Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 25 May 2022

Meg Munn Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel Interim Support Scheme

Archbishop Cranmer
The Sue Gray Report is about as independent as a Church of England independent inquiry
Christ Church ‘victim’ Alannah Jeune inadvertently corroborates that Martyn Percy is the real victim of a gross injustice

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church
Reflections on Leadership in the Church of England
Independent/ Third-Party Investigations of Safeguarding in England and America

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Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Archbishop Cranmer sets out a forensic and compelling analysis of the injustice done to Martyn Percy.

A truly shocking and devastating picture of the destruction of an innocent man.

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago

It would have been useful to be told by Meg Munn the date of the “last meeting of the National Safeguarding Panel” on which she reports, especially as she tells us that “since the meeting of the Panel, there has been agreement that the Interim Support Scheme can fund counselling for longer than 12 months.”  

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago

‘Archbishop Cranmer’s “fisking” of Camilla Tominey’s interview/report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday 14 May 2022 (in which it is noteworthy that the newspaper put the word ‘victim’ in its front page headline in quotation marks) is devastating. Will we now see an apology to Martyn Percy from the Bishop/Diocese of Oxford? I’m not holding my breath.

Bill Broadhead
Bill Broadhead
1 month ago

In a previous thread relating to Alannah Jeune’s decision to go public in the Telegraph, I mentioned a conversation with my vicar about those who turn from being the priest’s cheerleaders to their chief detractors, and how that had been one useful frame through which to view this episode. I didn’t outline the circumstances of the local example my vicar gave me, but several people immediately jumped to conclusions in their responses, suggesting I was supporting clerical supremacy, as well as assuming that the lay person was powerless in comparison to the vicar’s power. I don’t intend to elaborate further… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

I think Cranmer deserves great gratitude for his detailed response to the Telegraph article. I had been left wondering how the complaint made by Alannah Jeune could have been regarded as a safeguarding matter given that she is clearly a competent and confident young adult, and I’m glad that question has been addressed, though it gives little comfort to learn that safeguarding processes can so readily be manipulated in order to attack individual clergy. I dare say that the PR campaign attempting to portray Christ Church, the diocese and others in a positive light will continue. I stumbled across this… Read more »

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

A factor which needs to be taken into when considering safeguarding situations is the power imbalance between the two parties. A competent and confident young adult can still be considered at risk if there is a significant imbalance of power and influence. Although no safeguarding expert, I would consider that there was a significant imbalance of power in this case. Of course an imbalance of power does not always lead to a safeguarding issue or suggest guilt. But it is a factor to be considered.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Bob
1 month ago

Safeguarding is intended to protect minors (under 18) and vulnerable adults. Alannah Jeune is neither. Nobody in the safeguarding world should have been involved in this case. It could have been dealt with swiftly, proportionately and privately had it not been escalated into a safeguarding matter by those with their own agenda.

Neil Swinnerton
Neil Swinnerton
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Please confirm why you think the Alannah Jeune does not come into the category of vulnerable adult. I have no specific information in her case, but I do know that it is perfectly possible to be a mature adult, with the intellectual capacity to do a PhD, and still be a vulnerable adult – someone close in my family comes precisely into this category.

Marcus
Marcus
Reply to  Neil Swinnerton
1 month ago

I’m not the OP but… The Department of Health defines a vulnerable adult as a person aged 18 or over who may need community care services because of a disability (mental or other), age, or illness. A person is also considered vulnerable if they are unable to look after themselves, protect themselves from harm or exploitation or are unable to report abuse. I am also unfamiliar with the details of the case but as it is the DoH who drafted the care act, it’s reasonable to use their definition. The woman involved does not seem to qualify, whilst Martyn Percy,… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Neil Swinnerton
1 month ago

Alannah Jeune is on record as saying that she felt insulted by the insinuation made by some that she was incapable of making and pursuing a complaint herself. She clearly claims capacity to be able to act on her own behalf and not need the support of others.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

And? Many vulnerable people don’t like to acknowledge that they are vulnerable. (To be clear, I am not alleging that she is or was vulnerable, I am just pointing out that the information in the public domain doesn’t provide a definitive answer to the question.)

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Well, if Miss Jeune is a vulnerable adult then whoever arranged for her to be interviewed and photographed by The Telegraph has done her a great disservice. The inevitable scrutiny that follows such an interview will only make her more vulnerable.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Martyn Percy was the Dean of a prestigious Oxford college, a white male clergyman commanding, I believe, a salary of £80,000 a year. If Alannah Jeune isn’t a vulnerable adult, then neither is Martyn Percy.

