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Anger at antiquaries charity after sex abuser wins members’ vote | Society


A vote allowing a sex abuser to remain a fellow at a prestigious educational society has provoked a fierce internal backlash and demands for the organisation’s reform.

Scores of fellows at the Society of Antiquaries of London, a charity that promotes the study of the past, are up in arms about the vote, which has allowed Hubert Chesshyre to continue as a fellow.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) heard evidence that Chesshyre, an expert on heraldry and genealogy who held a number of senior positions within the royal household, was found to have sexually abused a teenage chorister over the course of three years in the 1990s.

The 2015 finding was made following a “trial of the facts”, which is held when someone is considered unable to plead due to their poor mental and physical health. As a result, despite being found to have committed the abuse, Chesshyre – who is said to have dementia – was given an absolute discharge.

The finding saw fellows at the society, one of Britain’s oldest educational institutions, granted a royal charter in 1751, table a resolution demanding his removal. But a majority of fellows who voted backed Chesshyre, a former president of its elite dining club, the Cocked Hat Club.

In an open letter published on Sunday in the Observer, many fellows expressed outrage at the decision.

Pledging their support to the victim, they signalled their “determination to reform the organisation so that it reflects the values and behaviours that should be expected from any public organisation or individual”.

They add: “The voting arrangements were such that only around 100 of the society’s 3,000 fellows were able to attend the vote, which due to the existing governance structures of the society only allowed voting in person on a weekday afternoon. This disenfranchised a large number of fellows unable to attend at such a time.

“The 76 fellows who voted against the proposal to remove Mr Chesshyre’s fellowship do not represent us, and do not represent the values and behaviours of any organisation we are willing to be members of.”

Paul Drury, the society’s president, denied that the vote showed it had “stood by” Chesshyre. “We are committed to acting in ways which are consistent with our status as an educational charity operating for the public benefit, and as an institution which confers public recognition of the achievements of its fellows,” he said in a statement on its website.

“We are therefore actively working on the reform of our statutes, to enable swift action to remove fellowship from those who do not live up to the society’s expectations of integrity and good character.”

Drury added: “The society unreservedly apologises to the victim for any hurt the defeat may have caused.”



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MANDEL: Sex assault acquittal overturned after judge use ‘discredited rape myths’


She didn’t dress the way he’d expect. She didn’t react the way he’d expect.

She simply didn’t behave the way an Ontario judge expected a sexual assault victim to behave.

After all these years, some on the bench are still trapped in biases of the past. And so Ontario Court Justice Peter J. Wright acquitted the man on trial, finding Richard Lacombe hadn’t twice assaulted his neighbour who lived in an assisted care residence for persons with disabilities.

Among the many factors he found significant?

“She dressed in a loose fitting pyjama top with no bra and underwear, engaging with a man that she really did not know well at all, including significant French kissing.”

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned that 2017 acquittal and ordered a new trial, finding the trial judge’s analysis was tainted by “long-discredited myths and stereotypes about sexual assault complainants.”

According to the woman, her neighbour knocked on her door and invited her out for a cigarette on the fire escape. As they chatted, she claimed he began touching and pinching her breasts. She asked him to stop but he just laughed, she said, and put his hand down her pants and rubbed her hard.

When he French kissed her, she kissed him back because, she said, he wasn’t listening to her and she feared he would hit her.

When she went back to her room, she saw that he’d caused her to bleed. She was too terrified to tell anyone.

The following evening, the second alleged assault took place under virtually the same circumstances. She agreed to meet him for a smoke because she was afraid of his reaction if she turned him down, she explained. She became more frightened when the man allegedly got angry when she refused to masturbate him.

This time, though, she complained to her boyfriend and a girlfriend. She listened to their advice and called police.

Lacombe’s story was far different. He said she was the one who came to his room, flashed her breasts and asked him to touch her. But besides that brief consensual touching and a further “peck on the lips” the following night, he insisted nothing else happened between them.

