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Alan SCHEIN / Alamy Stock Photo
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Alan SCHEIN / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Smyth review delayed again

by Kelly Valencia

The review of the Church of England's handling of allegations against the late John Smyth has been delayed once more.

Keith Makin, appointed to lead the review in 2019, has apologised for the further delay. He acknowledged the “ongoing impact” on those affected by the review, “particularly the victims and survivors,” but did not specify a new release date.

Smyth was found to have beaten at least 22 boys during the 1970s and 1980s but died before he could be imprisoned. He was believed to have committed these acts while chairman of the Iwerne camps from 1974 to 1982—Christian youth holidays for public school boys aimed at fostering their Christian faith.

Following allegations of abuse by Smyth first brought to light in 2017, Winchester College, Scripture Union and the Church of England all launched independent investigations into the allegations.

Both Winchester College and Scripture Union have released their respective reviews with Winchester College saying Smyth used "unrestricted access" to the school to sexually and spiritually abuse boys.

Scripture Union did not publish the full report but an executive summary found that the alleged abuse by Smyth was extreme and physical with "clear and continuous sexual framing".

On Tuesday, Makin stated the review has now reached the stage where individuals mentioned in the report are given a chance to respond. However, this process started “later than planned” due to a “substantial change to a contribution to the review.”

Earlier this year, a survivor revealed he had withdrawn his testimony after reviewing a copy of the report for fact-checking, describing it to the Church Times as a “mere shadow” of what he expected after five years of work.

Makin said the consequence of the withdrawal “was the need to review and edit those parts of the review which drew upon this contribution”.

He concluded: “Once this next stage is complete the final report will be handed to the Archbishops’ Council for publication.  This will be done as soon as practically possible, but we cannot give definitive dates until this stage of the process is completed.”

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