Since the news came that the Rev. Bede Parry has resigned from All Saints Church in Las Vegas and from the Episcopal priesthood, we have had statements mainly from Bishop Daniel Edwards and the Diocese of Nevada (here, here) a description of the process used to receive Parry’s orders, a news story from Episcopal News Service and timeline from the Office of Public Affairs. As the story has bubbled up a little on the main-stream media, and there is much discussion on the internet, it took over a week for the first substantive statements to come out.
We appreciate the timeline and the detail offered by Bishop Edwards so far. As the Bede Parry case unfolds, here are some things we know, and some things we don’t know and some things that just confuse us.
The discussion from the diocese of Nevada and 815 centers on the lawsuit filed against Conception Abbey for abuse that took place in 1987 in the Benedictine monastery in Missouri. It is less clear as to whether the Bishop and Diocese of Nevada knew about the other incidents, particularly in Minnesota.
We know that the Bishop and diocese of Nevada knew about the 1987 incident. The fact sheet says: “Parry was forthcoming about the 1987 incident at Conception Abbey in the background check.”
What we don’t know is whether Parry was also as forthcoming to the Bishop and Diocese of Nevada about the other incidents of sexual misconduct. The original Kansas City Star report says:
Parry confirmed to The Star his three relationships between 1973 and 1979 at Conception Abbey and one in 1981 in Minnesota. He said he reported those incidents to then-abbot Jerome Hanus at Conception Abbey and to the abbot at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota….
…Parry said he first opened up about his sexual misconduct last fall, when a Seattle area man named Pat Marker showed up at his doorstep. Marker, a sex abuse victim who had attended St. John’s Preparatory School in Minnesota, had learned about Parry while researching other cases from St. John’s.
“I confronted Bede with the allegations … that took place at St. John’s, and he admitted to the misconduct and expressed remorse but did not disclose any information about the (Conception Abbey) boys choir at that time,” Marker said. “After learning he directed the choir, I confronted him again. At first he denied anything but later admitted to misconduct.”
The responses this week from Bishop Edwards and through the Office of Public Affairs only discuss the one incident, in 1987, that he admitted to Bishop Jefferts Schori in 2002. Apparently all the canonical steps in 2002-04 were taken in light of that one incident being fully known. They make the case that based on the dioceses own psychological evaluation, Parry posed no threat. Two question remain: if Parry was not a threat, then why the restriction on children and, does the decision by the bishop and diocese change when other incidents come to light?
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