Wednesday, 19 September 2012

St Mary's and Dr Anthony Towey

UPDATE: as at 21st September, Fr Tim has summarised the most recent news: Strawberry Hill - shaken or stirred?

Back in the day - ie the last century - Anthony Towey and I were in the same year group as students. That shows how old we both are (though something I heard in passing on BBC Radio 2 yesterday suggests that our age is now, considering increasing longevity, thought to really be about the beginning of middle age, and, to be fair to him, I think I might be a year or two ahead of Anthony in this regard). I last had the opportunity to meet him again, and chat briefly, two or three years ago when he was chairing a lecture in Westminster Cathedral Hall. My other connection to St Mary's is that, nearly as far back in the day, it is where I gained my teaching qualification.

There are Strange goings on at Strawberry HillStudents Misbehaving and the original report at Independent Catholic News.

The media statement from St Mary's reported in Fr Tim's post is unfortunate in that it does not refer to investigation of an allegation of "a grave breach of his professional duties at the University College" - suspension is strictly speaking, though it often does not feel like it, a neutral act while an investigation takes place, and should not be taken as a presumption of guilt. Suspension usually occurs when the allegation, if proven, would constitute gross misconduct, or when the continued presence of the employee at work might prejudice the investigation of the allegation. By definition it means that the employee is barred from attending their place of work, though it does not necessarily imply being escorted off premises by the security team, as is reported to have happened rather dramatically in this case. During his suspension, Anthony will continue to receive full pay. And St Mary's will be expected to maintain a fully confidential process of investigation - which becomes more difficult if others speak in public about the relevant events.

So, in very difficult circumstances, I wish Anthony good luck and assure him of my prayers for an outcome to events that is in his favour.

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