Statement from Southwark Cathedral regarding Clive McCleester:
Clive McCleester, a former senior employee of Southwark Cathedral today received a sentence of 16 years for a number of safeguarding offences, some of which took place during the period Mr McCleester served as a verger in the 1980s.
Mr McCleester’s crimes are a grievous breach of trust, which will have life-long effects for both his victims and their families, something the judge reflected in her closing remarks and the sentence she imposed upon Mr McCleester.
We would like to offer a full and unreserved apology to all those affected by this matter and we commend the bravery of those who brought this to light, acknowledging how difficult and distressing this would have been.
We are profoundly sorry for the abuse perpetrated by Mr McCleester and are committed to doing everything possible to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and adults, who look to us for respect and care.
We have cooperated fully with the police in the course of their investigations. The safety and wellbeing of children and young people is our highest priority, and we continually monitor our practice and processes to ensure that safeguarding remains at the heart of everything we do. The Social Care Institute for Excellence audit undertaken in 2020 was positive about the Cathedral’s safeguarding work – nevertheless, we recognise that there is always more to learn, more to be done to ensure the safety of all those with whom we have contact.
Should anyone wish to share a Safeguarding concern or need support, they can contact our Safeguarding team on 020 7939 9444 (office hours) or 020 3874 6743 (out of hours) or visit the Safe Spaces website: www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk.
Our prayers are with everyone affected by this matter.
13 July 2023