Anglican Watch

Breaking: Bishop Michael Smith faces Title IV charges in EDOD

Bishops Michael Smith and George Sumner face church discipline for their role in #metoo coverup

Update: Our source reports he or she has heard from Bishop Smith, who says he is working on the Title IV case against David Halt.

That begs the question: What on this green earth requires three weeks? If this were a well-run for profit, investigating a case of retaliation would take less than a week—and likely 2-3 days. And let’s call a spade a spade – it’s not like the quality of TEC decision-making is exemplary. 

Meanwhile, sources close to the matter tell us that Todd Ousley continues to ignore queries regarding the Title IV complaint filed against George Sumner.

Things appear to be heating up in the Title IV complaint filed in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas (EDOD) against The Rev. David J.A. Halt of St. James, Texarkana. Among the issues are apparent collusion between the intake officer, the Rt. Rev. Michael Smith, and Bishop George Sumner to sandbag the complaint against Halt. 

The complaint against Halt was for, among other thingsallegedly retaliating against Rich Daly, who objected to the purported sexual harassment of a woman connected to the parish by Fr. Douglas Anderson, who presently is suspended as rector of Church of the Advent in Boston.

 A Title IV case has been filed against Anderson in Massachusetts, which alleges that Anderson lied in a previous Title IV case involving this matter.

Now, after three weeks with no response from Smith, the complainant requested an update from Smith. 

In the alternative, the email requests that, absent a response, Smith should treat the message as a formal complaint against him per Title IV.3(1)(b), which provides that clergy may face discipline for “failing without good cause to cooperate with any investigation or proceeding conducted under authority of this Title.”

Moreover, with litigation now seemingly looming in the matter, the apparent collusion between Smith and Sumner makes it increasingly likely that both the diocese and St. James will face legal and reputational consequences. These may cause lasting damage for all involved.

Anglican Watch predicts that both Sumner and Halt face a rocky road ahead. Church members know sexual harassment is legally wrong and violates the baptismal covenant. And few want to be church members where this behavior is okay.

Even worse, at a time when many struggle to make ends meet, parishioners are likely to leave in droves once they realize that Halt makes a six-figure salary yet does very little actual work. That begs the question: Why would the laity want to give sacrificially when the rector does the bare minimum to slide by?

If no one’s sprung it on Holt, let us be the first to bring him the bad news: It’s no longer 1970. Church members will not give blindly to support a church where the priest does not put forth a serious effort to serve God, grow the church, and care for people in the community.

In other words, no matter how all this plays out, things will get worse, not better, for Sumner, Halt, Smith, and the other dirtbags in EDOD. But, unfortunately, they will also cause lasting harm to St. James as a side-effect of their misconduct.


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