Investigation after sex abuse vicar
PERSONAL files of members of the clergy across the county are to be inspected after a North Somerset vicar was jailed for sexually
PERSONAL files of members of the clergy across the county are to be inspected after a North Somerset vicar was jailed for sexually abusing children.The Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch has ordered the independent investigation to make sure none of the files contain outstanding child protection issues.Complaints were made about Clevedon vicar David Smith on two occasions, in 1983 and 2001. Church leaders subsequently 'dealt with' the concerns.Earlier this month Smith was jailed for five-and-a-half years after a jury at Bristol Crown Court found him guilty of sexually abusing boys over a 30-year period.The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has said the church needs to review its procedures after the Smith case or another sex offender could 'slip through the net'.Chief executive David Pearson said: "We are aware of the work of both dioceses involved in the Smith case, and have a high regard generally for their commitment to safeguarding children."We are also pleased the Bishop of Bath and Wells has apologised and recognised the impact this has had on the victims."However, there are clearly a number of serious issues that must be addressed and we hope that our call for an independent review will be heeded by the church authorities.