United Kingdom

Lincoln Cathedral canon chancellor, 54, is cleared of sexually assaulting 20-year-old student

A clergyman accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old student at a chaplaincy party has been cleared - after telling a court he 'had no recollection of her at all'.   

The Reverend Canon Paul Overend, 54, who rose to be Canon Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral, was accused of the attack at a party while he was Anglican chaplain at Cardiff University. 

A court heard Canon Overend had followed the student into the kitchen of the chaplaincy during the party in 1997 before he carried out the sex assault.

The Reverend Canon Paul Overend, 54, was found not guilty of indecent assault after an hour and 41 minutes of deliberation at Newport Crown Court

He denied he had kissed her arms and shoulders and asked her to go upstairs to his flat.

When asked by Simon Kitchen, defending, if he had ever acted inappropriately towards the complainant, he said: 'I did not.' 

The jury of nine men and three women reached their verdict to find him not guilty of indecent assault after an hour and 41 minutes of deliberation at Newport Crown Court.

Canon Overend told the court he had stepped aside from his senior post when the allegation was made and had to move out of cathedral accommodation.  

Overend, from Lincoln, pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault. 

He remains the chancellor and residentiary canon at Lincoln Cathedral, a church spokesperson confirmed. 

A church spokesperson told MailOnline: 'The Revd Canon Dr Paul Overend was acquitted today of a charge of indecent assault following a trial at the Newport Crown Court after due police process. 

Canon Overend, who rose to be the Canon Chancellor at Lincoln Cathedral, pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault

'The church acknowledges that any court process is difficult for all involved. The cathedral community and diocese both continue to offer support and prayer for all those involved. 

'With the criminal process concluded, time is now needed to consider any further response that is required by ecclesiastical law, and according to House of Bishops' guidelines and policies. 

'There will not be any further statement while this process is carried out. ' 

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