(Living Church) Lawsuit Prompts Nevada Episcopal Priest’s Resignation

“The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Parry was a sexual abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors,” the lawsuit said, adding that the results were provided to the abbey, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas and the Diocese of Nevada. Parry began working as music director at All Saints in 2000.[[Katharine] Jefferts Schori was consecrated Bishop of Nevada in 2001.

Parry said he felt called back to priestly ministry when an opening arose at All Saints’ Church.

“I talked to the bishop, and she accepted me,” he told The Kansas City Star. “And I told her at the time that there was an incident of sexual misconduct at Conception Abbey in ’87. The Episcopal Church doesn’t have a ”˜one strike and you’re out’ policy, so it didn’t seem like I was any particular threat. She said she’d have to check the canons, and she did.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops, Theology

18 comments on “(Living Church) Lawsuit Prompts Nevada Episcopal Priest’s Resignation

  1. Undergroundpewster says:

    One strike and you’re in?

    If the tests showed that he might offend again, strike two, and the bishop should have not accepted him.

  2. Cennydd13 says:

    And I don’t think the story will end here, and it shouldn’t be allowed to. As we all know, there is so much more to this than a priest’s transgressions coming to light.

  3. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    I’ll post here what I posted at the end of a related thread, with a several word add-on:

    “I love when people use their alleged confusion re: their sexuality as a crutch for why they abuse or perform deviant acts. Parry doesn’t do that here, I don’t think, but I’ve seen it done. There are plenty of people out there who do not work out their “confusion”(on any subject) through deviance and abuse.

    I am also sick of seeing dioceses viewing the word “NO” as “mean”(ie, so they don’t say it). Some people should not be ordained and/or work in the Church. “NO” is not mean; it protects the innocent.

    And the Church is not an environment where “second chances” on this score should apply. If someone needs a “second chance” at employment with this history, he/she can go work in a supermarket, bookstore, dry cleaners, etc. Someplace, especially, where children are scarce.

  4. Pete Haynsworth says:

    [url=http://www.episcopalnevada.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=156:statement-regarding-resignation-of-fr-bede-parry&lang=en]Here’s[/url] the statement by the present bishop of the Diocese of Nevada.

    Clearly, no harm-no foul. Case Closed.

  5. Teatime2 says:

    How is it “case closed” when a perv got into our priesthood? That they don’t believe he molested anyone at All Saints is good news, indeed, but it’s not because of TEC policies, which admitted him to the priesthood in the first place.

    I’m not blaming the current bishop. In fact, I feel a bit sorry for him because the heat is on him even though he wasn’t the bishop who decided to admit Parry. Perhaps he’s right, that taking the “Safeguarding God’s Children” program seriously and being vigilant helped prevent tragedy in Nevada. But it seems more like the age and guilty conscience of Parry himself was the bigger factor.

    Schori accepted Parry, knowing what she knew and, he says, after “consulting the canons.” There is a failure somewhere but Schori won’t talk about it. Instead, she’s referring the matter to the bishop who was simply left holding the bag. That’s unacceptable.

  6. Jeremy Bonner says:

    It’s worth noting that several recent posters on HoBD, who do not seem to be particularly conservative in their theology, are also seeking answers from the Presiding Bishop.

  7. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #4 Pete Haynsworth
    [blockquote]Clearly, no harm-no foul. Case Closed[/blockquote]
    Dream on:
    [blockquote]The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has declined to respond to questions concerning her ordination to the priesthood of a paedophile. Her silence has prompted questions from liberals and conservatives in the church about what she knew of the Rev. Bede Parry’s confessed abuse of boys, and when she knew it[/blockquote]
    Why did the Presiding Bishop ordain a paedophile, and why won’t she answer the question?

    Why won’t you protect your children, and call to account those who appear to have failed to do so? [Edited by Elf]

  8. Laura R. says:

    A bishop who knowingly accepted a priest with a history of sexual misconduct with minors? Where are the [i] New York Times [/i] and all the other media watchdogs who were relentlessly hounding the Catholic Church over this issue not so long ago (and still do at the slightest opportunity) ?

  9. Pete Haynsworth says:

    Re #4/5/7 – I am again reminded that some T1:9 brethren don’t share my sense of irony, alliteration, etc.

    My bad.

