She unzipped my trousers and put her hands inside; KIRK MINISTER CLEARED OF SEX ATTACKS.
A KIRK minister who confessed to an affair with a female parishioner has been cleared of a string of sex attacks against her.
Reverend Neil Campbell, 42, had been accused of groping the grandmother, 18 years his senior, and sexually abusing her in her home.
Mr Campbell, a minister at Penninghame St John's Parish Church, in Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire, was suspended while the claims were investigated.
But yesterday a Church of Scotland court in Edinburgh found him not guilty.
The married father-of-three, who had admitted to a fling with the 60-year-old former Sunday School teacher, smiled as the verdict was announced.
James McNeil QC, the convenor of the Presbytery Commission, said: "On the evidence presented to us, by a majority of four to one, we have found that none of the charges have been established."
The woman, a former civil servant and mum-of-three, was not present to hear the verdict but had been informed of the decision.
She claimed Mr Campbell, a minister at the church for ten years, befriended her before forcing himself on her eight times between July and August, 2001.
But the minister said they had a consensual relationship, which began when she forced herself on him. He said the abuse claims only started after he ended the affair.
The woman told the court she had kept a semen-stained skirt, echoing the US president Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, in her wardrobe and continued to visit him after the alleged abuse.
She wept as she claimed Mr Campbell hugged her on the sofa, undressed her and groped her breasts.
She said: "I was absolutely horrified and totally bewildered.
"This was my minister and my friend doing this."
But Mr Campbell's lawyers said she sought a Clinton-Lewinsky-type affair with the minister because she was obsessed by him. Mr Campbell, who was counselling the woman because she had given up a baby for adoption, said they became intimate twice.
He told the court: "Normally she would offer me tea or coffee, but one day she offered me a glass of wine.
"I gave her an adoption book she wanted and we talked about issues. She became quite upset and asked if I would give her a hug. I walked over, she stood up and I gave her a hug.
"She moved her hands to my genital area and unzipped my trousers. She put her hands inside and I said "What are you doing?" She said "Having fun".
"She moved my hands to her genital area and I moved back.
"I felt shocked, exposed and humiliated. I stood up and went to the bathroom because I felt sick.
"I came back and said: "That must never happen again." She said: "We are only human and if it happens, it happens"."
The woman told the court she had refused to go to police as it was a matter for the Church.
SHOCKED: Rev Neil Campbell "felt sick"
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Aug 21, 2003|
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