Roughly once a year, Anglican Watch releases its Top Ten Toxic Terrors of TEC list. The list warns the public about some of the more severe problems in the denomination by highlighting abusive bishops, dioceses, bishops, parishes, and churches. Additionally, we hope that those on the list will revisit their behavior and reconsider their role in the implosion of the denomination.
So, without further ado, we bring you the Top Ten Toxic Terrors of TEC for August 2023.
10. The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, former bishop diocesan of Virginia. A selfish and unethical train wreck, Johnston has engaged in multiple cover-ups of abuse in the church, including egregious sexual harassment of a female church employee. And he lies to church members. So much for respecting the dignity of every human being.
9. The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, former bishop of Maine. Lies under oath, fails to report allegations of child sexual abuse, sandbags Title IV complaints involving illegal conduct by clergy, and violates confidentiality. And her book on alcoholism is suspect at best.
8. The Rev. Robert Hiller Malm, former rector of Grace Episcopal Alexandria. Malm, a narcissist and perjurer, has repeatedly engaged in criminal conduct, including witness tampering, filing false police reports, and more. It doesn’t get much lower.
7. The Rev. David Halt of St. James Texarkana. Signs off on sexual harassment of women, engages in retaliation over the filing of Title IV complaints, lies to parishioners, hugely lazy, and has all the interpersonal skills of a deranged warthog. But what’s not to like?
6. The Rev. Douglas Anderson, now-suspended rector of Church of the Advent in Boston. He is a narcissist, a liar, and sexually harasses women, even though he’s married. Where did the church find this dirtbag?
5. The Rev. Dr. Bill Allport, rector of St. Paul’s Englewood. Allegedly embezzled from a previous parish, lies to church members, bullies staff, and appears to be an alcoholic. We’d rate him higher, except that he’s so checked out he’s not worth the effort.
4. The Rt. Rev. Alan Gates, Bishop of Massachusetts. Sandbags complaints about illegal conduct by clergy, refuses to follow church canons, and an asshat of the first order. Can’t retire soon enough.
3. The Rt. Rev. George Sumner, Bishop of Dallas. Signs off on the sexual harassment of women and retaliation, sandbags Title IV complaints, is arrogant, and likes to bully LatinX church members.
2. The Rev. Daniel McClain, rector of St. Paul’s, Dayton. Allegations swirl around this one, ranging from lying to parishioners to inappropriately discussing the mental health of others, to violating a court protective order, having an affair, and trying to avoid paying child support. Even the facial expressions are seriously weird. Our take on him: Major creepster and narcissistic sociopath from hell.
Now, the one we’ve all been waiting for: our number one Toxic Terror of TEC:
Todd Ousley! Dishonest, refuses to follow church canons, ignores allegations of child sexual abuse, and can’t even be bothered to provide a pastoral response to those hurt by clergy abuse. Even worse, this jackrabbit is in charge of training other bishops. Small wonder the episcopacy is such a mess.
And while we’re at it, we note that there are many sharp elbows in the mad jostle to make the Top 10. So, in no particular order, we list some of the strong contenders:
- Retired bishop Susan Goff. Ostensibly liberal and inclusive, Goff ignores clergy misconduct and church canons. Her feckless conduct caused lasting harm to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
- Jennifer Brooke-Davidson, now Assisting Bishop of North Carolina. Corrupt, indifferent, and essentially useless.
- Lying Leslie Steffensen, Canon to the Bishop for Federal and Armed Forces Ministries.
- Jeffery “Sugarland” Chiow, a lay Episcopal attorney who lies in his pleadings, proffers false statements of law and fact, and even invents fake places and fake events to include in his pleadings. $20 says his kids, who grew up in the Episcopal Church, leave while they are in college and never return.
- The Rt. Rev. Carlye Hughes, bishop of Newark. A former corporate trainer, Hughes is in over her head and does not support clergy who are being bullied. Nor do we see even basic indicia that she cares for the clergy in her diocese.
- Bishop Paula Clark. Lots of talk about social justice and building beloved community. Zero action to make it happen. And we’re tired of perstering her to treat David Duggan and other conservatives with respect. Charity (should) start at home.
Stay tuned in the coming months as we look to see who like make the list, and who will drop off. Competition will be fierce as our contestants jostle for a seat at the table!