Image Description: A view of Christ Church in winter

CW: Sexual harassment, references to the holocaust.

The Oxford Student got an exclusive copy of an essay written by Dean The Right Reverend Martyn Percy and uploaded to a website, in which he compares his experiences during welfare mismanagement and harassment investigations sexual abuse in the treatment of Holocaust victims. The test has now been retired.

The Right Reverend Martyn Percy was suspended from full pay as Dean of the Church of Christ in November 2018, a post he had held since 2014 following a protracted conflict with the College and the Church of England about his salary. The dean demanded a raise in his salary, which prompted internal complaints and a full investigation. An independently chaired internal tribunal was founded and in 2019 the Cathedral Chapter and Church of Christ Board of Trustees rejected all claims. The inquiry was chaired by Sir Andrew Smith, a High Court judge, and is said to have cost the college more than £ 500,000.

In March 2020, Percy was investigated by the Church of England’s National Protection Team (NST) into allegations of non-reporting of protection cases from 2017. However, an NST investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

In October 2020, a young woman alleged that the Right Reverend Martyn Percy stroked her hair after a service in the cathedral and Christ Church ordered an independent investigator report despite the fact that Thames Valley Police did not lodged a complaint. According to the Dean’s website, he firmly denies touching the victim’s hair. However, Christ Church appointed a former police officer, Kate Wood, to conduct an internal investigation and concluded that the complainant was “credible”. As a result of the investigation, the dean announced his voluntary retirement from his duties as dean at Christ Church. He has not officially resigned and continues to hold a position with the college.

In his essay titled “The Red Triangle,” which has now been removed from the website, the Right Reverend Martyn Percy included images of Nazi concentration camp uniforms before going on to say, “During these three years, I have been subjected to public damage to my reputation and personal attacks resulting in severe trauma and life-changing injuries ”.

Images of Nazi concentration camp uniforms included in Dean’s essay

The Right Reverend Percy goes on to say that as a result of relentless investigations by various agencies, it has been: “True for I was a pedophile on bail.

In the six-page essay, he also compares his experiences with those “forced to wear the red triangle that the Nazis made political prisoners wear on the streets, and later in the camps.” Rose for “sexual deviants”; Yellow “star triangles” for Jews; black for social deviants; purple for Jehovah’s Witnesses ”, continuing to say that his“ experience of the past three years has given me a little taste of what it could have been like ”for people in concentration camps.

He goes on to say that the Church of England “refuses to comply with the Human Rights Act 1998, but expects others to comply.” and is deeply corrupt: “The Church of England also knows its own corruption; but embraces him with silence, indifference and amnesia ”.

Christ Church JCR and GCR released a statement Wednesday evening. He stated that they are:

“Both staunch defenders of the natural rights of freedom of thought and expression, and these confer the right to condemn actions that we find offensive. As JCR and GCR, we find this rhetoric odious. Trying to draw a parallel between the Holocaust and the Dean’s investigation trivializes the suffering of victims of Nazi persecution. Martyn Percy’s essay is deeply offensive to all groups targeted by Nazi persecution, including the Jewish community, the Polish community, people with disabilities, people of color and the LGBTQ + community, groups to which the Dean refers in his trial.

They go on to explicitly condemn the rhetoric used in the Dean’s essay and “any language on the Dean’s website that marginalizes minority groups on the basis of characteristics.”

The joint letter ends with a call to members affected by Mr. Percy’s trial to seek social assistance as they continue to “build a community where people of all identities are safe and supported.”

When approached for comment, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Oxford said:

“The article posted on Martyn Percy’s personal website is Holocaust hijacking and is unacceptable. Whatever his complaints about an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint brought against him, the dean should not compare it to genocide. We fully recognize the complexity and pain of the current situation for the Dean and the Complainant as well. Despite his claims to the contrary, significant support continues to be provided to all involved. Meanwhile, the ongoing legal proceedings must be allowed to run their course, and Dean Percy remains suspended from his cathedral and college duties. We are happy to see that the link to the article has now been removed from their website.

A spokesperson for Christ Church said:

“Martyn Percy is not currently serving as Dean of Christ Church. Christ Church cannot comment on the ongoing disciplinary proceedings, but wants them to be dealt with as expeditiously as possible, in all fairness to the accused and the complainant. “

“We were made aware of the comments made by the Dean in a recent article, and the reaction that followed, including among our student community, whose open letter captures the essence of the issue with Martyn Percy’s text. While Christ Church supports free speech, it strongly condemns any potential violation of the Equality Act, especially when it creates a hostile, alienating or offensive environment for other members of Christ Church, or in the university at large.

This article has been updated to include new information and statements.

Image credit: Chen Chen

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