Tag Archives: Anglicanism

“Christ Church dean accused of mishandling child sexual assault case” – Cherwell – March 5 2020

“Christ Church Governing Body criticised for its attacks on the Dean” – Thinking Anglicans

Christ Church Governing Body criticised for its attacks on the Dean

https://cherwell.org/2020/03/05/christ-church-dean-accused-of-mishandling-child-sexual-assault-case/

chch-cathedral

Christ Church Oxford

Christ Church dean accused of mishandling child sexual assault case

Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, has been accused of failing to correctly report the sexual assault of a minor.

Percy, embroiled in a long dispute with his own college, has denied the allegations in a statement to The Guardian.

On the 4th March, a statement on Christ Church’s website was posted, entitled “Update on Safeguarding”. It read: “On 7 February 2020, we received a media enquiry regarding the two Employment Tribunal claims, which the Dean has lodged against Christ Church.”

“This included an allegation that a former student had been sexually assaulted during their time at Christ Church, whilst still a minor. Upon further investigation, it is apparent that this allegation was disclosed to the Dean, but never reported by him to the police, the local authority designated officer, Christ Church’s safeguarding officers, or the Church of England’s safeguarding officer.

“This allegation has now been reported to the police. Internal investigations have subsequently raised serious concerns about the Dean’s handling of four separate matters reported to him. All relate to allegations of sexual abuse or assault, two involving a minor. On legal advice, we have also made a report to the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Office, and they have opened an investigation.

“There is no implication whatsoever that the Dean himself has been involved in any form of sexual misconduct.

“Protecting our students, pupils, staff, and all those who live, work, or study at Christ Church is our highest priority. We are assisting the Church of England and the police in their enquiries, and we are putting in place measures to ensure that our safeguarding obligations continue to be met.

“Christ Church’s Governing Body is fully committed to safeguarding and has robust policies and processes in place. Our thoughts are with any survivors of abuse affected by this news. If anyone requires immediate support, they should contact Christ Church or the police.”

Speaking to Cherwell, the Dean issued the following statement: “The statement on the College website will give rise to unfortunate speculation. For the avoidance of doubt, the Dean dealt correctly with three historic cases of reported sexual assault in the Academic year ​​20​16-​17, and the information on these were shared with the appropriate college officers at the time. One of these individuals had already made a report to the police, which was already known ​to​the college officers concerned. A fourth historic disclosure was made by an individual who had never reported the matter to the police, and only agreed to talk about the ​alleged assault ​on the condition that there was no further disclosure. Their position of this individual has not changed. No person making a disclosure was still a minor – all were over 21.

“Three of the cases took place before 2014, prior to the Dean taking up office. None of alleged perpetrators posed a safeguarding risk. None of the alleged perpetrators was a current employee of Christ Church at the time of these disclosures.

“The Dean raised concerns that college officers in 2017, and who should have had responsibility for safeguarding​,​ did not ​in fact ​know this, and had not been properly trained. ​ ​The Dean raised this as a matter of concern with the three individuals with the most responsibility for the legal compliance of the college. (i.e. statutory, welfare, etc.).  The job descriptions for the relevant college officers were changed in January 2018 to take account of the concerns raised by the instigation of the Dean. The college and cathedral regularly review their safeguarding practice, and are compliant with their statutory obligations, and our safeguarding leads are all properly trained.

The Police made a statement on this matter some weeks ago (20-02-20). This is what they said to me in writing: “We received a third party report of a rape on 13 February this year relating to an alleged incident at Christchurch sometime between 2010 and 2017. However, the alleged victim has never reported such an incident to police, and as such there is no line of enquiry and no current investigation. Due to Home Office guidelines, we have recorded the offence as reported, but the matter has been filed.”

In addition, the Dean told The Guardian he had “dealt correctly with three historic cases of reported sexual assault in the academic year 2016-17, and the information on these were shared with the appropriate college officers at the time.

“A fourth historic disclosure was made by an individual who had never reported the matter to the police, and only agreed to talk about the alleged assault on the condition that there was no further disclosure. Their position has not changed.”

