This is from Peter and Sara Shaw, who used to attend St Mary's Church in Walton:
15 July 2020
In light of the recent decision by the Teaching Regulation Agency that all the allegations made by the Good Shepherd Trust against Richard Dunne have been dismissed. And now that the Disclosure and Barring Service review has also been completed, and Richard has no case to answer, we believe it would be good for you to reach out with a public apology to Richard and his family.
Richard has suffered a great injustice that has put him and his family through 10 months of unimaginable anguish. As Vice Chair of Ashley School’s Local Governing Committee and one of the vicars of Richard’s parish, we think that would be the Christian, and decent, thing to do.
We were, and still are, hugely saddened and disappointed that you and Jonny did not act to defend or support Richard when he was forced to resign from the school. You have stated in the past that you had nothing to do with his absence. But as a senior member of the LGC, and as Christian leaders in the community we believe you should have taken a principled stand against the GST’s actions. We also know that you did not (according to Richard) offer any counselling support to him and his family.
So, now that these allegations have been independently dismissed by the regulatory bodies, it is now your opportunity to make amends and show humility and leadership. You probably know the huge damage this had done to relations between the community in Walton and St Mary’s and St Johns. If you don’t know then let us assure you that many people are horrified and angry at the church as a result. The fact that Richard has now been exonerated will only fuel people’s mistrust of the church and its leadership.
You have the opportunity now to make amends and demonstrate that the message of Jesus is about justice, forgiveness and reconciliation. If you don’t act now then the damage already done will only increase and the church will suffer even more as a result. We know of many current and past members of the church who are saddened and confused by your inaction, ourselves included.
So, do the decent thing and seek forgiveness and reconciliation with Richard Dunne and his family.
Yours in Christ
Peter and Sara Shaw