate managers, as well as video election hustings evidence, Sarah Mullally entirely declined the “CDM Stage 1” letter request to meet the community.


When a second ethnic minority Vulnerable Adult from Portsoken filed a police report claiming abuse and harassment by the same cleric, official records show Diocese of London authorities writing directly to the City of London Police to counter the investigation taking place into this priest.


When a group of colleagues began to write on behalf of Survivor N under CDM “Stage 1” to the Bishop of London and Church House about the alleged abuse and harassment, Sarah Mullally improperly leaked some of this confidential correspondence to the respondent vicar (her doing so prior to actually receiving the CDM complaint papers).  The lawyer advising the Bishop and Diocesan Registrar at the time was Sue Kelly of Winckworth Sherwood LLP.  Ms Kelly acted to support the respondent vicar, while concurrently being a “neutral” counsel in the CDM process for the “neutral” Bishop Mullally.


I was appalled at the Bishop of London’s breach of confidentiality, and I myself emailed back to Sarah Mullally and the same fixed group of a dozen or so email recipients comprised of Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace safeguarding officials, directly-involved witnesses and advisors who, over the span of a whole 2 years had been communicating in back and forth group emails with Bishop Mullally and copying their replies “to all” within the same closed recipient group of this private and confidential legal-safeguarding correspondence (4 of the email addresses in the recipient group were actually those of Bishop Sarah Mullally herself, directly and via her private secretaries).


I complained how the Bishop of London, whom the CofE’s own Clergy Discipline Commission demands must handle and arbitrate over CDM complaints to a standard of “scrupulous neutrality”, could so shockingly prejudge the matter and write to others declaring the survivors’ allegations “unsubstantiated” before her even beginning to investigate the complaint.


The other directly-involved CDM witnesses who were also part of the same closed email recipient group, likewise expressed their shock and outrage at this breach by the Bishop of London of their expectation of confidentiality in relation to these legal-safeguarding communications within the group.  This led to a deep distrust and anger by local people from Portsoken in the Bishop of London’s bias and collusion in her response to their multiple and serious concerns about William Campbell-Taylor, which dismay they expressed in some of the CDM witness statements.  In fact, the tone of Sarah Mullally’s email to William Campbell-Taylor rather says it all.


Following the bishop’s email leak and the filing of the CDM against him, the documentary record evidences how Campbell-Taylor began a campaign of harassment including unsolicited contact with the survivor’s workplaces, close work colleagues and other areas of his life, some of which history is detailed in a published witness statement.  Notably, much of the post-CDM victimisation is documented as taking place with the knowledge of the Diocese of London and its bishops.


In an appalling twist, this Hackney-trained police chaplain used Sarah Mullally’s leaked email to file a complaint to Hackney Police of “publication” – namely claiming that by this confidential email having been copied to the bit over a dozen Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace safeguarding officials, directly-involved witnesses and advisors, somehow this made the private legal email “a form of publication” akin to a press article or online blog.  Bishop Mullally herself described it to police as a “bulk email”.


DC Karen Johns of Hackney Police thereafter charged the survivor with “publication” in breach of a Court Order which had previously been obtained by Campbell-Taylor prohibiting such publication.  DC Johns initially did not disclose, but later on admitted that she had spoken with the Christian counsellor who was the one who had actually drafted and sent the email that is subject of this charge against Survivor N of “publication”.


The ecclesiastical law firm, Lee Bolton Monier-Williams LLP, has since prepared a detailed legal opinion with documentary evidence, in which they argue why back-and-forth private group correspondence associated with a legal CDM complaint cannot possibly be a “form of publication”.  Witnesses who participated in the correspondence also attest in their sworn statements to their shock at Sarah Mullally leaking what they expected to be confidential communication.


The Judge’s decision on this question of “publication” will set a colossal legal precedent affecting survivors, and the ability of bishops and church officials to leak victims’ confidential correspondence to alleged abusers outwith the CDM process, leading to potential retaliation against complainants by the respondent vicars.


Some years ago, I was the lead organiser of a debate in Parliament on clergy abuse, with a panel of prominent abuse lawyers, Christian and non-Christian faith leaders and survivors.  I witnessed first-hand how the Diocese of London employed agents to make unsolicited contact and to apply pressure on my close colleague, the MP who had booked the meeting room for me in the House of Commons, and then subsequently made threats to organisers in relation to our publication of the video footage of the meeting.  Survivor N spoke on that occasion and blew the whistle on the actions of the Bishop of London, Luther Pendragon as well as his own experience of abuse at the hands of William Campbell-Taylor.


Thereafter, the Church assisted this Hackney Police Chaplain, William Campbell-Taylor, in getting colleague, the same DC Karen Johns of Hackney Police, to charge Survivor N.  Despite the fact that the criminal prosecution failed on the back of much protest from abuse survivors, the resulting civil Court Order has led to devastating consequences for Survivor N, as the abundant records demonstrate how Campbell-Taylor over recent years has pursued a campaign of inserting himself into virtually every area of the survivor’s work and civic life, and weaponised the Order to pursue what Hackney Police admits are “numerous complaints”.


The extensive witness statements and documents show that William Campbell-Taylor filed applications to join civic, cultural and other organisations in which he knew Survivor N had already been an Officer for years, and on occasion turned up to committee meetings where he knew in advance Survivor N would be present and then called the authorities to claim “distress and alarm” – all to the outrage of local people who alerted the Chair of the City of London Standards Committee.


