Church snubs plea to probe children’s home abuse claims

The Church of England is refusing to investigate the alleged abuse of girls placed in its care in the 1980s, saying it is not qualified to do so.

Evidence seen by Community Care, including a 1980 TV documentary, shows looked-after children in Kendall House in Kent were heavily drugged and may have been sexually abused.

 Former resident Teresa Cooper (pictured right), who this year published a book, Pin Down, on her experiences at Kendall House, recently met Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, at his request, but was told the Church would not investigate the claims.

Her files show she was drugged daily and a letter sent to Cooper’s GP, accompanying an anal swab taken by staff in the home, says it is “likely she has been sexually abused”.

But the diocese of Rochester said it was not qualified to carry out such an investigation and that social services and police had the “appropriate competencies” to do so and then make recommendations to the diocese.

Cooper was placed in Kendall House in 1981, a year after the documentary about the drugging of children in care, on ITV’s London Programme, highlighted concerns about the home.

She said she was devastated by the Church’s decision, claiming it had not learned from abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and that it wanted to head off a flood of compensation claims.

She added: “I have never asked for compensation and they can’t even offer me an apology.”

The diocese of Rochester said in a statement: “We have suggested she takes her concerns to the appropriate authorities who will, no doubt, investigate the matter. Should these investigations require any action from us we will act on their advice.”

Further information
Teresa Cooper’s anti-child abuse website

Contact the author
Sally Gillen


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