Ex Chester Bishop Inquiry Findings

17 October 2017, 12:12 | Updated: 17 October 2017, 12:20

Outside of Chester Cathedral

Police investigating sexual abuse claims against a former Bishop of Chester say if he were still alive they would want to speak to him.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said:  “Cheshire Constabulary has published a report into the findings of an investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual abuse made against a former Bishop of Chester. Operation Coverage focused on allegations made against the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey, which date back to the 1970s and 1980s.  They relate to 13 victims, 5 male and 8 female.

"The abuse is alleged to have taken place whilst the Bishop was living and working in Chester and one incident is reported to have taken place outside of the county.  An investigation was launched by Cheshire Constabulary in July 2016 following a report from the Diocese of Chester Safeguarding Officer.  Further disclosures were made as part of the investigation, which spanned a period of 13 months.

"Allegations of this nature are taken extremely seriously.  The police have a duty to carry out a proportionate investigation into all allegations of sexual abuse - even if the alleged offences took place many years ago and the person being accused has since died.

"Following a thorough investigation and taking into account all of the information available, it has been established that, if Bishop Whitsey were alive today, as part of the investigation process he would have been spoken to by police.  This would have been in order to outline the details of the allegations made and to provide him with an opportunity to offer an account of events.

"It is important to remember that this is not an indication of guilt – this is a key part of the investigation process and this happens regularly as part of a case to obtain an account whether this leads to further action or not.  It is not the role of the police to judge whether someone is guilty or innocent."