You know things have gotten bad when the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia tacitly approves of adultery.
And so it is with allegations that the Rev. Dr. Tom Simmons, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal in Purcellville, himself married to Tait North Simmons (daughter of Iran-Contra figure Ollie North), has committed adultery with the wife of Tom K. a member of Warrenton Presbyterian.
Below, we are going to have Tom tell his story in his own words, edited only for mechanics and clarity.
But before we do, it’s important to note how the Episcopal Diocese has responded to Tom’s Title IV complaint. It sent Simmons to counseling, and did NOTHING for Tom. That is a violation of the express language of the Title IV disciplinary canons, which require a pastoral response (not the same as pastoral care, though that may be part of it) in every case in which a complaint is made to an intake officer, and for ALL victims of misconduct. In other words, it rewarded the miscreant while it brushed off the victim. And it violated canonically mandated confidentiality.
Nor is this the first time Bishop Susan Goff has ignored church canons in this manner. Anglican Watch knows of at least five other cases is which she has done so. Additionally, we know of multiple cases where she has ignored the canons simply because she can’t be bothered — including a case of criminal conduct by a priest.
Moreover, the diocese’s actions in this matter run directly counter to its handling of similar such situations. For example, when the rector of St. Thomas’ McLean, Stephen Edmondson, was found to be having an affair, he was forced to resign holy orders, but not before the diocese helped him train for a new gig as a life coach. And even then folks weren’t candid; Stephen told the parish he had no plans to change career paths, yet the very reason for the training was to enable him to transition. But hey—what’s a lie among friends?
So why are adulterers being rewarded, and victims ignored? How is that Christian? And how is it appropriate to have an adulterer as an active priest?
And for the record, any such decision has to be approved by Susan Goff. As Ecclesiastical Authority for the diocese, Title IV makes her directly and personally responsible for this outrageous state of affairs. She is responsible, and she needs to be removed from office, NOW.
As to intake officer Sven vanBaars, staff at Anglican Watch have personally dealt with him. It is our belief that he is morally bankrupt and unwilling to follow church canons; this decision confirms that, since by definition he is also part of the reference panel. He is another one where the sooner he makes himself scarce the better off we will all be. And it is profoundly arrogant for vanBaars to turn his back on victims of abuse, all while coddling the perpetrator. Jesus would have little use — not to mention choice words — for such stumbling blocks.
A word to the inevitable lawyers: These are all allegations, and we have not independently verified them. But we find the videos, emails, and other evidence convincing and compelling. Several of these are included at the end of the post. Be sure to check out the videos.
Amusingly, Simmons is an opponent of same-sex marriage. Seeing his disrespect for his own marriage, and his disrespect for the marriages of others, no thanks. He can keep it. And any priest willing to break his marriage vows once will surely do it again, so anyone planning to marry him is in for a rude awakening, A sacred oath is just that — sacred — and Tom has zero regard for the promises he has made before God, the church, and his wife. And if we were members of Tom’s church, we would be deeply offended by his hypocrisy and lack of respect.
Oh, and it’s interesting that Susan Goff defrocked Lura Caval for not obeying her instructions, but adultery is okay. Maybe Goff should be less worried about lèse-majesté and more about Christian conduct. And it is worth noting that Goff refuses to address Bob Malm’s criminal perjury on the grounds that he hasn’t been convicted. In other words, Goff is a seriously corrupt Episcopal bishop.
Here, in Tom’s own words:
My wife and I have been a couple for nearly 32 years, and married for over 24 years. When stress and trouble entered our marriage, so did Thomas W. Simmons, rector of St. Pete’s Episcopal Church in Purcellville, Virginia, to prey on my wife, break up my family, and destroy my marriage.
I became aware that my wife had created a profile on Match.com, when I was updating her iPhone for her, in September, 2021. I confronted her about it shortly after. She was a bit angry about it, but also assured me that she was just checking it out. I was not happy she had posted photos of our children on that profile, but she explained that it was just a fantasy.
What I did not know until later, was that Simmons had connected with her on August 17, 2021. He was searching for “flirty fun” women, according to his communications, and had a Match.com profile as well. Simmons is also married, with five children. He is now in the process of getting a divorce. Of course, as a married member of clergy that has been openly advertising for women on websites, with his photo on full display, it seems that was inevitable.
My wife began “talking to her sister” much more frequently, and would go off in a quiet place to talk. One evening, in early October, I came back from grocery shopping, and she was upstairs with the bedroom door closed, while the children were both upstairs and downstairs. As I came up the stairs and called for her, I opened the door, and she had “just hung up from talking to her sister.” However, I noticed that she had been under the covers on the bed, and had been there for some time, based on the warmth I felt when she left the room.
