Wednesday, November 5, 2008

PENNSYLVANIA: Hearing set on bishop's request for modified sentence

Episcopal News Service reports on the ongoing Philadelphia Story.

An ecclesiastical court will convene November 12 in Philadelphia to consider a request from inhibited Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. that it modify its call for Bennison to be deposed.

The Episcopal Church's nine-member Court for the Trial of a Bishop, which spent four days in June hearing the case against Bennison, determined later in the month that the bishop had engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. The court ruled September 30 that deposition was appropriate "in recognition of the nature of the offense and because [Bennison] has failed to demonstrate that he comprehends and takes responsibility for the harm that he has caused."

Bennison had 30 days to ask for a modification of the court's sentence and the court was required to hold a hearing on his request, according to Canon IV.5.30(b).

According to an order from the court, Bennison will have two hours to makLinke his case to the court and his attorneys may call witnesses during the presentation. The court refused Bennison's claim that the Episcopal Church should not be allowed to respond to his request for sentence modification.

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