Ed: Originally we had planned not to publish this, and instead afford Bishop Stevenson the respect of allowing him to deal with this quietly. That seemed fair and decent, as he has been consistently fair, decent and kind with us.
But after a series of vile, false rumors directed at us came from the parish, we changed our mind. Simply put, we’re not going to stand silent and let the hypocrites at Grace attack us with impunity. That does not lessen our respect for Bishop Stevenson, but neither are we going to roll over and play dead.
Folks at Grace need to stop with the lies and the narcissistic notion that it’s okay to lie if you think it will help win a dispute. Or that it’s okay to lie about someone because you don’t like them.
In other words, it’s time to grow up and stop acting like a bunch of toxic assholes.
Anne Turner, the 51-year-old rector of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria, Va., is allegedly having an affair with a 40-year-old man in Reston. To preserve his privacy, we refer to him as “R.”
According to our source, the affair has been going on for more than a decade.
Anne’s husband, Stephen Watts, allegedly discovered the affair some time ago, and Turner agreed to stop.
But evidence suggests the affair continues and includes trips out of town where Turner meets up with “R,” while telling her family and parishioners she is on church-related retreats.
That begs the question: Is the parish paying for those retreats? If so, that is an additional ethical issue and constitutes theft by deception. Similarly, if Anne used discretionary funds to pay for her alleged affair, she needs to face criminal charges. As for lying to her parishioners, that is appalling.
As things stand, adultery is a violation of Title IV, the Episcopal clergy disciplinary canons. And while the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia increasingly overlooks adulterous clergy, we believe this is a mistake, as church canons purport that clergy are held to a higher standard.
Moreover, Turner’s conduct is:
- An egregious violation of trust, both of her husband, her family, and her parish.
- A breach of her ordination vows.
- An ongoing pattern of deception.
- A dismal example for others.
We also note that Turner’s conduct implicates power differentials; we cannot share the details, due to our desire to protect the privacy of Turner’s boyfriend.
It also suggests someone who is deeply troubled, and does not have the integrity to deal openly with an apparently unhappy marriage. And yes, we recognize that women with children often face dificult choices, but life is replete with challenges. Dishonesty does nothing to improve the situation. So Anne looks like a woman who stays married because she likes the million-dollar home in North Arlington, and doesn’t have the integrity to admit to her husband that she doesn’t love him.
We’d also point out that it takes more than a few trysts to truly love someone. If Anne thinks otherwise, she is a deeply disturbed soul. “In the name of God, I, ___, take you, ___, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until parted by death.” Not “until we can have our next fling.”
And if Anne can violate her marriage vows with such ease, we have to wonder how readily she will violate her ordination vows.
R is already in a committed relationship.
Anglican Watch believes that R’s partner confronted Turner over her alleged affair, calling the latter from R’s mobile phone, while Turner and her daughter were at the psychologist’s office.
R is friends with several Grace parishioners, including the Robinson family and Theresa Preston.
R denies the affair and tells his partner that he and Turner are just friends. But that seems improbable, given the correspondence’s tone and the fact that he and Turner are not friends on Facebook. And if they were previously having an affair, why on this green earth would Anne keep in touch? Does she not have the common sense God gave a goat?
As for Turner, her conduct should be above reproach. The mere fact she remains in touch with her boyfriend leads us to question both her judgment and her integrity. And it does not suggest repentence.
Anne also comes from a long line of toxic Grace clergy, including perjuring priest Bob Malm; two-faced, sneaky, lying Leslie Steffensen; and others.
Not to mention toxic laypeople like Jeff “Sugarland” Chiow, with his courtroom lies, spoliation of evidence, and efforts to drag my dying mother into court. Then he lied about it and said he didn’t know she was dying. What a complete sack of unethical scum.
Or Lucy Medley, urging me to kill myself. Or Cynthia Puskar telling me that my concerns were a “bunch of trash,” even though she has zero first-hand knowledge of the matter. Or Rich Kelly falsely telling people via a communication from the vestry that I made everything up — another reason, besides the crappy food, not to eat at the Hard Times Cafe. Or Alison Campbell and her junior high school girl games with the altar guild.
With people like this coming out of Grace, you can keep the place. “By their fruits you shall know them.”
Finally, a note to the inevitable lawyers: Insert the word “allegedly” before every assertion in this article. We have no first-hand knowledge of this matter, but believe our source.
Lastly, we got a request from one person about who to contact with additional evidence in this matter. Your best bet is The Rev. Canon d’Rue Hazel, available via email at [email protected]. It might be courteous to cc Bishop Mark Stevenson, at [email protected]. (Given my experiences with the four other bishops involved in my case, I’m reluctant to say this, but Mark seems to be a pretty good guy. But then I’ve been wrong before!)