An eminent Anglican bishop was assaulted by a worker at a Lancashire care home, weeks before his death.
At a time Rt Rev John Satterthwaite – the former Bishop of Gibraltar – was at his most vulnerable, carer Kate Rogowski forced him to have cold showers and slapped him on the bottom.
New mum Rogowski, 25, of Ayrshire Close, Buckshaw Village, near Chorley, was found guilty of assaulting the elderly victim, who had dementia, after a trial at Preston Magistrates’ Court, and was given an eight-week jail term.
But the vulnerable clergyman, respected around the world for his significant roles in the Anglican church, did not live to see justice done.
He died in Chorley Hospital in May last year aged 88 – a month after the incident came to light – though his death is not related to the assault.
The court heard he was a resident at The Lodge care home within the Buckshaw Village Retirement complex.
The magistrates’ bench said Rogowski “acted in direct contravention of his care plan, causing him unnecessary humiliation and degradation by cold showering him and slapping his bottom”, and had shown no remorse.
It is understood a member of staff raised the alarm.
Today the Diocese of Carlisle, from where the bishop hailed, and the Diocese of Blackburn issued a joint statement which said: “We are really shocked to discover this sad end to the very distinguished life of Bishop John.
“He was a tremendous character with a huge fund of interesting stories about his time as Bishop of Europe. He was an ardent ecumenist with excellent links with sister churches.
“Bishop John was much loved by the very many people who knew him. All people deserve respect, but especially the most vulnerable in our society. We pray for all those who work for older people.”
The bishop’s second cousin, Peter Beck, 66, from Deepdale, Preston, added: “ My parents were both cared for very well in care homes – one bad egg shouldn’t ruin the reputation of other carers who do a good job.
“My dad Colin – his cousin – grew up with him in Cumbria and was close to him when they were children. They used to play in an apple orchard.”
A spokesman for HICA, which manages The Lodge, said: “We are gravely saddened for the resident that this situation occurred and we appreciate how distressing this is for the person and their family members and the team currently working at the home.
“At HICA we have a zero tolerance approach to any forms of abuse and our safeguarding policy and training ensures that any issues such as these are reported immediately and action taken.
“As a not-for-profit organisation our only objective is to provide, safe, caring, responsive, effective and well-led care services and we are proud to be working with both safeguarding departments and the police across all areas of our operation to ensure that poor practice such as this is stamped out in the care sector.”
Rt Rev Satterthwaite dedicated much of his life to reaching out to Christian emigre communities in England from Eastern Europe.
He was Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe from 1980 to 1993 and had previous roles as Bishop of Fulham and General Secretary of the Church of England’s Council for Foreign Relations.
He is considered to have played a major role in strengthening his church’s relations with other denominations and in establishing a strong Anglican presence on the continent.
He retired in 1993 and lived in Carlisle before moving to the rest home.
DC Carl Matthews, who investigated the case, said: “This victim was a vulnerable member of the community who has been subjected to ill-treatment at the hands of one of the people who were entrusted to care for them.
“Instead Rogowski showed total contempt for his wellbeing, displaying shameful behaviour that should never be tolerated. Thankfully this behaviour is not a true reflection of the majority of the care staff.”