The Bishop of Leicester has apologised to the victims of a choirmaster who was jailed for sexually abusing choirboys in the city.
The Rt Revd Tim Stevens has issued the apology after John Bellamy was jailed for two years last week.
Bellamy, 72, was convicted of offences against five boys aged nine to 14 when he was choirmaster at St James the Greater Church in London Road.
The Right Rev Stevens said: “I deeply regret the pain and anguish, and the profound effect on the lives of all those affected by the offences for which John Bellamy was sentenced last week relating to a time in the 1970s when he was choirmaster in a parish church.
“To all those whose lives have been affected I offer my sympathy and sincere apology on behalf of the Diocese of Leicester.”
The Bishop has spoken out after police
The Bishop said he and representatives of the diocese and have worked closely with the police and other authorities since the issue was brought to their attention last year.
He said: “Training is provided in safeguarding so that at all churches in our diocese it is known today that any suggestion of child abuse must be dealt with in accordance with the highest possible standards. “This approach and the policies to support it were not available at the time when these offences were committed.
“We acknowledge that in the past there were different approaches taken to the way issues of safeguarding were dealt with.
“Any allegation or disclosure of abuse received today is reported to the statutory authorities immediately and support provided to all those who are impacted by the disclosure.
“We are determined to ensure that we provide the safest possible environment for everyone.”
The Bishop’s apology come after
police have asked anyone who believes they may have been a victim of the former choirmaster to contact them.
Detective Constable Jamie Carr said: “During the investigation, we also identified that Bellamy worked in various education establishments in Leicester and Leicestershire until his retirement in 1995, inquiries did not determine whether Bellamy may have gone on to commit further incidents during that time.
“We would like to take this opportunity to ask the public to contact us if they believe that they may have been a victim of Bellamy or have any concerns.
“Please be assured that they will be taken seriously.”
Bellamy, of Kingsmead Road, Knighton, Leicester, was found guilty at Worcester Crown Court on six counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child.
He was sentenced to two years for each count of indecent assault and 12 months for each count of indecency with a child.
The court heard how Bellamy had spanked the bottoms of naked boys at his home.
The trial was also told how Bellamy had taken nude photographs of boys at his house as part of ‘research’ designed to show the youngsters how to breathe properly to improve their singing.