As found during the investigation, Simmons was communicating with my wife constantly during this time, asking her out on dates, and sending her his phone number so they could speak directly. He was diligent and continued to pursue her whenever she failed to respond.
She went to The Farm Brewery in Haymarket on Monday, October 25, 2021, ostensibly to meet “friends,” but she was meeting Simmons. She was supposed to meet me to do grocery shopping after, but ended up running quite late. I used the Life360 app we both have on our phones to find where she was, and found she was at nearby St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Haymarket for 30 minutes or more. She said one of her friends thought they had a baptism there, and they were just checking it out. It was very dark outside at the time. The whole story seemed a bit odd. I also noticed she dressed differently than she usually does for “mom” gatherings, including denim short shorts on a cool evening, with heeled boots.
This was apparently their first date, but things progressed quickly with “Mr. Enthusiasm,” as Simmons describes himself, since he followed up the next day via email to my wife, expressing “What a thrill to make-out with you in the rain last night!” He went on to tell her that “I could see you becoming a best friend and lover which…would mean a marriage.” He went on, in this lengthy email to my wife, describing how “becoming stepdad and helping raise your kids would be a calling from God,” and referred to the appeal of getting “replacement children,” as he has been estranged from his own children.
Sickeningly, as he discussed his own pastoral experience in dealing with marriage counseling, he told her that “Never thought I’d be THAT GUY!” while discussing the forthcoming adultery between them. He also discussed his severe drug use problems, and the Episcopal canon concerns he had, before concluding that “I’d like to be a man in whom you can securely entrust your heart, and your daughters and your future.” Keep in mind, all that was in a single email, after they had just one date.
I noticed the following weekend, that she was texting excessively. Particularly on that Sunday, and I became very concerned something untoward was happening. I asked her directly, but was rebuffed. She was a bit giddy about the texts. I noted the phone number that the messages were coming from when she left the phone on the coffee table for a few minutes. Of course, it turned out this was Simmons.
The next morning, she went to tennis, as was her normal habit. However, she told me that she was playing a second game and would not be home until later. Worried, I checked Life360, and saw she had turned it off right after the time of her first game. Out of concern, I went to the club, and found her returning some three hours later, in the Ford Flex driven by the person I now know as Simmons.
We spoke that night, and I begged her to go to counseling with me, and after she demanded terms, she finally agreed. Regardless, counseling was a disaster. At this point, I had no idea how much coaching she was already getting from Simmons.
My wife and Simmons quickly established a pattern of meeting on Mondays, since that was his day off, and they switched over to using an application called Telegram, in an attempt to hide their communications. However, at this point, I began to work through my own contacts to put them under surveillance. They spent time in secluded parks, among other locations, and just three weeks after their first date, they were spending time alone in his parish house late at night. Simmons also began introducing my wife to members of the congregation, and was attending social events with her at the members’ home. At this point, they were graphically fondling each other in public places in Purcellville. All of this, and quite a bit more, was captured by investigators.
A few weeks later, my wife and I took our children on our annual Thanksgiving trip to visit friends in Georgia. Simmons was aware of this trip, but had no respect, even messaging her while she was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. Given the trouble we were discussing in counseling, we took the decision she would stay at our friends’ home, while I stayed with the children at a nearby hotel. One of the first evenings there, she was drinking heavily, and she and Simmons were openly messaging on Telegram. I learned that she described to our friends that she was now “done” and was “already dating someone else.” This had been less than a month from their first date.
When we returned from the trip, the relationship between my wife and Simmons seemed to be fueled by a new level of lustful energy, as they began meeting more frequently, and my wife declared that Mondays would henceforth be called “No Mom Mondays,” along with various other days of the week. During this time, they became increasingly bold, canoodling on the deck of the parish house and other places. Simmons also began sending my wife confidential information about his own divorce, as he continued to advise her. He was even blind-copying my wife directly on communications with his own attorney, in complete violation of trust and privilege.
With conclusive evidence in hand from investigators, I confronted my wife on December 8, 2021. I described what I knew, what information had been gathered against her and Simmons, and how we might proceed. I even had a draft settlement agreement drafted, as an option for her, if that was what she truly wanted. Her response was a combination of anger and dismissal.
Of course, she immediately contacted Simmons about what happened, but oddly, it seemed to have no effect on either of them, as he sent her an email later that evening, graphically describing their sexual activities and how much he was looking forward to performing oral sex on her the following Monday, after he returned from a trip to Pennsylvania. Perhaps he was just hoping to reassure “Doe” (one of his pet names for her, along with “D-light”, while she calls him, “Buck”), that the lustful adultery would continue unbated.
