The Bishop of Waiapu has suspended the Dean of Napier Cathedral on the grounds of adultery committed 25 years ago.
The Bishop of Waiapu has suspended the Dean of Napier Cathedral on the grounds of adultery committed 25 years ago. Last week the Rt. Rev. Andrew Hedge stated he had suspended the license of the Very Rev. Michael Godfrey after learning the dean had engaged in an extramarital affair in 1991 with an 18-year old woman while living in Australia. In February the diocesan began an investigation into the affair and last week the bishop met with the dean to inform him of the suspension. A diocesan spokesman said the decision was “ the outcome of a church disciplinary process for a historic matter of behaviour, unrelated to the Diocese of Waiapu, deemed to be a breach of church canons, rather than illegal, and not expected of a priest in the Anglican Church.” However, Dean Godfrey told local newspapers his indiscretion had been no secret. He had confessed to his wife and his bishop in Australia at the time of his misconduct. “My feeling is that there hasn’t been due process or natural justice in terms of the process of dismissal,” he said. However the diocese responded that while the Australian diocese may have known of the affair, “it is the first that his bishop, now in New Zealand, has heard of it”. The length of the dean’s suspension had not been set, but the “door is open for him to come back,” the spokesman said.