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“I have enormous respect and empathy for those who are sexually abused. I believe that their hands should be strengthened by the law so that their abusers can come to judgement and be punished.”
“But I want to speak also for those who are innocent. I want to speak for those who have been falsely accused out of revenge, malice, for financial compensation, or because of mental illness fantasies.”
Roy Catchpole, quoted on Somersetlive
Roy Catchpole is a retired Anglican priest. In 2014 he was accused of sexual assault. In the linked article on Somersetlive his description of the effect on him and his family and the difficulties he had in continuing his life in the Church make harrowing reading.
Many FACT members will be only too familiar with the kind of suffering he endured. As a clergyman he felt alienated from the Church. Being part of a church community is the very essence of a clergyman’s being; it would have felt like losing a limb. A number of people who have been in contact with FACT have also described this sense of rejection by the Church and we are very concerned that church safeguarding teams should have a full understanding of the suffering of the wrongfully accused and be more supportive towards them during their investigation. The Church of England is revising its Safeguarding Policy. We are waiting to see the new policy before commenting further.
The article is available at Somersetlive