According the lawsuit filed in Mobile Circuit Court in Alabama, Stacy Sauls (former COO of the the Episcopal Church) alleges that there was concerted conspiracy headed by President of the House of Deputies, Gay Clark Jennings determined to oust him from his position.
“Sauls, however, is the victim of a wrongful conspiracy via a calculated, determined, and prolonged series of acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, as carried out by individuals employed by the Church, and others outside the employment of the Church, who repeatedly have attacked the office and person of Chief Operating Officer, including by measures calculated to undermine the authority, stature, and leadership of the Plaintiff and his former office, as part of a scheme to elevate the stature and authority of the President of the Church’s House of Deputies and to constitute that position as an office to be regarded and treated, in respect to Church governance and the exercise of authority over the staff and resources of the Church, as co-equal with the office of the Presiding Bishop.”
The suit alleges that up to 30 people (John Does 1-30) in and out of the Church Center were involved in the conspiracy;
“Defendants John Does 1-10 are individuals not employed by the DFMS who participated in the wrongful acts alleged herein. Defendants John Does 11-20 are employees of the DFMS who, acting outside the line and scope of their employment, joined and participated in the wrongful acts alleged herein. Defendants John Does 21-30 are corporations, partnerships, or other entities that joined and participated in the wrongful acts alleged herein. At present, Plaintiff is unable to identify the John Doe Defendants and expects to be able to do so in the discovery phase of this litigation.”
The suit also gives the first public glance at the charges levelled against two of Bishop Sauls associates which led tho their dismissal and the end of his tenure as COO.
“At the noon meeting, Mr. Beers told the Plaintiff and his colleagues that the allegations against them were grim and serious, including charges of racism, sexism, retaliation, sexual harassment, and creation of a hostile workplace.”
The heart of Sauls’ complaint seems to be that the nature of his termination, being publicly linked to the misconduct of his associates has damaged his reputation, despite being cleared of any wrongdoing, so that he has been unable to find employment anywhere in the church.
“Since April 2016, even though he has had the benefit of the enthusiastic, unqualified, and active support of numerous other Bishops and other clergy in the Church, Bishop Sauls’s efforts to find other employment have been to no avail. He has asked to be considered for employment in numerous vacant positions in parishes of the Church—for each of which, by any reasonable measure, he is eminently qualified by virtue of his education, background, and professional experience; yet, every one of these prospective employers has uniformly and summarily denied him employment. From the inception of the Defendants’ wrongful conduct, carried out by, among other things, their baseless charges and serial unfounded investigations, their knowing dissemination and publication of false, defamatory, and malicious attacks upon the Plaintiff, and their repeated wrongful manipulation, misuse, and abuse of the internal procedures and policies of the Church, for the purpose and with the intent of injuring and defaming the Plaintiff, smearing his reputation, and causing the termination of his employment by the Church, and with the said conspiracy continuing daily, unabated, the wrongful acts of the Defendants have made it impossible for the Plaintiff to obtain employment in the Episcopal Church, anywhere.
Furthermore, at no time has the Presiding Bishop discussed with Bishop Sauls or his colleagues the specifics of the allegations that were the basis of the investigations and its consequences. Bishop Curry has refused to discuss the allegations with the three officers who were charged with misconduct.”
You can download a pdf version of the suit here.