Church of England appoints Alex Carlile to review sex abuse claims against George Bell

The Church of England (CofE) has appointed Lord Alex Carlile to review its handling of the sex abuse claims against 20th-century bishop George Bell, which allegedly happened in the 1940s and 1950s.

(Reuters/Nigel Roddis)Members of the Church of England's Synod attend the session during which they will discuss and vote on the consecration of women bishops. July 14, 2014.

Lord Carlile told The Guardian that he would examine all the evidence placed before him in connection with the sex-abuse claims against Bell. The former Welsh Liberal Democrats leader said he would not have accepted the responsibility if he did not think there was a genuine will to accept his findings and recommendations.

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Last year, the Church of England issued a formal apology and gave compensation to a woman named Carol, who accused the late George Bell of sexual abuse. Because the move sparked protests from the bishop's supporters, CofE announced that it would review the way the case was handled.

In July this year, CofE had defended the way it handled Bell's case. The church said it could not publish the evidence against the late bishop despite demands to do so because of its moral obligation to safeguard Carol, Christian Today relays.

In a statement released on Tuesday, CofE expressed its plan to examine the processes used in settling the case. The lessons gleaned from the review would reportedly be used when similar cases come up in the future.

"It will also consider the processes, including the commissioning of independent expert reports and archival and other investigations, which were used to inform the decision to settle the case, in order to learn lessons that can be applied to the handling of similar safeguarding cases in future," CofE said in a statement.

Carol, who is currently in her 70s, alleged in 1995 that Bell abused her sexually when she was still a child. She also said the alleged abuse had caused her to bear feelings of guilt all her life. She received £15,000 (US$18,639) in compensation from CofE.

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