This morning the Revd Dr Gavin Ashenden went on BBC Jersey to claim that the original Independent Review on Safeguarding in the Bob Key affair missed vital information which may have affected the outcome of the report. Specifically it was alleged that the lady at the centre of the investigation, “H.G.”, was already known to Winchester Diocese as she had made similar allegations in two previous parishes. Only one of these parishes was referred to in the Review (on page 35), but it is alleged that the events in the other parish were either not communicated to Jan Korris when she wrote her review or they were deliberately ignored. The claim is that if the events in this parish had been included in the review it would have shown a clear pattern of a lady who turned up in three separate parishes without a job or home, who was taken in by key members of that parish and helped to find work and who then made a series of allegations against those people who had taken her in (and others) which were never substantiated. During this time (it is claimed) she was regularly on psychiatric medication. Furthermore, Canon Ashenden intimated that despite Winchester Diocese knowing that H.G. had moved to Jersey, none of this previous behaviour had been communicated to any clergy on the island to help them in framing appropriate pastoral care.
Canon Ashenden also claimed that far from being “booted off Jersey”, H.G.’s lawyers requested she be deported in order to avoid further charges of harassment under the Jersey legal system. Canon Ashenden went on to suggest that some aspects of her behaviour linked to her mental health issues continued after she left Jersey (but provided no evidence of this). He also claimed that at no point in the Independent Review had H.G. been spoken to by Jan Korris (who was writing the report). Canon Ashenden then suggested that the real issue in this case was not safeguarding around abuse but rather how the Church handles its care of those with mental health issues.
You can hear the interview by going here, playing the programme and moving the slider to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
In other developments it has been suggested to me that the independent review (as opposed to the Visitation from Bishop John Gladwin) that the Diocese of Winchester said was going to be instigated after Bob Key was suspended has stalled over the issue of the terms of reference for the investigator. Although a suitable investigator has been approached (a retired high court judge), that person has said that he/she will only take on the position if he/she has full powers to explore the facts that are claimed in the Korris Review. It is understood that the Diocese of Winchester and the States of Jersey are unable to come to agreement on this.