Tory county councillor suspended over ‘inappropriate sexual relationship” finding
A COUNTY councillor suspended by the ruling Tory group following allegations of an “inappropriate sexual relationship” could end up taking the record for being the shortest serving member of Cambridgeshire Police Authority.
Cllr Ken Churchill’s political career hangs in the balance today after he was struck off the register of physiotherapists following a relationship with a female patient.
But Cllr Churchill claimed this week: “Because of a medical condition, I can’t physically do the things she has accused me of.
“I think it was more about my standing in the community that the judgment went against me – because I was a Conservative councillor and a JP – rather than the evidence.”
The councillor, ironically a member of the council’s standards committee and also a Peterborough magistrate, only joined the police authority in July.
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But on Sunday an emergency meeting of senior Conservatives called by the leader Councillor Nick Clarke agreed to suspend him.
Cllr Clarke said: “I asked the chief executive to take the necessary action to suspend him from his work on the police authority and some of the committees he sits on until we can be assured we don’t have a safeguarding issue with the public.
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“We have taken decisive action to defend the people of Cambridgeshire.”
Cllr Churchill, of Little Paxton, claims to have been set up in a sting by “a disgruntled 72-year-old client” who was unhappy that he was no longer treating her.
The Health Professions Council was told that Cllr Churchill had been treating the woman since 2006 for a back injury and had continued to treat her for subsequent injuries.
“It was in January 2010 that it is alleged that an inappropriate sexual relationship developed and continued for some time during the treatment,” the HPC said.
The patient gave her evidence by video link and said that Cllr Churchill had been very supportive after her husband had died, had behaved with total decorum, and she had become emotionally dependent on him.
“She explained that the relationship had become sexual in January 2010. It began with kissing and fondling but then developed into full non-penetrative sexual activity on sometimes a weekly basis,” the HPC said.
At the hearing, Cllr Churchill denied having had an affair with the patient and that he had walked away from her during a course of treatment.
The HPC said it found the patient to be “a credible and truthful witness,” whereas it had found Cllr Churchill to be “reticent and evasive”
The police authority website says nothing of Cllr Church’s suspension but notes he has been a JP since 2006.
“He is a specialist in domestic violence issues and is on a rota for such cases,” says the police authority.
Cllr Churchill said: “I have had discussions with my family and a course of action will be put in place.
“I was had by a sting by a disgruntled 72-year-old client. It was an unsubstantiated complaint, which was adjudicated by a panel on the balance of probability, solely on her verbal report and in spite of the records we submitted and a testimonial from my wife.
“At the moment I’m weighing up all the options for the future. I believe I have done some very good work for my party and I look to them for support in times of difficulty.
“I have been through worse things in my life, and I believe my reputation goes before me.”
Cllr Churchill said he could continue to practise as a sports therapist, but the ruling meant he could no longer call himself a physiotherapist.