Anglican Watch

Spotlight on abuse: Episcopal priest William Clay Parnell

Bill Parnell, abusive priest

Bill Parnell, abusive priest

William “Bill” Clay Parnell is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary. Ordained in 1990, he now serves as canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Massachusetts. In that role, Parnell has repeatedly covered up clergy abuse in his role as Title IV case manager.

This includes:

  • Conducting “investigations,’ not authorized by clergy disciplinary canon Title IV, and outside established Title IV processes.
  • Refusing to follow the standards of review established by Title IV for intake of complaints made against clergy.
  • Stating that complaints of illegal conduct by clergy must be addressed in the courts, thus forcing victims to turn to the courts for possible relief.
  • Refusing to provide the pastoral response mandated by Title IV whenever a complaint is made to an intake officer.
  • Ignoring the express provisions of Title IV as to prohibited conduct by clergy.

This includes a complaint of perjury on the part of Episcopal priest Robert H. Malm, who at the time was serving as interim rector of St. Gabriel’s in Marion MA. Per Title IV, during intake the matter complained of is assumed to be true, and the intake officer is tasked by Title IV.6.5 with answering two questions:

Perjury is clearly proscribed under Title IV, both as “conduct unbecoming” and under the clause prohibiting “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

Moreover, intake officers are not investigators, and are not authorized to make determinations as to the truth or falsity of the facts behind a complaint.

Despite these violations of church canons, Parnell remains Canon to the Ordinary.


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