De Profundis


National Housing Federation's annual conference 2013

Dear Frank,

Unless I am much mistaken, this child abuse business is going to bring us both down.

As far as I can see, there is no winning. If you pursue the offender with rigour you are presuming guilt before it has been established, ruining reputations and ignoring due process. If you hold back, you are ignoring the interests of the victim and showing scant compassion and human-kindness.

The problem, of course, is not merely historical. Alleged victims are queueing up for attention. If we are not careful we will be inundated by them.

I will not ask you if you received the letter about Chile. I am in no position to cast stones. But what I have learnt is that you have to be on top of these things from day one. If your policy is zero tolerance, you have to be zero tolerant. At least, unlike you, I am not both legislator and final arbiter.

It is not the way of the pastor. But perhaps we have reached a stage where the only real question is which sexual deviants one is allowed to be pastoral about.

Your colleague in toils,


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