Alleged Iwerne abuser now under police investigation

John Smyth.jpg
John Smyth

Andrew Graystone, spokesman for victims of the serial abuser  John Smyth, who savagely beat boys and young men he groomed at the Iwerne Christian camps in the 1970s and early 1980s, has revealed that two alleged Iwerne abusers are currently being investigated, one by the police.

Mr Graystone wrote in last week’s Church of England Newspaper calling on the Titus Trust, which runs the Iwerne camps for children from the ‘top 30’ fee-paying boarding schools, to close. He revealed that including Smyth, who died in South Africa in 2018, there have been at least five known abusers associated with the Iwerne camps with a further two alleged abusers under investigation: ‘We know that in addition to Smyth there have been at least four other abusers associated with the Iwerne network, and a further two are under investigation. The pattern is always the same: an older man exploits a relationship with a much younger man or boy.’

He told Anglican Ink today: ‘Besides John Smyth (1) there is the late Simon Doggart (2): he didn’t face trial but his participation is not in doubt. Then there is Jonathan Fletcher (3), who has also not faced trial, but whose activities are not in doubt.  

‘There are at least two other men (4, 5) who have been part of the Iwerne network who have been convicted of abuses against boys or young men.  Both are still alive, and I know their names, but I am reluctant to disclose them as they have served their sentences. 

‘Another man (6) who was at the heart of the Iwerne network is under police investigation for offences against boys.  Another man in the network (7) is the subject of a complaint to the church about abuse of a much younger man.’

Mr Graystone added: ‘I know of some others around the network against whom accusations of abuse have been laid, but formal complaints have not been made, so I have not counted them.  All of the above are men who would identify themselves strongly with Iwerne. The common factor is that they are adult males who have abused (or are accused of abusing) much younger men.’

 Simon Doggart, who died in 2017, was a victim of Smyth who turned into an accomplice in the beatings.  In June last year The Daily Telegraph unmasked Jonathan Fletcher, former vicar of Emmanuel, Wimbledon  and an officer on the Iwerne camps for nearly six decades, as a serial church abuser.

AI contacted the Titus Trust for its reaction to Mr Graystone’s disclosure. Tim Toulmin of the public relations company representing the Trust, Alder UK, said a response would be forthcoming.