Is it an offence to impersonate a cleric? – thoughts on deposition from Holy Orders


The wider issue of deposition from Holy Orders came to mind as a result of a report on the BBC website on 12 January about the case of one Guy Bennett, formerly a vicar in Oxted, Surrey, who was jailed for nine months in 1999 for indecently assaulting three girls and (it would appear) deposed from Holy Orders, but who had nevertheless been photographed in 2008 wearing a clerical collar. Ms Lucy Duckworth, who in 2008 had made a complaint of sexual abuse against Bennett for which he was not prosecuted, raised Bennett’s alleged conduct with the Archbishop of Canterbury who replied, in part, as follows:

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