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Nevada priest resigns amid sexual abuse lawsuit

Nevada priest resigns amid sexual abuse lawsuit

The Kansas City Star reports that a former Benedictine monk and Catholic priest who is now an Episcopal priest has resigned his position and has begun the process of renouncing his orders after admitting to committing sexual abuse against boys while serving as music director at a Roman Catholic monastery.


Bede Parry, 69, served All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas since 2000 and was received in 2004. The abuse — which took place between 1973 and 1979 at Conception Abbey, in Missouri — affected “five or six” separate victims, one of whom recently filed suit against the Abbey and the Benedictine Order. The suit alleges that he also has “inappropriate sexual contact” with a student at St. John’s University in Minnesota in 1982 and again at the Abbey in 1987.

Parry joined the monastic community at Conception Abbey in 1973 and lived there through 1979. In 1978 and 1979, Parry assisted with the Abbey Boy Choir as an accompanist.

From 1979 through 1982, Parry attended the St. John’s University School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn. He returned to Conception Abbey in 1982 and served as secretary to the abbot. He also taught classes at the seminary and directed the choir, made up of males ages 7 to 18. Parry was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1983.

The plaintiff attended a residential choir camp at the abbey in summer 1987, when Parry directed the choir. Parry had sexual contact with him there, according to the lawsuit….

…After the plaintiff reported the abuse in 1987, Parry was sent for three months of treatment at Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico. Then he stayed in the Southwest, working at Lutheran and Catholic parishes.

Parry admitted the abuse to the newspaper but the whole story began to come out when he was confronted by a survivor of sexual abuse, also a former student at St. John’s.

Parry said he first opened up about his sexual misconduct last fall, when a Seattle area man named Pat Marker showed up at his doorstep. Marker, a sex abuse victim who had attended St. John’s Preparatory School in Minnesota, had learned about Parry while researching other cases from St. John’s.

“I confronted Bede with the allegations … that took place at St. John’s, and he admitted to the misconduct and expressed remorse but did not disclose any information about the (Conception Abbey) boys choir at that time,” Marker said. “After learning he directed the choir, I confronted him again. At first he denied anything but later admitted to misconduct.”

When he sought ordination in the Episcopal Church, he told the truth about the 1987 incident but did not disclose the other incidents. The diocesan bishop at the time was now Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

After serving about two years as the music director at All Saints, Parry noticed “they needed clergy, and I felt called. I talked to the bishop, and she accepted me. And I told her at the time that there was an incident of sexual misconduct at Conception Abbey in ’87. The Episcopal Church doesn’t have a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy, so it didn’t seem like I was any particular threat. She said she’d have to check the canons, and she did.”

Parry has resigned his position and has begun the process of renouncing his orders. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:

He said he told the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada of his resignation as the Missouri lawsuit became public Thursday morning.

Bishop Dan Edwards, who heads the Nevada diocese, confirmed the resignation and said that because Parry remains a priest, the diocese is investigating internally to determine whether any further action needs to be taken against him.

“Certainly we regard this situation with grave concern,” Edwards said. “We will need to be sure we are following the right process to be fair to all concerned.”

Parry said he also asked the diocese to relieve him of his priest duties.

A spokeswoman at the Episcopal Church’s national office said Thursday that “we do not comment on lawsuits or allegations” and referred questions to the diocese in Nevada.

UPDATE: Nevada priest admits abuse

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tgflux

Ouch.

And Ick!

And Lord have mercy.

And Ouch! again.

What others have said. I just wrote “Sweep the b@stards out!” over at MadPriest’s…

…and I didn’t know about any possible involvement of ++KJS.

I can’t take back what I said.

She needs to disclose EVERYTHING she knew, IMMEDIATELY.

And let the chips fall where they may.

JC Fisher

Lord, reform your Church!

GrandmèreMimi

KJS needs to answer whatever she was thinking allowing this predator to become an Episcopal priest.

Exactly. And very soon.

June Butler

Paul Marshall

Now let’s be serious. When 815-level lawyers threaten and cajole diocesan bishops not to reveal multiple sex-abuse cover-ups at the highest level lest former leaders be embarrassed, what can we expect, and why do we look down on the RCC? Serious and credentialled investigative reporters can contact me.

As a rector I had to follow a priest who was simply passed along by another bishop, and as a bishop have had the same experience with a staff member who was protected by his bishop, with catastrophic results here

On paper, we are a one-strike church, but in reality, too may people are walked. 815 refused comment on this story with principled-sounding obfuscation, which essentially tells it all, doesn’t it? There is no more transparency at 815 than previously, as some of the commentators above know to their pain.

Ann Fontaine

It was the abuse of power – he was a priest and the victims were laity (age is not a factor except it is not child abuse) — KJS needs to answer whatever she was thinking allowing this predator to become an Episcopal priest.

Execute

In the report in today’s Star (my morning paper), it noted that some of his illicit encounters were with persons 18 years or older, and none reported younger than 16. That needs, of course, to be fully investigated. However, an event with an 18 year old victim would have been grounds for dismissal, but under the rubric of “sexual misconduct,” and not of abuse.

I have concerns about Parry’s self-report. It remains grounds for concern even if the victim is not a minor. However, what he acknowledged to Bishop Jefferts Schori, or any of the Catholic or Lutheran congregations where he participated before coming to All Saints, may well have been true, and still not involved children.

Marshall Scott

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