From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
[ENS] Groups express support for Robinson
"Mika Larson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mon, 4 Aug 2003 17:20:30 -0400
Bishop-elect accused of misconduct
August 4, 2003
Groups express support for Robinson
by David Skidmore
[ENS] Leaders of two prominent Episcopal gay advocacy organizations are
expressing support for the Rev. Gene Robinson after allegations of
misconduct surfaced Monday.
In an impromptu press conference Monday afternoon, the Rev. Michael
Hopkins, president of Integrity, the advocacy group for Episcopal gays
and lesbians, said he had "absolute confidence" in the Rev. Gene
Robinson as New Hampshire's bishop coadjutor-elect and in the church's
process for investigating charges of sexual misconduct. Asked whether
Robinson should step down as bishop-elect until he is cleared by the
investigation, Hopkins responded, "Absolutely not."
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold appointed Bishop Gorton Scruton of
Western Massachusetts to investigate allegations that Robinson has
"inappropriately touched" a man from the Diocese of Vermont during a
provincial meeting some years ago.
Scruton will also investigate an allegation that Robinson is affiliated
with a Web site - Outright.org - that offers links to pornographic
sites. According to convention officials, these allegations appear
Under the church's Title IV disciplinary canons, the victim's
"credibility is assumed as soon as an allegation is made," said Hopkins.
"That is how we do things because we take these things seriously."
Hopkins said he was not angry about the allegations but found them
"frustrating, disappointing." Asked whether he thought the misconduct
allegations might have been engineered to coincide with the convention's
vote on consent, Hopkins said it seemed unlikely since such allegations
set off "automatic processes at all levels."
He admitted the timing seemed suspicious, but given what he knows of the
experience of sexual misconduct victims, "it is not infrequent that
victims don't come forward until the last minute."
The Rev. Susan Russell, director of the Claiming the Blessing
organization, said she had full confidence in the Diocese of New
Hampshire's search process for bishop. Given the "rigors" of the
process, any charges or anomalies would have surfaced well ahead of his
selection as a finalist for bishop, she said.
"By all reports, they did an exemplary job of background checking and
following up on all their candidates," she said. The Claiming the
Blessing group supports development of rites for committed lifelong
relationships and the ongoing reconciliation conversations between
conservative and progressive wings of the church.
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