Anglican Watch

Allegations of sex orgies rocked Episcopal church, exposed rifts

Anglican Watch

A wave of scandal washed over the Episcopal Church in 1996 after Penthouse published an expose alleging same-sex orgies at an Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. Among those supposedly involved was the Rev. Lloyd Andries, then rector of St. Gabriel’s church.

Also named was the Rev. Howard Williams. The latter resigned as head of children’s ministries in the church’s national office. 

Coming shortly after the Ellen Cooke embezzlement scandal, “The Boys from Brazil,” by investigative reporter Rudy Maxa, offered lurid tales of cross-dressing, sadomasochism, and more. 

“If the recent allegations prove true, the clergy implicated have violated their ordination vows, desecrated holy space and betrayed a sacred trust,” Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning said. “These allegations must be dealt with in a fair and expeditious manner.”

Immediately after the article became public, Andries resigned holy orders.

He asserted that he had a relationship with one of the young men in the report but that charges of orgies and church desecration were fabrications. As a result, he filed a defamation lawsuit.

A subsequent investigation by the Episcopal Church revealed that most of the charges were either false or only partially true.

Penthouse subsequently retracted the story. But the uproar exposed deep rifts in the Diocese of Long Island, with Bishop Orris G. “Jay” Walker and clergy in the diocese trading charges of racism and abuse of power. Walker also admitted to struggling with alcoholism and refused to answer allegations that he was HIV-positive.

Walker also faced outrage when he fired the Very Rev. James J. Cardone, dean of the cathedral, just two weeks after the unexpected death of Cardone’s son at the age of 27.

Walker died in 2015, while Andries passed in 2022. His memorial service was at the church.


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