In a comprehensive response to the Dean’s statement, Christ Church issued the following rebuttal:

“1. “For the avoidance of doubt, the Dean dealt correctly with three historic cases of reported sexual assault in the aca­demic year 2016-17, and the infor­ma­tion on these were shared with the appropriate college officers at the time.”

The Dean has told Christ Church that four historic cases were reported to him in the calendar year of 2017. Christ Church’s Safeguarding Officers were not informed by the Dean at the time about three of these reports of sexual assault – nor was any other college officer.

“2. “One of these individuals had already made a report to the police, which was already known to the college officers concerned.”

No college officer was informed by the Dean about any police report at the time, with regard to any of these four disclosures.

“3. “A fourth historic disclosure was made by an individual who had never reported the matter to the police, and only agreed to talk about the alleged assault on the condition that there was no further disclosure. Their position of this individual has not changed.”

A fourth case was mentioned, regarding a former student, to a Safeguarding Officer, but with no indication that it involved an individual who was a minor at the time of the alleged assault.

“4. “No person making a disclosure was a minor — all were over 21.”

According to what the Dean has told us, two of the survivors were minors at the time of the alleged abuse/assault.

“5.  “Three of the cases took place before 2014, prior to the Dean taking up office.”

Four cases were disclosed to the Dean, according to his own account, in the calendar year of 2017.

“6. “None of alleged perpetrators posed a safeguarding risk.”

Apart from the Dean, we are not aware of anyone at Christ Church who has any information about any of the alleged perpetrators, and therefore we are unable to assess whether there is any safeguarding risk.

“7. “The Christ Church statement omits to note that the police have reported that no investigation is being pursued.”

Thames Valley Police has asked the Dean for more information with regard to the perpetrator of the recently-reported alleged assault against a minor. Christ Church is not aware that the Dean has responded to this request.

This is the latest instalment in the continuing clash between Martyn Percy and his colleagues. The origins of the dispute are contentious, with the Dean claiming a hostile response to this efforts to modernise the college. His opponents in the ongoing battle cite a request for a pay rise.

After a suspension in 2018, Martyn Percy was reinstated following an internal tribunal, in August of last year. His case will be heard in an Employment Tribunal in 2021.

  • IICSA Transcript – Day 1 – Monday – July 23 2018 – Fiona Scolding QC

     

    Page 90

    MR GIFFIN: Chair, members of the panel, the Archbishops’ Council is grateful for this opportunity to make some brief opening remarks….In 2015, after Ball, as you have heard, pleaded guilty to offences and was sentenced for them, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote to individuals known to have been abused by Ball to offer his apologies and the church made a public statement, including these words, which bear repeating. Shall I pause?

    FIONA SCOLDING QC: I’m terribly sorry. I don’t know what is
    going on. I will ask Mr Fulbrook to go and see if
    whatever is happening can be desisted from immediately.
    MR GIFFIN: Shall I continue, chair? I will, if I may,
    repeat my previous words….

    Page 171 & 172

    REVD GRAHAM SAWYER: Let me make this very clear. The sexual abuse that was
    perpetrated upon me by Bishop Peter Ball pales into
    insignificance when compared to the enduringly cruel and
    sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by
    officials, both lay and ordained, in the
    Church of England, and I know from the testimony of
    other people who have got in touch with me over the last
    five or ten years that what I have experienced is not
    dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and
    I use those words “cruel and sadistic”, because I think
    that’s how they behave.

    FIONA SCOLDING QC: How much of that do you attribute to the lingering
    effect, shall we say, of Peter Ball, because the events
    you describe sort of postdated Peter Ball’s caution and
    resignation?

