Attorneys for the Episcopal Church and for Diocese of Pennsylvania Bishop Charles Bennison argued before an ecclesiastical appeals court ... May 4 about whether the bishop should have been tried and convicted on charges stemming from his response to his priest brother's sexual misconduct some 35 years ago.That's from the ENS report. More:In June 2008, the church's Court for the Trial of a Bishop tried Bennison on two counts of engaging in conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy and found in February 2009 that Bennison should be deposed or removed from the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church.Philadelphia Inquirer
The trial court called for deposition after it found that 35 years ago when Bennison was rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Upland, California, he failed to respond properly after learning that his brother, John Bennison, then a 24-year-old newly ordained deacon (later priest) whom he had hired as youth minister, was "engaged in a sexually abusive and sexually exploitive relationship" with a minor parishioner. The abuse allegedly lasted for more than three years from the time the minor was 14 years old.[A]ttorney [for the church] Lawrence White, who insisted that Episcopal Church law has no statute of limitations for cases involving sexual abuse of a minor.Other reports
"Courts don't focus on the parties," White told the bishops. "They focus on the harm." He urged them to disregard Charles Bennison's claim that his role in the girl's "harm" was merely "secondary," and to uphold the lower court's verdicts and sentence. "He doesn't belong among the spiritual leaders of the church," White said.
Bennison said after the hearing that he was "not excessively optimistic" that the panel would find in his favor, but was "hopeful." The bishops appeared "more independent" of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori - who has gone on record calling for his removal - than the trial judges had been, Bennison said.APBennison claims he is being railroaded by high-ranking church officials trying to cover up their own involvement in his brother’s case, working with factions within the Pennsylvania diocese who have been trying to oust him because of differences over theology and the handling of church finances.