Former Hertfordshire bishop investigated for historic sex abuse allegations

PUBLISHED: 07:24 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 07:27 19 October 2017

Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey.

Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey.

Archant

A bishop who once worked in Hertfordshire and died in the 1980s has been accused of sex abuse.

Bishop Hubert Whitsey, who was also known as Victor, has been accused of sexual offences against children and adults in the 1970s and 80s. He died in 1987.

Whitsey was Bishop of Hertford from 1971 to 1974, before the offences took place. The allegations date from 1974 onwards during his time as Bishop of Chester, and again from 1981 when he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese.

A joint statement from the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, said: “We can confirm that we have supported the police on an investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey.

“We are deeply sorry and apologise to those individuals who have come forward to share their account of abuse by a bishop in the Church of England who was in a position of power and authority. We appreciate that it is very difficult for individuals to come forward and to give their account.

“Sexual abuse is a heinous crime – and is an absolute and shameful breach of trust. We acknowledge that for survivors, the effects of sexual abuse are lifelong.

“We are offering pastoral support to all those who have come forward and continue to hold them all in our prayers.”

The role of Bishop of Hertford is one of two bishop roles in the Diocese of St Albans, the other being the Bishop of Bedford. Both serve beneath the Bishop of St Albans, currently Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith. The current Bishop of Hertford is Rt Rev Dr Michael Beasley.

The Diocese of St Albans is urging anyone with information to come forward.

A spokesman for the diocese said: “What we are wanting to do is follow up a story that’s mainly been in the north of England. If anyone is still around and has any information or any concerns we want to make sure they’re aware of what’s happened.

“Anyone who has any information can go forward with that to the police.”

Anyone with any information can also contact Diocesan safeguarding adviser Jez Hurst on 01727 818107 or 07867 350866, or by emailing safeguarding@stalbans.anglican.org.

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