Anglican Watch

Additional misconduct comes to light in Douglas Anderson Title IV case

#Metoo in the Episcopal Church

Additional details continue to come to light regarding the Douglas Anderson Title IV case. These details include allegations of ongoing misconduct and bullying/shunning of members of the Church of the Advent who support gender equality.

Among the details that recently emerged:

  • We have confirmed that the victim of sexual harassment in Texarkana has documentation that Anderson lied about his interactions with her. Thus, we hope canon lawyer Michael Rehill will refrain from offering knowingly false testimony before the Title IV panel. If he does provide false testimony, we are prepared to file an attorney disciplinary complaint against him. 
  • We have identified a second female, also allegedly a victim of inappropriate sexual conduct by Anderson in Texarkana, who has declined to come forward.
  • Multiple unconfirmed allegations swirl about additional misconduct by Anderson during his time in Texarkana. We believe further details are forthcoming.
  • Similarly, other allegations about Sumner have emerged. We are not ready to go public, but we are confident that he has engaged in other misconduct, including Title IV violations.
  • Anderson’s conduct at the Church of the Advent has allegedly been problematic, including multiple complaints of bullying, shunning, and violation of confidential disclosures by parishioners. Specifically, individuals allege that they faced retaliation, including shunning, by Anderson or persons under his control during his tenure at the Church of the Advent over their advocacy for the ordination of women. 
  • Feckless bishop Alan Gates, and his equally corrupt canon to the ordinary, Bill Parnell, have both received multiple written complaints about misogyny at the Church of the Advent and related violations of Title I, Canon 17 (5), which provides:

No one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, governance, or employment of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital or family status (including pregnancy or child care plans), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.

And how did the corrupt duo of Gates and Parnell respond to these complaints? Only by saying they offered mediation to assist the parish in working through those issues. That is spineless, unethical, and unacceptable. Equal access to ordination is guaranteed by church canon, and Gates needs to act like an adult and issue the required pastoral directive. And if Anderson chooses not to comply, he is, by definition, in violation of Title IV and needs to be defrocked. Simple as that. 

It’s also worth asking if Gates would take the same approach if the Church of the Advent refused to permit African-American clergy. Would he offer a mediator and leave it at that? We think not, and we hope not. That begs the question: So why are women second-class citizens in Gate’s playbook? Or is it that he doesn’t have the courage to stand up to a bunch of misogynists?

  • Even worse, Gates has actively supported Advent’s misogynistic policies. That includes forbidding a female priest critical of parish policies from entering Advent for a year. So any claim that Gates supports inclusion is total BS. 
  • Multiple sources tell us that Dallas bishop George Sumner engaged in an attempted #metoo coverup, including retaliation against persons for coming forward with the allegations against Douglas Anderson. That is unacceptable, and Sumner needs to resign, effective immediately. Moreover, women in the Dallas diocese and Sumner’s standing committee should demand that Sumner stop the Madmen-era antics. If he won’t do so, then it is time to withhold funding. That’s not a tactic we like or readily endorse, but it is necessary if Sumner won’t act with integrity. After all, do you really want your donations going to defend priests who think women are objects for their enjoyment? Or for the deductibles associated with civil litigation relating to this matter?

Similarly, Gates needs to uphold church canons. Not only does the bit about the Church of the Advent not ordaining women need to stop, but he should be aware that rumors abound that some of the lawyers on the Advent A-list are looking at possible ways to disassociate from TEC. And while Gates may not care about gender equality, we’re betting the size of the Church of the Advent endowment will get his attention.

As for any potential Title IV accord, it is essential that Anderson not receive a golden parachute like the one Todd Ousley — another corrupt butthead — handed to Whayne Hougland for his extramarital affair. Call us old-fashioned, but sexual misconduct does not warrant an award in cash.

Anglican Watch urges Michael Curry to address the refusal of Gates and Sumner to follow church canons. If Curry can discipline Bishop Love for refusing to marry same-sex couples, he can damned well do the same with Gates and Sumner. Both need to follow church canons that prohibit retaliation and guarantee women equal access to ordination. And if they won’t do it, they both should face formal discipline.

Indeed, in Sumner’s case, his retaliation for complaining about a #metoo situation already warrants being defrocked — again, without Todd Ousley giving away member donations as a reward for misconduct.

Anglican Watch also has documentation that the nonprofit where the Texarkana victim works as executive director is actively retaliating against her. That is illegal under federal law and actionable by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We stand with the victims in this case, including bystanders traumatized by the situation. We will provide evidence to support EEOC complaints or civil litigation should we be asked to do so. And we remind Sumner that the church is not exempt from EEOC policies. 

All involved, including the nonprofit in Texarkana, Sumner and the Diocese of Dallas, and Gates and the Diocese of Massachusetts, should treat this post as actual notice that the behavior in question, including retaliation, is illegal under federal and canon law. 

Anglican Watch extends sincere thanks to the whistleblowers who have come forward. We welcome additional reports and will take all necessary steps to protect the identity of sources.

One comment

  1. Among the clergy who do not support gender equality, there were some who were very respectful of people with different opinions, and others who were not. It’s unclear to which camp Fr. Douglas Anderson belongs. Some say that he was respectful of those who support, or even himself supportive of, gender equality; others say that he was not supportive. It was another clergyman who was responsible “bullying/shunning of members of the Church of the Advent who support gender equality”, actions with which some of his fellow clergymen at the Church of the Advent did not agree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *