Charity Commission disqualifies trustee from Rigpa Fellowship

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A trustee has been disqualified from all charities for a period of 8 years as a result of an ongoing Charity Commission inquiry into the Rigpa Fellowship charity.

Patrick Gaffney was serving as a trustee of the charity, which is based in London and has objects to advance the Buddhist religion.

Evidence uncovered by the Commission shows Mr Gaffney had knowledge of instances and allegations of improper acts and sexual and physical abuse against students at the charity.

Mr Gaffney failed to take appropriate action in response to this information and is therefore responsible for misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

He was entered onto the list of disqualified trustees on 12 April 2019.

Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission, said:

We are continuing to investigate concerns about this charity via our ongoing statutory inquiry. However, the safety and wellbeing of beneficiaries and those that come into contact with the charity, must always be a priority for the trustees and staff of a charity. This trustee has been disqualified with immediate effect for failing in his duty to protect those who came into contact with the charity.

The public rightly expect charities to be safe places, where people are free from harm. Where we find charities that are failing in this essential duty, we will take action to remove those responsible.

The Commission has been engaging with the charity since August 2017 over serious concerns about adult safeguarding. Concerns escalated during this engagement, prompting the opening of a statutory inquiry on 8 November 2018.

It is the Commission’s policy to publish a report at the conclusion of the case.

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