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William Campbell-Taylor, Peter Ball and the Silencing of Gay Clergy Abuse

William Campbell-Taylor, Peter Ball and the Silencing of Gay Clergy Abuse

PHOTO: William Campbell-Taylor

By Alan Jacobs
May 25, 2016

In the galling history of homosexual sexual abuse and establishment cover up of that abuse in the Church of England, have been two important cases in recent months, those of Bishop Peter Ball and Rev. William Campbell-Taylor. Both call into question the Christian vocation of the Anglican establishment and its willingness to engage truthfully with the gay abuse issue among its clergy.

The first case represented a staggering catalogue of multiple concerns of sex abuse against boys and vulnerable young men by Bishop Peter Ball which were raised over years but quietly shelved by the Church as the abuse continued. In the second equally shocking case, William Campbell-Taylor, a man married to a woman, a vicar in Hackney in the Diocese of London and Councilor in the City of London, attempted unsuccessfully to use an obscure legal provision to prosecute his vulnerable male victim for allegedly causing him "distress and alarm" by the embarrassment of the survivor publicly revealing in Parliament that the priest had asked him for oral sex. Astonishingly, instead of engaging these serious concerns, the Diocese of London admits it employed a private scandal management company, Luther Pendragon Limited, to intervene in relation to the survivors' meeting in the House of Commons.

Both cases illustrate astonishing betrayals by the Church of England establishment of the most vulnerable, where well-connected clergymen were able to call on both the hierarchy, the police and the Church's aggressive PR firms, not just to dismiss the abuse allegations but even to actively persecute their victims who had blown the whistle. Phil Johnson, one of Ball's teenage victims blasted the Church of England in the media for its collusion and silencing of complainants (one of whom committed suicide). There has been similar disbelief and outrage across the international abuse survivor community that Campbell-Taylor who, unable to sue his victim for making true allegations of abuse, nevertheless was able to leverage his position as a chaplain with Hackney Police in London to threaten and attempt to convict his victim for speaking out truthfully, due to the public revelations about his asking for fellatio having allegedly caused "distress" to the priest.

But behind the question of how Anglican clergymen got so powerful as to be able to indulge their sexual proclivities and harm vulnerable people with impunity, lies a deeper question about the mission of the Church and its direction to ever greater sexualization. In the context of the Ball and Campbell-Taylor cases, a coalition of organizations representing survivors of clergy abuse last summer published an open letter to Archbishop Justin Welby and subsequently met with him at Lambeth Palace, asking why the liberal establishment of the Church of England seemed more interested in its political campaigns against bankers and payday lenders than putting its own house in order around sexual abuse.

The fact is that in the endless debate about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality and gay clergy holding spiritual authority in the Anglican Communion, the voices of survivors of abuse have almost entirely been drowned out. In the midst of careful high-level negotiations by the primates to avoid an institutional split in the Communion between the liberal North and the orthodox Global South, little care has been taken to the fact that the cases of homosexual sexual abuse (including among clergy) are disproportionate relative to the overall prevalence of gay sexual preference in the population. And it is the weakest boys and vulnerable males who pay the price.

Scientific studies clearly establish that the overwhelming majority of abuse crimes are committed by men, and that over a third of all sex offences are against male victims, namely, as cited in one study, that "the proportional prevalence of offenders against male children in this group of 457 offenders against children was 36 percent". Freund and Watson's study in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy of heterosexual and homosexual sex offenders used phallometric tests to determine true sexual preference. Their findings report, "the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1 [compared to the overall the ratio of gynephiles to androphiles among the general population of approximately 20:1]. This suggests that the resulting proportion of true pedophiles among persons with a homosexual erotic development is greater than that in persons who develop heterosexually".

These findings are reinforced by the study by Blanchard et al. in Archives of Sexual Behavior which concludes, "The best epidemiological evidence indicates that only 2 to 4 percent of men attracted to adults prefer men (ACSF Investigators, 1992; Billy et al.,1993; Fay et al.,1989; Johnson et al.,1992); in contrast, around 25 to 40 percent of men attracted to children prefer boys (Blanchard et al.,1999; Gebhard et al.,1965; Mohr et al.,1964). Thus, the rate of homosexual attraction is 6 to 20 times higher among pedophiles".

The hardest part of the narrative is the fact of sexual abuse by bisexual and gay male clergy against other males is heavily suppressed in the name of avoiding homophobia, despite pederasty being linked with the early foundations of the gay rights movement. In his paper on "Man/Boy Love and the American Gay Movement" published in the Journal of Homosexuality, veteran gay rights campaigner, Thorstad, writes "Boy-lovers were involved in the gay movement from the beginning, and their presence was tolerated. Gay youth groups encouraged adults to attend their dances...There was a mood of tolerance, even joy at discovering the myriad of lifestyles within the gay and lesbian subculture".

In the Church of England, the wall of silence around the issue is vividly seen in cases reported by Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors of how the Church's in-house insurance company, Ecclesiastical Insurance, instructed clergy to cease communication with a male survivor, "Joe", causing his letters to Archbishop Justin Welby not to be passed on by Bishop Paul Butler, the lead bishop for safeguarding. An example of this culture of blocking is the handling by Canon Andrew Nunn, the Archbishop's correspondence secretary, of allegations of ritual abuse, this being the same Lambeth Palace official and prominent gay clergy campaigner who was alleged to have obstructed letters to Welby from Phelim McIntyre, an ex-gay blogger.

Nunn, as Dean of Southwark, joined the Dean of St Paul's, Canon David Ison and other prominent Anglican homosexual apologists in publishing a letter to the Archbishops in advance of January's Primates Meeting, which called for the Church of England to repent for its treatment of gays. For all the vulnerable victims who have been on the receiving end of silencing and suppression by Lambeth Palace and the Diocese of London on issues to do with gay clergy abuse and malfeasance by homosexuals in the Church, the call from these two men and others for the "acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care" will sound a staggering exemplar of hypocrisy.

Few make the connection that London (covered by the two dioceses, London and Southwark) is in fact something of a magnet for homosexuals in the clergy, and within some of the well-appointed liberal Anglo-Catholic churches are senior clergymen whose extreme lifestyles in the darker sides of the gay clubbing scene regularly push the boundaries from so-called "mainstream" to abusive homosexual culture. The substratum of sexual exploitation is "normative" right here in this gay S&M and sauna subculture with barely a nudge into outright criminal abuse, and the involvement of some prominent Anglican clergy in this world is hardly a secret.

The fact remains that gay apologists like Ison and Nunn, wanting ever to push the moral boundaries, will always point to the larger absolute numbers of heterosexual sex crime, a function of the simple fact that most people are heterosexual, without drawing notice to the fact that homosexual abuse stands way out of proportion to the small percentages nationally of those who identify as gay. That the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion is concerned to extend a loving and supportive hand to gay clergy and lay people, and above all to preserve the unity of the institution, will continue to mean that the hard questions are never asked - particularly when those questions are posed by the weakest and most powerless, like the many vulnerable victims of this gay sexualization agenda in the Church. As these recent legal cases demonstrate so vividly, the crime in society has increasingly become that of even daring to speak about it.

Alan Jacobs is a frequent commentator on various religious blogs and sites. A retired American Petro-Chemical Engineer from Dallas, Alan is focusing his attention on the Church and its future in both the US and UK.

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