Boris Johnson's deputy Mayor for Young People was today forced to deny a series of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct.
The allegations emerged after journalists discovered that Ray Lewis had lost his license as a Church of England Minister in 1997.
Ray, who Boris Johnson has put in charge of directing youth provision in the capital has denied all knowledge of being struck off.
But Church of England sources have confirmed that he lost his license due to claims of financial misconduct.
The claims centre around his time as a vicar in East London, and concern a female parishioner and a sum of £29,000.
A spokesperson for the Chelmsford Diocese said today:
"Between 1999 and 2005 Ray was placed under the formal disciplinary structures of the Church of England, and his ministry was restricted. This was because a misdemeanour of such seriousness had been committed that in the opinion of the Archbishop, the person concerned should not exercise his ministry for the time being. "
The Metropolitan police also confirmed that they had investigated five complaints of common assault against Lewis between 2003 and 2008 and one complaint of child cruelty but had decided to take no action.
Speaking alongside the Mayor at a hastily arranged press conference, Lewis strenuously denied all the claims:
"I have never harassed anyone. I have never defrauded anyone. I have never knowingly done anything that would be inconsistent with my position as a Justice of the Peace, as the founder and director of a charity, or as someone given the awesome responsibility of caring for young children."
Boris Johnson insisted that he he still has complete confidence in his Deputy Mayor and in an extraordinary move claimed that the allegations, some of which come from the Church of England, were politically motivated and part of a "malicious witch hunt":
"I believe that my deputy Mayor Ray Lewis is being made to suffer now because he has had the guts to serve in this administration and because he has had the courage to speak out against a stifling orthodoxy that has failed too many of our children.
These allegations did not stop him from becoming a JP. They did not stop him from becoming an outstanding and respected prison governor. They did not stop him founding a school that has done untold good for East London children and they should not stop him from serving as my deputy Mayor."
Both Johnson and David Cameron have placed great stock in the appointment of Lewis, and his projects have been heavily supported and promoted by other senior Tories. Their strong defence of Lewis today clearly reflects that relationship.
However, the decision not to suspend Lewis while the claims are being investigated has been heavily criticised by the Labour group at City Hall. John Biggs AM said:
"Unfortunately he has now become the story rather than the solution and is distracted from the innovative work with youngsters he was employed to do.
Given the seriousness nature and sheer number of the allegations against Mr Lewis, it seems remarkable that he has not been suspended while they are investigated. Having delegated so many powers to his advisers, Londoners need to have faith in Boris Johnson's team and his judgement."
Ray Lewis continues to describe the claims as 'rubbish' and a 'fantasy' and will retain his position as one of Boris Johnson's Deputy Mayors. However, the investigation into the allegations will begin immediately.