Church of England Reverend Anthony Giles, Rector for Epperstone, Gonalston, Oxton and Woodborough sent inappropriate texts to vulnerable member of flock
A Church of England reverend has been found to have sent inappropriate texts to a vulnerable woman.
Rev Anthony Giles sent messages of a personal nature, which were found by a tribunal to show a deep friendship and affection, to a congregation member who was an employee in 2017.
After a complaint from the woman, he was investigated by the Church of England.
The reverend is Rector of the United Benefice of Epperstone, Gonalston, Oxton and Woodborough.
It was determined that he acted improperly based on his decision not to consult the diocesan safeguarding team when the woman confessed her attraction to him in 2015, and his later correspondence with her which was deemed unprofessional.
There was no suggestion the text messages were unwanted, however, the woman was said to be vulnerable at the time which was known to Rev Giles and he failed to maintain appropriate boundaries.
The tribunal said the misconduct caused the woman emotional and spiritual harm and also undermined public confidence in the church.
In the tribunal report, the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham said: “The misconduct has fundamentally undermined his work in the parish.”
The reverend has been barred from his work for six months and is to receive training on safeguarding, pastoral boundaries and appropriate use of communications.
The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham released a statement in response to the findings.
It said: "Many people may have been affected by this news. We offer an unreserved apology to those adversely affected by this misconduct which fell short of the high standards required and expected of clergy.
"We commend the courage of those who brought this case forward, acknowledging how difficult this has been. The diocese of Southwell and Nottingham places the safety and wellbeing of others at the heart of all they do. We ask for prayers for all those affected by this case."
The diocese has urged anyone with a safeguarding matter relating to the church to contact the safeguarding team on 01636 817200 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Advertiser has made an attempt to contact Rev Anthony Giles.