Abingdon vicar who 'spiritually abused' boy gets two-year ban

The Reverend Timothy Davis Image copyright Oxford Mail
Image caption The Reverend Timothy Davis was suspended in 2016

A Church of England vicar who "spiritually abused" a boy has been banned from ministry for two years.

The Reverend Timothy Davis is understood to be the first priest to have been convicted of such abuse by the Bishop's Disciplinary Tribunal.

Mr Davis, of Christ Church, Abingdon, held two-hour private prayer sessions in the teenager's bedroom after moving in with his family in 2013.

He also told his victim his girlfriend was "evil" and a "bad seed".

Mr Davis lived with the family, who were members of his congregation, for six months after meeting the boy during a mentoring programme.

'Scared and overcome'

During the prayer sessions they had laid hands on each other's head, shoulders, chest and back, although the tribunal ruled in January that there was no "sexual touching".

In its judgement in January, the tribunal said the boy was "scared" and "overcome by the intensity of what Mr Davis was doing".

As well as the prayer sessions, the tribunal heard Mr Davis had sent him text messages about his girlfriend in a bid to end their relationship.

It said the vicar's "domination" of the boy amounted to "misconduct which was unbecoming and inappropriate to the work and office of a Clerk in Holy Orders."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The vicar met the teenager during a mentoring programme at his church

Mr Davis, who is aged in his 50s, was suspended from his position in 2016.

He will need to undergo a risk assessment if he wants to return to ministry after serving the ban.

After the judgement, a spokesman for the Diocese of Oxford said: "Tim Davis betrayed the trust of everyone involved in a youth mentoring program at Christ Church Abingdon."

The vicar's behaviour was "in no way reflective of acceptable church practice", the spokesman said.

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