The Charity Commission is “urgently” assessing a Birmingham charity, after initial reports that a trustee would continue in their role despite pleading guilty to paying a 16-year-old for sex.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT UK) announced yesterday evening that Kenneth Lowry, 48, was no longer a trustee at the charity.
Earlier in the day BirminghamLive reported that Lowry had pleaded guilty to paying a 16-year-old girl for sex. The report said he was sentenced to a two-year community service order, 40-day rehabilitation order and a month’s curfew, but was able to keep his role at the charity.
According to the newspaper, Lowry believed the girl was over 18 and he was not placed on the Sex Offenders Register. This means he was able to continue as trustee under charity law.
Kerryanne Wilde, founder of CERT, told BirminghamLive that the charity had put in place safeguarding measures that would prevent Lowry from being alone with children.
However, after a backlash online, yesterday evening CERT UK released a statement announcing that “with immediate effect, Mr Kenneth Lowry is no longer a director, trustee or volunteer with CERT (UK)”.
Second charity statement
This morning the charity issued a second statement distancing the remaining trustees from the situation.
The CERT UK statement said:“Following our trustees meeting we would like to reiterate our position. CERT (UK) will continue the support and voluntary work within its areas of concern and support.
“The actions of one individual are not the sum of actions of the charity and those who volunteer with us. We appreciate the delicate nature of the subject and as such will not comment on this due to being advised of ongoing investigations.
“We ask that you respect the remaining volunteers of the organisation, they give their time to make a difference within the communities of which they serve and continue to support those in need.”
Charity Commission assessing situation
The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory compliance case and is looking at what role it might have in the matter.
A spokesperson for the Commission told Civil Society News: “Charities should be safe places for all, and we expect trustees to make decisions that prioritise this. We are urgently assessing information around this matter to determine our role as regulator. We cannot comment further at this time.”