George Bell victim's lawyer says her client not being afforded due respect

Lambeth Palace Libray

The solicitor who represents the woman said to have been abused by former Bishop of Chichester George Bell has criticised the establishment figures behind a new group set up to defend his reputation.

Tracey Emmott says they have failed to treat the survivor with the respect she deserves.

The survivor says she was abused in the 1940s and 1950s. Bell had been a revered figure from the Church's Anglo-Catholic wing, with an outstanding record as an opponent of the Nazis and as peacemaker. There was widespread shock when the Church said he was a paedophile, apologised to the woman who had complained about him and paid her compensation.

Emmott was speaking after the George Bell Group, made up of senior church people, lawyers, academics and politicians, criticised the inquiries by the Church into Bell's behaviour as "inadequate" and said the allegations lacked corroboration. 

In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the group said: "In view of the evidence that we have gathered and examined we have concluded that the allegation made against Bishop Bell cannot be upheld in terms of actual evidence or historical probability."

Emmott told The Argus: "It is disappointing that my client's account continues to be so relentlessly challenged in what appears to be nothing short of a campaign to discredit and invalidate her evidence which has already been considered by independent experts as part of her legal claim.

"My client is not being afforded the dignity and respect she deserves and the closure she has been seeking."

The George Bell Group declined to comment to Christian Today.

But the new independent Twitter account @Justice4GeorgeBell tweeted: 

The same account also tweeted: