Saturday, June 25, 2011


From The Lead:
The Kansas City Star reports that a former Benedictine monk and Catholic priest who is now an Episcopal priest has resigned his position and has begun the process of renouncing his orders after admitting to committing sexual abuse against boys while serving as music director at a Roman Catholic monastery.

Bede Parry, 69, served All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas since 2000 and was received in 2004. The abuse, which took place between 1973 and 1979 at Conception Abbey, in Missouri and affected "five or six" separate victims, one of whom recently filed suit against the Abbey and the Benedictine Order. The suit alleges that he also has "inappropriate sexual contact" with a student at St. John's University in Minnesota in 1982 and again at the Abbey in 1987.
Another sordid story. Parry said he told the bishop in Nevada at the time, Katharine Jefferts Schori, about the 1987 incident, but not about the other incidents.

There's more.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
A spokeswoman at the Episcopal Church’s national office said Thursday that “we do not comment on lawsuits or allegations” and referred questions to the diocese in Nevada.
This simply will not do. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who was Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada at the time, permitted Bede Parry to become an Episcopal priest. She must explain why.

Further, Bishop Paul Marshall, of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, PA, says in the comments at The Lead:
Now let's be serious. When 815-level lawyers threaten and cajole diocesan bishops not to reveal multiple sex-abuse cover-ups at the highest level lest former leaders be embarrassed, what can we expect, and why do we look down on the RCC? Serious and credentialled investigative reporters can contact me.

As a rector I had to follow a priest who was simply passed along by another bishop, and as a bishop have had the same experience with a staff member who was protected by his bishop, with catastrophic results here

On paper, we are a one-strike church, but in reality, too may people are walked. 815 refused comment on this story with principled-sounding obfuscation, which essentially tells it all, doesn't it? There is no more transparency at 815 than previously, as some of the commentators above know to their pain.
(My emphasis)
Bishop Paul is exactly right. We need to hear an explanation from the national office of the Episcopal Church, and the sooner, the better.

UPDATE: SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) put out a statement:
To current and former Las Vegas Catholics and Episcopalians, we say: If you have knowledge or suspicions - however old, small or seemingly insignificant - about Parry’s crimes, it is your moral and civic duty to call police. Please summon the courage to do what's right, call law enforcement and hopefully prevent more devastated lives.

Church officials shouldn’t split hairs, make excuses, and be silent. Whether a predator is a diocesan or religious order cleric, alive or dead, Protectant or Catholic, still in Nevada or moved elsewhere doesn’t matter. The shepherds have a duty to protect his flock, help law enforcement, warn unsuspecting families and work hard to find and help others who’ve been wounded.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,, Peter Isely (414-429-7259,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,

Update 2 from the comments:
Ann said...

write the pb's office -- and copy and and
If you'd like to express your opinion....

UPDATE 3: See Ann Fontaine's call for action at The Friends of Jake.


  1. The abuse at St. John's took place in 1981. Parry was allowed (by St. John's leadership and Conception Abbey's Jerome Hanus) to stay at St. John's if he underwent counseling.

  2. Patrick, thanks. I checked your website. It's a sorry story at St John's. What I and many of us want to know is how Parry made his way into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church, when our policy on paper is one strike, and you're out.

  3. Here is Parry's further comments. If even the most basic of background checks happened - he should never have become a priest. If he abused anyone since then (which most likely happened - they never stop) - Nevada and KJS and the church should do an immediate plea for victims to come forward and should help them - I hope we do not circle the wagons - but instead do as +Sean Rowe did in NW PA and reach out.

  4. Ann, thanks. I added an update with a link to a statement by SNAP calling for anyone who was abused by Parry or had knowledge of his abuse to come forward and calling for the churches to do their duty.

  5. I know of a case where the Bishop fired the priest but didn´t tell anyone why (or most anyone out of a huge group of followers--the largest in the diocese and the parish split wide open as the priest was very popular)...innocently, and I do mean innocently, the priests ¨followers¨ (I was one as I ¨guessed¨ he may be a discreet Gay Man not a thought about hime being an active Pedophile...he also had a lovely female ¨close friend¨ and notable citizen whom I still adore he apparently used as part of his very good ¨cover¨). We stayed supportive of the priest and reorganized elsewhere in a nearby community--finally the real and very ¨ugly mess¨ was overheard then revealed by the priests landlord (no thanks to the Church) and the ¨priest¨ was sent far away quickly for ¨therapy¨-- all cloak and dagger/political stuff-- the Priest left many trusting friends and the very loving friend/supporter (heterosexual/female) in a heap of despair, anger with a double whamy of a betrayal--what´s new? The situation hasn´t fully healed deep wounds of almost twenty years ago-- the thought of the dishonest/selfish monster romping around freely still pisses me off (and he ¨free¨ I´ve heard)...this is a far different matter than equality seekers amongst LGBTI people who OPENLY look toward acceptance and participation at ALL LEVELS of Churchlife in the Anglican Communion. The ¨Bishop¨ who ¨knew¨ the truth about this man ought have dealt openly with the sexual child abuse issue(s) and NOT allowed him/it...period...God knows the stage was set for TRUTH instead of convenient LIES! That´s the problem with a situation like´s usually so masterly planned, executed BUT DISCOVERED that many are standing around staring at one another after the rat disappears down the nearest rat hole...there are innocents that have been violated and not all of them have been violated sexually. Of course people are falling away from shabby leadership at the Anglican Communion...some righteous religious monsters think blame/shame is the name of the game and don´t deal with the actual criminals (both heterosexual and homosexual)who have ALLOWED THEMSELVES to be deceived and don´t wish to face the responsibility of being accessories to the crime!

  6. Leonardo, thanks for your story. When it comes to sexual abuse, the bishops cannot do discreet and quiet dismissals of clergy or staff. Your case is one example why. And if the cause for dismissal is not given, the priests often go elsewhere to continue their abusive ways.

  7. I am angered by this story, especially by the now-PB's actions. Thank you for hammering on this, Mimi. Just because other churches treat victims of clergy sexual abuse abominably doesn't mean *we* have to do the same. SNAP is only a part of the solution. To paraphrase the old Cursillo phrase: "Christ is counting on us". Someone must do better.

  8. John, the sooner we hear from the PB as to whether she knew of Parry's history, the better. Silence is not golden in this instance.

  9. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, who was Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada at the time, permitted Bede Parry to become an Episcopal priest. She must explain why.

    Absolutely!! Unless he's lying about that but he has no reason to do that at this point that I can see, given that it's all over for him.

  10. write the pb's office -- and copy and and

  11. This story is making me feel more and more nauseous (and this, while I'm basically in a great mood from NY.)

    We demand the Truth!!!

  12. JCF, we can do what Ann suggests and write. I will tomorrow.

  13. The following is the sex abuse policy manual for All Saints Episcopal Church, Las Vegas where Bede Parry was employed.

    Posted by David W. Virtue
    June 28, 2011

    "All Employees, will be screened during an interview for Specific characteristics which are seen as possible indicators of risk pertaining to child sexual abuse prior to employment.

    Prospective employees who appear to be "at risk" under the Child sexual abuse factors will not be allowed to work with children. Any such determination will be held in strict confidence. and from attachment 1: "Person with some of the following characteristics may be at risk.

    1. " Personal history as a victim of child sexual abuse or as an offender against children; including accusation, complaints, arrest, and/or conviction pertaining to child sexual abuse."

    AS VOL reads it this church could decide to employ a convicted child abuse offender (it appears that the priest in this case had not been convicted, but under this policy it would have made no difference if he had been), and no one is allowed to know about it ("will be held in strict confidence"), as long as they do not work with children. How then can that be a safe church? The Episcopal safe church policy doesn't seem to be worth the paper it is written on.

    this is in line with cpg clergy abuse guidelines - it seems as long as the person is not working with children, all of the safe church guidelines are ignored. Convenient loophole?

    "Any and all Church Personnel who Regularly Work With or Around
    Children or Youth shall be screened and selected utilizing at least the

    "Any and all Church Personnel who Occasionally Work With or
    Around Children or Youth shall be screened and selected utilizing at
    least the following:"

    So if the church personnel do not regularly or occasionally work around children none of the screening applies! All part of the canons, all legitimate, all above board, there does not seem to be anything in the guidelines preventing convicted child abusers being legitimately hired as long as they do not work with children.

