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CDM Complaint Against Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, and William Campbell-Taylor, Hackney

Bishop of London faces Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 complaint after years of alleged sexual abuse, stalking and bullying at the hands of William Campbell-Taylor, vicar, Labour councillor and trainee police chaplain in Hackney, who also faces CDM.

Pandit Satish Sharma @thebritishhindu

William Campbell-Taylor gift to his abuse victim
William Campbell-Taylor gift to his abuse victim

Lambeth Palace has acknowledged that a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 (CDM) has been filed against Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, by Survivor N, a black Vulnerable Adult victim alleging some fifteen years of sexual abuse, stalking and bullying at the hands of a vicar and trained police chaplain in Hackney. The vicar, William Campbell-Taylor of St Thomas’ Church, Clapton Common, is himself also currently the subject of a legal CDM complaint.

Some of the sexual abuse and grooming allegations concerning the cleric and former City of London Labour Party councillor, have already been published in the article, “William Campbell-Taylor, the Bishop Peter Ball Report and Clergy Abuse of Power” on VirtueOnline, in the context of the Gibbs Report into CofE Vulnerable Adult abuse. The article describes William Campbell-Taylor's alleged documented request to the survivor, "how about a blow job then?", as well as his characteristic remarks to the Vulnerable Adult about having "a stirring in the loins", and the article further cites Court witness statements from other Christians which record the married vicar's known prior history of gay relationships.

The same published article records emails sent by William Campbell-Taylor to Survivor N, which are within the legal bundles of this Court case. These show extensive intimate written correspondence from William Campbell-Taylor to this Vulnerable Adult male in which Campbell-Taylor signs off messages with kisses and "love, William" and "W x" or "yr brother Muffin".

Examples of gifts given by the vicar to the survivor together with affectionate dedications from the cleric are also published online. The VirtueOnline piece cites other emails sent by the priest to the survivor, where William Campbell-Taylor announces, "I actually see you as a permanent feature of my life" and, "I have various of the objects you have given me which I treasure".

The VirtueOnline article records the victim writing to William Campbell-Taylor challenging him about "your sexuality and past experience that has wreaked havoc in our personal relationship", and asks about the time "you said [to me] 'How about a blow job then?'". In response, the priest evades the question and strangely writes back later the same day, "You have been on my mind today because I know it is your birthday", and, "I would like to be in a position to stand in solidarity in public with you as a friend", and again signs off, "Love, William".

District Judge Warner in the case is recorded to have described William Campbell-Taylor's behaviour as, "At the very least, in bad taste".

In the face of the reams of intimate email communication and gifts sent by William Campbell-Taylor to Survivor N, the vicar falsely claimed in his legal statements and publicly that he did not know the survivor except in a strictly professional capacity as "colleagues" only. Sam Stein QC, the barrister in the legal case, remarked that Campbell-Taylor's own emails are "killer for just about everything he says".

Concerns about William Campbell-Taylor in the City of London Ward of Portsoken

The Ecclesiastical Law Society’s Final Report on reform of the Clergy Discipline Measure continues to uphold a “central role” for bishops in judging safeguarding concerns. However, the witness statements and evidence in this case detail a history of extreme retaliatory harassment by the respondent vicar after the survivor submitted CDM complaints against him, with some alleged involvement therein of Diocese of London bishops and Church officials. Senior abuse lawyers acting for survivors have described this as “the worst example of post-abuse victimisation of a CDM complainant we have ever seen”.

Survivor N (who cannot be named for legal reasons) is also a Core Participant Witness in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and was a key whistleblower to IICSA on the Bishop of London’s employment of the controversial scandal management company, Luther Pendragon Limited. This article about retribution against a BAME survivor and whistleblower within the CDM process is therefore compiled in consultation with witnesses and expert legal advisors in this case.

Being a first-hand witness over the years of this case who knows Survivor N, I have watched how Anglican institutional abuse has collided with Anglican institutional racism in the persecution of this black abuse victim and CDM complainant. I testify how the escalating retaliation caused this Vulnerable Adult to recently try to take his own life. A passer-by by chance found him in the early hours crumpled on a remote riverbank, and he was rushed to hospital and placed on a drip for several days to counter the poisoning. His liver is permanently damaged, and he remains under supervision for risk of suicide.