  10. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    KJS even had a monk in front of her who willingly ADMITTED a history of sex offense. He didn’t lie or cover it up. She didn’t have to dig for this history. She had it from the subject, AND from a psych evaluation that stated he had potential to be a repeat offender with minors.

    Did she want it in huge letters and neon lights?!!

    And if this “Church” is not a “one strike and you’re out” organization, then it should be. I’ve known dioceses that DO operate that way; good for them.

  11. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    What has rather interested and alarmed me is this story that the PB approved and made Fr. Bede Parry a TEC priest when, according to Court filings she had been:
    1. advised that he had abused a minor; and
    2, been given a copy of a report commissioned by the RC church which concluded, we are told: “The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Parry was a sexual abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors”

    Instead of answering why she admitted to the TEC priesthood someone manifestly flagged up as a danger to minors who should have been immediately rejected, the PB’s office referred the matter to the diocese of Nevada, who have issued a statement which does not deal with the PB’s approval of Parry while she was Bishop of Nevada.

    Why does this matter, including to the wider Communion including the Church of England? It is because the mutual recognition of doctrine, sacraments and ministry of the Communion means that we receive priests from other Communion countries on the assumption that they have been checked and approved by their churches. It has been a revelation over the years I have been involved in these blogs, just how corrupt and dismissive of its canons the TEC hierachy is. It is a massive low point for a bishop to not only knowingly it seems ignore evidence a candidate for TEC ministry was a danger to children, but for the church to not call that bishop to account for her actions, It is not only a disgrace but a danger to the rest of us.

    Using the approval of the PB to become a TEC priest, Fr Parry could well have travelled to another part of the Communion such as England. He could have been permitted to minister to a CofE parish or a parish in another part of the Communion. We would have all assumed that TEC’s procedures had been followed, and a child molester would not be knowingly sent to us by TEC and given access to our children.

    This is why this matter is important and must be dealt with by TEC, and it is why, I suspect voices from all over the spectrum, including John Chilton in The Lead yesterday, are demanding answers from the Presiding Bishop. Why did the Presiding Bishop make a known child molester and danger to vulnerable younsters a TEC priest? Why if TEC will not take this matter seriously and insist on accountability for child protection should we accept the ministry of TEC priests in other parts of the Communion? It is that serious.

    Why would anyone in the Communion accept a TEC priest now?

  12. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    “Why would anyone in the Communion accept a TEC priest now?”

    The only way they would probably depends on where the priest comes from. That’s true anyway now, I’d imagine, e.g. if a C of E(or wherever) parish wants to do any sort of priest “exchange”, and it does not want massive doses of “the agenda” then on the whole it’s probably going to only look at the possibility of Communion Partner, former Network, or even ACNA priests if that sort of cross-jurisdiction exists. Also, I’m no authority but it’s my understanding that our bishop has a zero-tolerance policy with misconduct. I knew another bishop that did, too(he’s now retired); even to the tune of defrocking a priest who was separated from his wife but cheated on her with a woman outside their parish(this was immoral but rather fell under a “consenting adults” category as the priest was not violating boundaries with people in his parish). But, it is highly true, in my small view, that these types of enforcer-bishops are the minority.

    “Instead of answering why she admitted to the TEC priesthood someone manifestly flagged up as a danger to minors who should have been immediately rejected, the PB’s office referred the matter to the diocese of Nevada, who have issued a statement which does not deal with the PB’s approval of Parry while she was Bishop of Nevada”.

    Uh, yes–with it being brutally obvious that the current Bp. of Nevada was not Bp. of Nevada when Parry was admitted to the priesthood there.

  13. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #13 Bookworm

    With the way this is being handled, there is a question of can we rely on TEC clergy? With the +Bennison case, this is the second instance where it has become apparent that the TEC vetting and accountability provisions can be overridden because of who someone is, or who has vetted them. For the rest of us this selective application of procedures means that we are unsure to what extent any TEC priest is reliable or has been properly checked and vetted. It raises the issue of those TEC priests already serving in our provinces – have they been checked, have they been properly vetted, and how do we know which of them have had the proper procedures by-passed according to the political clout of the people involved? How do we know who is safe? If TEC does not get its act together and get a grip, it may find itself ‘out of Communion’ for reasons it did not anticipate.

  14. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    I would add that none of that is to say that most Episcopal priests are not a danger to children, but as the Catholics have found out to their considerable cost, if you apply your rules on vetting and child protection selectively or inconsistently or without accountability, awful things happen which just does tarnish the brand. It only takes one or two bad apples and a blind eye being turned both to vetting and to the failures of that vetting.

