Important information for families connected with children’s groups at Covent Garden Evangelical Church*, 2005-08
(*Covent Garden Evangelical Church later became part of Hope Community Church.)
This information is in relation to Ben Thomas, who worked with Covent Garden Evangelical Church from 2005-2008. During that time he was involved with activities for young people ranging between the ages of 5-16.
We are extremely sad to inform you that in court on Friday 17 July, 2020, Ben Thomas pleaded guilty to 40 charges of sexual offences, some involving children. According to news reports, the offences took place in the UK and overseas between 1990-2019.
This has come as a great shock to us, and we are deeply concerned for the victims of these offences. We also have much sympathy for their families, for Ben’s own family and for the church which he led until last year. All of them have had their trust betrayed in different ways and are in our prayers.
During Ben’s time in Covent Garden, there were active safeguarding procedures in place for church activities and we have no evidence that children were at risk at the various children’s clubs. However, we are aware that victims of offences like this, especially children and young people, often do not come forward for many years, if at all. Our priority is to ensure as far as possible that, if anyone was affected during Ben’s time in Covent Garden who has not yet come forward for justice and/or support, they are able to do so now.
We therefore want to give the opportunity to anyone affected by the actions of Ben Thomas in the past to share their concern, by providing the following information which we hope may be useful:
To report an offence to the Metropolitan Police, you can find details here: https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/how-to-report-rape-and-sexual-assault/
For information, advice and support you can contact various organisations including Victim Support: https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/rape-and-sexual-assault
You can also contact thirtyone:eight, a independent Christian charity and Helpline who can signpost you to additional help and support (you do not have to be a Christian to receive help): https://thirtyoneeight.org/get-help/survivors/
If you would like to talk to us more about this issue, please contact Andrew Murray, the pastor of Hope Community Church.
Phone: 07867 922165 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org