Senior abuse lawyers acting for survivors have described this as “the worst example of post-abuse victimisation of a CDM complainant we have ever seen”

The respondent vicar, William Campbell-Taylor, was previously Labour councillor in the City of London Ward of Portsoken. On the coat tails of Justin Welby’s public marketing of “good” Church of England’s heroic struggle against “bad” Wonga and City bankers, Campbell-Taylor was star of the film, “The UK Gold”, concerning the City of London Corporation, and gave his self-description as the “turbulent priest who heads into danger and causes an uproar”. I believe he has expressed interest in standing again in next year's City of London Election as Labour Party candidate for Portsoken, with his bishop’s support.

However, in contrast to the cinematic spin, actual working class residents of Portsoken Ward who were acting under “Stage 1” of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, wrote a multi-signature letter to the Bishop of London about their vicar-councillor in which they alleged “multiple instances of bullying, harassment, stalking, blackmail, false and untrue public statements, including dishonest claims of credit for work done by others”. The complainants asked for an urgent meeting with Sarah Mullally and Archdeacon of London, Luke Miller, who is currently Chaplain to the Queen. Despite a raft of safeguarding, blackmail and other concerns raised by local people in their witness statements, from local officers and church administrators to estate managers and some two dozen other witnesses, as well as video election hustings evidence, Sarah Mullally entirely declined the “CDM Stage 1” letter request to meet the community.

When a second ethnic minority Vulnerable Adult from Portsoken filed a police report alleging abuse and harassment by William Campbell-Taylor, official records show Diocese of London authorities writing directly to the City of London Police to oppose the investigation into this cleric.

Letter from City residents to the Bishop of London concerning William Campbell-Taylor
Letter from City residents to the Bishop of London concerning William Campbell-Taylor

Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London leaks to William Campbell-Taylor private correspondence about survivor's legal safeguarding and harassment complaint

When a group of colleagues began to write on behalf of Survivor N under CDM “Stage 1” to the Bishop of London and Church House about the alleged abuse and harassment, Sarah Mullally improperly leaked some of this confidential correspondence to the respondent vicar, William Campbell-Taylor (doing so prior to her actually receiving the CDM complaint papers). The lawyer who was advising the Bishop and Diocesan Registrar at the time was Sue Kelly of Winckworth Sherwood LLP. Ms Kelly acted to support the respondent vicar, while concurrently being a “neutral” counsel in the CDM process for the “neutral” Bishop Mullally.

I was appalled at the Bishop of London’s breach of confidentiality, and I myself emailed back to Sarah Mullally, since I was part of the same defined private group of a bit over a dozen email recipients. These were comprised of Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace safeguarding officials, directly-involved CDM witnesses and advisors who, over the span of a whole 2 years had been communicating in back-and-forth group emails with Bishop Mullally and copying their replies “to all” within the same closed recipient group of this private and confidential legal-safeguarding correspondence. Also to be noted is that 3 of the email addresses in the recipient group were actually those of Bishop Sarah Mullally herself, both directly and via her 2 private secretaries.

I complained asking how the Bishop of London, whom the CofE’s own Clergy Discipline Commission demands must handle and arbitrate CDM complaints to a standard of “scrupulous neutrality”, could so shockingly prejudge the matter and write emails to others declaring that the survivor's allegations were “unsubstantiated” before she had even begun to investigate the complaint.

The other directly-involved CDM witnesses who were also part of the same private email recipient group of a bit over a dozen, likewise expressed their shock and outrage at this breach by the Bishop of London of their expectation of confidentiality in relation to these legal-safeguarding communications within the group. This led to deep distrust and anger by local people from Portsoken and survivor campaigners in relation to the Bishop of London’s bias and collusion in her response to their multiple and serious concerns about William Campbell-Taylor, which dismay they expressed emphatically on the record in some of the CDM witness statements. In fact, the tone of Sarah Mullally’s email to William Campbell-Taylor at the time of her leak rather says it all.

