Third-party sources close to the matter report that Dayton, Ohio courts have issued a protective order against Episcopal priest Daniel McClain. The emergency order prevents him from threatening, contacting, or injuring his spouse.
The court order was granted partly based on allegations of prior domestic sexual assault, physical assaults, and an ongoing pattern of threatening, coercive behavior.
Multiple persons have told Anglican Watch that they see McClain as highly manipulative and threatening, capable of charm-bombing those he perceives as necessary while acting without regard for the welfare of others in different situations.
As a result, Anglican Watch is concerned that McClain will file a retaliatory request for a protective order, in which he lies and claims his wife has threatened him or their children.
If that occurs, it will corroborate prior allegations that McClain has lied to third parties, including church members, about his divorce and the mental health of others. Indeed, we have received allegations from multiple sources that he falsely told parishioners that his wife previously had a nervous breakdown.
Under the circumstances, we believe it is essential that the parish respect the dignity of every human being and postpone McClain’s installation as rector.
We also recognize this is a difficult decision.
But it’s important to remember that many clergy are great actors, full of hugs and smiles and happy-clappy on Sundays. But these same clergy are vile, vicious and vindictive the rest of the week.
In other words, it can be hard to accept that our positive assessment of clergy may be wrong.
But the most dangerous and damaging clergy are those who present as angels of light when right behind the scenes they are anything but.
Thus, by taking its time, the parish allows the dust to settle and avoids the potential for egg on its face. And it can pursue its future in a thoughtful, measured way.
The importance of truth-telling and disclosure
As regulars know, we are fans of the Rev. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban’s excellent book, “Wholeness After Betrayal: Restoring Trust in the Wake of Misconduct.” It is excellent reading, and we encourage parish and diocese members to read it.
Regardless of how all this turns out, the parish is entering turbulent, painful times. Kindness towards self and each other is essential.
Also necessary is disclosure. Far too many dioceses and parishes try to treat situations such as this as all-confidential all the time.
Such an approach causes lasting, perhaps permanent, harm to the church and its members.
Therefore, we hope that McClain will not try the usual monkey games of filing suit for defamation and the other tactics clergy bullies use to try to operate in the shadows.
And if McClain tries these tricks, he does the parish and its members a grave disservice.
He also will likely lose his case while causing further information to enter the public domain, harming his reputation. And he may get slapped with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit.
Indeed, the best option for McClain may be to quietly resign, honor the terms of his prior mediation agreement, and take time to find health and wholeness. This is the only path forward for him that we believe may result in a successful outcome. Any other approach at this point just makes things worse.
Anglican Watch understands there will be a hearing on July 28th to make the emergency order permanent.
We will provide updates as appropriate.
Finally, we reiterate our earlier comment to the inevitable attorneys: These are all allegations. But we believe our sources and find the documentation and statements they provide compelling.
We stand with the diocese, the parish, and McClain’s wife and children in this most difficult time.