Diocese of Portsmouth

    Statement about the Rev Simon Sayers

    21 Nov. 2016

    In April 2015, the Church of England was asked to respond to a complaint about sexual misconduct by the Rev Simon Sayers while he was a vicar in the Diocese of London in the 1990s.

    Although the police had not pressed criminal charges, the Church of England takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and therefore carried out its own process in accordance with the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003. 

    The Clergy Discipline Measure requires bishops to consider the evidence provided in the complaint and to take appropriate action within the terms of the Measure. This is part of our commitment to keeping children, young people and vulnerable adults in our churches and communities as safe as possible. While this process was ongoing, the Rev Simon Sayers was suspended from his position as Rector of Warblington with Emsworth.

    The Rev Simon Sayers has admitted two sexual incidents with a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and his part in initiating that sexual contact. The Bishop of London - in whose diocese the incidents happened - has found that the Rev Simon Sayers abused his position of trust by engaging in sexual acts with the girl. He engaged in conduct unbecoming a clergy person and inappropriate for a married man.

    The Rev Simon Sayers has accepted a penalty from the Bishop of London to be prohibited from ministry for a period of five years. During this time he will be unable to work as a member of clergy in the Church of England and has consequently resigned as Rector of Warblington with Emsworth. The bishop's penalty reflects both the seriousness of the Rev Simon Sayers' behaviour on those occasions and of breaching the trust of a young person who had been in his pastoral care for some years.

    During the legal process, the Bishop of Portsmouth has visited the parish several times to offer his support to parishioners. The bishop and his staff have given practical help to the parish, its clergy and officers through this difficult period and will continue to do so.