    REVD GRAHAM SAWYER: Well, there’s an expression used in Australia to refer
    to the bench of bishops, they don’t refer to the bench
    of bishops, but they refer to the “purple circle”,
    and the purple circle exists pretty much in every national
    church within Anglicanism. It no doubt exists in other
    episcopally-led churches. They support one another in
    a sort of club-like way.
    If anyone attacks one of them, they will, as
    a group, as a sort of collective conscience and in
    action, seek to destroy the person who is making
    complaints about one individual.
    Now, don’t take my testimony alone from this. There
    is former — in fact, the recently retired bishop of
    Newcastle in NSW, Australia, who was a victim of sexual
    abuse there, and he described his treatment — he said
    it is like an ecclesiastical protection racket. That is
    the culture within Anglicanism and no doubt within other
    episcopally-led church. It is an ecclesiastical
    protection racket, and anyone who seeks in any way to
    threaten the reputation of the church as an institution
    has to be destroyed. That is the primary thing, and
    that is the culture within Anglicanism.

     

  • March 12 2020 – From The Archives [July 24 2019 – Luther Pendragon – “‘Professional Bullies’ and the Church of England” – ‘The Bell Society’ – Richard W. Symonds]

    Luther-Pendragon

    EIO-new

    March 13 2020 – From The Archives [July 23 2108 – Transcript – Day 1 – Monday – July 23 2018]

    • Excerpts – Fiona Scolding QC
    • This case study will seek answers to the following
      questions:
      (1) why did Bishop Peter Ball escape detection as an
      abuser, despite, as it has now emerged, the fact that he
      made sexual advances to a significant number of young
      men who came within his ambit of influence?
      (2) how did the church permit him to run a scheme
      25 where young people came to stay with him for extended
      periods of time in his home without any supervision or
      oversight and without any real sense of what was
      happening or who was there over a more than ten-year
      period whilst he was a suffragan bishop?
      (3) why was he given a caution, rather than
      prosecuted, for the offending that the police
      investigated in 1992/1993 in respect of Neil Todd and
      others? Why were other complaints brought at that time
      not prosecuted or subject to any form of disposal at
      that time?
      (4) why was Peter Ball represented by a lawyer
      during the criminal proceedings in 1992 who was also the
      diocesan registrar, that is, an official lawyer for the
      diocese in religious matters? This individual discussed
      the case and Peter Ball’s defence with various senior
      members of the church during the course of
      the investigation. Why was this potential conflict of
      interest not identified or acted upon?
      (5) was it wrong for the church to become involved
      in seeking to defend Peter Ball by employing a private
      detective on his behalf?
      (6) were the church, police or prosecution put under
      undue and improper pressure by individuals who held
      positions of power and influence within society to try
      and quash the criminal allegations made against
      Peter Ball and return him to ministry?
      (7) should a caution ever have been administered?
      (8) why was he not subject to any disciplinary
      action by the church until 2015? Were the disciplinary
      powers of the church at the time in question, 1992
      through to 2015, fit for purpose to manage the sorts of
      allegations that this case study raises? Why, given the
      frustrations expressed by senior individuals within
      Lambeth Palace about Peter Ball’s lack of insight into
      his own offending behaviour was no risk assessment
      process undertaken of him until 2009?
      (9) why was he allowed to return to public ministry
      and even granted permission to visit schools and
      undertake confirmations in the light of what was known
      about his offending behaviour within the church at the
      time?
      (10) why didn’t the church refer letters received
      from various individuals which made allegations similar
      to those that Neil Todd had made to the police
      in December 1992 and why in fact did it take until 2010
      for the majority of those letters to be passed to the
      police?
      (11) was the internal investigation conducted by the
      Church of England in 1992/1993 adequate?
      (12) why did the prosecution decide to accept the
      guilty pleas entered into by Peter Ball in 2015 and why
      were other offences not pursued to trial?
      (13) would the church approach a similar matter
      concerning a senior member of its ranks in a like manner
      today and, if not, what steps have been nut in place to
      create a consistent approach to dealing with such
      allegations?
      (14) what steps does the church, police, Crown
      Prosecution Service and society need to undertake to
      overcome the problems that this case study may
      demonstrate?
      We have sought and obtained evidence from Peter Ball
      himself. He has provided two witness statements to the
      inquiry. We have received medical evidence that he is
      too unwell to give us evidence either in person or by
      way of videolink. Both his witness statements will be
      placed upon the website. He has provided an apology in
      the second of those witness statements and has
      identified that he has neither been open nor shown
      penitence in the past. He also identifies that
      previously he has not had the courage to be forthright
      about his sexuality that maybe he should have had…….

