Anglican Watch has received allegations that Episcopal priest Daniel McClain may have engaged in identity theft involving his wife. We do not yet have full details but are seeking more information.
If these allegations are accurate, McClain may be guilty of a felony under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §2913.49. Penalties can include a year in prison, fines, and more.
It is not a defense that the victim of identity theft is a spouse.
Identity theft also is a federal felony involving possible prison terms of up to 15 years.
Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud may also involve violations of other statutes such as identification fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1028), credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), or financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344). Each of these federal offenses are felonies that carry substantial penalties –¬ in some cases, as high as 30 years’ imprisonment, fines, and criminal forfeiture.
- Anglican Watch encourages those affected by these alleged actions to immediately report the matter, both to local police and to the FBI.
- Members of the church vestry should ensure that the church has done an annual audit every year, that they have seen both the engagement letter and the audit report, and that they remain alert to possible issues with church finances. This includes reviewing all discretionary funds.
- Anglican Watch also believes that the diocese should immediately suspend McClain. Between his prior violation of the existing protective order and this potential felony, we believe McClain poses an imminent threat of harm to the parish, his family, and others.
- Moreover, if McClain engaged in identity theft, he should not have custody of their children.
- The St. Paul’s vestry needs to ask some tough questions. Yes, we understand that the vestry supports McClain, but things are fast reaching a point where the parish is lurching toward an existential crisis.
- Those considering becoming involved in the parish should consider whether they want to be involved in this quagmire.
This is a parish where people openly gossip about the mental health of others, where the rector trashes his wife’s reputation, and where criminal conduct — including violating court orders — apparently is okay. Nor is there any sign of introspection or repentance from within the parish. Just people blindly rushing to McClain’s defense, regardless of facts.
In other words, St. Paul’s is a toxic sinkhole that needs to close. Simple as that.
Finally, it is essential to remember that these are allegations, and those accused are entitled to a presumption of innocence.