Lexington bishop intentionally withheld information from search committee

The Diocese of Lexington issued a statement yesterday on its blog revealing that Bishop Hahn intentionally withheld information about an affair with a parishioner from the bishop search committee. Hahn was elected and ordained bishop of the diocese in 2012. As we earlier reported, he has been suspended for one year without pay by the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.

From the diocese’s March 24 blog post:

Douglas Hahn has been suspended for one year from his duties as Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Lexington and from ordained ministry, effective March 9, 2016.

The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, working through the canonical disciplinary and pastoral processes of the Church, took this action after learning that Hahn had a sexual relationship with an adult female parishioner and intentionally withheld this information when seeking the position of bishop. Hahn has admitted to these charges against him. He and Bishop Curry have reached an official “Accord” or agreement providing for terms of the suspension.

The Standing Committee, which is the Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in the absence of a bishop, acknowledges that the relationship between the Diocese and Hahn has been seriously strained by Hahn’s actions.

The committee, “with the assistance of the Presiding Bishop’s office, has already begun the process of discerning the selection of a bishop to serve the Diocese of Lexington during the suspension.”

The standing committee first met on March 17 to discuss the matter.

See the Café’s report from March 22, Bishop Hahn “steps away” for a period of “repentance, retreat and reflection”


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  1. Carolyn Peet

    Perhaps they should consider tightening the standards for bishop. There is one in California who is on his THIRD marriage!

  2. Daniel Jarvis

    how approp in this special week of scapegoating

    we all know the song…lets sing along “you grab a hammer, I’ll grab some nails, Baby!”

    who among us does not intentionally hide our sins..from others, from ourselves, from God?

    • Ann Fontaine

      It is not scapegoating to ask someone to accept the consequences of their actions. Does not mean he cannot be forgiven or have care. Think about the victim for a while – that is the person who is mostly being scapegoated.

  3. Márcio Albino

    Was he married? I mean, what the hell is the problem of he having an relationship?

    I don’t know if this is american cultural aspect, but that sounds ridiculous here in Brazil of controlling sexual life of people.

    • Ann Fontaine

      Yes married to his second wife.

  4. Daniel Jarvis

    sorry but yes this is an exact example of scapegoating many people’s sins are involved in this, and if the dio doesnt take him back, add more sins to the list. yet the bish is the only one being publicly shamed and hung out to dry. Hey I don’t judge the sinning we are all in that boat but the scapegoating just makes me want to puke

    And your admonishment to remember the victim; well we don’t know who the victim was or if there was a victim. But we do know who the current victim is. For the sake of argument lets say the woman in this past scene was a victim. Well I am an abuse survivor and a former spiritual healer sp c in the healing of victims. I don’t know if the woman has anything to do with the current outing…I hope not, for this is not going to do anything to heal her wounds.
    This is all I have to say flame on if you want

    • Cynthia

      Please follow the policy and post using your first & last names. – ed

      Daniel, this bishop violated his covenant relationship with his wife, as well as his vows. The clergy/lay relationship is generally an unequal one.

      As Ann said, the discussion here is consequences for real violations, ones he doesn’t deny. It is a real stretch to call this scapegoating. Who else could possibly responsible for this behavior?

      We don’t know anything about the woman, nor should we.

  5. John Chilton


    Title IV
    … This Title applies to Members of the Clergy, who have by their vows at ordination accepted additional responsibilities and accountabilities for doctrine, discipline, worship and obedience.

    Sexual Behavior shall mean any physical contact, bodily movement, speech, communication or other activity sexual in nature or that is intended to arouse or gratify erotic interest or
    sexual desires.

    Sexual Misconduct shall mean (a) Sexual Abuse or (b) Sexual Behavior at the request of, acquiesced to or by a Member of the Clergy with an employee, volunteer, student or counselee of that Member of the Clergy or in the same congregation as the Member of the Clergy, or a person with whom the Member of the Clergy has a Pastoral Relationship.

  6. Hahn has admitted sexual misconduct but, so far, there is no public evidence of sexual abuse. Loaded terms like “victim” should be used very cautiously. While professional boundaries may be stretched, it is simply not true that there is always a power differential in a clergy/lay relationship or, that, if one does exist, it always favors the cleric or that the misconduct was initiated by the cleric, male or female.

  7. Scott Fisher

    So he had an affair, but intentionally did not report it to the search committee so his wife and the committee wouldn’t find out ; what a shocker! That’s what’s known as a cover up and is always the way of the coward. Of course his wife would have been furious and he knew that his behavior would disqualify him from consideration for the bishop job. If he would have acted like a real man and removed himself from consideration as bishop he would have saved the diocese a lot of turmoil.

  8. By intentionally withholding information about the affair from the search committee, Douglas Hahn covered up behavior that he knew would likely disqualify him as a candidate. He could have withdrawn and spared his wife (perhaps), the diocese, and the church from pain. Of course, his misconduct may have come to light eventually, but repercussions would have been less. I fail to see how Hahn is a scapegoat.

    • Scott Fisher

      That’s exactly right June, Douglas Hahn was no scapegoat. Quite the opposite actually because he knew exactly what he was doing. It’s very clear that only after his disgraceful behavior
      was exposed did he admit to the affair and agree to this suspension or whatever one calls it. This man has done a tremendous amount of damage to his family,the diocese,and the church.

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