Statements Regarding Recent Events 12.10.2018
Statement read to congregation on Sunday 14th October 2018.
Some of you are already aware of the disturbing news that we have had to suspend our caretaker from his job here at Soul Survivor Watford following his arrest on Friday. The arrest followed allegations that he had groomed children online. The entire staff team has been utterly shocked and saddened by this and we know you will be too.
It is important to make clear that, at present, there is no indication that any of our robust safeguarding procedures here at the church have been breached. Our understanding is that the allegations against the individual are to do with his online activity. Obviously, as a result of these allegations we are following up as a matter of urgency to ensure our procedures have been followed.
Nevertheless, if any of you have any concerns that you want to raise as a result of hearing this news, then please contact either Andy Croft or Jonny Stevens, or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Jeremy Hirst, if you would prefer. Jeremy’s contact details are below. Your concerns will be treated seriously and passed on to the authorities if appropriate.
The individual concerned is the subject of an ongoing police investigation and we are co-operating fully with this. There is very little information we can share with you about this at this early stage in the investigation. We want to make clear that the individual is being pastorally supported, but not by anybody in this church. As well as his suspension, the individual is not permitted to enter the buildings at any time while the investigation continues. This is for the protection and well-being of all the users of this building.
In the interests of justice for the alleged victims and so as not to compromise the investigation and subsequent judicial process if any, we need to ask you to respect the need not to speculate about this matter and engage in discussion of it. Please could we also ask you to bear in mind that suspension is a neutral act which does not indicate either innocence or guilt, but that there is a matter which bears investigation. It is for the police alone to investigate this matter and decide what further action is or is not required.
If any of you are approached by the media, please contact Andy Croft, or Jonny Stevens or refer the enquirer directly to Arun Kataria, Diocesan Communications. His contact details are below.
The safety and well-being of everyone who comes Soul Survivor Watford has always and will always be of prime importance to us. Our first thoughts are with those who may have suffered harm. We have to be a place where adults and children are welcome and are safe. Now is the time to hold all involved or allegedly involved in this situation in our prayers.
We are very concerned that a member of the Soul Survivor Watford maintenance staff has been arrested. We have suspended the employee while this matter is investigated by the police. Suspension is a neutral act which does not imply innocence or guilt and the police investigation is currently at an early stage. We shall be active in working with the police to aid their investigation in any way we can. At present we have no indication that any of Soul Survivor Watford’s safeguarding procedures have been breached. We are of course following up on this as a matter of urgency to ensure that this is the case. The safety and wellbeing of everyone who comes to Soul Survivor Watford is of prime importance to us.
To contact us regarding any concerns in regards to this situation please contact the following people from St Albans Diocese and Soul Survivor Watford.
Soul Survivor Watford
Rev. Andy Croft
Tel: 01923 204200
Tel: 01923 204200
St Albans Diocese
Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor
Tel: 01727 818107
Mobile: 07867 350886
For Media Enquiries
Tel: 01727 818110
Mobile: 07809 149430