James Tramel, a convicted murderer turned Episcopal priest, was proudly displayed by the Episcopal church as a symbol of the power of redemption after the church lobbied successfully for his parole. Following his release, Tramel was quickly placed at the helm of San Francisco’s historic Trinity Episcopal Church.
But things fell apart just 15 months later when it emerged that Tramel was having sexual relations with a parishioner who turned to him for help with her alcoholism.
Bishop Marc Andrus acknowledges that Tramel abused his position and engaged in sexual misconduct but has denied the victim’s request for funds for mental health care.
Lawrence Lossing, outside counsel for the diocese, said: “Obviously, Andrus is nothing but the representative, the titular head of the diocese. He doesn’t have any individual legal investment here.”
That begs the question: How can Andrus suspend Tramel if he has no authority over his conduct? Typical TEC — hierarchical when it comes to money and buildings, congregational in polity when it comes to misconduct.
Tramel later retired from the Episcopal Church and owns Tramel Construction Management in Hayward, Ca.