    Page 90

    MR GIFFIN: Chair, members of the panel, the
    Archbishops’ Council is grateful for this opportunity to
    make some brief opening remarks. The inquiry of course
    heard longer submissions from us at the start and finish
    of the Chichester case study, and we also filed detailed
    written submissions at the close of the Chichester
    hearings, and all of those are publicly available and
    I needn’t repeat any of the detail of them now.
    Rather, I shall confine myself to three matters.
    The first and foremost is to say, clearly, that the
    church is sorry and ashamed. At the Chichester
    hearings, the Archbishops’ Council offered an
    unqualified apology to those vulnerable people, children
    and others, whose lives have been damaged by abuse, and
    who were not cared for and protected by the church as
    they should have been. We repeat that apology now,
    specifically to those who suffered abuse at the hands of
    Peter Ball, and the families and others who have been
    affected by that abuse.
    In 2015, after Ball, as you have heard, pleadedguilty to offences and was sentenced for them, the
    Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, wrote to
    individuals known to have been abused by Ball to offer
    his apologies and the church made a public statement,
    including these words, which bear repeating. Shall
    I pause?
    MS SCOLDING: I’m terribly sorry. I don’t know what is
    going on. I will ask Mr Fulbrook to go and see if
    whatever is happening can be desisted from immediately.
    MR GIFFIN: Shall I continue, chair? I will, if I may,
    repeat my previous words….

    Page 99

    Mr Bourne

    Now, this does not excuse the error of not passing
    on the letters, but the inquiry will see that the police
    back then had abundant evidence of a wider picture of
    Peter Ball’s abusive activity and the inquiry can be
    reassured that the addition of one further allegation
    would not have altered that picture in any significant
    25 way.
    My second comment on Dame Moira’s report is that, on
    three key points, it will benefit from some
    clarification. Unfortunately, those key points have
    attracted as much attention as anything else in the
    report. They are the references to collusion, cover-up
    and deliberate concealment.
    In fairness to Dame Moira, her report is actually
    expressed in very measured terms; so measured, in fact,
    that any conclusions drawn about collusion, cover-up or
    deliberate concealment are not easy to pin down. The
    problem, however, is that the report’s use of those
    words has already had serious consequences, and that’s
    not surprising because there is a crucial difference
    between mistakes, however blameworthy, and
    conspiratorial acts carried out for a guilty purpose.
    We have no doubt that this inquiry will wish to
    distinguish carefully between those two things.
    There are, therefore, questions for Dame Moira Gibb
    about those specific areas. All I will add now in
    opening is that Lord Carey’s hope is that this week’s
    hearing will make some important matters clearer for
    everyone. The clearest possible understanding is, of
    course, for the benefit of all of the public and
    especially for victims and survivors.
    Chair, thank you…….

    Reverend Graham Sawyer

    Page 171/172

    A. Let me make this very clear. The sexual abuse that was
    perpetrated upon me by Bishop Peter Ball pales into
    insignificance when compared to the enduringly cruel and
    sadistic treatment that has been meted out to me by
    officials, both lay and ordained, in the
    Church of England, and I know from the testimony of
    other people who have got in touch with me over the last
    five or ten years that what I have experienced is not
    dissimilar to the experience of so many others, and
    I use those words “cruel and sadistic”, because I think
    that’s how they behave.

    Q. How much of that do you attribute to the lingering
    effect, shall we say, of Peter Ball, because the events
    you describe sort of postdated Peter Ball’s caution and
    resignation?

