Church of England sex abuse investigation into Manchester Cathedral Dean Robert Waddington expected to overlap with police inquiry at Chetham's School of Music


Paul Gallagher
Thursday 24 September 2015 08:54

The Church of England inquiry into alleged child sex abuse by former Dean of Manchester Cathedral Robert Waddington is expected to crossover with the police inquiry into historical sexual abuse at Chetham's School of Music after it has emerged that Waddington was a governor at the school between 1984 and 1993.

A former choirboy, Eli Ward, last week waved his anonymity to describe how he was groomed by Waddington from the age of 11 over a five year period in the 1980s. Mr Ward, now 40, said the abuse started when Waddington began the grooming process in 1984 - the year he became both a governor at Chetham's and Dean of Manchester Cathedral - and ended after suspicions were raised in the Manchester diocese in 1989. Waddington was also chairman of the diocesan education committee at the time.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said there had been a complaint about Waddington. He added: "Robert Waddington is deceased so there is nothing further that can be done."

British pianist Ian Pace, who is leading calls to open an independent inquiry into historical sexual abuse at elite music schools, said "the connections between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham's music school are strong".

He added: "Chetham's School lies just on the opposite side of the road from Manchester Cathedral. During the time when I was at the school (1978-1986) weekly services took place in the cathedral and the school provided all of the statutory choristers, who would sing at the cathedral practically every day and often over holidays. The annual ceremony of Founder's Day, for which boy pupils wore an extremely cumbersome Tudor uniform, celebrating the founder Humphrey Chetham, also took place in the cathedral, as did some other concerts."

Mr Pace said Waddington would have been "in direct regular contact with a whole range of boys at Chetham's".

Manchester Cathedral has two choirs, one of which - the statutory choristers, known colloquially as the 'stats', consists of pupils who all come from Chetham's. The second is the voluntary choir - the 'vollies' - made up of other pupils. Given Chetham's proximity to the Cathedral, on the opposite side of the road, the 'stats' are considered the mainstay of music-making at the cathedral.

Waddington's fellow governors at Chetham's included Ewart Boddington, director of Boddington's Brewery, and the 18th Earl of Derby, Edward John Stanley. There is no suggestion any other governor was aware of the abuse Waddington is said to have carried out.

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, announced last weekend an independent church inquiry after it was revealed that allegations of child sexual abuse were made against Waddington in 1999 and 2003. Lord Hope of Thornes, the former archbishop of York, said he stripped Waddington, who was in charge of church schools, of his right to conduct church services at the time, but failed to report the allegations to the police or other child protection agencies because he believed Waddington did not pose a further risk to children.

The allegations against Waddington concerned a period when he was headteacher of St Barnabas boarding school in Ravenshoe, north Queensland, Australia, during the 1960s. Waddington is reported to have beaten and sexually abused at least three boys.

More than 30 women have now reported incidents of abuse at Chetham's after former choirmaster Michael Brewer, 68, was convicted of abusing pupil Frances Andrade at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. Mrs Andrade killed herself one week after giving evidence at Brewer's trial in February.

A GMP spokesman said it had assessed 39 individuals after receiving information following Brewer's conviction.

"Of these 10 are proactively investigated, five are believed to be deceased, 12 relate to third party reports and a further 12 relate to matters that either do not reach a criminal threshold........or where statutory time limits do not allow for a prosecution to take place," the spokesman added.

"The 10 being pro-actively investigated have or have had connections with either Chetham's and/or Royal Northern College of Music and/or have taught music privately."

A spokesman for the Archbishop of York said that the terms of reference for the inquiry into Waddington had been decided and would be made public "in due course".

A spokeswoman for Chetham's told the Independent: "Our archives tell us that Robert Waddington was a Governor of the School from September 1984 until September 1993, and a Feoffee from October 1984 until October 1993." A Feoffee is a trustee of Chetham's Hospital School and Library.

When asked if any complaints had been made against Waddington by pupils or staff during his time as a governor, the spokeswoman said the school was not aware of any. She added: "However you should be aware that our records retention policy is likely to mean that we would not retain records from this period. Our records retention policy follows the Retention Guidelines for Schools and is compliant with the Data Protection Policy."

Mr Pace added: "At the time when some of the worst abuse is alleged to have gone on at the school, the school board contained someone who has been outed as an abuser himself."