Anglican Watch

Diocese of Atlanta allegedly ignores adultery by political candidate, Fr. Ben Day. Does this disqualify Bishop Wright to serve as PB?

Fr. Ben Day

Earlier today, Anglican Watch received allegations that the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta is ignoring Title IV allegations of an adulterous affair involving the rector of Christ Church, Kennesaw, Fr. Ben Day. Day also is running for local elected office.

Anglican Watch is publishing a redacted version of the letter below. We have removed the complainant’s name and those of alleged victims, as our policy generally is not to publish the names of victims of abuse.

We also have contacted Day and the Diocese for a response.

We note that the current bishop of Atlanta,The Rt. Rev. Robert Wright, is a candidate for presiding bishop. Thus, the matter is of grave concern to us, especially since Wright previously served on the board of St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, which has a dismal record on abuse.

Thus, our concern is that we will see more of the same: Bishop Todd Ousley and the Office of Presiding Bishop doing their utmost to shield bishops from their obligations to fulfill the requirements of the Title IV clergy disciplinary requirements.

We further note with concern that legal documents involving Day suggest he may have issues with substance abuse. While this is not uncommon among clergy, and not per se grounds for Title IV clergy discipline, our hope is that the Diocese is aware of these issues and responding appropriately to provide care for all.

We also note that, while the intimate relationship between day and an engaged woman may not be per se actionable (albeit of questionable morality), any sexual relationship with a parishioner or person who has received pastoral care is per se actionable. Thus, if the allegations are accurate, Day should face immediate discipline.

We also find discussions of Day’s possible machinations prior to running for local office troubling. While we recognize that politics is a far too dirty endeavor, it should not be that way. Moreover, clergy are held to a higher standard, and some of Day’s campaign-related claims appear questionable at best.

We call on Bishop Wright to address this matter, and add that this situation illustrates fundamental problems with Title IV, which are lack of accountability and lack of transparency.

Dear Reverend Canon Alicia Schuster Weltner,

I am reaching out to you through this letter as I understand it falls within your responsibilities to receive and diligently address all complaints regarding clergy misconduct.

My purpose in writing is to bring to the attention of the archdiocese the issue of sexual misconduct involving Fr. Ben Day at Christ Episcopal Church in Kennesaw and the lies he continues to tell to cover it up. Additionally, I must highlight Father Lenworth Haughton’s awareness of the said misconduct, along with both their failures to promptly and accurately report it to the appropriate authorities. These actions are clear violations of Title IV Canons.

There are also allegations that Father Ben Day was caught mid-coitus with an eight-months pregnant [redacted] (a parishioner) by her then fiance, [redacted] (also a parishioner). While the specific details of that affair may not be verifiable, the evidence of [redacted] and her fiancé’s status as parishioners of the church is undeniable. Their membership alone constitutes a clear violation of Title IV.

I’m not one to engage in gossip. So naturally, upon hearing these troubling allegations, I promptly approached Fr. Ben to hear his side of the story (see below). Regrettably, he chose to lie about [redacted] membership in the CEC congregation, which is simply untrue. [Redacted], her fiancé at the time, and her two children were all committed members of the church.

In the spring of 2022, [redacted], accompanied by her fiancé, [redacted], and her two young children, commenced attending CEC in Kennesaw, GA. This fact is substantiated by photographic evidence capturing their attendance. Furthermore, I provide documented verification in the form of the Parish Post email (see attachment) dated May 22, 2022, which illustrates [redacted] reception into TEC by none other than Fr. Ben.

Additional evidence supporting these claims includes a photograph (see attachment) taken on August 21, 2022, depicting [redacted] son, [redacted], standing alongside Father Ben Day during a CEC ceremony. Furthermore, a second photograph (see attachment) dated August 7, 2022, captures curly-haired [redacted] wearing a white T-shirt, visibly pregnant, standing beside her fiancé, [redacted], while attending a service at CEC.

Indeed, the Episcopal Archdiocese of Atlanta was undoubtedly aware of these circumstances, given the conspicuous presence of four new members, including a visibly pregnant woman, at the church. Her memorable presence would not have gone unnoticed.

I am frustrated and concerned regarding your apparent failure to adhere to the established guidelines of Safechurch within TEC (The Episcopal Church) to prevent misconduct. It’s distressing that despite prior knowledge of the situation, no apparent repercussions have been imposed on the priest for his sexual misconduct.

Such lapses in accountability can undermine trust within the community and should be addressed promptly and transparently to ensure the safety and well-being of all members. I am bringing these concerns to the attention of higher authorities within the church so that necessary steps can be taken toward seeking resolution and accountability.

I earnestly hope that this issue doesn’t get brushed aside. If Fr. Ben finds himself in need of support as he navigates the path to recover from alcoholism and sex addiction, it’s incumbent upon all of us to extend a helping hand. Let’s stand together in solidarity, ready to offer whatever assistance and encouragement he, [redacted], the children involved, and [redacted] may require along the way.

Pax Christi,

9 comments

  1. Why would someone with all of these issues run for office? Why would be choose to push
    a scandal-ridden private life into the public eye?

    1. We’ve tried to steer clear of the political angle, as we respect persons on all points of the political spectrum. That said, we agree with you, and the Diocese’s response to our inquiries, which was an empty claim that it follows the Title IV disciplinary canons, is a facial fabrication.

      1. Maybe when the Diocese said they looked into it they meant they looked the other way… I live in Kennesaw and have seen for myself that Ben likes to weaponize the police to help cover up his affair. He is the chaplain for the Kennesaw Police Department

  2. Another day. Another unfortunate case of Piskie Mental Derangement Syndrome.

    Recently, I was told I could continuing serving in a TEC church AFTER I was “discipled” by them. Which is like saying I can practice psychiatric medicine after I’ve been trained and licensed by asylum inmates.

  3. Ben Day lost the election for city counselor over a week before this was published just FYI. As a former parishioner and someone who cares deeply about the children involved here, I hope Day does the right thing and leaves CCK. He had a long career before coming to the church and I wish him luck in finding something he is better suited to than the priesthood.

  4. Father Day is only getting away with this because he’s the Chaplain for KPD. The threat of having them on his side gets brought up to silence anyone who speaks up about his affair or any other actions unbecoming of the clergy. Surely if he wasn’t in violation of Title IV then there be no need to go to such lengths…

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