Friday, March 19, 2010

Suspended Episcopal bishop to have last chance in May

From The Philadelphia Inquirer-

Suspended Episcopal Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. will get his last chance to make a case for reinstatement as head of the Diocese of Pennsylvania when he goes before a church appeals court in May.

In September 2008, a lower church court found Bennison guilty on two counts of failing to respond adequately when, as a new rector decades ago, he learned that his younger brother was having sexual relations with a minor.

John Bennison had been youth minister at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, Calif. The abuse began when the girl, a member of the parish, was 14.

After a four-day trial, the Court for the Trial of a Bishop ruled unanimously that Bennison should be removed from his post in the 55,000-member Pennsylvania Diocese, which comprises Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties. The panel also ordered him stripped of all ordained status for "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy."

During his appeal, Bennison has remained a bishop but relinquished administrative control of the diocese to a 10-person committee.

On May 4, the Court of Review for the Trial of a Bishop will meet at the Cathedral of St. John in Wilmington to hear two hours of arguments. The court, the final stop in the appeals process, will consist of nine diocesan bishops from as far away as Texas.

In his petition for an appeal, Bennison's lead attorney, James Pabarue, asserted that the girl had willfully concealed her relationship with John Bennison from his brother. He also contends that letters she wrote to John Bennison while she was in college suggest she remained devoted to him, contrary to her testimony.

John Bennison served as a priest in the San Francisco diocese until 2006, when news reports of the abuse - which he does not deny - led him to resign.

More here-

Also from the Living Church-

No comments: