Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori helped a Roman Catholic priest who had been accused of inappropriate contact with a minor in the 1980s to become a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada when she was its diocesan bishop.
While the priest, Bede Parry, was never charged with a crime, he was sent to a treatment center in New Mexico — Servants of the Paraclete — for three months following the alleged incident, according to the Kansas city Star.
In an interview with the Star Parry admitted inappropriate sexual encounters with two minors.
Edwards’ statement makes clear that Episcopal Church officials were aware of the allegation when Jefferts Schori welcomed him into the Episcopal Church priesthood. It’s unclear whether parishioners were also informed.
Current Nevada bishop Dan Edwards is stressing that the allegations have become public in a civil — not a criminal — legal proceeding and that the alleged misconduct involved a post-pubescent minor, not pre-pubescent minor.
In a statement posted on the diocese’s website, Edwards writes:
“An incident with a late adolescent, while certainly morally wrong, and unquestionably a matter for serious concern, does not indicate pedophilia.”
If Jefferts Schori offers any response, I’d like to post it. An Episcopal News Service story posted on her denomination’s home page indicated she has “not spoken publicly” about the matter.
It’s unclear whether the presiding bishop declined to answer questions about Father Parry or whether Episcopal News Service declined to ask her.