Update: New allegations emerge about Tom Simmons

By | January 29, 2023
the Rev. Tom Simmons

Anglican Watch has received additional allegations about Tom Simmons, the allegedly adulterous married rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal in Purcellville, Va. Specific allegations include inappropriate comments about the breasts of teenaged female parishioners.

While it is important to remember these are only allegations, we find the victim credible, particularly in her description of the trauma she experienced due to Simmons’ behavior. Moreover, the complainant describes Simmons as a “bad, evil man” and is concerned that Simmons may have molested other teens in the church.

We are not disclosing the identity of our source to protect her, including from further trauma.

Our take on things: Simmons’ comments allegedly were made to the victim’s father. The fact that Simmons would consider this appropriate leads us to believe that he has boundary issues. Moreover, the fact that he apparently did not even recognize how spectacularly inappropriate his conduct was leads us to suspect mental illness, substance abuse, or the use of drugs. There is something seriously wrong with anyone who thinks this conduct is acceptable.

Combine these with the previous allegations about Simmons, which include physical violence and use of illegal drugs, and a portrait emerges of a profoundly troubled individual who lacks respect or empathy for others and does not honor his ordination vows. In a nutshell, this appears to be a man entirely unsuited to parish ministry or the care of others. And we are particularly troubled by Simmons’ ability to talk a good game while seemingly having no ethical compass behind his professed beliefs. This may be indicative of anti-social personality disorder.

We hope that incoming Virginia bishop Mark Stevenson will address these issues. Simmons is doing grave harm to the church and others, and we believe he should be removed from ministry.

We also find his claptrap about pansexual behavior and the sanctity of marriage to be total BS. Indeed, the saying about charity starting at home applies — if Simmons is so worried about these issues, he can start by addressing his behavior. We also note that Simmons’ correspondence acknowledged that his purported adultery could result in clergy discipline, yet he seems to have gone ahead with the affair anyway. And it is stupid indeed to put his prurient thoughts about his sex partner’s labia in writing. So much for the claim in Title IV that clergy are held to a higher standard.

Finally, we note that these allegations typify the dismal handling of clergy misconduct in the Episcopal Church. These allegations should have been a red flag to all involved. And while we do not know if a complaint ever was made to the diocese, this is the sort of situation in which people need to know that:

  • They can and should alert the diocese.
  • This is the sort of warning sign that should be reported.
  • Their complaints will be taken seriously.
  • They will be treated with dignity and respect.
  • They will be protected from retaliation.

We grieve for the pain and suffering Simmons has caused others.

We invite anyone who Simmons may have mistreated to contact us and if they are comfortable doing so, filing a complaint with a Title IV intake officer. We will assist you in any way possible.

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My belief is that DioVA is toxic. Much of the blame appears to align with Shannon Johnston’s hands-off approach to clergy discipline and tendency to two-faced behavior.

Let’s hope he stays retired, versus resurfacing to damage another diocese as a bishop interim or assistant.

As for Susan Goff, she is every bit as problematic as Johnston. Good riddance — let’s hope Susan stays retired.

And let’s hope that Stevenson demonstrates integrity by giving Malm, Simmons, and several other bad actors the heave-ho. Being faithful to the gospels is hard enough without these folks dragging the church down.