William Campbell-Taylor Sexual Abuse and Blackmail exposed by Pike’s Peak News
by Ben S. Fielding
Harriet’s Place has for some time been following the case of the bisexual married vicar, William Campbell-Taylor (also known by the alias “Father William Taylor”) who tried to prosecute one of his male victims who had revealed in the British Parliament that the priest had asked him for oral sex.
Campbell-Taylor, who is a Councilor in the City of London as well as the vicar of St Thomas’ Church, Clapton Common in the Hackney Deanery of London Diocese, had used an obscure piece of British law as a weapon, namely that by talking publicly of these embarrassing sexual activities, his vulnerable male victim had caused Campbell-Taylor as the perpetrator “distress and alarm” (a whole load of humiliation in front of his fellow clerics and his wife).
The threat of a Court case that would prosecute a victim of clergy sexual abuse for publicly talking about their experience at the hands of an abuser like William Campbell-Taylor, sent shockwaves around the survivor community worldwide. Over months, delegations of survivors met at Lambeth Palace with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, to complain about this suppression of a survivor’s free speech to tell his story. The church and clergy grapevine was buzzing as the news spread across the water to different Anglican provinces around the world.
The story was covered by the admirable team at Pike’s Peak Christian News in Colorado. I called the Denver phone number on the Pike’s Peak website and spoke with News Editor, Lucy Brooks, and Staff Writer, Bruce Rodgers, about how the news site got hold of this very British story. “Though we’re die hard Coloradoans, we set up Pike’s Peak to cover Christian news from across the globe”, said Lucy, adding that her colleague, Bruce Rodgers had spent a considerable amount of time in London during his career.
The story was researched substantially by Bruce Rodgers, a one-time Wall Street hedge fund manager-turned Episcopalian pastor, who gave up the cut and thrust of the stock market to follow Christ’s calling. “My heritage is thoroughly English, and we’ve all been brought up in the Episcopal Church, though it’s not always been an easy fit for a committed Evangelical. I spent time at a seminary in Cambridge, England researching the thesis for my divinity masters and, though I’ve never actually met him, it was there I first heard from contemporaries about this guy, William Campbell-Taylor – or as I knew him, ‘Rev. William Taylor’. He seemed an interesting guy, and I read a book of his about his ministry and campaigns in the historic City of London. I never gave it much thought after that”.
William Campbell-Taylor hit the headlines in 2013 as the star of a film about the City of London and global tax avoidance and again as a party politician councilmember. “It raised interesting dilemmas for me both as an Anglican which is the state church in England, and as an American Christian where the separation of church and state is law” says Rodgers. “The Christian Gospel is a political challenge to this this world, but God’s Kingdom is not of this world, and don’t Christian pastors get a bit dirty when they do secular party politics?”
The first news of William Campbell-Taylor’s multiple history of sexual abuse and blackmail started to filter out round about the end of 2014. Rodgers says, “I started hearing reports from Cambridge and from friends who were now in Christian ministry elsewhere. Then amazingly, at the exact same time I got this press release forwarded from a different direction by one of my old co-workers from JP Morgan’s London office. I told Lucy and she said to me ‘We need to do this. This is a story we’re being called to cover’. And so we started digging with our contacts on both sides of the pond.”
“We had initial setbacks. I asked a friend of mine who’s an US vicar living in London to try and set up an interview for me with William Taylor, but it didn’t work out. The lawyers of the male victim had told him not to talk to anyone, and we thought maybe this isn’t going anywhere. But bits of news kept hitting us as though we were being drawn back to it, and so we asked a London-based source of ours to use her PI skills to procure the material, such as getting the statements of eyewitnesses, and talk to others involved. Most useful were emails which William Taylor himself had sent around rather fervently and extensively about the case, which gave us some insight into the personality and what was going on here.”
Lucy cuts in, “There were almost two dozen prospective witnesses, and the heads of survivor groups eagerly helped. What was most disturbing to me was that Campbell-Taylor had pulled a favor as a police chaplain to get his local cops to prosecute the case, so the head of one British survivor group spoke to the police about how this shocking thing could happen in a free country.”
While William Campbell-Taylor’s complaint was eventually thrown out by the Court, to the relief of sex abuse victims and all concerned for freedom of speech, the story rolls on, and you all know how Harriet’s Place loves a good story. Stay tuned. We know this story isn’t over.