Apology from church over child abuse

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THE CHURCH of England has apologised to two former choirboys for the abuse they suffered at the hands of a paedophile priest at St Andrew’s Church in Eastbourne.

The pair, who are brothers, received the apology this week in a letter from the Bishop of Chichester John Hind, who admitted there had been failures in the appointment of Roy Cotton as a priest despite his previous convictions for sexual offences.

They have also received undisclosed compensation.

The apology comes in the middle of a lengthy investigation into why Cotton and fellow paedophile vicar Colin Pritchard had been allowed to continue working within the church.

The brothers say they were systematically abused by Cotton and Pritchard when they sang in the choir at the church in hotel rooms and away on camping trips.

The two say the bishop acknowledged Cotton, who died in 2006, should not have been ordained in 1967 after his conviction for a sexual offence in 1954.

The Diocese of Chichester said this week it could not reveal any details of the letter or the pay out but a spokesman told the Herald, “The Diocese of Chichester is fully committed to achieving the highest standards of safeguarding practice.

“A review of past safeguarding practice and experience is currently being undertaken by Baroness Butler-Sloss and this is due to be published in the spring.

“The Diocese has nothing further to add to what has already been said until the publication of the report.”