For years, we’ve followed various allegations of abusive conduct by Bishop Prince Singh. Much of it has been inchoate complaints where there isn’t enough to draft a story. But it’s all focused on allegations about his interactions with family members and occasional claims of tyrannical behavior from colleagues and parishioners.
Now, things have hit the fan, and it once again looks like the beleaguered Michigan dioceses can’t get a break.
Specifically, Todd Ousley, who has already run roughshod over the dioceses with his self-proclaimed “exemplary” handling of bishop Whayne Hougland’s extramarital affairs, is getting a second bite at the apple, thanks to Title IV proceedings against Singh, who is alleged on social media to have abused family members.
Let’s parse the specifics.
First, according to the announcement from Michael Curry’s office, the presiding bishop has been in touch with Singh’s family for several months. That gives us pause, as bishops are not trained investigators and may muddy the waters if criminal activity is involved.
Second, Singh reportedly has requested a Title IV proceeding.
That also is troubling—allegations of abuse should have landed on the intake officer’s desk immediately, especially when women and children are involved.
Because family members often have difficulty coming forward and being believed, particularly when the alleged perpetrator is a bishop or other person in a position of perceived power.
Thus, Singh is correct that he must self-report under the canons, but the matter should have become a Title IV matter long ago.
Third, Ousley needs to disqualify himself.
In addition to being stunningly corrupt and unwilling to follow the Title IV canons, the mess Ousley made in the Hougland debacle, including raiding diocesan coffers to provide Hougland with a golden parachute as a reward for his affair, has already caused more than enough trauma for members of the Michigan dioceses.
Nor do we see any sign that Ousley has done anything to repent or repair the trauma he’s inflicted on the long-suffering Michigan dioceses.
Fourth, the fact that Singh has requested a Title IV proceeding is either slate of hand, in which he is trying to make himself out to be the good guy or an indication that the office of presiding bishop doesn’t see a problem with domestic abuse. Or both.
And for the record, abusers never confine their abuse to just one area of their lives. So treating this as a petty family dispute is not the way to go. If Singh is abusive at home–which we strongly suspect is the case–we guarantee there are other cases of bullying and abuse.
Fifth, we can’t help but wonder if Singh is angling for another Hougland parachute. We can see it now, “Booohooo hooo, I’m a bad bishop and you’re better off without me. Can’t we just arrange to pay off my mortgage and I’ll make myself scarce? Oh, and maybe a hundred thousand or so for self care?”
And with Ousley involved, you can bet the dioceses’ last dollar they won’t get a pastoral response out of the deal.
Lastly, having dealt with our own experiences of abuse and written about the abuse others have faced, Eklan Singh’s letter rings true. (Eklan is Prince Singh’s son).
We also note that we have heard a startlingly large number of almost identical claims from family members of bishops. Thus, our theory is that while roughly one-third of clergy are narcissists, about 50 percent of Episcopal bishops are.
Lastly, in our experience, some of the most profoundly dysfunctional people we have met are Episcopal clergy. Between being clueless, cynical, dishonest, manipulative, and lazy, many are not the sort you’d want as friends.
And one final shot across the bow of those who claim that Eklan’s letter is vindictive or ugly: That is precisely the response that empowers abusers.
The ancient Israelites may have worshipped the golden calf, but Episcopalians have two false idols: the Golden Fifth and anything that wears a white dog collar.
In other words, don’t go there.
We believe Eklan and stand with him. Just because his dad is bishop and wears funny clothes to work doesn’t put him above criticism.
The Office of the Presiding Bishop did not immediately respond to our inquiries. We have invited Eklan to tell his story on Anglican Watch if that would be helpful.
Below is a copy of one of a letter Eklan posted publicly on social media.