Following the Bishop of London’s email leak and the filing of the CDM against him, the documentary record evidences how Campbell-Taylor began a campaign of stalking and harassment including repeated unsolicited contact with Survivor N's workplaces, close work colleagues and other areas of his life, some of which history is detailed in a published witness statement by one of Survivor N's immediate work colleagues. Notably, much of the post-CDM victimisation is documented as taking place with the knowledge of the Diocese of London and its bishops, and some of Campbell-Taylor's emails show Sarah Mullally and other bishops copied in.

Paragraph 73 of the Clergy Discipline Measure Code of Practice explicitly prohibits such unlawful witness intimidation perpetrated by the vicar-respondent against the survivor-complainant: "Any attempt by the respondent, either personally or through others, to put pressure on a complainant to withdraw a complaint is improper".

In an appalling twist, this Hackney-trained police chaplain used Sarah Mullally’s leaked email to file a complaint to Hackney Police of “publication” – namely claiming that by this confidential email having been copied to the private recipient group of a bit over a dozen Diocese of London and Lambeth Palace safeguarding officials, directly-involved witnesses and advisors, somehow this made the private legal email “a form of publication” akin to a press article or online blog. Bishop Mullally herself described it to police as a “bulk email”, despite herself having been part of this private correspondence over the span of a full 2 years.

DC Karen Johns of Hackney Police thereafter charged the survivor with “publication” in breach of a Court Order which had previously been obtained by Campbell-Taylor which he claimed prohibits such "publication". DC Johns initially concealed, but later on admitted in a subsequent report which she was asked to disclose that she had spoken on the telephone at length with the female Christian counsellor who assists many clergy with CDMs, and who had emphatically told the police officer both verbally and in writing that it was she, not Survivor N, who was the one who had actually drafted and caused to be sent the email that is the subject now of this charge against Survivor N of “publication”.

The ecclesiastical law firm, Lee Bolton Monier-Williams LLP, has since prepared a detailed legal opinion with documentary evidence, in which they argue why back-and-forth private group correspondence associated with a legal CDM complaint cannot possibly be a “form of publication”. Witnesses who participated in the correspondence also attest in their sworn statements to their shock and dismay at Sarah Mullally leaking what they expected to be confidential legal-safeguarding communication.

Ironically, Christian witnesses present in Court record that the original Court Order itself was at the time explicitly and deliberately drafted by District Judge Jonathan Radway against the background of William Campbell-Taylor's stalking behaviour of deliberately turning up to events and meetings of organisations in Portsoken and elsewhere where Survivor N was the designated journalist for reporting and "publishing" in printed newsletters, or where Survivor N was the designated photographer for "publishing" images and reports of attendees on the organisation's website.

In response to this, District Judge Radway therefore drafted the order unequivocally to permit, allow and sanction Survivor N to publish in such "publications" as the Portsoken Newsletter articles which "reference or cause to be referenced William Campbell-Taylor", or publish photographs and articles "online" in such electronic media as the website and social media of Portsoken Ward Club, which also "reference or cause to be referenced William Campbell-Taylor" – provided at all times that this "publication" takes place "in the normal course of the business of an organisation where he is appointed for that purpose". So the whole point is that the word "publication" here simply has its plain sense in English, namely something to which the general public have access, such as printed newsletters and online websites or Facebook pages which can be read by thousands of people. Not private closed group email correspondence.

The Judge’s decision on this question of “publication” will set a colossal legal precedent affecting survivors, and the ability of bishops and church officials to leak victims’ confidential correspondence to alleged abusers outwith the CDM process, leading to potential retaliation against complainants by the respondent vicars. Naturally, this case has attracted the interest and close monitoring by senior abuse lawyers and survivor campaigners, including some involved in the complaint against the CofE Archbishops Council to the Charity Commission concerning the Church of England’s track record of handling CDM complaints on safeguarding and victimisation of whistleblowers.

