Anglican Watch

Urgent alert: Episcopal priest Daniel McClain

Rev. Daniel McClain

TLD: Anglican Watch has been following the case of Daniel McClain for almost a year. We are increasingly alarmed by his behavior and believe he poses a high risk of physical violence to those he feels are “enemies.”

Therefore, we:

  1. Call on the Diocese of Southern Ohio to initiate Title IV proceedings against McClain and suspend him from ministry. On our own volition, we are forwarding this article to the Diocese as a Title IV complaint.
  2. We urge family members and others close to McClain to seek a protective order against him immediately and believe he is engaging in a pattern of coercive conduct towards others with a high likelihood of physical violence. 

We are willing to testify under oath in this matter.

One of the profoundly tricky parts of running Anglican Watch is when we receive allegations of misconduct involving coercive control. And while everything we have heard is an allegation, and we do not have first-hand knowledge, we are deeply and increasingly concerned by the Rev. Daniel McClain’s conduct. McClain serves St. Paul’s, Dayton and is the rector-elect of the parish.

Let’s start at the top. 

It is not part of God’s plan for anyone to live in fear. Not Daniel. Not those close to him. Not former parishioners. 

Our distant early warning system first kicked into high gear when we spotted an incoming in the comments to our earlier article

Specifically, one commenter claimed that the previous Title IV case against McClain had resulted in his vindication. 

It did not.

With the Title IV complaint having been withdrawn, there was not enough for the Diocese to proceed. 

That led us to ask, “How could someone get this so wrong? Did McClain lie to him?”

We also note that this sort of false construct can be, and often is, a sign of coercive control.

Then, we started to observe another warning sign: an exodus of parishioners. Not the usual sort, but instead persons who should want to be part of the parish.

Then a third set of warning signs arose: an influx of allegations from persons previously connected with the parish. 

And over time, a pattern emerged in these allegations. From this pattern, we concluded that McClain seeks not just to win, but also to crush his opponents.

This conduct contradicts being a priest and contradicts the gospels’ message. It’s also a spectacularly unhealthy paradigm.

Over time, we got in touch with persons close to McClain and repeatedly heard people say they feared for their safety. 

It is important to note that these fears extend beyond McClain’s immediate circle.

Our experience is that people are usually right in their gut instincts — there is a high correlation between fear of impending violence and actual violence. 

And courts must take this seriously: Emotional abuse can be far deeper and longer lasting than physical abuse. And emotional abuse typically is one stop on a continuum that includes physical and sexual violence and abuse

It’s also given in these situations that the abuser — who holds a win-at-all-costs mentality — will paint their victims as mentally unbalanced, “unhinged.” “domestic terrorists” and more. (Been there, experienced that, got the scars to prove it.) 

And we’ve heard many allegations coming from McClain’s direction about others being mentally ill, which is both inappropriate conduct for clergy and seemingly a projection of his own issues.

In these cases, part of the abuser’s game plan is to make these allegations a reality by gaslighting their victims, imposing ongoing microaggressions, and more. 

This pattern of behavior causes victims to:

  • Feel alone.
  • Fear coming forward.
  • Doubt their perceptions.
  • Believe they need the approval of others to share their concerns and more.

In these cases, their abuser has another trick up their sleeve: to hope that the continuing microaggressions will cause the victim to snap. 

If this happens, it allows the abuser to look puzzled and ask, “What was that all about? See, I told you there were issues.”

At the same time, we noted another concerning phenomenon: it seemed that current parishioners perceived McClain as an angel of light. Meanwhile, former parishioners had very differing perceptions. This Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde paradigm often is indicative of significant personality disorders.

Nor is the withdrawal of the previous Title IV complaint dispositive.

Victims of abuse often act in ways that make sense to them at the time. They do this to protect themselves and survive.

And while we recognize that Title IV is ill-suited to allegations of domestic violence — especially when coercive control is involved — we believe the Diocese should have continued to pursue the matter. 

After all, we’re hardly the great investigators of the Western world, and if we can put these pieces together, so can the Diocese. 

So, to recap, we are running the Jolly Roger up the mast and nailing it there. 

We are pursuing this matter as a matter of Christian integrity and are willing to take the heat for it. We know we will, and we’re good with it.

Anyone who would like to submit written statements of support for those close to McClain may use our online form to do so.

Lastly, a word to the inevitable lawyers: these are all allegations, not statements of fact. But we believe our sources and find them credible. And we report these allegations as a matter of public interest, and out of concern for the church and its people.