Channel 4 News has questioned the claim by Justin Welby, head of the UK’s state church, that he was abroad at the time that boys were beaten at Christian summer camps run by the Irwerne Trust. Welby had said that he had had no contact with the camps after 1978.
The news programme claimed that a list of speakers for an event at a 1979 summer camp shows that Welby was still involved after he claimed to have ended contact. Welby gave his talke a few days after John Smyth also spoke. It is Smyth who is alleged to have beaten boys at the camps.
Channel Four News said that other documents it had been shown also suggest that Welby stayed in contact with the Trust after 1978.
In response Welby did not deny that he gave the talk in 1979 but said that it was a “one-off”. He also stated that the other documents were not evidence of a close relationship with the Trust.
British police are investigating allegations that John Smyth beat with a cane boys who attended the Christian camps run by the Irwerne Trust while telling them that the purpose was to test “how far you will go to demonstrate your faith” and quoting the Bible in justification. Smyth now lives in South Africa.