[Webmaster’s Note: The following statement comes from Bishop Dan Edwards from the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada.]
A lawsuit was filed last week against a monastery in Missouri where Fr. Bede Parry, who has served All Saints for 11 years as organist and assisting priest, was a monk in another denomination in the 1980s. The suit alleges that Fr. Bede engaged in inappropriate relationships with youth in their late teens. In response to these allegations, Fr. Bede has resigned from his duties at All Saints and tendered to me his resignation as a priest.
To keep this matter in perspective, it is important to remember:
He is not accused of any misconduct in Nevada, in the Episcopal Church, or in any context since the 1980’s. The legal action is not a criminal prosecution but a civil suit for money damages. All Saints, the Diocese of Nevada, and even Fr. Bede are not parties to the law suit.
However, this situation is a reminder of the critical importance of our Safe Guarding God’s Children standards. It is essential for all of our people who work with children to receive Safe Guarding training on a regular basis and that vestries, clergy, and all church leaders insure that appropriate standards are in place – for example, minors should not be in the presence of only one adult at any time; doors should have windows in them; church members should be on the lookout for abuse symptoms in minors or suspicious behavior in adults. The purpose of these precautions is not so much to protect the church from liability as to protect the children from harm. Caring for the safety and well being of our children is a moral obligation of the utmost importance. The fact that there were no boundary violations at All Saints is a sign that the Safeguarding God’s Children standards have been effective. But the safety of our people, young and old, remains a matter of grave concern calling of constant vigilance.
We ask your prayers for all who are involved in the law suit and those whose lives have been affected by the events surrounding it.