The following statement has been issued by the Church of England in response to the article written by Simon Heffer that appeared in the Daily Mail online 30/3/15
In June 2014 one of the Church of England’s safeguarding advisers contacted the Police with information concerning individuals against whom allegations had been made to a priest in the 1980s. The allegations concerned Members of Parliament who were alleged to be members of a Satanic cult in connection with the trial of Derry Mainwaring Knight who was convicted for fraud in 1986.
References to these allegations had been in the public domain as part of the trial of and also in a book by Tim Tate “Children for the Devil: Ritual Abuse and Satanic Crime” (1991).
These allegations were passed to the police in 2014 following correspondence between Dominic Walker, the former Bishop of Monmouth (and before that of Reading), to whom the allegations had been made and the lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Bishop Paul Butler. Dominic Walker was clear that he had no evidence relating to the allegations. The allegations referred to membership of satanic cults rather than direct criminal activity.
Consequently it is incorrect to suggest, as Simon Heffer does in the Daily Mail online 30 March 2015 that the Church of England is conducting a review into historic sex abuse in this matter.
Further it is untrue to say that the Church of England proactively placed these allegations into the public domain. Rather this occurred through a story published by the Mail on Sunday on 29 March 2015.
The Mail on Sunday approached the Communications Office of the Church of England on 27 March 2015 seeking confirmation that the name of Enoch Powell was part of a conversation in the 1980s in relation to ritual satanic abuse.
The extent of the Church of England’s actions in this matter has been to pass these allegations to the police and to confirm to media outlets who approached our Communications Office that we had done so. In passing these names on to the police the Church of England made it was clear it was not making any judgment but simply fulfilling its responsibility to pass on information when it is widely known that the police are conducting a serious investigation into the possibility of past abuse by politicians, including the possible cover up of some stories. The victims and survivors of abuse would expect us to do no other.
We are committed to full participation in the statutory inquiry into historical child sexual abuse established by the government to be chaired by Lord Justice Goddard.