The Diocese of Oxford has intervened in the story about a new allegation against the Very Rev Martyn Percy, the embattled Dean of Christ Church, which has caused him to temporarily step aside from his post while it is investigated.
Today, The Times reported: “The ‘demise’ of the dean of one of Oxford’s oldest colleges has been ‘exaggerated’, friends said yesterday, as they insisted he would return to work soon despite a new complaint against him.”
The Rev Jonathan Aitken, the former cabinet minister, said: “The dean is not resigning, as one paper said, and he’s not stepping down as another paper said. He’s stepping aside and we will have to see how this plays out, but I don’t believe that there’s any threat to the dean’s position except in the imagination of his enemies.”
Today, the Diocese of Oxford said: “Following media reports . . . We are disappointed that those seeking to support the dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint. Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position.
“The complaint, which has been brought to the church under the clergy discipline measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated.”
Dean Percy has been involved in a bitter row with some of the academics who run the college for four years.