The following statement was issued this afternoon following the conclusion of the case of Robert Coles who was sentenced at Brighton Crown Court today 14th February.
A spokesperson for the Diocese said today:
“Our primary concern today is with those who have for so long struggled to survive the abuse they endured from Robert Coles and the damage it has done to them and to their families.
“We offer to them a full apology and our deep regret, mindful that, of itself, this does not erase the past. We will continue to listen and do anything we can to assist them at this time.
“The sentencing today of Robert Coles has been a traumatic reminder of the inherited safeguarding failures in the history of this Diocese. The extent of the abuse is appalling and the inadequate response at the time would be unthinkable today.
“We have worked closely with the Police throughout their investigations and co-operated in every way possible. We would like to place on record our thanks to the Police for the professional, effective and compassionate way in which they have dealt with all their enquiries.
“Today's sentence marks another step on our path towards ensuring that all past cases of abuse are brought to light and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
“This conclusion of the case against Robert Coles reinforces the determination of the Diocese to do all we can to ensure that children are safe and that there can be no repeat of these failures.”
The Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, has issued the
following statement after the sentencing of Robert Coles at Brighton
Crown Court today 14th February.
We would expect that all those who have held institutional responsibility and had involvement in this case are today examining their consciences at the spiritual and personal level, within the Church as an institution, and in terms of our public accountability.
The Archbishop’s Visitation continues. It was requested by my predecessor, Bishop John Hind, and since this matter touches the former ministry of senior clergy in this Diocese I will be making a full report to the Archbishop, through his Commissaries, ensuring that the question of how we work together to take any action that is deemed necessary and appropriate.
We have made a public undertaking that we, as a Diocese, will tell the truth.
It is essential that justice is seen to be done.
One of our priorities is to be available to meet with survivors and their families to answer their questions and to make available to them whatever information is in our possession.
It is very clear that although, today, Robert Coles has been judged the matter is by no means concluded.
The lives of those who have been damaged continues to demand our full attention and our prayers.