St Peter’s, East Maitland Anglican Church rector Fr David Battrick has been suspended following allegations of “adult misconduct”.
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle confirmed Fr Battrick’s suspension, the second in 11 years, to Fairfax Media on Tuesday after the Bishop of Newcastle The Right Reverend Dr Peter Stuart advised parishioners.
A formal church-based investigation is now underway.
Fr Battrick had recently announced his resignation from the parish from November 9.
In a statement Bishop Stuart said he is concerned for all affected by the news and in order to ensure procedural fairness to all involved, the diocese would not be making further comment at this stage.
The Bishop travelled to the parish from Grafton on Saturday night to speak with the St Peter’s congregation before the end of the Saturday evening service.
He had been in Grafton for the consecration of Grafton’s new Bishop. He lead worship at St Peter’s two Sunday services and also spoke with the congregations on the matter.
He has appointed two consultants to assist the parish leadership and support the parish.
Sources close to Fairfax said the Bishop told parishioners Fr Battrick, listed on the diocesan website as Regional Archdeacon the Venerable Canon David Battrick, was removed and no longer in the parish due to misconduct with another adult.
In 2007 Fairfax reported how the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle suspended Fr Battrick’s licence following allegations of misconduct.
Bishop at the time, Brian Farran, would not disclose the nature of complaints made against Fr Battrick.
He was given permission to continue practising following an internal investigation reporting no further action was necessary.
Fr Battrick could not be contacted for comment.
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