Anglican Watch

Understanding the Anderson Title IV accord

Bishop Alan Gates ia a pig

We’ve received a number of questions and comments about the Title IV accord reached in the Douglas Anderson case. Anderson serves as the rector of the Church of the Advent, an Anglo-Catholic parish in Boston. This post addresses some of the loose ends in this matter.

  • A Title IV accord can be entered into at any time, at any stage of the Title IV process. 
  • Bases for an accord comprise: agreement for discipline under Canon IV.9, conciliation under Canon IV.10 or a Conference Panel proceeding under Canon IV.12. 
  • An accord is not an adjudication. Thus, in the Anderson case, no decision has been made on the allegations of sexual harassment, lying to a previous Title IV panel, or any other actual or potential claim of canonical violations.
  • An accord is, however, preclusive as to allegations raised in the original complaint. (Canon IV.19.13). In other words, the accord is a plea bargain that shuts down the serious allegations against Anderson and prevents them being re-opened, even as he admits to the relatively low-level offense of “conduct unbecoming.”
  • Although the accord is preclusive as to issues raised by this complainant, it has no effect should other women come forward with similar complaints.
  • We are aware of other women who have made allegations similar to those raised by the woman in the Anderson case. Anglican Watch has been told that these women fear coming forward.
  • We have closely reviewed the conduct of Gates and the diocese in this matter and conclude that these other women did not file Title IV claims due to the diocese’s dismal handling of the matter, along with the burdensome nature of the Title IV process.
  • Accords may include any terms that “promote healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among the Complainant, Respondent, affected Community and other persons;” (Canon IV.13.14.1).
  • It is unusual when, as here, a vestry proposes a particular path forward, as vestries typically have limited access to information before a matter reaches the hearing stage phase. Additionally, there is an inherent conflict of interest for vestries.
  • As correctly noted in the wardens’ letter, the date of Anderson’s departure aligns perfectly with the day he vests his retirement.
  • While Anderson is generously provided for under the accord, including get paid for two years for doing nothing, and being free to take a parish the instant his retirement vests, we see nothing being done for Advent or the alleged victims.
  • An accord requires the approval of the bishop. Thus, Gates is personally responsible.

Bottom line: The Anderson accord is appalling, contrary to even the most basic notion of Christianity, disrespectful to women and the hostility and abuse they often experience in employment and faith communities, and reflects contempt for the Advent community. 

And, lest anyone raise the vestry’s role in the accord, or lack thereof, any ethical warden or vestry member should be raising holy hell with the diocese. This is one of the most appalling, scandalous, outrageous outcomes we have ever seen in a Title IV case.


  1. I have a Title IV case for inappropriate touching against Anderson. It went to a reference panel and they decided that because his ability to act as a priest had already been stripped because of THIS Title IV case there was no way to punish him further and it was dropped. Douglas Anderson is a predator who uses his position as a priest to take advantage of women. I was told by church representatives that Bishop Gates believed my story and had his hands tied as far as further action against Anderson goes. But now that this accord has been signed with no true accountability, I feel like my case has just been swept under the rug and was forgotten. The Title IV process failed me, the Diocese of Massachusetts failed me, The Episcopal Church failed me. After over a decade of service as a church school teacher, alter server, parish secretary, art director at Camp All Saints, and a vestry member–after all of my life that I poured into the church, its been made clear that Anderson can touch me any way he likes on any party of my body and nothing will be done about it.

    1. The irony is, after his two-year paid vacation, Anderson now gets to be a priest again.

      Gates even ignored multiple pleas in the Losch case, which involved the rape of a boy. No response, no effort to investigate, nothing. In short, Gates has profound moral/ethical gaps.

      On behalf of everyone here, we are so very, very sorry.

      1. Does he get to be a priest again? Or is your statement merely made for effect? Or possibly a reference to the fact that he will not be unfrocked?

        1. If you are referring to Anderson, he never loses the privilege of being a priest. His “penalty” is a two-year paid vacation and the vesting of his retirement, and although forbidden from officiating, he remains rector of Advent until the day after his retirement vests.

    1. Here you go!

      We empathize with the parish, but given that the vestry allegedly signed an NDA, we question how much time went to resolving the issues with Anderson. We think the disruption and the money wasted on him are the real issues

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