The Church of england’s efforts to oust the embattled Christ Church Dean were dominated “solely disproportionate”, a leaked judgment has discovered.
The Very Rev Martyn Percy, who presides over Christ Church College and cathedral, has been embroiled in a four-12 months row with fellow College of Oxford dons over his tenure.
He has battled to keep his position regardless of being cleared by way of an unbiased tribunal of “conduct of immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature”, and the Charity Commission elevating considerations over whether or not pursuing the dispute was once a “accountable” use of the college’s instruments.
The Very Rev Percy has additionally faced allegations of sexual harassment, prompting police and church investigations, either one of which concluded with no additional motion being taken.
The Church refused to release main points of his exoneration following a judgment by Dame Sarah Asplin, pass judgement on of the Court Docket of Appeal of britain and Wales and chairman of the Church of england’s clergy discipline commission, remaining May.
Now a leaked copy of the verdict on allegation of sexual misconduct towards the Dean has found out that Dame Sarah concluded: “it’s entirely disproportionate that this subject must be stated a tribunal.”
Judgment leaked to Cherwell student newspaper
The Dean have been accused of sexual misconduct following an incident in October 2020. It was once alleged that he briefly stroked and commented at the hair of a woman referred to as “Omit X”, which he denied.
The criticism was once made beneath the machine during which individuals of the clergy will also be disciplined via authorities. It brought about an research, resulting in Dame Sarah’s choice.
The judgment, leaked to Cherwell, the College of Oxford’s pupil newspaper, said the problem comes down to two competing variations of events given by the Dean and the woman.
“There are two credible money owed,” it says. “For these functions, it is enough to conclude, due to this fact, that it’s conceivable that on the stability of probabilities, a discovering could be made that the incident befell as ‘Ms X’ alleged.”
The query then addressed was once whether there was “a case to reply to upon which a disciplinary tribunal must adjudicate”.
Summarising the complainant’s understanding of the incident, Dame Sarah’s determination stated: “The Dean approached ‘Ms X’ when she was once alone in redacted; he commented upon her hair, said he couldn’t take his eyes off it and requested if he could contact it and sooner than receiving a reply stroked it very briefly for approximately 10 seconds.
“there has been a talk in regards to the indisputable fact that Ms X was going to have her hair cut redacted that very day. there has been additionally mention of her age. The Dean made a comment that no one would wish his hair. When leaving redacted and going down the steps, the Dean made a comment that there has been best redacted among them, despite the fact that ‘Ms X’ accepts that she could have misheard this.
“The incident itself was extraordinarily short, the alleged hair-stroking was even shorter and the language and the behavior as a complete was once not openly sexual.
“If that is put together with: the reality that ‘Ms X’ accepts that she was once now not disappointed in any way; mentioned in the beginning that she used to be now not perturbed (albeit she informed the police that she used to be involved what might happen subsequent); the incident came about in a room which used to be or could be accessed via others; and ‘Ms X’ stated that she could have popular an apology if the Dean had admitted what she says came about, it kind of feels to me that it is entirely disproportionate that this topic have to be cited a tribunal.”
Thames Valley Police also carried out an research after the problem was reported. A spokesman mentioned on the time that the “investigation has now concluded and the matter has been filed pending further data coming to light”.
Protesters say tribunal will have to go in advance
But some Christ Church scholars have demanded additional investigations, with protesters holding indicators that read “the tribunal MUST pass ahead” and “by no means try to silence the victim”.
The Dean additionally keeps to face suspension pending a separate, ongoing inquiry, led by Christ Church College.
He has been embroiled in a separate lengthy-operating dispute with the college’s governing frame, brought about via a 2018 confrontation over his pay.
His supporters allege that, having failed to put off him through that process, the school utilised the allegation of sexual misconduct to increase pressure on him.
An internal choice on that dispute used to be requested by way of the school and equipped by way of Justice Andrew Smith. Cherwell additionally has a copy of this decision, which dominated in favour of the Dean on all counts.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford stated: “The Diocese of Oxford is absolutely committed to justice and honest procedure, and it’s right that allegations against clergy are correctly investigated once they are made.
“The diocese sought felony advice following the leak of Dame Sarah’s written choice in June and has many times wired the significance of privateness and confidentiality in and approximately lawsuits.”