But I don’t suppose I’ll change anyone’s mind here.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Are you saying that someone white, male and well-paid can’t be bullied?

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

Father Dexter: “Are you saying that someone white, male and well-paid can’t be bullied?” Indeed, or bullied and persecuted to the point of breakdown over a four year period, while it might be argued that leadership in the Church left him to swing in the wind when it really should have intervened and called out what I consider the bullying of one of its priests, a member of the Diocesan Senior Leadership team? (< this paragraph opinion, which I mention because of what seems like a willingness by parties to be litigious) I totally support Kate’s comments that the complainant… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

That would be as ridiculous as saying that someone in Alannah Jeune’s position can’t be a vulnerable person. Quite frankly, as a parish priest, that point of view makes my skin crawl.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

My final point on this thread, as I don’t want to engage in endless speculation about Miss Jeune, which would be distasteful: I have not said that she can’t be a vulnerable person, but that nothing has been revealed to suggest that she is. Unless there is some reason why she should be considered a vulnerable adult, safeguarding should never have been involved in this, and her complaint could have been dealt with simply and proportionately, and without the publicity that she now has to endure.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

You illustrate the result of looking at everything through the prism of safeguarding.

It does not matter who Percy is. All that matters is his humanity which means he should be treated fairly and with justice.

That has not happened which is a scandal. His skin colour and gender does not diminish his humanity. Not even his theology diminishes his humanity

He bears the image of God and should be esteemed as such

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Peter
1 month ago

‘You illustrate the result of looking at everything through the prism of safeguarding.’

I’m a member of the Anglican Church of Canada; the word ‘safeguarding’ doesn’t carry the same freight over here as it does in England’s fair shores. If I’m looking at this through any ‘prism’ at all, it’s the ‘prism’ of pastoral experience with people, over and over again, who have been subjected to sexual harassment and whose stories have not been believed by the old boys’ network.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

You are using the prism of identity.

Your perspective on Percy is shaped by the fact he is a white man.

Whatever you have seen in your own pastoral experience does not entitle you to make assumptions about Percy on the basis of his identity. That is called prejudice

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter
Neil Swinnerton
Neil Swinnerton
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
1 month ago

See the reply by Marcus above. It is unlikely that we are going to get the detailed personal information to confirm the point one way or another. However, from personal knowledge I can say that some vulnerable people do have the full capacity to take actions on their own behalf.

Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Cranmer’s one mistake, in my view, was to end the analysis with an invitation to run back into the “maze” that is safeguarding and all that means around working out who is or is not “powerful”. The true scandal is that disciplinary and quasi-judicial proceedings have been used to achieve a political purpose in removing Percy. I have said elsewhere on this site that I am a conservative evangelical who deeply opposes Percy’s liberal progressive theology. He would not choose me as an ally. This is not about tribalism. Everybody, even our enemies, must be treated fairly before public due… Read more »

Kate
Kate
1 month ago

On the question of vulnerability, there is an inconsistency in the Cranmer blog. He recognises that Percy, a highly articulate and intelligent man, became vulnerable because of what was happening to him. He seems blind, however, to the fact that Ms Jeune might also, for a time at least, have been rendered vulnerable too because of what was happening to her.

(I am pointedly avoiding expressing any view as to whether what she alleged did or did not happen. )

Happy Jack
Happy Jack
Reply to  Kate
1 month ago

Did Alannah Jeune inadvertently corroborated that Martyn Percy is the real victim of a gross injustice?

The article by Cranmer actually outlines potential reasons why this young woman could have been deemed a “vulnerable adult”.

– concerns about her visa status,
– her employment and accommodation situation;
– her anxieties about her PhD studies;
– her age and position in relation to Percy;
– possible naivete about what had allegedly occurred; and
– separation from her family in a foreign country.

And we have no medical or confidential available about her condition at the time – and nor should we.

Happy Jack
Happy Jack
1 month ago

Maybe those who’ve campaigned to stretch the definition of “vulnerable adult” will now think again:

<<For the purpose of Church policy and guidance the definition of “vulnerable adult” is contained in the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 That defines a ‘‘vulnerable adult’ as a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, old age, emotional fragility or distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired’>>

Last edited 1 month ago by Happy Jack
Peter
Peter
1 month ago

Vulnerable people are perfectly capable of doing bad things.

People who are not vulnerable can and do suffer injustice.

Percy has suffered injustice because disciplinary and quasi-judicial proceedings have been used to drive him from office. That is a failure of the rule of law. (Thankfully, judges have constrained that failure, but it is still a gross injustice that Percy was subjected to the process at all).

Endless analysis of who is or is not vulnerable completely fails to address that central issue.

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