    Read all the press releases - they keep saying he was not working around children. Is that code for saying they did know but they were just following established policies?

  14. Anonymous, please sign a name. Make up a name - any name. Unsigned anonymous comments can become confusing.

    The link you provide appears to be the policy at All Saints in Las Vegas, unless a different policy was put in place since 2005. I can't get to the church website. Either it's down, or its too busy.

    Just let me say that I disagree with a policy which allows a known child-abuser to become a priest or to work at a church. The policy I'd like to see established is "one strike, you're out", and if you've struck out once or more, you don't get to work in the church. I've written to the Presiding Bishop and said as much.

    No cases of sexual abuse have come to light during the time Bede Parry worked at All Saints, but he should not have been permitted to become an Episcopal priest, and he should not have been employed by the church in any capacity.

    We need to hear from the PB about this matter, and the sooner, the better. This is not the time to hide behind the lawyers.

  15. Grandmere,

    Yes, we need change. Every few months there is another story about this ongoing mess.

    Who can forget this post of a personal account of a priest - did you read this? Did you read all her comments in this posting about how even now the diocese is releasing misleading statements about who knew what when?

    And now we have direct comments from a Bishop alleging the same cover ups. But reading his recent response "In an e-mail to VOL, Marshall wrote, "The anger has subsided for the moment, and I come to the office incredibly sad" it seems even he is now going to just let this continue to happen without trying to change things.

    This story is dying now and will be forgotten in a week or so. Until the next horror story in a few months time when everyone will post about how upset they are that this is still happening.

    There doesn't seem to be anyone who will do what really needs to be done to really protect the children of this church?

    I think SNAP has it right. Money talks. It is only when they have to pay multi million dollar settlements that really change happens. Until then it is just words not matched by deeds.

    "another john doe"

  16. another john doe, thanks for signing a name.

    I've read everything you link to. I am not finished with this story. Give me time. Of course, I'm small potatoes, but I will do what I can.

    This story is dying now and will be forgotten in a week or so.

    I don't think so. Not this time. I may be wrong, but I don't believe the story will die.

  17. Grandmere, thank you for trying.

    Here are the policies for the diocese of Nevada at the time Parry was hired.

    Relevant portions:

    shall be no interaction with children and youth by anyone with a civil or
    criminal record of child sexual abuse or who has admitted prior sexual abuse or
    by anyone known to have a paraphiliac diagnosis (e.g. pedophilia,
    exhibitionism, voyeurism) as defined by the American Psychiatric Association.
    shall be no ministerial or pastoral role within a congregation for any
    professional (as required in Nevada’s Revised Statutes) with a civil or criminal
    record of conviction of sexual misconduct."

    I read that as being perfectly acceptable to hire Parry, as he did not have a prior conviction.

    "Such background checks will include
    inquiries of all bishops having past or present canonical authority over the
    individual, all schools attended by the individual during the past five years and
    all employers of the individual during the past five years. If the individual has
    had one employer for over five years, then inquiries will be made of the two
    most recent employers."

    So they had to contact his prior bishops as part of the standard background check.

    We have the news reports alleging that they were aware of at least some of the prior indescretions as he told them, and also possibly a report was sent indicating a paraphiliac diagnosis from the lawsuit here:

    "In 2000, Fr. Parry underwent psychological testing relating to the possibility of
    entering another monastery. The results of this testing revealed that Fr. Pany was a sexual
    abuser who had the proclivity to reoffend with minors. The results of this testing were provided
    to the Abbey, the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas and the Episcopal Rishop for the Diocese of Nevada."

    And all of this seems to mean that he can still work as a priest, but is not allowed contact with children. Which as you have said is wrong. He should never have been employed.

    So my conclusion is there is a problem with the policies and procedures in the first instance as they allow a loophole of a person with a paraphiliac diagnosis to still be employed. You can never supervise someone 24hrs a day, and with the confidentiality requirement most of the parish are unaware of the dangers this person presents, which is an unacceptable risk. So that loophole in the policies needs to be completely closed.

    If you have a history of abuse allegations you should not be allowed to be employed in any position in the church. Period. No leaving it open for interpretation by the bishop.

    "another john doe"

  18. another john doe, I read all of what you posted already. If you leave a link instead of very long quotes, that would be better. Thanks.


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