Cambridge college Master resigns in wake of allegations that he mishandled sexual misconduct complaints

Cambridge college Master resigns in wake of allegations that he mishandled sexual misconduct complaints

A Cambridge college Master has resigned in the wake of allegations that he mishandled sexual misconduct complaints.

Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, head of Trinity Hall, has stood down from his post saying he believed this was “in the best interests of the College”.

His resignation came after Trinity Hall’s governing body accepted the recommendation of an independent inquiry that disciplinary action should be taken against him.

The inquiry was launched following claims that the College failed to adequately respond to allegations rape and sexual assault were made by three females against the same man in 2018.

Two women chose to bring formal complaints through the college against the male student, who denied the allegations.

A report about this, published by Tortoise Media last February, prompted more than 600 students to sign a letter raising concerns over how sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with at Cambridge University.

The letter written by Cambridge University Students’ Union Women’s Campaign said colleges were “inadequately equipped” to tackle such issues.

It called for “a centralised system that allows these cases to be dealt with by independent external experts, not conflicted members of staff from the same college”.

Dr Morris had “stepped back” from his duties as Master last year while the college considered its response to the reports.

His resignation, announced on Tuesday, came after the inquiry recommended disciplinary action against him “in relation to his handling of one allegation made against a third party”.

Dr Morris “disputes” this recommendation, according to the College, which said in a statement that he notes “in particular the inquiry’s recognition that a number of contributors had praised his personal support for those who have raised issues of sexual abuse in specific situations.”

The statement went on to say that he nonetheless “considers that it is in the best interests of the College for him to offer his resignation, given the difficulties of the last 18 months, to enable the search for a new Master to begin”.

The college said: “Following allegations made in an online news site in early 2020, Trinity Hall’s Governing Body agreed in March that year to commission an independent, external inquiry, led by Gemma White QC, into the college’s handling of all the allegations raised.

“The inquiry report recommends that the college consider initiating disciplinary action against the Master in relation to his handling of one allegation made against a third party.

“The governing body has determined that there is a prima facie case for disciplinary action.”

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