Church of England clergyman who filmed men in public toilets barred from ministry

Church of England clergyman who filmed men in public toilets barred from ministry
Rev Martin Thrower.

A clergyman who was convicted of filming men using a public toilet in a shopping centre has been barred from ministry as a priest in the Church of England for seven years.

The Very Rev. Martin Thrower, 56, who was rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk, admitted at Norwich Crown Court to two counts of voyeurism and was sentenced to a suspended four-month jail term in August 2017.

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich conducted an internal disciplinary procedure afterwards, but the outcome was not published at the time.

Thrower was removed from his post as rector of Hadleigh and barred from ministry as a priest in the Church of England for seven years in October 2017.

The decision not to publicise the ban at the time is being reviewed by the diocese.

John Howard, spokesman for the diocese, said Thrower could apply to return to ministry after the seven-year ban but that an independent safeguarding risk assessment would need to be carried out to assess his fitness to minister.

He said Thrower was suspended from ministry as soon as the church became aware of the allegations, and he remained suspended until his dismissal.

"The Church of England apologises unreservedly to those people affected by the criminal behaviour of Martin Thrower," said Mr Howard.

"The impact on those affected by voyeurism can be devastating.

"Although none of his offences took place at church, or in connection with his church role in any way, the Church of England in Suffolk takes safeguarding very seriously, and is committed to making all of its churches a safer place for all."

Thrower's offending took place at the Buttermarket shopping centre in Ipswich and was uncovered when a 17-year-old boy saw someone's hand holding a mobile phone over the toilet cubicle he was in.

- PA

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