Church of England apologises for child abuse committed by vicar David Smith

The Church of England has apologised to the victims of Somerset vicar David Smith, who was jailed for five-and-a-half years yesterday for abusing six boys over a period of almost 30 years.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Peter Price, whom Smith worked under as vicar of St John the Evangelist in Clevedon, said he was “shocked and horrified” by his actions and was “very sorry that these offences were committed by a man in a position of trust”.
He added: “We have ensured that proper pastoral care is being offerered to all in this case who need it and we will do all within our power to mitigate the harmful effects of these offences.”

Smith, whose offences date from 1976 to 2005, was the second Church of England employee to be jailed for historic child abuse in just over a week, following the conviction of Peter Halliday for abusing three boys while choirmaster of St Peter’s church, Farnborough, Hampshire.

Halliday admitted abusing one of the boys to church authorities in 1990 but instead of reporting him to the police they merely sacked him, and he later held positions where he worked alongside children.

Following Halliday’s conviction, Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams said: “Any case in which the church has failed to prove itself a safe place for children is deplorable.”

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