Married priest quits after he urged woman to ‘come and have a helping of Father Pete’

Church of St. Jana in Gosport, where the services were led by Fr. Peter Lambert – Solent News & Photo Agency/Victoria Jones/Solent News

A priest was struck off after he urged a vulnerable person into the church to “come and help yourself to Father Pete.”

Reverend Peter Lambert is said to have made the comment when he abused the woman and treated her for several days, which was considered inappropriate behavior.

Reverend Lambert, who is married, allegedly showered the woman with gifts and took her and her children on day trips to places such as the New Forest National Park in Hampshire.

The woman now claims she felt “massively used” by Reverend Lambert and that he used his power to exploit her.

The priest has been sidelined from serving in the Church of England for five years, meaning he cannot conduct services.

“Intense” short-term relationship

The woman, who was not named in the ruling, received a written apology from the Bishop of Portsmouth, Hants, who issued a ban on the clergy.

Reverend Lambert was a self-supporting pastor and volunteer who led services in Gosport, near Portsmouth, at the town’s churches including Christ Church, Holy Trinity Church and St John’s Church.

He was ordained a priest but was not employed or paid by the Church of England and had no particular church of which he was vicar.

Reverend Lambert – a chartered surveyor who worked at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – befriended the woman who led to an “intense” short-term relationship last year, she said.

“He clearly saw that my mental health was poor”

The woman, who suffers from mental health issues, said: “He made me and my children feel so special and needed. He bought us gifts and took us to the New Forest for a day trip.

“I suffer from anxiety and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, going through dark spells, and he has clearly seen that my mental health is low. I’m not the only person this could have happened to. People with other medical conditions may not speak.

“I feel he took advantage of me. He got power because of the job he does. He would tell me things like, “I’ve always thought of you a lot” and “come and have a treat with Father Pete.”

The victim finally said “reality has hit” and decided to break off contact and file a complaint.

Reverend Lambert pleaded guilty to the violation

After an investigation, Reverend Lambert admitted to violating the rules.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Portsmouth said: “Peter has admitted to this inappropriate behaviour. Penalty set by the Bishop of Portsmouth [the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost]is a five-year ban on ministry in the Church of England.

“This means that he cannot conduct services or perform clerical functions during this time. After this ban period, a risk assessment will be conducted before Peter can resume his ministry.”

In a letter to the woman, Bishop Jonathan wrote: “I would like to apologize for a member of the clergy in the Church of England to have behaved in this inappropriate way.”

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