Breaking details about Anderson abuse case and Sumner cover-up

Alan Gates

Anglican Watch is deeply concerned that Alan Gates is using the Anderson Title IV case to rein in the Church of the Advent and its seccessionist tendencies, while failing to care for the #metoo victim.

Recently, we have been in contact with several persons connected to the Rev. Douglas Anderson Title IV case. Additional details are emerging, and to say they are ugly is an understatement.

  • We have identified a third alleged victim of sexual misconduct by Anderson victim. Because abuse is so under-reported, we believe additional victims may exist.
  • Randy Sam’s, the Texarkana non-profit connected with this case, continues to engage in retaliation towards persons connected with the matter. 
  • Due to Randy Sam’s refusal to act with integrity in this case, Anglican Watch encourages corporations and communities of faith to withhold funding until the organization implements a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. We have said it before and repeat: Sexual misconduct is never acceptable. Nor is retaliation acceptable.
  • We remind Randy Sam’s board members that they legally have a fiduciary obligation to the organization and can be held responsible for breach of that fiduciary obligation. As of now, it appears they are in breach of their legal duties. And we and others are watching closely and willing to testify in criminal or civil litigation, or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case.
  • Bishop Sumner is deeply involved in efforts to sandbag the case. His efforts at cover-up include potentially illegal actions to dig up dirt on Rich Daly, the parochial vicar Sumner pushed out of office in violation of Canon IV.3.1 (e), which expressly forbids retaliation in at Title IV matter. We continue to uncover additional details of Sumner’s misconduct and believe there is much more to this story. 
  • Under Canon IV.1(f), any clergyperson with knowledge of a Title IV violation is required to report it. Thus, the DioMass hearing panel must forward a disciplinary complaint about Sumner’s violation of Canon IV.3.1 to Todd Ousley. While Ousley is largely useless, that is what the canons require.
  • If Ousley and the other apparatchiks won’t take the matter seriously, we encourage the victim to file an EEOC case. If you need help in doing so, we will find you the help and support you need. Sexual harassment is usually a civil violation, but it may rise to the level of criminal activity.
  • Regardless of Ousley’s feckless attitude towards the canons, Sumner should be defrocked. The days when the church gets to cover up #metoo with impunity are over.
  • Multiple sources tell us that neither the Diocese of Dallas nor the Diocese of Massachusetts has provided the pastoral response mandated by Title IV from the moment a complaint is filed. Thus, Anglican Watch is calling BS on both dioceses. Title IV is a structured process intended to discern the truth and promote healing. The fact that both dioceses are ignoring this key aspect of the process shows their lack of respect for the alleged victims in this case and suggests ulterior motives, versus concern about misconduct.
  • Evidence suggests that the only reason corrupt bishop Alan Gates and his equally corrupt canon to the ordinary, Bill Parnell, are pursuing the case is that they are aware that the conservative faction is gaining the upper hand at Church of the Advent, with the support and encouragement of Anderson. Thus, Gates and Parnell recognize that sidelining Anderson will hinder efforts by the parish to disassociate from TEC. Consider: If they really were concerned about #metoo, why wouldn’t Gates honor his canonical obligation to provide a pastoral response to the victim? And the diocese has a track record of ignoring complaints of illegal behavior by clergy serving within its borders, so let’s not think this is a one-off breach of Gates’ obligations as a bishop.
  • A consistent theme we have heard is that Anderson is a world-class narcissist. While we have no first-hand knowledge to support or refute this conclusion, his behavior appears to fit. Indeed, allegations that he has given the heave-ho to members who support the ordination of women suggests possible issues with other aspects of the so-called Dark Triad—machiavellianism and psychopathy.
  • The Church of the Advent also has lied to parishioners about this matter, initially telling them that Anderson was dealing with issues involving his mother. While that may be the case, he has been suspended from office over the Title IV matter. In case someone has previously missed our comments on this topic, we reiterate: Don’t be stupid. Don’t lie. 
  • As for the diocese and its handling of the matter, disclosure is important. While the diocese should be careful to avoid defamation or other tortious actions, we cannot be in right relationship with one another when we do not know the truth. And everything we have learned about Anderson is appalling and inconsistent with the messages of the Gospels.
  • Anglican Watch is deeply concerned that the most important part of this case, the victim and her needs, is being ignored. We believe Gates will give Anderson the heave-ho, install a loyalist rector in order to retain control of Advent and its assets, and brush aside the lasting trauma facing the victim. By all accounts the latter is a kind, caring human being who deserves appreciation and respect, not getting run through the buzz saw of a badly handled Title IV case. In other words, her welfare should be the priority, not the inconvenient collateral issue.
  • At the end of the day, a key question is: If Gates’ wife, Patricia “Tricia” Harvey, were the victim, would it be okay for the church to ignore the requirement of a pastoral response? We think not, and we urge Gates to quit being so damned two-faced and act with integrity. As in call the victim, ask her to tell you what she needs from a pastoral response, then make it happen. And while he’s at it, Gates can act like a grown-up and apologize–a real apology, not an Episcopal fauxpology.