Indeed, their adultery continued without pause. While my wife and I agreed to keep things as normal as we could through Christmas, she became physically and verbally aggressive with me, and there are now criminal charges against her as a result. She eventually found an apartment and moved out on January 6th. The adultery between she and Simmons has continued without interruption, as she has admitted in court filings, both at the parish house, and in dark parking lots.
During this same time, Simmons continued to send and copy my wife on sensitive documents about his own life, including correspondence with both his attorney and his psychiatrist. In these documents, he admitted committing violence against his own children, and there is a letter from his adult son requesting Simmons be kept away from his minor children because “he has repeatedly shown himself to be an impulsive, violent and negligent man, and fully unworthy of being entrusted with a minor’s well-being.” These documents also describe how the Episcopal Church gave him “pastoral care” for his violence and anger management issues.
Despite my efforts to reach an agreement and the revisions I made to the agreement at her request, it finally reached a point that there was no other reasonable path forward, and after considerable prayer, I filed for divorce in April. When the process server attempted to deliver the court documents to her at the parish house where she was that day, Simmons answered the door, and after several questions, he denied she was there (even though her car was in the driveway and her cell phone was inside the parish house). The process server was aghast at the lie. Perhaps my wife had paid Simmons thirty pieces of silver for his silence?
I had been in contact with an intake officer with the Episcopal Church, starting in December 2021. At first, I was very hesitant to disclose a lot of information, as I understood the likely result would lay a heavy burden on the congregation of St. Pete’s. After more prayer, and discussing the matter with the Episcopal intake officer, as well as my own spiritual advisors, I provided the detail and evidence to the Episcopal Church intake officer in early May 2022. As I was told, the matter was referred to an Episcopal investigator by a Reference Panel, led by Canon Abbott Bailey. Further, I was told that Simmons would be notified of the charges against him. As soon as Simmons was notified, I received a series of text messages from my wife, which read in part, “I really wish you would recognize that Simmons is not going anywhere,” and “You can change the narrative right now.” When I did not acquiesce to her demands, she went to the court the following day and swore out a temporary protective order based on wild assertions, including that I had a “three-letter government agency” following her. Of course, that order was immediately dismissed when the court saw it was retaliatory, but not before the police had come into my daughters’ bedrooms and took them in the middle of the night. I wonder if this is the kind of marital counseling that Simmons typically provides, or just when he is committing adultery with my wife?
During this time, my wife mentioned details about the Episcopal Church investigation that only Simmons would know. Of course, given the ongoing adultery, and Simmons demonstrated lack of respect for confidential and privileged matters, it was not a surprise. I reported the violation of confidentiality to Canon Bailey, and noted that this represented additional crimes, including violations of Canon IV.6.11 and by Canon IV.11.5 that in part direct “persons, prior to being interviewed by the investigator, shall be advised of the confidential nature of the investigation . . ..” A few days later to this additional complaint, I received an email from J.P. Causey, from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, stating that they would remind Simmons of the need for confidentiality in the process. However, no other action was apparently taken.
When I received notice of the official charges against Simmons, it seemed to be conclusive, given the clear evidence provided to the investigator, which included emails and video of them, as mentioned above. The document stated:
As a Title IV Intake Officer I am reporting to you about information you provided to me on May 6, 2022 in which you allege that the Rev. Tom W. Simmons knowingly entered into and has maintained an extramarital, physically-intimate relationship with Ms. [redacted].
As an Intake Officer, it is my determination that, in my opinion, the above information, if true, would constitute an Offense according to Canon IV.4.1(b,c, and h.9), as shown below:
Canon 4: Of Standards of Conduct
- In exercise his or her ministry, a Member of the Clergy shall:
4.1(h.9) “refrain from any conduct unbecoming a Member of the Clergy.”
4.1(b): “conform to the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer.”
4.1 (c) “abide by the promises and vows made when ordained.”
With a prayerful and reverent heart, I awaited the response from the Episcopal Church. Meanwhile, my wife has continued her relationship with Simmons, and he has done little to hide it. At some point, her unusual first name even began showing up (without her last name, of course), on the weekly prayer list for the congregation. While I do believe all of us need prayer, I am certain most of the congregation have not understood that they were praying for the person Simmons is committing adultery with, nor have they understood that his flagrant conduct has led to the disintegration of my family.
