Bishop accused of school sex abuse cover up defrocked over misconduct with two women 37 years ago

Bishop accused of sex abuse cover up at music school is defrocked over misconduct with two women in claim dating back 37 years

  • Bishop Peter Hullah, 73, accused of helping cover up abuse at a music school
  • He has been banned from the CoE for life after admitting sexual misconduct
  • The claims against Mr Hullah relate to incidents with women in 1985 and 1999,
  • They were considered serious enough for the CoE to refer them to police

A bishop accused of helping cover up abuse at a scandal-hit music school has been banned from the Church of England for life after admitting sexual misconduct.

The claims against Peter Hullah, which relate to incidents with women in 1985 and 1999, were considered serious enough for the CoE to refer them to police.

The thrice-married 73-year-old has not been charged with any criminal offences, but following an internal disciplinary process a decision was taken in the summer by the Archbishop of Canterbury to prohibit him from all ministry.

His ‘defrocking’ means he will never again be able to conduct services or officiate at weddings or funerals.

Banned: Peter Hullah (pictured), 73, has been banned from the Church of England for life after admitting sexual misconduct

Banned: Peter Hullah (pictured), 73, has been banned from the Church of England for life after admitting sexual misconduct

The latest revelations about Mr Hullah follow sharp criticism of his time as headmaster of Chetham's School of Music (pictured) in Manchester

The latest revelations about Mr Hullah follow sharp criticism of his time as headmaster of Chetham’s School of Music (pictured) in Manchester

The sanction is seen as the most serious that can be imposed under the Clergy Discipline Measure, the CoE’s system for dealing with allegations of misconduct. It is imposed only where the offence is considered to be ‘grave’.

Ordained as a priest at the age of 25, Mr Hullah was made Bishop of Ramsbury in the diocese of Salisbury in 1999, holding the post until 2005.

Last night a CofE spokesman issued an ‘unreserved apology’ to his victims, while acknowledging their ‘courage’ for coming forward.

‘The Church expects the highest standards from those in leadership and there can be no excuses when this does not happen,’ she said.

It is understood that the two women were known to Mr Hullah and were adults.

Had he not agreed to accept the life ban in August, then the matter would have gone to a CoE tribunal, where evidence from the complainants would have been heard and the decision made public.

Instead, the existence of the investigation into Mr Hullah emerged this week only after inquiries by the Mail.

A spokesman for Mr Hullah said: ‘These allegations have not been brought before any form of tribunal. They are historic matters which have been dealt with by the Church over a period of time and concluded by consent.

‘Peter Hullah expresses deep regret to those affected in any way and apologies for any distress caused to anyone involved in this process.’

The latest revelations about Mr Hullah follow sharp criticism of his time as headmaster of Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. The reputation of the noted state-run boarding school was seriously damaged by revelations that pupils suffered abuse at the hands of teachers from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Mr Hullah was headmaster of Chetham’s between 1992 and 1999. His time there came under the spotlight in 2013 when the school’s director of music, Michael Brewer, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of sexually assaulting one of his pupils when she was 14.

His victim, Frances Andrade, killed herself after giving evidence against him.

Michael Brewer (pictured), director of music at Chetham's School of Music, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of sexually assaulting one of his pupils when she was 14

Michael Brewer (pictured), director of music at Chetham’s School of Music, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of sexually assaulting one of his pupils when she was 14

During the trial it was claimed by prosecutors that Brewer had been forced to resign in 1994 because of an inappropriate relationship with another 17-year-old girl.

She told the court how Brewer convinced her he was in love with her while groping her in his office and practice rooms. One day she was naked from the waist up when Mr Hullah knocked on the door.

Although she was ‘slipped out’ of a side door, the head confronted Brewer, who admitted the relationship.

But rather than be sacked, the director of music was allowed to resign on the grounds of ill health. Asked about this in court, Brewer said the health story was suggested by Mr Hullah.

Asked if it was ‘a cover-up’ in which ‘everything was swept under the carpet by you, Mr Hullah and Chetham’s’, Brewer said he had acted ‘honourably’. But when pressed by Judge Martin Rudland, the defendant replied: ‘Yes.’

After leaving Chetham’s, Brewer was awarded an OBE for services to education and offers of work with children and young people poured in.

Earlier this year Mr Hullah was made the master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen, an ancient City livery company. The complaints against him were lodged with the CofE’s national safeguarding team in 2019.

The later of the two incidents was said to have taken place in 1999, the year that Mr Hullah left Chetham’s.

Around the time of the first incident he was working at Sevenoaks School, a public school in Kent where he was a chaplain and housemaster between 1982 and 1985.

In 2019, he was quizzed by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. According to his spokesman, Mr Hullah has had no clerical duties since 2014. Chetham’s headmistress Nicola Smith said she was unaware of allegations against him.

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