    A. Well, there’s an expression used in Australia to refer
    to the bench of bishops, they don’t refer to the bench
    of bishops, but they refer to the “purple circle”, and the purple circle exists pretty much in every national
    church within Anglicanism. It no doubt exists in other
    episcopally-led churches. They support one another in
    a sort of club-like way.
    If anyone attacks one of them, they will, as
    a group, as a sort of collective conscience and in
    action, seek to destroy the person who is making
    complaints about one individual.
    Now, don’t take my testimony alone from this. There
    is former — in fact, the recently retired bishop of
    Newcastle in NSW, Australia, who was a victim of sexual
    abuse there, and he described his treatment — he said
    it is like an ecclesiastical protection racket. That is
    the culture within Anglicanism and no doubt within other
    episcopally-led church. It is an ecclesiastical
    protection racket, and anyone who seeks in any way to
    threaten the reputation of the church as an institution
    has to be destroyed. That is the primary thing, and
    that is the culture within Anglicanism.

 

All is not well in Man [Isle of]

http://www.virtueonline.org/sodor-and-man-how-anglican-shariah-law-trumped-democracy-isle-man

Sodor and Man: How Anglican “Shariah” law trumped democracy on the Isle of Man

Revd Dr Jules Gomes

Sodor and Man: How Anglican “Shariah” law trumped democracy on the Isle of Man

NEWS ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

By David Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
November 6, 2016

This is a black week for democracy and Christianity in the British Isles. In Belfast, a court ruled against Christian bakers who refused to bake a gay a cake with a slogan “Supporting Gay Marriage.” Just across the water, on the Isle of Man, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, used Anglican “Shariah” law to subvert the democratic process and pervert the course of justice in the world’s oldest Parliament.

Aided and abetted by his Archdeacon Andie Brown, “professional” victim Andrea Quine, ordinand Mark Payne who was offended by having his preaching critiqued, and two disaffected churchwardens, Alan Grace and Timothy Henwood, Bishop Robert Paterson used the Clergy Discipline Measure to silence the island’s Canon Theologian and scupper his Petition of Doleance to Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament–the longest continually functioning parliament in the world.

In 2015, the Revd Dr Jules Gomes took two Petitions of Doleance to the island’s open parliament on Tynwald Day. The custom of bringing a petition before the island’s parliament in full view of the nation is a remarkable custom that continues to be celebrated on the Isle of Man. It is a vehicle for citizens to address a grievance when all other avenues of justice have been exhausted.

One of Dr Gomes’ petitions called for an investigation to assess if clergy had adequate protection from bullying and harassment. Speaking to the press on that day, Dr Gomes made it clear that he had been bullied and harassed by Bishop Robert Paterson over the last two and a half years.

The bishop responded by filing a Clergy Discipline Measure against Dr Gomes. In a court of law, the credibility of the plaintiff and witnesses are indispensable to justice being done. Such a system of Western jurisprudence has its origins in our Judeo-Christian heritage. The book of Deuteronomy requires two or three witnesses to establish a charge. It warns against a ‘malicious witness’ (19:15-19).

Malicious witnesses have malicious motives. Bishop Paterson’s motives are obvious. If Tynwald appointed a Select Committee as a result of Dr Gomes’ petition, witnesses would have privilege to testify against him without fear of reprisal. A number of cases of bullying and harassment of clergy would tumble out of the closet.

Did the cabal cloistered around the bishop have malicious motives? If so, what were they? The bishop and his chaplain, Margaret Burrows, instigated Andrea Quine to complain against Dr Gomes after he allegedly shouted at her one evening. The matter would have been resolved internally. Dr Gomes offered to apologize through his churchwarden. Quine initially accepted. The bishop then stepped in and asked her not to accept Dr Gomes’ apology, but to lodge a formal complaint.

A number of churchgoers on the Isle of Man describe Andrea Quine as a “serial complainer” and a “professional victim.” ‘She has been a “serial” worshipper who drops out of a congregation, goes on to the next one and complains that she has been thrown out of every church on the island,’ a vicar’s wife told VOL.

She accused her ex-husband of beating her up and breaking her bones. She accused a friend, Jillian Carran, of trying to run over her with her car and kill her after a Sunday service. She accused a staff member at the Buchan School, of sexual harassment. She accused people at the Cathedral, where she now worships, of trying to take her voluntary role as Verger. ‘Andrea is completely mixed-up and is often on medication for mental health issues,’ women at her former church in Castletown said. Sources say that she has now returned to St Mary’s on the Harbour in Castletown and has left the Cathedral.

