LETTER: Abuse reports rightly published

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I SHOULD like to congratulate the Observer for its courageous act in first publishing the story of sexual abuse by Terence Banks, head steward of the cathedral, ten years ago, despite reports that he worked in TV.

Strangely, this story of abuse did not hit the national headlines.

The new bishop of Chichester also deserves commendation for now publishing the report, and the Observer for again running the story. This case was similar to one involving friends and neighbours of my sons, in South London some 45 years ago. A member of the church who groomed young people, who was convicted for assaults on 23 boys.

There too, the abuser worked in the media, a photographer for a national newspaper. A dear friend, the father of the boy who broke down in tears and told his mother when he was assaulted by three men, was reluctant to go to the police because he too worked for a national newspaper and, in his words ‘dog does not eat dog’.

It was his wife who reported it and she was shunned by the community until he was convicted.

The repercussions of these men’s actions were terrible: one of the victims committed suicide before it all came to light, children and teenagers not involved were being beaten up by those that were.

Afterwards, the mother of one victim had a nervous breakdown.

But for the grace of God my grandson, who was at Prebendal when this story broke, might have been involved with Banks.

The one good thing that came out of it was that he and his brothers knew from a young age what ‘paedophile’ meant and that it was wrong.

The more the media investigate and publish the better.

Olive Virgo

Westergate