The trial judge listed 11 factors that made him question the woman’s credibility, including the way she was dressed, her failure to leave the situation at once or to immediately report what happened.

He then invoked “common sense and life experiences” to conclude that he should reject her version of events.

The Crown appealed and a Superior Court judge upheld Lacombe’s acquittal.

The Crown appealed again and this time, Ontario’s highest court agreed a retrial was necessary because the judge was working from an outdated lens of “rape myths.”

“Dress does not signify consent, nor does it justify assaultive behaviour,” wrote Justice Sarah E. Pepall on behalf of the three-judge panel. “As such, it had no place in the trial judge’s assessment of the complainant’s credibility and reliability.”

Nor should he have placed any weight on her not immediately telling friends or police.

“The myth that a sexual assault complainant is less credible if she does not immediately complain is one of the more notorious examples of the speculation that in the past has passed for truth in this difficult area of human behaviour and the law,” Pepall wrote, quoting a decision already a decade old.

The appeal court was also critical of the trial judge for questioning why the complainant would have kissed Lacombe and not left.

“There is no rule as to how victims of sexual assault are apt to behave,” Pepall wrote in a stern rebuke. “He was comparing her conduct to conduct he expected of a sexual assault complainant without giving any consideration to her evidence of fear.”

Or as another judge once wisely stated: “These cases should never be decided on how abuse victims are expected to react by people who have never suffered abuse.”

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Fergie’s pals want Prince Andrew’s sex accuser ‘put on the grill’


Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson’s pals want to see the woman accusing Prince Andrew of sexually assaulting her crucified on TV.

Virginia Roberts should be “put on the grill” by BBC’s famed Panorama current affairs program when she is interviewed, friends say, according to The Telegraph.

Roberts was just 15 when she says she was lured into the orbit of sinister serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who was a close friend of Prince Andrew.

She claims she had underage sex three times with Andrew when she was 17. He has denied any wrongdoing.


Prince Andrew, Duke of York, has reportedly been put on ice over the Epstein affair. (David Mirzoeff/ Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

But in the court of public opinion, the Duke of York, 59, has come off as entitled and obtuse, and was cold and remorseless during a disastrous BBC interview.

In the wake of the train-wreck appearance, Queen Elizabeth effectively fired Andrew from his public duties.

Now, Roberts is slated to appear in an episode of Panorama airing Monday. Fergie’s friends are having none of it.

“She (Roberts) should be properly cross-examined on all the evidence that doesn’t stack up,” a friend of the Duchess of York told the Daily Telegraph.

“She should be put on the rack. The BBC cannot drill him as they did and just believe her when there are lots of inconsistencies.”


From left, Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell believes the photo is doctored.

One niggling point that Andrew’s toff supporters have pointed to is the infamous photo where he has his arm draped around Roberts while Ghislaine Maxwell beams on.

Fergie’s friends are demanding Roberts reveals how much she was paid for the photo. Some of the duke’s friends have suggested it has been doctored.


Virginia Roberts insists photos of her and Prince Andrew were not doctored. 60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA

Fergie reportedly wants to put the Roberts-Epstein affair behind the family ahead of Beatrice’s wedding next year.

There has been some discrepancy over whose brainstorm it was to put the prince in front of the cameras.

Initial reports said it was Fergie and their eldest daughter, Princess Beatrice, who pushed Andrew into the interview. But it has also been reported that the pair tried to stop the disaster.

At a recent soiree, Beatrice was said to be sobbing over the implosion of her father’s reputation.

“Beatrice was sombre and makeup-free for the birthday dinner,” a friend told the Daily Mail.

“She was probably worried that her mascara would run. She seemed quite tearful at times. In fact, Beatrice has been in tears every day since the interview went out.”

The prince has denied any wrongdoing but in the BBC chat, admitted he “let the side down” by visiting Epstein in New York after he was released from jail for child sex offences.

Authorities say Epstein, 66, killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

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