Corrupt Episcopal bishop George Sumner, the subject of a Title IV clergy disciplinary complaint for trying to sandbag a complaint of sexual harassment involving Texarkana rector David Halt, has turned to new tactics. So, Anglican Watch is calling BS on:
- Corrupt bishop George Sumner.
- Dirtbag David Halt, who continues to pull down a six-figure income at St. James, even though he doesn’t do jack-diddly and engages in retaliation against persons opposed to the sexual harassment of women.
- Diocesan Chancellor Cory Floyd, who ran roughshod on Title IV by virtue of his multiple ethical conflicts and ignoring the express provisions of Title IV.
In other words, we know a cover-up when we see it, and we’re not falling for it.
For the record, the appropriate response was for Floyd to stay out of a Title IV matter, Sumner to recuse himself, and for the reference panel to refer the matter out for investigation.
In a decision released yesterday, Floyd avoided the issue of the truth or falsity of accusations that Halt violated church canons by engaging in retaliation for opposition to the sexual harassment of an adult woman related to the parish.
The decision, made by a Title IV clergy disciplinary reference panel, is problematic on multiple levels:
- George Sumner, who participated in the original retaliation, has an inherent conflict of interest. As bishop diocesan, he sits on the reference panel unless he recuses himself. There is no evidence that this occurred.
- Since the intake officer, also a bishop, had no role in the underlying retaliation, the decision’s statement that it is based partly on “personal knowledge” reflects Sumner’s conflict of interest and direct involvement in the matter.
- The reference panel failed to promote healing and justice for the victims in this case, including Rich Daly, the priest pretextually fired. Additionally, the two known women who were sexually harassed are being thrown under the bus.
- The chancellor should not be involved in a Title IV case, both due to the inherent conflict of interest in his role as an advisor to the bishop, and because he is a member of St. James, the parish where the misconduct occurred.
- The reference panel has no authority to evaluate evidence. Its only role is to ask, “Assuming the claims made are true, what is the best way to refer the case for resolution?” Thus, issues like the complainant’s anonymity — expressly permitted under church canon — or the timing are irrelevant and pretextual.
- As to the bit about the complaint being conclusory, this is the weasel-wording attorneys use when they are looking for a boiler-plate way to attack an argument. Many Title IV complaints are replete with conclusory language. But since the only role of the Reference Panel is to refer the matter, versus examining the evidence in a case, Floyd makes clear he has no idea what he’s doing in this case. Or maybe he does, and his conduct evinces a willful disregard for the canons. We’ll let readers draw their own conclusions.
- As for reciting the pastoral response requirement, this needs to actually happen versus merely being added to a document. Neither of the two women involved, nor Rich Daly, nor the complainant, have received any pastoral response.
So why did the diocese finally move forward on this complaint filed last April? The answer is simple: It’s pretextual, and it’s because the national church is finally moving forward on a Title IV case against Sumner.
So, to Cory Floyd we say, “Obey the canons and stay the heck out of Title IV matters. You have an inherent conflict of interest, are ignoring the canons, and are on the wrong side of history. Additionally, you’ve got your clients blurred. Your client is the diocese, not Sumner.”
To David Halt, we say, “Get off your lazy backside, do some work, and stop supporting the sexual harassment of women.”
To Bishop George Sumner, we say, “You’re arrogant and corrupt. Do all involved a favor and retire.”
And to those who respect women, we say, “Steer clear of St. James Texarkana, where narcissism reigns and sexual harassment is okay.”