The Free Church in Scotland has launched an investigation into allegations that one of its top clerics – Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell, above – may have had affairs with as many as five women on the Isle of Lewis before he committed suicide in January.
According to this report, the allegations of adultery against Campbell, a former moderator of the Free Church General Assembly, were made by his wife Anne, and the church – known for its strict stance on adultery – has confirmed it was taking the allegations “very seriously”.
A spokesman for the church said:
We can confirm that the Free Church of Scotland are investigating allegations made in connection with the late Rev Dr Iain D Campbell. The Western Isles Presbytery are taking these allegations very seriously and acting on them in accordance with the stated practice of the Free Church of Scotland.
Glowing tributes were paid to the father of three after he died aged 53.
Widow Anne, 54, is understood to have confronted her husband after discovering deleted emails from members of his congregation.
It is thought that several married women – possibly as many as five – have been named in the allegations.
Campbell tried to take his own life in hospital in Stornoway after an earlier failed suicide attempt.
He was transferred from the Western Isles Hospital to Glasgow for specialist treatment but later died.
Campbell grew up on the Isle of Lewis and studied at the University of Glasgow. He was ordained on Skye in 1988. He spent seven years on the island before returning to Lewis.
He became moderator in 2012 and was also well-known in the Free Church of Scotland as a theological writer.
The minister was pastor of Point Free Church, and of the nearby Knock Free Church on Lewis, and played a major role in reuniting the congregations following a 57-year-long split.
An obituary by Reverend James Maciver said the minister’s sudden death had:
Numbed the Western Isles Free Presbytery, and the tremors from the shock extended through the Free Church and well beyond. Such was his fitness, vigour and drive that none could have expected his demise at 53 years of age.
In 2015, the Free Church of Scotland urged MSPs not to abolish adultery laws because it would lead:
To the absolute abandonment of the institution of marriage in our culture today.
Anne Campbell declined to comment, but a statement issued on the family’s behalf said they were grieving Rev Campbell’s loss. It said:
The family have lost a husband and father. This is a personal matter and the family have requested that they be allowed to grieve in private.
The accused women are believed to be denying the allegations and consulting lawyers.
A report in The Telegraph claims that Campbell had had affairs with SEVEN women, and quoted a church source as saying:
There was never a whisper of a rumour about affairs until after he died – on such a close-knit island they would have been very difficult to keep secret. Yet Anne has supplied names of these alleged mistresses to the church. If she is right, he had been leading an extraordinary double life for years.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn