Anglican Watch

Spotlight on abuse: Episcopal priest Gideon A. Uzomechina

In 2019, Gideon A. Uzomechina, a priest then canonically resident in the Diocese of New Jersey, was the subject of a Title IV disciplinary complaint involving three offenses: Sexual misconduct; conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; and failing to abide by a pastoral directive from his bishop.

Among the allegations were that respondent made unwanted sexual advances on young men; that he had overcharged a complainant to attend a conference and retained the overage; and that he disobeyed an order from his bishop to not hold himself out as a priest during the Title IV process, and to not accept any employment in a hospital, hospice, or other location serving vulnerable populations. Moreover, Uzomechina was accused of luring a young man to his home with promises of a laptop, financial assistance and more.

During the Title IV process, it was discovered that Uzomechina had, in fact, accepted a pastoral position at a youth detention facility.

Uzomechina rejected a proposed Title IV accord, resulting in the matter moving to a hearing. Uzomechina was found guilty on all counts and defrocked. Per diocesan documents: “Respondent Uzomechina has repeatedly violated his vows as a priest and as a husband. His behavior is more akin to that of a sociopathic sexual predator than that of a nurturing priest.”

Subsequently, Uzomechina resurfaced in a non-Anglican church, the so-called Diocese of St. Ignatius Loyola. There, he has been appointed an interim archdeacon. The announcement of his appointment makes specific reference to his work with at-risk young men. He also serves as rector of the Anglican Church of the Messiah in Plainfield NJ, which also is not part of the Anglican Communion. His Twitter feed is here.

We note with concern that his current parish has both a prison ministry and an addiction ministry—two ministries with populations that, by definition, are highly vulnerable.


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