I witnessed first-hand how the Diocese of London employed James Foster of Luther Pendragon to make unsolicited contact and apply pressure on my close colleague, the MP who had booked the meeting room for me in the House of Commons, and then subsequently made threats to organisers in relation to our publication of the video footage of the meeting

Some years ago, I was the lead organiser of a debate in Parliament on clergy abuse, with a panel of prominent abuse lawyers, Christian and non-Christian faith leaders and survivors. I witnessed first-hand how the Diocese of London employed James Foster of Luther Pendragon to make unsolicited contact and apply pressure on my close colleague, the MP who had booked the meeting room for me in the House of Commons, and then subsequently made threats to organisers in relation to our publication of the video footage of the meeting. Survivor N spoke on that occasion and blew the whistle on the actions of the Bishop of London, Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood, as well as his own experience of abuse at the hands of William Campbell-Taylor.

Thereafter, the Church assisted this Hackney Police Chaplain, William Campbell-Taylor, in getting colleague, the very same DC Karen Johns of Hackney Police, to charge Survivor N. Despite the fact that the criminal prosecution was dismissed before ever going to trial due to lack of evidence, as well as much protest from abuse survivors, the resulting civil Court Order has led to devastating consequences for Survivor N, as the abundant documentary records demonstrate how Campbell-Taylor over recent years has pursued a stalking campaign of inserting himself into virtually every area of the survivor’s work and civic life, and weaponised the Order to pursue what Hackney Police admits are “numerous complaints”.

The extensive witness statements and documents evidence how William Campbell-Taylor filed multiple applications to join civic, cultural and other organisations in which he knew Survivor N had already been an Officer for years and, on occasion, turned up to committee meetings where he knew in advance Survivor N would be present and then called the authorities to claim “distress and alarm” – all to the outrage of local people who alerted the Chair of the City of London Standards Committee.

I have also previously documented how William Campbell-Taylor is alleged by senior Clergy Union colleagues to have “agitated” against Survivor N through his friend and fellow City of London Labour clergy-politician, Revd Steven Saxby (“the Red Rev”), this behaviour contributing to the resignation in protest of the highly respected Clergy Union Chair, Canon Stephen Trott, due to what he called this “vendetta” against the survivor.The national press have since reported Steven Saxby’s sacking from clergy office and suspension from the Labour Party due to multiple sexual wrongdoing and alleged sexual harassment.

Instititutional Racism and Doublespeak on Safeguarding and Abuse in the Church of England and Metropolitan Police

Survivor N filed and registered complaints to the police about these multiple alleged incidents of stalking and entryism by William Campbell-Taylor into virtually every sphere of his work and private life, but astonishingly these complaints were funnelled to Hackney Police. In staggering Stephen Lawrence-style contrast to the extensive police time and resources expended in investigating the complaints by Campbell-Taylor, this black Survivor N’s complaints were never followed up by Hackney Police, no witness statement ever taken from the complainant, none of the survivor’s calls returned.

Archbishop Justin Welby has spoken of how the Church of England is “still deeply institutionally racist”. Here we have a black survivor where vested religious power and backroom influence has led to the legal system itself being manipulated to silence him from ever speaking about his abuse, the CDM proper processes have been violated to obstruct his legal redress, and moreover no protection from such harassment is afforded to him even from law enforcement where cosy clergy-to-police influences obtain.

In staggering Stephen Lawrence-style contrast to the extensive police time and resources expended in investigating the complaints by Campbell-Taylor, this black Survivor N’s complaints were never followed up by Hackney Police, no witness statement ever taken from the complainant, none of the survivor’s calls returned

Perversely, Sarah Mullally remains arbiter of the Survivor N’s live CDM complaint against Campbell-Taylor (despite herself being the subject of a CDM). The Diocesan Registrar, Stuart Jones, wrote to the survivor’s lawyers following his private chat with the Bishop of London to encourage the survivor to put his differences aside and withdraw his CDM legal complaint. As stated above, Paragraph 73 of the CDM Code of Practice clearly prohibits a respondent from pressuring a complainant to discontinue his complaint. Clergy friends of Survivor N have also reported that they were contacted by Anglican third parties to “use their influence” to encourage the survivor to withdraw his complaint because “it wouldn’t go well for him”.

