The Diocese of Oxford has posted the attached notice regarding the two year penalty imposed on the Revd Timothy Davis, following the recent penalty hearing in relation to the decision of the CDM Tribunal on 28 December 2017, on which we posted earlier. We noted:
“On Monday 8th January, the Church of England reported the findings of the Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the Diocese of Oxford in the matter of a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 against The Reverend Timothy Davis, Vicar of Christ Church Abingdon, (‘TD’), in respect of the mentoring he provided to a 15/16 year old schoolboy (‘W1’) whose family were members of his congregation. The BBC reports that Church of England officials believed that this was the first occasion on which a tribunal had convicted a priest of spiritual abuse”.
The Tribunal concluded:
“. In concluding that all 5 Particulars are proved we are satisfied that TD is guilty of abuse of spiritual power and authority over W1and in so doing placed himself in breach of the Guidelines for professional conduct of clergy as set out at paras 9-12 above, and is guilty of misconduct which was unbecoming and inappropriate to the work and office of a Clerk in Holy Orders. He is therefore guilty of misconduct under S8 CDM.
. In reaching this conclusion we emphasise again that there is no suggestion of any sexual touching by TD, nor do we find that any sexual touching took place. We acknowledge the powerful and successful ministry that TD has had in leading Christ Church Abingdon and earlier ministerial posts in which he has served . However, we are satisfied that he is guilty of the misconduct alleged.”
Today’s Diocesan Notice notes “the findings of the Tribunal are instructive for anyone still doubting that spiritual abuse exists“. L&RUK will review the Penalty hearing when this becomes available, (the Tribunal Decision was published just over a week after the conclusion of the hearing).
The information on the penalty was posted on the Notices of findings and penalties given to clergy in the Diocese of Oxford part of the Diocesan site, in line with the CDM Code of Practice; this states:
“Publicity and Media Relations
264. It is important that the Church should be open about any misconduct that is proved to have taken place. Tribunals therefore announce their determination of complaints in public, giving reasons for their decision, although details disclosing the identity of anyone involved in the case may be withheld in the interests of justice (see paragraph 201 above).
265. If a penalty is imposed on a priest or deacon other than after a determination by a tribunal, the penalty and brief particulars of the misconduct should be announced publicly. Details disclosing the identity of any child, or where necessary to protect their private lives the identity of any others involved in the complaint (except the respondent), should be withheld from the announcement to the public. “
Coincidentally, also on 11 March 2018, the BBC reported the story Rector Martin Thrower struck off for filming teen in toilet in relation to a seven year suspension imposed on the priest.
“The Very Reverend Martin Thrower, 56, Rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk, was given a suspended jail sentence for two counts of voyeurism in August 2017. The Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich held its own disciplinary process in October, but has only just informed the BBC of the outcome. It said it will review its decision not to publicise the ban…
…Gavin Stone, diocesan head of safeguarding, said that, legally, they do not have to publish the results of internal disciplinary processes. He said they were “open and transparent”, but would be “open to reviewing this case”.
Perhaps an initial reference might be to the CDM Code of Practice?
Revd. Timothy Davis | March 2018 | Tribunal and penalty
In December 2017, the Revd Tim Davis was found guilty of conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority over a person then aged 15-16.
The penalty imposed on Tim Davis was that he should cease to hold office with immediate effect, and he now stands prohibited from the exercise of holy orders for a period of two years (as announced on Saturday 10th March). Should he wish to return to ministry after the period of prohibition then he will be required to undertake a formal risk assessment.
The findings of the tribunal are instructive for anyone still doubting that spiritual abuse exists, and we commend the young man and his family for their courage and grace throughout this process. The Diocese of Oxford continues to offer pastoral support to all involved.
• The tribunal findings were published in January
• A formal record of the penalty will be published on the Church of England website in the coming days.