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Our prayers are with the survivor of this abuse, who has had to live with this knowledge for more than 30 years.
We do take these matters very seriously, so we have made efforts to discover exactly what happened.Knight, a former member of the General Synod – the church’s ruling body – was then put on trial accused of four indecent assaults.Jurors last month heard he asked boys, including the victim who was aged 12 or 13 during the abuse in the 1980s, to put on leather lederhosen.They were badly let down.‘Some time in 1985, Terry Knight was sent to see me by the then Archdeacon of Portsmouth, after he received a complaint from a parent.’Mr Bavin, now living a monastic life at Alton Abbey, added: ‘Terry confessed some inappropriate behaviour with boys to me, but did not admit any actual physical contact.’Knight told him he had apologised to the parents and said it would not be repeated.He added: ‘I was wrong to have accepted his word.’A Diocese of Portsmouth spokesman added: ‘We apologise unreservedly that the reaction of the church in 1985 was not more robust, and that these actions may have put others at risk.’Knight was jailed for three-and-a-half years in 1996 at Winchester Crown Court after admitting abusing seven boys aged between 11 and 14 between 19. Mr Bavin’s apology and the church’s admission come after a survivor reported abuse by Knight to Hampshire police last year.Safeguarding in the Church of England, and in society in general, has been transformed over the past 30 years and you can be reassured that this simply wouldn’t happen today.
The safety of children and young people in our care is of paramount importance.
We commend the survivor’s bravery in coming forward.
We were disturbed to hear that Terry Knight said in court he was asked in 1985 to ‘control his behaviour’ by someone in the Church.
That involved each diocese appointing an independent safeguarding reviewer who analysed personnel files for all current and past clergy, lay staff and lay ministers.
The number of cases across the whole Cof E where formal action was needed was 13. Terry Knight’s file was among those looked at by our independent reviewer.
Clearly, this was not the correct response, especially by today’s standards.