So why did Mark Payne, an ordinand who was training under Dr Gomes, change his testimony to implicate Dr Gomes? Payne is Head of Charitable Services for the Children’s Centre on the island. He is a self-confessed liberal. He is divorced and married to a non-Christian. After withdrawing from ordination training many years ago, he was recently granted a special dispensation that would allow him to be ordained as a divorced man.

Dr Gomes made it clear to Mr Payne that he would not let him preach in his pulpit without first vetting his sermons. Dr Gomes allowed Payne to preach only one sermon at St Mary’s on the Harbour and that, too, after asking him to rewrite it at least three times. The quality of the manuscript was so poor that Dr Gomes asked a ‘critical friend’ to make comments so he would not offend Payne.

In his report on Payne’s sermon, the critical friend stated: ‘If I had to be very honest, I would almost describe this sermon as “indulgent.” It has been written with the priorities of the speaker clearly paramount and very little discernment shown for the needs of the listener. 90% of the important theology from this extremely rich passage has been ignored completely so that the preacher can get his (slightly left-wing) message across. The impression gained is that “although Jesus obviously didn’t think the family was important, I still do.”‘ Did Payne express his grievance by betraying Dr Gomes and handing him over to Pilate like Judas did?

What about Alan Grace? Mr Grace, who was Dr Gomes’ churchwarden, had not been attending any church for around three years before Dr Gomes invited him to be a member of his church. Grace, who is divorced and remarried, part of a Hindu guru cult and took drugs at one point in his life, was also a Methodist lay preacher and resigned his position. A Methodist minister told VOL that Grace created trouble in every church he visited.

One of the most serious miscarriages of justice was made when another of Dr Gomes’ churchwardens, Timothy Henwood, accused him of swearing against the bishop and archdeacon in a private phone conversation. There is no evidence for this since there are no witnesses in a private phone conversation. Instead of dismissing the charge as hearsay, the tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Henwood. Henwood joined Dr Gomes’ church after he fell out with the Revd Paul Mothersdale, the former and now deceased of the Parish of Malew and Santon.

Bishop Paterson triumphantly announced the verdict against Dr Gomes this morning. The tribunal concluded Dr Jules Gomes had an over-inflated view of his self-importance, lost his temper and displayed anger–even with those who supported him. Speaking on Manx Radio, Dr Gomes hit back by accusing Bishop Robert Paterson of taking a dictatorial line on discipline issues, tantamount to Shariah law–the strict legal code of Islam governing public behaviour.

However, the most important charge against Dr Gomes, that of doctoring his Resume was thrown out by the Tribunal, thus vindicating Dr Gomes’ integrity.

So what? Is this a civil or a criminal offence? Wasn’t there a more Christian way of resolving this conflict? Why did the bishop spend thousands of pounds and use the Clergy Discipline Measure to punish a vicar he found problematic?

The real lesson to learn is, will the Church of England now make attempts to restrict the tyrannical abuse of the Clergy Discipline Measure for the personal and petty ends of a peeved bishop and archdeacon?

An investigation is to be carried out by the Church of England to investigate possible misuse or abuse of CDMs by bishops since the measure was first introduced in England in 2003.

*****

St. Augustine’s Church, Douglas, Isle of Man:

RECORD OF A STATEMENT BY SIR LAURENCE NEW, CHAIRMAN OF St AUGUSTINE’S CHURCH MANAGEMENT TEAM TO THE CONGREGATION AFTER SERVICE ON SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER 2016.

There can be no doubt that the attacks and counter attacks between the Diocese and ourselves are being viewed with less and less sympathy by many church-goers on the Island. Accordingly, the Management Team have authorised me to make the following statement and issue the request in the final paragraph below to us all:

When the original announcement was made on 2 September 2015 that The Bishop and the Archdeacon were launching a Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) against Dr Gomes, the legal advice which he received from eminent ecclesiastical lawyers, one of whom is a senior clergyman and member of General Synod, was, and has remained, that because Dr Gomes was not ordained by the Church of England (C of E) and that after due notice on 31 December 2015 he had resigned from all his offices within the C of E, the CDM would be “meaningless”.

