Even as the House of Bishops laments its Title IV failures in light of the Singh and Harris cases, we see a continuing breakdown in the discipline of Episcopal bishops. This breakdown includes the Title IV case filed in February 2023 against Dallas Bishop George Sumner, which involves allegations that Sumner retaliated against a priest, Rich Daly, who opposed the sexual harassment of a woman in the diocese.
To date, the apparatchiks at Church Center have taken no action on the complaint.
The retaliation, in addition to violating federal and state law, is a per se violation of Canon IV.3.1, which forbids clergy from:
discharging, demoting, or otherwise retaliating against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under this Title or because the person has reported information concerning an Offense, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this Title.
The allegations pertain to the sexual harassment of an adult female under the supervision of the Rev. Douglas Anderson, then rector of a Texarkana parish reporting to Sumner.
Daly, who reported the allegations to Sumner as required by Title IV, was terminated soon after by St. James rector David Halt on a pretextual basis. Halt then lied to parishioners, claiming that Halt had retired, and did so with the support of Sumner.
Daly continues to serve as a priest, but now for ACNA.
Meanwhile, Halt continues to scratch around, looking for ways to discredit and retaliate against Daly.
A Title IV complaint against Halt within the Dallas diocese has been ignored, and Halt remains as rector of St. James. Meanwhile, the parish is imploding, and insiders tell Anglican Watch that Halt is trying to use endowment funds to keep the lights on.
The original complaint, which outgoing intake officer for bishops Todd Ousley claimed he could not find, was refiled on July 17, 2023. Ousley acknowledged in writing that he had received the complaint.
To date, the new Title IV intake officer for bishops, the Rev. Barb Kempf, has neither acknowledged the complaint nor taken any action to address it.
We have extensively researched the facts of this case and have zero doubt that Sumner and Halt have engaged in sexual harassment/retaliation. We also have received complaints about Sumner bullying a LatinX congregation.
Anglican Watch is left wondering: Why is this matter being ignored? Didn’t we spend a week listening to the Pointy Hats Club lamenting its Title IV failures? And were we not in agreement that the sexual harassment of women is wrong?
So why is this case not moving forward?