Smyth victims respond to Titus Trust document dump


Andrew Graystone, the author of Bleeding for Jesus: John Smyth and the cult of the Iwerne Camps (Darton, Longman and Todd, £12.99, publishing on 2nd September 2021) has released a joint statement with the victims of John Smyth in response to the timeline released by Titus Trust

Statement: May be quoted eg as “a victim of John Smyth said that…”

“The Titus Trust timeline tells us far more than we previously knew. And it reveals a catalogue of delays and partial disclosures. Titus are keen to refute the allegations of a cover up, but any layman would describe this whole timeline as part of a cover up. Trustees and four Titus employees were told about the abuse in December 2012, but it was not reported to the whole Board until June 2014. And the police were not approached until September 2014. It is now revealed also, that the main historic record of the abuse, The Ruston Report, was not given to the police until July 2017, and the main Titus record of the abuse, the “Stileman Report” of 2014, was not handed to the police until August 2017”

“The Titus timeline covers only 2012-2017 and ignores the 30 year period when senior Iwerne camp leaders, and two Trustees of Titus Trust until 2015, had known about the abuse throughout the period. The apology does not mention the scores of African children, younger than the UK victims, who were abused. There is no apology for the failures in 1982 to stop John Smyth QC from ever working with children again”.

“Titus response hides behind their long-claimed legal distinction between Iwerne Trust and Titus Trust, when the latter took over the assets, the responsibilities, the camps and even the Trustees of Iwerne Trust. The trust hides behind legal advice to claim no responsibility, and their response from 2012-17 is devoid of Christian care and compassion.”

“Titus Trust chose to ignore the advice of their media adviser to go public in 2015. Had they done so, victims would have received support earlier, and John Smyth QC might have been brought to justice. Instead, reputation management, and concern about “The Work”, were the overriding responses”

“Titus state, with no irony, “We believe that it is vital for the full truth to be made known”. We have waited four years for an account of what they did or did not do. And it is now clear they did the absolute minimum that was required. The account to the police made no mention of the advice in Jul 2014 from their lawyers that the abuse “was likely to have been criminal”, an opinion first given in the suppressed 1982 Ruston Report”

“If Titus wish for the full truth to be made known, we ask for the legal and media advice they received in 2014/15 and the Serious Incident Report to the Charity Commission to be made public. We can then judge whether they have been truthful”

Bleeding for Jesus is the first book to tell the true story of John Smyth QC, the Christian barrister and moral crusader, who used his role in the church to abuse more than a hundred men and boys from his home – and the Iwerne Camps movement which inspired and facilitated his crimes.

Bleeding for Jesus raises the following key questions:– Did the Archbishop of Canterbury tell the truth about what he knew about John Smyth?- Justn Welby says that he did everything that he was required to when he received the disclosure. Is this true? And is it true of the Church of England as an institution? – Why has Archbishop Welby’s response to victims of John Smyth been so slow and so minimal?- Did the Titus Trust do everything they should and could?- Is the Titus Trust organisation now safe to work with young people?- What is the current extent of the influence of the Iwerne network in the church?It also raises questions on:– the nature of abuse – what motivates it, what it does to the individual. Is ‘spiritual abuse’ a valid category? – about the Church of England’s response to abuse.- about how abuse is/should be uncovered. The role of ‘bystanders’. – about the possibility and appropriateness of forgiveness after abuse, and what it takes to rebuild lives. – about privilege and public schools- about the in/appropriateness of a model of evangelism directed at the already privileged. 

• For the first time, Smyth’s horrendous assaults on young men and boys are revealed – in graphic, agonising detail – as well as his jaw-dropping hypocrisy and his manipulation of a generation of political and religious leaders in Britain and Africa. The book includes detailed accounts from several survivors.
• Many prominent names have been linked to John Smyth, including Archbishop Justin Welby, Stephen Smalley (previously Dean of Chester), and David Conner, the Dean of Windsor and chaplain to the Queen. 
• The Iwerne project may have been the single most influential movement in the British church. Its aim was to recruit and disciple “the best boys from the best schools,” and place them in positions of national influence in the church, the government and the military. It produced an A to Z of powerful Anglican leaders including John Stott, Nicky Gumbel and the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Bleeding for Jesus casts huge concern over the cult-like ethos of the exclusive Iwerne movement. The book also includes the first comprehensive biography of Rev E Nash (known universally as “Bash”), the man who created the Iwerne network.
• This is the first account of how Smyth’s abuse came to light in 1982, and how respected church leaders colluded to hide his history of abuse and expedited his move out of the UK to Africa, where he continued to abuse children for decades.
• Graystone investigates the death of Guide Nyachuru, who died in unexplained circumstances at John Smyth’s camp in Zimbabwe. There is an account of the trial of John Smyth in Africa, the intervention of Robert Mugabe, and new information on Smyth’s activities in Cape Town.
• The book exposes the way that victims who disclosed since 2013 have been re-victimised by the alleged wilful negligence of the Church of England.  It reveals how elements of the contemporary church, groomed in Iwerne culture, are still refusing to come to terms with their own role in events, and their responsibility towards victims. The story of John Smyth is a study in spiritual abuse.