The Diocese of London’s role in covering for the wrongdoing of their clergy like William Campbell-Taylor dates back to the Bishop of London’s St Ethelburga’s Centre in the City of London dishonestly using academic materials entirely produced by Survivor N to file a government grant application for thousands upon thousands of pounds, which monies were used to fund Campbell-Taylor’s project and salary. This dishonest use of the survivor’s intellectual property, materials wholly produced by himself, was done completely without his knowledge or his permission, and rather he experienced vicious threats and victimisation from the vicar and the institution when he blew the whistle on this theft.

It is difficult to ignore the obvious fact that the same names of Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood keep popping up again and again in cases of victimisation of abuse survivors, whistleblowers and others who have come up against the power politics of the Establishment Church. I remain staggered at how perfectly the Church of England hierarchy’s dark deeds align with other Luther Pendragon clients who are desperately in need of such “reputation management” services – the arms industry, tobacco industry, nuclear waste industry.

It is also glaring how skin colour and racial difference are Anglican risk factors for experience of such abuse and bullying. An Asian priest in the Diocese of London reports how he was stripped of office and told by Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, that he was “beyond the love of God” for falling in love with, and marrying a congregant after his divorce. And yet, in the same parallel case of the white London bishop of Fulham, Jonathan Baker, both the Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury granted Baker special permission to remain as bishop following his divorce and remarriage.

Just to tie things up nicely, it was the same Bishop Adrian Newman who year after year gave Campbell-Taylor permission to stand as a politician in Portsoken, despite the concerns of misconduct raised by local people in the Ward people being very much in the public domain. When the close friends and parents of Survivor N started to raise complaints with Newman and the then Archdeacon of Hackney, Rachel Treweek, her galling response to the survivor was, “I have always known him [William Campbell-Taylor] to act with utter integrity”. Treweek's words have since bitterly echoed around the community of Portsoken.

When Rachel Treweek was thereafter elevated to Bishop of Gloucester, she published a YouTube video condemning her predecessor in the post, Bishop Peter Ball. She stated: “I am utterly ashamed that one of my predecessors, a so-called bishop in the Church of England, could have committed such horrific abuse, and an awful abuse of faith. I also want to say once again how sickened I am by the Church’s response at the time – bishops and archbishop more interested in protecting a bishop and the reputation of the Church rather than putting victims and survivors at the heart of their response, which is what they should have done”.

During the IICSA Inquiry, Rachel Treweek is said to have told a respected journalist that the Church of England has entirely changed since that time, and such abuses of process couldn’t happen now. In some dismay at the hypocrisy of her video, a respected Christian leader and doctor wrote to Bishop Treweek, challenging her prior conduct in relation to Survivor N.

The Diocesan Registrar, Stuart Jones, wrote to the survivor’s lawyers following his private chat with the Bishop of London to encourage the survivor to put his differences aside and withdraw his CDM legal complaint.

However, for those of us who over the years have come to experience at close quarters the un-Christian wickedness at the heart of the institution of the Church of England hierarchy, we are only too aware of these forked tongues and doublespeak. Following each damning public inquiry, these bishops have repeatedly shed tears on television and commended the courage of abuse survivors in their quest for justice, while concurrently being armed to the teeth with the brutal weaponry of Luther Pendragon and Winckworth Sherwood to threaten, bully, and this case drive a BAME survivor and whistleblower towards his suicide.

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, was entrusted with implementation of the crucial Elliott Review into Anglican abuse, and her betrayal of this commitment represents one landmark example of the bishop’s treason against Christian values in relation to survivors that has been much discussed and documented elsewhere.

I thus conclude with the published words of Bishop Sarah Mullally on her blog about survivors, and marvel at their witness to this same hypocrisy: “Finally Jo Kind [Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors] brought us back to the issue of power and trust and its abuse, this is something which we need to talk about more seriously. I wish change could occur overnight – it can’t, but I hope to match the tenacity shown by survivors by ensuring that change does occur”.

William Campbell-Taylor gift to his abuse victim
William Campbell-Taylor gift to his abuse victim


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