The head of an Oxford University college has temporarily stepped aside following a fresh complaint against him.

The Very Rev Martyn Percy, the Dean of Christ Church, voluntarily withdrew from all his duties after the new, unspecified complaint was made, according to The Guardian.

His supporters said the reverend, who is head of both the college and the cathedral, had stepped aside because of “intolerable pressure” over more than two years.

Oxford Mail:

One said: “Martyn and the college have agreed not to comment on the present situation.

"Martyn has not resigned and is confident that he will return to his duties in the new year.”

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The Very Rev Prof Percy was suspended as dean in 2018 after he was accused of behaviour of an “immoral, scandalous or disgraceful nature” – the wording of the college’s statutes under which a dean can be removed.

The reverend’s supporters claimed that a small group within the governing body was determined to remove him from his post because of his efforts to modernise the way the 474-year-old college was run. The Rev Percy’s detractors insisted the lengthy dispute started with the dean’s attempts to get a pay rise.

Oxford Mail:

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The college hired Sir Andrew Smith, a retired high court judge, to chair an internal tribunal on the dispute. Sir Andrew dismissed the complaints against Percy and ordered his reinstatement.

It is understood that the Very Rev Percy is taking the college to an employment tribunal. The case is due to be heard next year.

A statement from Christ Church sent this week to staff and students at the college and cathedral school, and to the cathedral congregation, said: “The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Rev Martyn Percy, has voluntarily withdrawn with immediate effect from all duties and pastoral responsibilities in his role as dean of the college and cathedral.

Oxford Mail:

“Christ Church will not be commenting further whilst necessary inquiries are under way.

"The Charity Commission and relevant Church of England authorities are being kept fully informed.”

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The Oxford diocese said the Bishop of Oxford had agreed that Rev Percy would step back from office while the latest complaint was properly considered.

In an updated statement it added: "We are disappointed that those seeking to support the Dean are reportedly trying to downplay the severity of the complaint.

"Such actions belittle the complainant and only add to the distress of anyone else considering a complaint against someone in a senior position. The complaint, which has been brought to the Church under the Clergy Discipline Measure, will be properly and thoroughly investigated."