A SACKED Herefordshire vicar who carried out a baptism at a parishioner's house in his boxer shorts was also found to have touched a child without consent.

A Church of England tribunal into Rev Clive Evans's misconduct found that he had acted in an unacceptable way, despite denying that he touched the child, in her teenage years, and adult on their bottoms without consent.

'That night I felt like ew'

The panel found that Rev Evans, of St Peter's Church in Bromyard and St Peter and St Paul's Church in Stoke Lacy, had touched the child when giving two people a lift home in his small three-door car.

After a front seat passenger left the car, the seat was slid forward to allow the child in the back to leave, but it was when she was leaving the car facing forwards that Rev Evans touched her without consent.

Despite the denial, the tribunal, sitting for four days in December 2021, found the victim a "very credible witness".

She told the panel that her reaction was: "That night I felt like 'ew' and that it was gross."

But Rev Evans had a theory that the child had a motive to lie because he had previously teased her about her weight and appearance.

Stroud News and Journal: Rev Clive Evans said there was a motive to the accusationRev Clive Evans said there was a motive to the accusation

Those comments made the child feel "uncomfortable, embarrassed and upset", but she denied disliking Rev Evans because of the comments, or that she felt angry.

The passenger, who was standing outside the car, saw something happen, although it could not be confirmed what, which triggered him to ask "did he just do that?".

The panel's unanimous decision was that Rev Evans was "engaged in conduct which was unbecoming and inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders".

'Double pat to her bottom'

On a different day, Rev Evans was also accused of touching a woman on her bottom.

After attending church, there was a hug between the vicar and the woman, and the tribunal documents said that most of the panel was satisfied that it was more than likely that Rev Evans then touched the woman's bottom.

There were differing accounts of where on the body he touched her, and if he used one or two hands, but the panel concluded that it was a "double pat to her bottom" with his left hand.

While the interaction had been witnessed, and one person's "facial expression had registered surprise", it was felt that this was to the hug itself rather than any other form of contact between them.

The panel said that Rev Evans had a lack of credibility in his account, and they rejected there was a common intention between a group in the church to "bring down" or do harm to the vicar.

The document said: "Having concluded by a majority that Rev Evans touched person one's bottom in the circumstances we have found and without her consent, the majority of the panel had no doubt that he had thereby engaged in conduct which was unbecoming and inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders."

Filmed at baptism in his boxers

The tribunal, as reported by the Hereford Times, also found that Rev Evans had also acted inappropriately when he carried out a baptism at a parishioner's home in his boxer shorts.

Rev Evans claimed it was an emergency baptism due to the circumstances surrounding it, but the panel disagreed as there was not an imminent danger of death.

After finishing his breakfast and packing for his holiday, he arrived at the house and then informed the family he would be undressing, rather than asking if it was OK.

One of the family members told the tribunal of the shock.

"Clive then started to remove his shirt which I thought was fair enough seeing as he didn't want to get it wet, however when he started taking his shorts off I was shocked and thought to myself why is he undressing completely in front of my mother, my sister and I," they said.

The panel found that "the circumstances in which it occurred which is inherently inappropriate and unbecoming".

The tribunal ruled that the vicar should be banned from holding office in the Church for six months and he was also sacked as the vicar for Bromyard.

Rev Evans, an experienced clergyman, a long-serving parish priest and someone who would have been respected due to his age and experience, was initially suspended from all duties in April 2019.

The Diocese of Hereford, which has oversight of the Bromyard church, said at the time it was so "an enquiry can be carried out in relation to a complaint" that had been received".

The Bishop of Hereford, The Rt Rev Richard Jackson, said after the tribunal's decision: "The behaviour and actions of Rev Evans are in no way reflective of acceptable church practice.

"We fully support the findings of the tribunal and the decision to apply the penalty to remove him from office, which takes immediate effect."