  15. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    I don’t profess to being happy about the situation or thinking it is right. I don’t believe it is right. Your concerns are valid. I could only say that, if the C of E is going to allow TEC priests to serve, it either needs to do its own vetting, or consider the source of the TEC priest’s vetting on a case-by-case basis. That is the C of E doing work it probably should not have to do, but there it is. And/or, the C of E could consider requiring psych eval(done by a British psychiatrist, if they’re so inclined) prior to the overseas transfer, and at the clergyman’s expense.

    And yes, I don’t like it either that one sour apple spoils the barrel. But it also stands to reason that not all TEC priests are sex offenders or other bad things.

    I for one can say that, were we interested in “swapping” to the C of E, we’d be happy to sit through psych eval as a clergy family and could afford it, too. We have nothing to hide. I’m sorry that others do. I don’t agree with their behaviors, and they should be told “NO” in the ordination process and, if guilty of priestly misconduct, lose their church jobs and collars to boot, never to have others.

    I have been disappointed with many behaviors I’ve seen in TEC over the last 28 years(I’m only counting the time I was old enough to understand it). If my family knew what else to do, we would do it. Right now we only have a tiny amount of influence in our own sphere. “Relatively powerless” is not a fun place to be, either, but there we are.

    The only other thing I will add here is that Mrs. Schori should be forced to explain herself. I can also bet that my bishop would be, were he in this position, especially as he is one of those “renegade traditionals”–God forbid… :-/

    I’m traditional, too, and proud of it. And if that makes me “renegade”, then I’m proud of that, too. 🙂

  16. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #16 Bookworm
    Rest assured, the CofE has one of the toughest regulatory and vetting systems there is for anyone working with children. Anyone working with children even temporarily such as transporting them or assisting with an activity is vetted to include a criminal records bureau check. Some have complained that it has been taken to absurdity, including the elderly lady who arranged church flowers who was told she needed a CRB check because she might use a lavatory which a child might need. Nevertheless with this policy, by and large rigorously applied, we are beginning to see results.

    Foreign clergy are subject to this system and in addition, a police check in their own country will be required. In the case of Fr Parry, to work here, we would have required an FBI clearance.

    Nevertheless these checks are only as good as the information the authorities hold, and if an FBI check did not pick something up, because for example it was a private RC church psychological report, or an allegation which had never been passed on to the authorities, it is possible for someone like Fr Parry to slip through. In addition if he was, as a choir director visiting with his choir, there would not be time to do full checks, and therefore in theory a risk if he was not treated as an unvetted adult.

    For these reasons notwithstanding the checks we do, we expect those churches we are in communion with to deal with their obligations to their own people [and to ours] rigorously and to deal with us in good faith. Moreover when they have manifestly failed to do so at the most senior level [as in this case of the apparent failure of the Presiding Bishop to carry out her duties to the children of Nevada and the scandal of Bishop Bennison in relation to his brother’s abuse], we do expect them to show that they are dealing with the breakdown in or bypassing of their procedures.

    It is a matter of trust, and if we cannot trust TEC to protect their own children, let alone ours, we can have no confidence in them holding up their end of the communion we share.

    It is in everyone’s interests, including those of the children, that TEC stops behaving like a corrupt banana republic and shows it is committed to removing corruption and incompetence and demonstrating its commitment to its child safety obligations.

  17. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    “It is in everyone’s interests, including those of the children, that TEC stops behaving like a corrupt banana republic and shows it is committed to removing corruption and incompetence and demonstrating its commitment to its child safety obligations”.

    I’m in full agreement. And, as you’ve also noticed, the hierarchy is not real good at admitting when it’s wrong; hence the referral of questions back to DioNevada, to be answered by a bishop who was not even the bishop at the time when an offender sailed through the cracks.

    And it’s only a psychiatric fool who listens to “I did something, but I’ve had treatment and won’t do it again” and believes it.

    I can’t understand it. I have to submit to criminal background checks when I volunteer at my children’s schools. I understand that the system can only report what it knows. Luckily in my case, it knows nothing, there’s nothing to know and I am so boring that I’ve never even smoked a cigarette, let alone done anything criminal. 🙂

    I think all we peons can do is point out the inconsistencies and pray it gets better. I wish I knew what else to do. I find it abhorrent.