Northern Ireland

Church minister sacked over teen relationship

A Church of Ireland minister has been sacked for having an inappropriate relationship with a teenager.

A church disciplinary tribunal heard that Reverend Ivan Alister Williamson had email contact of a sexual nature with a person aged over 16-years-old.

The tribunal also heard he had online contact of a sexual nature with other people.

Mr Williamson was suspended by the Archbishop of Armagh in 2009 whilst an investigation was carried out.

In a statement the head of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop Alan Harper, said: "The Disciplinary Tribunal of the Church of Ireland has found Mr Williamson guilty of conduct unbecoming to the sacred calling of a person in holy orders."

"The tribunal also held that by engaging in the aforementioned conduct and by allowing an inappropriate personal relationship to develop with a young person Mr Williamson acted in breach of the current Church of Ireland child protection policy, 'Safeguarding Trust'."

'The disciplinary tribunal ordered that Mr Williamson be permanently deprived of his office as incumbent of the parochial group of Errigle Keerogue, Ballygawley and Killeshill and that he be deposed from holy orders," it continued.

"The order deposing him from holy orders is subject to a stay for a period of one year and shall not be implemented if satisfactory medical reports are received."