I have also previously documented how William Campbell-Taylor is alleged by senior Clergy Union colleagues to have “agitated” against Survivor N through his friend and fellow City of London Labour clergy-politician, Revd Steven Saxby (“the Red Rev”), this behaviour contributing to the resignation in protest of the highly respected Clergy Union Chair, Canon Stephen Trott, due to what he called this “vendetta” against the survivor.  The national press have since reported Steven Saxby’s sacking from clergy office and suspension from the Labour Party due to multiple sexual wrongdoing and alleged sexual harassment.


Survivor N filed and registered complaints to the police about these multiple alleged incidents of stalking and entryism by William Campbell-Taylor into virtually every sphere of his work and private life, but astonishingly these complaints were funnelled to Hackney Police.  In staggering Stephen Lawrence-style contrast to the extensive police time and resources expended in investigating the complaints by Campbell-Taylor, this black Survivor N’s complaints were never followed up Hackney Police, no witness statement ever taken from the complainant, none of the survivor’s calls returned.


Archbishop Justin Welby has spoken of how the Church of England is “still deeply institutionally racist”.  Here we have a black survivor where vested religious power and backroom influence has led to the legal system itself being manipulated to silence him from ever speaking about his abuse, the CDM proper processes have been violated to obstruct his legal redress, and moreover there is no protection from such harassment is afforded to him even from law enforcement where cosy clergy-to-police influences obtain.


Perversely, Sarah Mullally remains arbiter of the Survivor N’s live CDM complaint against Campbell-Taylor (despite herself being the subject of a CDM). 

The Diocesan Registrar, Stuart Jones, wrote to the survivor’s lawyers following his private chat with the Bishop of London to encourage the survivor to put his differences aside and withdraw his complaint.  The CDM Code of Practice prohibits a respondent from pressuring a complainant to discontinue his complaint.  Clergy friends of Survivor N have also reported that they were contacted by Anglican third parties to “use their influence” to encourage the survivor to withdraw his complaint because “it wouldn’t go well for him”.


The Diocese of London’s role in covering for the wrongdoing of their clergy like William Campbell-Taylor dates back also to the Bishop of London’s St Ethelburga’s Centre in the City of London dishonestly using academic materials produced by Survivor N to file a government grant application for thousands upon thousands of pounds, which monies were used to fund Campbell-Taylor’s project and salary.  This use of the survivor’s intellectual property was done completely without his knowledge or permission, and rather he experienced further victimisation from the vicar and the institution when he blew the whistle on this theft.


It is difficult to ignore the obvious fact that the same names of Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood keep popping up again and again in cases of victimisation of abuse victims, whistleblowers and others who have come up against the power politics of the Establishment Church.  I remain staggered at how perfectly the Church of England hierarchy’s dark record stands alongside that of those other Luther Pendragon’s clients who are desperately in need of “reputation management” – the arms industry, tobacco industry, nuclear waste industry.

It is also glaring how skin colour and racial difference are lethal Anglican risk factors for experience of such abuse and bullying. 

An Asian priest in the Diocese of London reports how he was stripped of office and told by Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney that he was “beyond the love of God” for falling in love with, and marrying a congregant after his divorce. 

And yet, in the same parallel case of the white London bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker, both the Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury granted Baker special permission to remain as bishop following his divorce and remarriage.


Just to tie things up nicely, it was the same Bishop Adrian Newman who year after year gave Campbell-Taylor permission to stand as a politician in Portsoken, despite the concerns of misconduct raised by local people in the Ward people being very much in the public domain.  When the close friends and parents of Survivor N started to raise complaints with Newman and the then Archdeacon of Hackney, Rachel Treweek, her galling response to the survivor was, “I have always known him [William Campbell-Taylor] to act with utter integrity”.


When Rachel Treweek was thereafter elevated to Bishop of Gloucester, she published a YouTube video condemning her predecessor in the post, Bishop Peter Ball.  She stated:  “I am utterly ashamed that one of my predecessors, a so-called bishop in the Church of England, could have committed such horrific abuse, and an awful abuse of faith.  I also want to say once again how sickened I am by the Church’s response at the time – bishops and archbishop more interested in protecting a bishop and the reputation of the Church rather than putting victims and survivors at the heart of their response, which is what they should have done”.


During the IICSA Inquiry, Rachel Treweek is said to have told a respected journalist that the Church of England has entirely changed since that time, and such abuses of process couldn’t happen now.  In some dismay at the hypocrisy of her video, a respected Christian leader and doctor wrote to Bishop Treweek, challenging her prior conduct in relation to Survivor N.


However, for those of us who over the years have come to experience at close quarters the un-Christian wickedness at the heart of the institution of the Church of England hierarchy, we are only too aware of these forked tongues and doublespeak.  Following each damning public inquiry, these bishops have repeatedly shed tears on television and commended the courage of abuse survivors in their quest for justice, while concurrently being armed to the teeth with the brutal weaponry of Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood to threaten, bully, and this case drive a BAME survivor and whistleblower towards his suicide.


Let us end therefore with the published words of Bishop Sarah Mullally on her blog about survivors, and marvel at their perfect witness to this same hypocrisy:  “Finally Jo Kind [Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors] brought us back to the issue of power and trust and its abuse, this is something which we need to talk about more seriously.  I wish change could occur overnight – it can’t, but I hope to match the tenacity shown by survivors by ensuring that change does occur”.

The question for British Hindu's who have experienced racism, Hinduodium (hatred for Hindus) and overt religious supremacy in British InterFaith must be "How does one engage in meaningful British Interfaith with the everpresent hand of what the Archbishop of Canterbury himself described as a Church which is "deeply, institutionally racist"?


 Pt Satish K Sharma is Chair of the British Board of Dharmic Scholars and Trustee of the Anglican Foundation.

This article is published at http://churchofenglandblog.com/

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