Will anyone ever be held to account over John Smyth?

December 16, 2021Stephen's Blog: Stephen Parsons

Will anyone ever be held to account over John Smyth?

Words of Archbishop Justin after meeting Smyth survivors May 2021

It is almost exactly ten years since I first disclosed the abuse by John Smyth QC in the 1970s and 1980s. It is also coming up to five years since the Channel 4 programmes that first brought this to the public’s attention. A Review was announced by the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding on 13 August 2018, the day after John Smyth died. It is now 28 months after that Lessons Learned Review was announced as starting.

And I am tired. I cannot put this episode behind me until the story is told, and someone is held to account. I long for it to “be over”, if that can ever be the case. I have given evidence to six investigations/Reviews. I am exhausted.

Enough is in the public domain, is known. There have now been four published Reviews (if you include Scripture Union, the Titus Timeline, the Titus Cultural Review and the Advance Report). There have been television programmes, many, many articles and now a book. The book is extraordinary in its detail and research (those who pick up on grammar or apostrophes deflect from the full horror of its story). Complaints have been made, investigations launched and Keith Makin has a mechanism for passing concerning behaviour to The National Safeguarding Team (NST) under Clause 3.1.6 of his Terms of Reference. Yet, silence. Nothing has happened to anyone (bar, briefly, George Carey) in five years.

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