The Dean of Jersey has been suspended following the publication of a report that found safeguarding policies had not been properly implemented.
The Very Reverend Robert Key's suspension relates to complaints made in 2008 by a vulnerable adult parishioner alleging abusive behaviour by a Churchwarden in Jersey.
The report into Mr Key's handling of the case was compiled by the Diocese of Winchester's Safeguarding Panel.
It raises concerns that he did not comply with key safeguarding procedures in dealing with the complaints.
These include an apparent failure to take the complaint seriously, a perceived lack of neutrality, poor communication and lack of action.
The decision to suspend Mr Key was taken by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, who is responsible for the Church of England in the Channel Islands.
The bishop said he was "particularly disappointed" that Mr Key had "refused to cooperate with the review".
He has ordered an "immediate and thorough" investigation into Mr Key's conduct of the case.
"Firstly I want to give my unreserved apologies to the complainant for her treatment. Protecting the vulnerable is at the heart of the Church of England's mission," said Bishop Dakin.
"With that comes a duty to ensure those in need are properly looked after. It is vital that robust safeguarding policies are in place and, above all, that they are properly implemented.
"In the wake of the report, difficult but necessary and decisive actions are required to ensure that, in the future, procedures will be followed properly."
Andrew Robinson, Chief Executive of the Diocese of Winchester said, "The diocese takes its safeguarding duties very seriously.
"This is why we commissioned the independent report and is why we have taken action to ensure our safeguarding polices are robust and adhered to.
"We are determined to learn from the mistakes made in this particular case and shall be enhancing our safeguarding procedures and policies."