Canon Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral cleared of misconduct following 789 day suspension

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Statement from the Diocese of Lincoln: The Deputy President of Tribunals has ruled that Canon Overend has no case to answer in the Clergy Discipline Measure action that has been taken against him.

A spokesperson for the diocese of Lincoln says: 

‘After due process, a ruling has been made in the case brought under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the Revd Canon Dr Paul Overend, Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral. It was determined by the Deputy President of Tribunals that there is no case to answer and no further steps should be taken. This has been a long and difficult process and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by it.’

Statement from Lincoln Cathedral:

On Friday, a ruling was made in the case brought under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the Chancellor, Revd Canon Dr Paul Overend. Please see below for statements from both the Cathedral and the Chancellor.

Announcement on behalf of the cathedral

We are aware that the determination made regarding the complaint against the Chancellor of Lincoln is now public knowledge.

In the light of the conclusion of this process, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Lincoln said:

‘After due process, a ruling has been made in the case brought under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the Revd Canon Dr Paul Overend, Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral. It was determined by the Deputy President of Tribunals that there is no case to answer and no further steps should be taken. This has been a long and difficult process and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by it.

The determination by the judge speaks for itself.

The events of the last two years have been extremely stressful and emotional for many people, in a variety of different ways. As a cathedral community, it must always be our aim to strive to care for each other, and we continue to pray for and offer support to anyone involved in whatever way. The clergy and pastoral team at the Cathedral are available for anyone who needs their ministry at this time. Please approach the Cathedral’s clergy team, either directly or by contacting the canon-in-residence  – who during this coming week is the Precentor (The Revd Canon Nick Brown: nick.brown@lincolncathedral.com).

A personal statement – Paul Overend

The decision of the Deputy President of Tribunals, His Honour Judge David Turner QC, that “there is no case to answer”, finally brings to a close the Church’s investigation into a single historical allegation, dating back to a church social event in 1997. This decision comes 789 days after I was first asked to step aside from my role as Chancellor, and six months after I was unanimously acquitted in court.

I am immensely grateful to all those in Lincoln and beyond who have been supportive of my wife and me throughout this ordeal.

The Diocese and the Church of England will now need to take stock of their Safeguarding and CDM processes, which have harmed a great number of people and brought my wife and me close to suicide.

Clergy work pastorally with people and make themselves vulnerable in so doing. I advise all clergy to join the Faithworkers Branch of Unite the Union and to take out insurance to protect themselves and their families.

We need time now to recover from this horrendous ordeal and start to heal, and then to consider our future.