June 16, 2021 12.08 pm

Lincoln Cathedral priest has ‘no case to answer’ in sexual assault ruling

A workplace tribunal has drawn a line under the accusations

The ex-chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral Paul Overend has been told by the Church of England there is no case to answer after a workplace tribunal into sexual assault allegations.

Rev Canon Paul Overend was accused in an indecent assault trial last year of holding and kissing a teenage student during a house party in 1997, while he was a chaplain at Cardiff University.

The alleged victim, who made the allegation in 2019, previously told the court Overend, 54, of Vicars Court, Lincoln, had taken hold of her and kissed her on the chest and arms.

Overend, who stepped aside from his role as canon chancellor at Lincoln Cathedral, denied the charge and even denied knowing who the victim was.

He was cleared of the charge at Newport Crown Court on Thursday, December 3 and said that, despite the positive result for himself, the trial hurt everyone involved.

The diocese of Lincoln has now stated that no further steps will be taken in relation to the allegations.

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.”

Speaking previously after the verdict outside the court, Overend said: “No happy outcomes were possible today, only damaged and broken people.

“I need now to sort through the devastation and see to find again some of the joy and purpose in life.”

The reverend was appointed the Canon chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral in 2017, but took sudden leave in April 2019 as a result of this allegation.

Dr Overend told the court that Canon chancellor was his “dream job” and he and his wife were forced to live elsewhere from cathedral accommodation after he was accused.

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