May 17, 2019 3.48 pm This story is over 57 months old

The four senior figures embroiled in the safeguarding scandal at Lincoln Cathedral

Forth senior figure at Lincoln Cathedral stepped aside

The Lincolnite can reveal that a fourth senior figure at Lincoln Cathedral has stepped aside amid a police investigation into safeguarding issues.

Chapter Clerk and administrator of Lincoln Cathedral William Harrison was among those to step back in April.

He was responsible for the direction of operation management and administration at the cathedral.

A cathedral spokesperson said: “We confirm that the Chapter Clerk has temporarily stepped aside from his duties while the investigation relating to the Dean and Chancellor of Lincoln takes place.

“We can provide no further comment.”

William Harrison is Chapter Clerk and Administrator of Lincoln Cathedral. Photo: Lincoln Cathedral

The Diocese of Lincoln has been rocked by allegations of abuse and high level ‘cover ups’ by senior clergy across decades.

Latest investigations into serious safeguarding matters have seen a wave of bosses step aside, followed this week by the unprecedented suspension of the Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson.

The leave of absence taken by Lincoln’s first female Dean Christine Wilson and Chancellor Paul Overend in April were connected to non-recent allegations of abuse, which took place outside of Lincolnshire.

The two figures are reportedly connected to alleged failures to report issues relating to vulnerable adults.

Dean of Lincoln Cathedral Christine Wilson and Chancellor Paul Overend

At the time, the Very Reverend Christine Wilson was said to have stepped down “for personal reasons”.

The simultaneous move from Paul Overend was explained by the cathedral as “for different reasons, connected to one issue”.

Christine Wilson was the 81st Dean of Lincoln and took up her position in 2016. Before this, she was the Archdeacon of Chesterfield in the Diocese of Derby since 2010.

Christine has also been a non-executive director of Ecclesiastical Insurance, the insurer trusted with advising the Church of England’s compensation claims, since 2017.

Lincoln Cathedral and the Church of England did not comment when asked if the company was providing services in relation to the investigation.

Revd Dr Paul Overend led the Cathedral’s work of public theology and Christian education. He came to Lincoln from Norwich, where he was the Lay Development Officer and Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands, and also a tutor in spirituality and ethics with the Eastern Region Ministry Course.

Dean of Lincoln Christine Wilson and Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson was on Thursday suspended from office by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

He faces allegations that he failed to protect children and vulnerable people, but peers clarified he is not accused of committing abuse.

Lowson is the first bishop to be suspended over safeguarding issues.

He said he was “bewildered”, and would fully cooperate with investigations.

His position has been taken over by the Bishop of Grimsby, Right Reverend Dr David Court.

Church of England officials have declined to provide details about the allegations which led to the suspension.

Operation Redstone

Roy Griffiths was jailed for six years.

It also comes during an ongoing Lincolnshire Police investigation codenamed Operation Redstone, though it has not yet been confirmed if recent allegations are part of the Lincolnshire Police investigation.

Operation Redstone previously uncovered shocking abuse at the hands of Diocese of Lincoln clergy and staff.

Three men have been convicted by Lincolnshire Police, Roy Griffiths, John Bailey and Stephen Crabtree for historical sexual offences against children and vulnerable people.

John Bailey walking to court to be sentenced. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Former clergyman Stephen Crabtree has been jailed for three years

The trials highlighted a culture of coverups in the church.

Investigations found decades of allegations had been ignored by former Bishops of Lincoln.

Victims spoke out the first time in a BBC Panorama documentary last month.

Abuse cases were not referred to police until decades later, it was revealed in the Church of England Past Cases Review.

Operation Redstone investigations are still ongoing.