Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

'Sex message' minister removed

A Church of Ireland minister has been deposed from office over allegations he sent electronic communications of a sexual nature

A Church of Ireland minister has been deposed from office after he was accused of sending sexual electronic communications to a young person over the age of 16.

The Rev Alister Williamson has been removed from the holy orders and deprived of his post at the parochial group of Errigle Keerogue, Ballygawley and Killeshill in Co Tyrone.

The order is subject to a stay of one year and will not be implemented if satisfactory medical reports are received.

Church Archbishop Alan Harper made a complaint against him and he was suspended in June 2009.

He said: "The disciplinary tribunal of the Church of Ireland, having investigated the complaint, has now found Mr Alister Williamson to be guilty of conduct unbecoming to the sacred calling of a person in holy orders."

He said the tribunal heard evidence that Mr Williamson had entered into electronic communications of a sexual nature with a young person over the age of 16 and had engaged in electronic communications of a sexual nature with others which the tribunal determined were inappropriate.

The tribunal also held that by engaging in the conduct and by allowing an inappropriate personal relationship to develop with a young person Mr Williamson acted in breach of the Church of Ireland child protection policy.

Archbishop Harper said: "The Disciplinary Tribunal has ordered that Mr Williamson be permanently deprived of his office as incumbent of the parochial group of Errigle Keerogue, Ballygawley and Killeshill and that he be deposed from holy orders.

"The order deposing him from holy orders is subject to a stay for a period of one year and shall not be implemented if satisfactory medical reports are received."

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