Woman bishop 'is threatened with legal action'
8th September 2021

Woman bishop ‘is threatened with legal action after she claimed that cathedral organist threatened to attack her’

  • Right Rev Anne Dyer, 64, accused of bullying by church workers earlier this year 
  • The Scottish Episcopal Church commissioned two independent reviews into it
  • Bishop could face legal action after made allegations against church organist

Scotland’s first female bishop who was accused of bullying by a string of clergy and church workers is now facing legal action after she claimed a cathedral organist threatened to attack her.

The Right Rev Anne Dyer, 64, who became bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney in 2018, faced growing calls to resign earlier this year after a number of church employees claimed she had made life at work ‘intolerable’.

The allegations prompted the Scottish Episcopal Church to commission an independent review overseen by the former Church of Scotland moderator, Professor Iain Torrance, and a separate HR investigation. 

But it has now emerged the bishop could face legal action after an investigation found no evidence to support her allegations that Christopher Cromar, director of music at St.Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Aberdeen, threatened to attack her.  

Scotland’s first female bishop the Right Rev Anne Dyer, 64, faced growing calls to resign earlier this year amid bullying allegations

Ms Dyer, who will retire next year, claimed that she had to lock herself in the vestry after the cathedral organist became ‘agitated and angry’ during a service.

She claimed the incident, which took place after Mr Cromar was told his services were no longer required, left her convinced she would be attacked. 

In her evidence, seen by The Times, she said: ‘Cromar’s intimidating and threatening manner to me at communion was unforgivable. He has made written threats to me.’

However Mr Cromar refuted the claims and insisted the bishop withdraw the defamatory remark as a matter of urgency.

He told the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Mark Strange, that he would consider legal action due to the damage done to his career and reputation.

Mr Cromar said: ‘On the advice of counsel I am writing to request, respectfully, that you instruct Anne Dyer to substantiate her claim that I threatened her physically.’

He added: ‘I am looking forward to the [church] making the ”just resolution” with me that the Torrance report recommends so I can start rebuilding my life after a year of immense trauma.’

Both the independent review by Mr Torrance and a separate HR investigation by Sarah Grey, an independent human resources specialist, concluded there was no evidence of Mr Cromar threatening to attack Ms Dyer.

Last month it was revealed that more than 100 church employees came forward to give evidence against Ms Dyer and Prof Torrance wrote almost all of them were ‘afraid of retaliation in some form or another.’ 

Christopher Cromar refuted the claims made against him and insisted the bishop withdraw the defamatory remark

Mr Cromar, director of music at St.Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Aberdeen (pictured), told the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Rev Mark Strange, that he would consider legal action

In the report, one church member said that they were ‘stunned by the lack of care and protection offered within the SEC.’ 

It came as the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has about 30,000 members, said it was considering the report into allegations of bullying.

The church said it would not publish the findings of the report but the document  written by Professor Iain Torrance was seen by The Times.

The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, told The Press and Journal: ‘This report was commissioned at the request of and under the authority of Bishop Anne Dyer, the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney. I deeply regret that such a confidential report has now been leaked to the media.

‘The report raises serious issues and concerns and the context of the matters reported on is complex.’

He added: ‘However, the bishops are determined that the Scottish Episcopal Church should be a church where all are valued and can safely minister, work and worship, and wishes to support a process towards healing and reconciliation within the diocese.’    

MailOnline has contacted The Scottish Episcopal Church for comment.

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