Before going on to discuss the complaints and the findings of the Tribunal, it is relevant to note there have been only four (CDMs) launched in the UK against priests within the C of E in the past thirteen months, one for theft of £30,000 from Church Funds, two for fornication with female members in the priest’s congregation and one for assault and fornication with a male and a female member of that Priest’s congregation. To undertake a CDM against Dr Gomes on the complaints indicated below would be seen by many as a significant misuse of the Clergy Discipline Measure and a clear indication not only of further intimidation and harassment, but that a separate agenda was being pursued, notably the suppression of the Tynwald Petition by Dr Gomes.

Because the legal advice has been unequivocal and consistent, Dr Gomes decided to have nothing to do with the CDM and not to defend himself or be represented. A Tribunal chaired by an officer of the Diocese paid by the Bishop, and without any defence being heard, was even more “meaningless”. Unsurprisingly, this combination led to a one-sided set of conclusions. An example of this is that the Tribunal found “no evidence whatsoever of bullying by the Bishop or the Archdeacon” (paragraph 88-89 of the Tribunal Report). They claimed that this assertion was borne out by the evidence before them that neither Dr Gomes nor his supporters had ever complained officially. In fact, two CDMs had been launched in protest against the Bishop, one by Mrs Gomes and one by Fr Robert Ferguson on his own account, detailing between them some twenty-seven specific instances of bullying by the Bishop. Both of these CDMs, incidentally, were dismissed by the Archdiocese of York. Nor was the Tribunal made aware that several very specific letters of complaint about the Bishop’s behaviour had been written to the Archbishop of York, and that there was an on-line petition which revealed that more than 129 identifiable Manx residents asserted that there had in fact been extensive bullying by the Bishop. Such omissions by the Tribunal reduced its credibility and any claim to impartiality.

In its early form, the CDM contained six complaints against Dr Gomes, trawled by the Archdeacon going back, in one case, over eight years. Two complaints were deleted on the advice of the lawyers employed by the Bishop. The remaining four complaints were:

a. That he had embellished his CV. The Tribunal found him not guilty of misconduct on this complaint.

b. That he had accused a member of the clergy of referring to him as a “darkie”. The evidence was inconsistent, but accepting the word of the clergywoman against Dr Gomes word and that of a witness statement which was not before them, the Tribunal found Dr Gomes guilty of misconduct.

c. That he had lost his temper with a church cleaner and had spoken strongly on several occasions to other individuals. Dr Gomes tried to offer an apology to the cleaner, but was told by her that she had been instructed by the Bishop not to accept it unless he was present. Dr Gomes admits and accepts this complaint, apologizes for his action and is determined that it will not recur. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct.

d. That at Tynwald in July 2015 he spoke out about the Bishop and the Archdeacon’s bullying. The Tribunal found him guilty of this misconduct. Dr Gomes maintains that his remarks were not only true, but were within his democratic rights to free speech, and that a significant number of people agreed with him.

It follows that if the CDM is legally “meaningless, so, too, are the threats by the Bishop to damage or restrict Dr Gomes’ career as a preacher of the Gospel. The Bishop has no legal jurisdiction over Dr Gomes, neither has the Diocese. He remains the trusted and esteemed minister of St Augustine’s Church, a uniquely gifted preacher and Biblical scholar. In the eight months since our founding, he has brought a real joy in the Gospel to our church family.

The Management Team Prayer and Planning Meeting on Friday 28 October decided that once the recording already made by Marion Kenny with Dr Gomes had been broadcast on 31 October’s Mandate, the members of the Management Team would decline thereafter to respond in any way, on Manx Radio, in the newspapers or in social media. It would be a complete cease-fire to limit further damage and distress. They have authorized me to request that all of us, as individuals or as a church should commit to the same restraint, whether it be unilateral or not.

END

Christian Concern