Anglican Watch

An open letter to the Diocese of Alabama: Why are child sex offenders allowed in active ministry?

Glenda Curry, corrupt Episcopal bishop

Dear members of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama:

As you know, the Rev. Rob Morpeth recently announced he is retiring. As a result, the diocese is now searching for a new Canon for Mission Support.

These developments create an inflection point in which you must answer a difficult question in the coming days. Specifically, why is your diocese knowingly harboring active clergy with unresolved, credible allegations of child sexual abuse?

In that regard, Anglican Watch is following multiple situations where allegations of child sexual abuse involving clergy in the diocese have gone to Morpeth and Curry. Yet, like Pontius Pilate, both have washed their hands of the matter, leaving these issues to be resolved by others. 

Indeed, we have repeatedly demanded the following:

  1. An update on efforts to address these issues. 
  2. To know why the requirements of Title IV have not been met, including that of a pastoral response in every instance in which a complaint is made. 

In every instance, Morpeth and Curry have sat in splendid silence.

We also have credible evidence that Morpeth has lied to third parties, falsely claiming that these persons do not have access to children. Not only is that facially inaccurate, but it’s laughably disingenuous. All involved have internet access. And as Morpeth’s direct supervisor, Curry is ethically accountable for these lies.

Nor do we have evidence that Morpeth and Curry have fulfilled their legal requirement as mandated reporters. In other words, they are engaging in a coverup. And failure to report allegations of child abuse is a criminal matter.

Do Glenda Curry and Rob Morpeth want to try to explain to the news media why they ignored these reports?

And as diocese members, as parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, will you ignore these issues until someone you know and love is sexually assaulted? How will you feel if a grandson is raped? How does that square with the baptismal covenant?

That begs the question: Why is the diocese morally bankrupt on these issues? We can only guess at the reasons, but typically there is someone, often a chancellor, urging folks to follow the old Catholic model. “Don’t get too involved. Protect the organization,” they insist.

If that doesn’t work, the approach is to deny, evade, avoid, equivocate, counter-attack, and claim your critics are mentally ill or have an axe to grind. 

We’ve seen that playbook before. It’s been perfected by the Catholic church, the SBC, and the Episcopal church.

And the Episcopal church has a special monkey wrench to deploy in these situations. It’s the ever-shifting issue of whether the church is hierarchical.

Yes, the church is hierarchical when it comes to church buildings, but it’s congregational all the way when it comes to clergy discipline. “That’s for the vestry and wardens to decide,” bishops argue, conveniently ignoring that most vestries have about as much actual authority as members of the local Brownie troop.

And how does the church decide which standard to use? Easy—whichever better supports its narcissistic construct.

It’s also worth noting that, just as MLK wrote from the Birmingham jail, the Diocese of Alabama’s biggest problem isn’t pedophiles—it is those who don’t want to rock the boat. “I’m sure it will get resolved,” is the siren song that lures bystanders into silent complicity.

So, the question before all members of the Diocese of Alabama is simple: Will you demand accountability? 

It is time for you to insist that the diocese adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward child sexual abusers. In no situation should anyone with unresolved allegations of child sexual abuse be permitted to serve in active ministry. Ever.

And if Glenda Curry, your standing committee, and others in leadership roles won’t protect children, they need to step down.

They need to be removed from office if they won’t step down. 

Simple as that.


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