FRESH allegations have surfaced in the controversial case of wartime Bishop of Chichester, George Bell.

Today the Church of England took the extraordinary step of announcing it has received “fresh information about Bishop George Bell” which it has forwarded to Sussex Police.

In December, an independent review into the handling of a previous accusation of historic sexual abuse by Bell - the former head of the Church in Sussex - was highly critical of the Church’s processes.

But speaking exclusively to The Argus, the original alleged victim has maintained her story.

Today the Church of England said: “The Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has received fresh information concerning Bishop George Bell.

“Sussex Police have been informed and we will work collaboratively with them.

“This new information was received following the publication of the Carlile Review, and is now being considered through the Core Group and in accordance with Lord Carlile’s recommendations.

“The Core Group is now in the process of commissioning an independent investigation in respect of these latest developments.

“As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded.”

The revelation comes at a critical time for the Church leadership (see below.)

Details of the accusation were published exclusively in The Argus after the alleged victim reached out to this newspaper following our coverage of the matter. She said the abuse went on for four or five years, starting when she was just five in the 1940s.

She said Bell would sit her on his knee when they were alone, and molest her. She also explained she had informed the Church of the abuse in 1995, and again in 2012, and again in 2013 - at which time Archbishop Justin Welby saw to it her complaint was fully investigated.

In October 2015 the Church issued a £16,000 payout and an apology for the way the complaint had been dealt with.

Although its statement stopped short of admitting Bell’s guilt, press coverage led to a movement among Bell’s many supporters including his last living relatives, to seek to clear his name. Bell has an Anglican feast day in his name, was instrumental in the protection of German Christians under the Nazis, and is considered by many one of the most revered Anglican churchmen of the 20th Century.

The Church commissioned a report, which was published in December 2017. Law Lord Alex Carlile concluded the process had been “deficient in several ways.” He said: “The statement [of October 2015] was wrong, it should never have been issued. I think if one looks at the process, the process went just horribly wrong.”

Interviewed by The Argus he said the most important evidence overlooked in the initial assessment, was testimony of another woman who also spent time in the Bishop’s Palace as a young girl and said she was not molested.

Sussex Police said yesterday it was assessing information, about Bell, received from the Church on Tuesday 30, to establish what further enquiries need to be made.


On December 15 2017 - just over two years after the first shocking Church of England statement that an apology and payout had been made over a claim of historic sexual abuse by Bishop George Bell - the Church was told it got it wrong.

Law Lord Alex Carlile, having reviewed the assessment of the allegation, concluded the civil burden of proof of “balance of probabilities” could not have been reached. He did not comment on Bell’s guilt or innocence, but insisted the Church’s processes and statement were “wrong”.

But Archbishop Justin Welby has maintained a “significant cloud” remains over Bell’s name, and has been fiercely criticised by historians and Bell’s supporters for saying so. He is due to face questions on the matter at General Synod this week.