My wife has been following the plan Simmons outlined for her, and for him to get his replacement family: she is keeping our children from me, telling them details of our divorce (leaving out any detail detrimental to her, of course), and has recently purchased a house in Purcellville. Just as they put together a list of fantasy locations they are planning to have sex (i.e., in the back of a pickup truck), they seem to have a list of fantasies about the future. Simmons has been pushing for these things since the very start of the relationship.
After not hearing any updates for a number of weeks, my Episcopal advisor, Tom Hahn, reached out to Canon Bailey for information on the process. Several days later, in mid-July, 2022, I received a response from Canon Bailey, stating that the panel had met, and decided that they would recommend “pastoral care,” and that’s it. Not only had the process taken an exceptionally long time, but despite the clear evidence (and admission in legal filings) that Simmons both had, and continues to engage in adultery, they decided to do nothing of consequence. I spoke with my Episcopal advisor, who was gutted. He noted that another member of clergy had been recently defrocked, because that person had violated a directive from the bishop (Ed., that would be Lura Kaval. Nothing like the sin of lèse-majesté.) He had no explanation why, based on Simmons history of “pastoral care” for other serious issues, Simmons was again given nothing more than a sticky-note in his file. Apparently, the Episcopal Church considers a violation of the word of man, far more serious than a violation of the Word of God.
My children and I have been failed by the Episcopal Church. We have been grievously wounded by Simmons, and when we reached out to the church, we were dismissed, still bleeding and hurt. Meanwhile, Simmons continues to commit adultery with with my wife. He is still married to his wife, and my wife is still married to me. In its meek and pathetic inaction, the Episcopal Church is supporting and participating in this ongoing sin. The blood of my marriage is on the hands of Canon Bailey, Susan Goff, J. P. Causey, Sven vanBaars, the Standing Committee, and other Episcopal leaders, as they support Simmons in destroying the sanctity of marriage and stealing the well-being of my children. And for the record, Presiding Bishop Curry and Todd Ousley have first-hand knowledge of the Diocese of Virginia and its refusal to follow church disciplinary canons. So it is no wonder that there is widespread disrespect for the diocese and the larger denomination.
I am a father of four wonderful children, including an adult son, and three younger daughters. I am a life-long Presbyterian (though my wife and I were married at The Falls Church Episcopal, where she attended before we were married), and a native Virginian. I have been a serial entrepreneur, and proudly built businesses that have employed thousands of people. I had a great and loving marriage. It’s now gone, and the Episcopal Church doesn’t care.
Here is a letter from Simmons’ son alleging violent and inappropriate conduct towards his children:
And here is a letter from the Rev. Dr. Tom Simmons to K’s wife discussing their adultery:
Following is an explicit email from Simmons:
Our heartfelt prayers go out to the children and others hurt by this appalling conduct, including that of the Diocese of Virginia.
And one final comment to the allegedly adulterous wife: Surely you know that a marriage begun in adultery is doomed to fail. If you don’t realize that, do yourself a favor and ask a counselor. And for the record, the empty flattery is grooming, 101. You are dealing with someone whom we believe to be a narcissist. If that is correct, you and all involved will get hurt, except for Simmons. He will drop you without remorse, without looking back, and move on to his next toy. It will be all about his needs, with you, your children, and your family just being a means to getting those needs met.
In other words, you’re being played. Please don’t get hurt.
As for the diocese, it often can and does turn a blind eye to boundary violations by clergy. That is exactly what is happening here, as clergy as always responsible for maintaining boundaries. Always. No exceptions.
But while the diocese looks the other way when it comes to clergy, far too often they will treat you not as the injured party, but the guilty party who caused a priest to stumble. That’s irrational and unfair, but that is how they roll. And you will be persona non grata in the end.
Please think carefully before you get hurt, as well as your children and family.
Lastly, to Susan Goff, Svan vaan Baars, Canon Bailey, J.P. Causey, and the rest of the motley crew involved, we say this: You disgust and appall us. You make absolutely no effort to work for healing and reconciliation; it’s all about protecting the church, looking after the priest, and the rest of us poor slobs can go straight to hell. You don’t even rise to the level of being Christians, and you have no business being clergy. The fact you can’t even see the harm you are causing, or recognize that you are violating church law, bespeaks persons beneath contempt.
Simply put, you have zero empathy towards those hurt by the church. And don’t you dare claim that the matter is confidential — not only have Simmons and the diocese violated confidentiality with impunity, but you have no right to try to control what a victim can or cannot share.
So please, before you kill the Episcopal Church as we know it, tender your resignations immediately. You have no legitimate role as clergy. And Jesus would be outraged at your lack of compassion.
* The lovely image at the top of the article is one Simons allegedly texted Tom K’s wife. We found it fitting, under the circumstances.