As things stand, Gates and Parnell are appalling examples of the hypocrisy, dysfunction, and corruption that rises to the top of the Episcopal church. It is time for them to clean up their acts and align the Jesus-babble with their behavior. We call on both to take immediate steps to provide the pastoral response mandated by the canons — not necessarily pastoral care, although that may be part of it — and show love, kindness, and respect to the victim. And we call on Gates and Parnell this Lent to publicly repent of their role in the mistreatement of women.


  1. Fascinating that there are no comments to date – presumably no one reads these effusions. I am intrigued by the self-righteous and all-knowing tone – whatever may have happened, Anglican Watch knows the truth, does it? I wonder.

    I am unable to comment on much of what is said and, even though I find some of it highly suspect, will refrain from doing so. However, leaving aside the question of Anderson’s guilt or innocence of the charges, it seems astonishing that it should take until at least early 2024 for the matter to be adjudicated. This is surely as offensive as anything else alleged on Anglican Watch and it is interesting to see that no mention is made of the matter.

    Will anyone else comment on the matter? I doubt it.

    1. Hi David. We have seen first-hand examples, including the airline tickets Anderson bought for the woman in question. We’ve interviewed additional first-party sources, including Rich Daly, the parochial vicar whom Sumner fired for reporting the sexual harassment of the woman in question—a violation of the law and the canons. Even worse, Sumner and David Halt lied to parishioners and claimed that Daly retired. He did not, and I am prepared to testify to that, under oath, if and when the case goes to litigation.

      And we have several sources within the parish, most not fond of Anderson and his misogyny.

      It’s also worth noting that the original Title IV case was dismissed because Anderson lied, said he never had sex with the woman in question, and didn’t buy the airline tickets previously referenced. So the current Massachusetts complaint includes Anderson’s lies. And for the record, any priest who lies under oath in a Title IV case should be defrocked.

      And you are correct—the timeline is ridiculously slow.

      Also worth noting is Alan Gates’ dismal handling of the case. When Anderson was suspended, Gates made vestry members sign non-disclosure agreements. That is wrong.

      We cannot be in right relationship with each other when we do not know the truth. And secrecy leads to speculation that’s far worse than reality. Moreover, while it’s not appropriate to share all the details, church members have a right to transparency. In that vein, we strongly recommend that Gates read the excellent book, “Wholeness After Betrayal: Restoring Trust in the Wake of Misconduct,” by the Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban.

      It’s also worth noting that St. James’ is financially imploding. And while Advent has a substantial endowment, the current situation isn’t helping that parish much, either.

      Feel free to share additional comments, observations, and questions.

      1. I will only add that the implication that the Advent was throwing out parishioners because they favored a woman priest is, to my knowledge, a distortion. There is certainly another side to this aspect of your story and I wonder whether you have heard it.

        1. Hi David. We’ve explored that issue carefully. We know that several parishioners have complained about the issue, and the diocese concluded the complaints were accurate. That may or may not be the case, but Gates’ response was stupidity writ large: “We can send a mediator.” Either it’s true, in which case he issues a pastoral directive addressing the matter, or it’s false, in which case he tells the complainants to go find something else to complain about.

          In other words, Gates needs to be a leader and a bishop, not a spineless wonder.

          1. PS Feel free to share your perspective on these issues. We welcome debate, as long as it’s factual, reasonably kind, and addresses the issue. Usually, the only stuff we block is stuff like, “So-and-so is a great guy. He’s NOT a pedophile.”

            That sort of thing is entirely faith-based and brings nothing to the discussion. But we’d welcome your thoughts on life at Advent.

            1. The problem is not so much that some favor a woman priest but that they are so very unpleasant about it. That is, unfortunately, characteristic of the self-righteous who find it unacceptable that the whole world does not share their views. It merely serves to make many us feel that we don’t want anything to be foisted on us as a parish. Gates’ role in matters has not been positive but I’d rather not say more than that.

              1. I gotcha, and I respect your views. In fact, I consider David Virtue a friend and we often share leads. The world would be a better place if we treated each other with empathy and kindness.

                Many thanks for your comments.

        2. It’s not a distortion, but it’s not universally the case. There are clergymen who don’t support women’s ordination and yet who are kind to those who disagree, even to women priests themselves. Then there are clergymen who are hostile to those who support women’s ordination, especially to women priests and seminarians. It was one of the latter who has been throwing out people who disagree with him (someone other than Fr. Douglas Anderson).

  2. You know this case just reminds me of the Ken Praxton, Texas AG, impeachment trial. Surprise, surprise the vote was along party lines and nothing was done about it. The rot is so deep in these established organizations.

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