Listen to this story.
Download: Chilton Knudsen: Additional allegations of unethical, possibly illegal activity emerge
Anglican Watch recently received a tip from a reader about unethical, possibly illegal behavior by Bishop Chilton Knudsen, who at the relevant time served as assisting bishop for the Diocese of Chicago. However, we need more information in order to green light the article. We have not heard back from our contact and fear our responses landed in their spam box.
For the record, we find the allegations highly plausible. We know of multiple situations in which Knudsen has acted corruptly, violating church canons and acting unethically, including one instance with which we have first-hand experience.
Several red flags exist, including:
- Her odd book on recovery, which proffers views inconsistent with most recovery programs.
- Her failure to respond when called out for her corruption.
- Her role in announcing the readmission of the Diocese of Cuba during General Convention, which is an ethically questionable decision at best. Corruption in Cuba is so bad it makes Alan Gates, Shannon Johnston, Susan Goff, John Sumner, Melissa Hollerith, Oran Warder, Bob Malm, and other dirtbags look downright honest by comparison.
- Allegations of weird behavior that suggest relapses on the alcoholism front.
- Failure to report multiple instances of sexual misconduct involving children.
- Her dismissal of allegations of illegal conduct by clergy as not of “weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church,” — an appalling indicator of corruption on her part and a refusal to follow church canons. This is doubly shocking in light of her former role as Pastoral Care Officer in the Diocese of Chicago; we wouldn’t leave Knudsen in charge of a $1 bill, let alone have her offer pastoral care in situations of conflict and crisis.
- Her claims that she notified the police by phone of the Chicago sexual abuse allegations, but didn’t hear anything back until roughly four months later. That raises two important questions:
- Why didn’t she follow-up? A sensible individual would call at least once a week to check in.
- More importantly, why didn’t she send a certified letter? If she had any doubts about the responsiveness of the police department, that would have been the correct response. Moreover, it would have documented her actions. Done right, the letter also would have confirmed with whom she spoke, when that happened, what was said, and what the plan was to address the situation. In other words, her entire claim is major sketch.
So, to our source, please get back in touch. We’d like to run this story soon but need more details, including information on the court cases in question.
And to others, if you have knowledge of unethical, illegal, or questionable behavior on the part of Chilton Knudsen (or any other Episcopal clergy, for that matter) please be in touch. Even just Knudsen’s alleged failure to report child sexual misconduct should be enough to send her packing, particularly given that there are no police records to support her claim, and she refuses to be interviewed by the media over the matter.
Even more damning, Knudsen claims she just can’t think what she could have done differently. Yet it is a basic aspect of sexual misconduct prevention training that while discretion can be assured, secrecy cannot be. Every allegation of sexual abuse must be reported to law enforcement, full stop. Whether the victim is reluctant to come forward is irrelevant; the church must not act as a gatekeeper. And yet Knudsen claims to be a sexual misconduct prevention trainer? The notion of Knudsen in that role is shocking and abhorrent and reveals a person with deep ethical challenges in their soul.
As we have said many times, it is the obligation of the church to bring light to the darkness. Knudsen fails to do this at every turn, and it’s time to quit giving her a pass and hold her accountable. Time for her to go. No more assistant bishop gigs.
My suspicion is that Knudsen is a much more troubled soul than we realize. As an early female ordinand, she also got so used to triangulating her way through issues that she lost her soul in the process.
I agree she is corrupt. It is time the HOB quits using her as the substitute teacher when a bishop “calls in sick” and begins using persons with a track record of integrity.