Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Jones denies abuse cover up

Former Bishop of Liverpool passes blame onto Lord Hope

The former bishop of Liverpool has denied allegations he covered up clergy sexual abuse. The Rt. Rev. James Jones told the Daily Telegraph that while he was aware of allegations of misconduct raised over 20 years ago against the Rev. Canon Terrence Grigg, he had urged the former Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. David Hope, to act on the allegations.

Last month Grigg, the retired vicar of St Mary’s Church in Cottingham, East Yorkshire was been found guilty of sexually abusing, “four vulnerable boys” by a jury sitting before the Hull Crown Court.

The jury found Grigg (84) guilty of 12 charges of indecent assault and two additional charges of abuse for offences committed between 1983 and 1996. The victims were four boys and young men, one of whom was 10 years old when the abuse began.

Judge Jonathan Rose sentenced Grigg to 12 years imprisonment. In his remarks from the bench, the judge told Grigg:

“Each of them and each of your congregants, and those in the higher echelons of the church, the bishops and archbishops, were deceived and misled and fooled by your outward appearance. For nearly ten years, you were in truth a sexual predator, choosing for your victims the vulnerable and unhappy. The trust placed in you as a priest was, as the jury has found, entirely misplaced.”

Grigg died in prison on 26 August 2018.

Judge Rose also had harsh words for the Diocese and Bishop Jones in what he called a “deplorable case”.

“The Church “not only refused to pursue the complaint that he made to the Bishop of Hull but turned that complaint against him with the threats of litigation and imprisonment of which we have heard, so that he withdrew that complaint because he was so fearful of the consequences of doing otherwise”, Judge Rose said.

In 1998 Bishop Jones was translated to the Diocese of Liverpool, retiring in 2013. Upon retirement he became an honorary assistant bishop of York.

He told the Daily Telegraph that he had no part any threats of litigation or reprisals against the complainant, and only became aware of these during Grigg’s trial.  

He said he had encouraged the complainant to put his allegations in writing and that documents held at Bishopthorpe, the Archbishop of York’s palace, showed that he took it seriously, passing it on to then-Archbishop David Hope.

“I am appalled by Mr Grigg’s crimes and very distressed for the victims of his sexual abuse who have been betrayed by the church,” Bishop Jones told the Telegraph.

Lord Hope has faced past allegations of ignoring clergy abuse.  In 2014 he resigned his post as honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Leeds after a report found he failed to report allegations of abuse committed by the former Dean of Manchester Robert Waddington to the authorities.

The current Bishop of Hull, the Rt Rev. Alison White released a statement following Grigg’s sentencing:

“We offer to all of them an unreserved apology for the harm he did and for his abuse of the trust they placed in him.It’s taken many years of suffering and great courage for those who have come forward to help to secure his convictions.”


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