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Second lawsuit filed against Parry’s former abbey

Second lawsuit filed against Parry’s former abbey

The Kansas City Star has the story:

A second lawsuit has been filed against a northwest Missouri abbey alleging cover-up of sexual abuse by a former monk who directed its boys’ choir in the 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed against Conception Abbey by an Oregon man, claims that Bede Parry, a Benedictine monk, molested the plaintiff in the early 1980s when the plaintiff was a minor. At the time, Parry taught the boy piano lessons and led the Abbey Boy Choir of Conception Abbey.

The suit alleges the abbey knew Parry had sexually abused other students before abusing the plaintiff but kept it quiet. “He’s been dealing with this for a long time, and the memories started making it debilitating for him the last couple of years,” said Rebecca Randles, the attorney who filed the suit.

The plaintiff, who Randles said was 14 or 15 at the time, issued a statement saying the abuse left him feeling “outcast, worthless and helpless.”

Parry, as you may recall was accepted into the Episcopal Church as a priest in the Diocese of Nevada in 2004. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was Bishop of Nevada at the time.

The court filing in this second case is available online, and the detailed allegations make difficult reading. Like the previous suit filed against Conception Abbey, this one also alleges that the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada (which it mistakenly refers to as the Abbey of Nevada) received the results of psychological testing on Parry, conducted in 2000, that indicated that he was a sexual abuser with a “proclivity to reoffend with minors.”

Bishop Dan Edwards, the current Bishop of Nevada, said previously that he has no record of receiving such testing, and is not certain the testing exists. Edwards became Bishop of Nevada in 2008. The presiding bishop has refused to answer questions about the testing, or give details about Parry’s reception into the church.

Clearing up the conflicting accounts about the testing would seem to be essential in gaining a deeper understanding of the diocese’s decision to receive Parry as a priest.

Among the other troubling aspects of this case, from an Episcopal point of view, is the way in which the diocese has responded to the seemingly persuasive evidence–some of it provided to the Star by Parry himself–that Parry hid instances of abuse in his past from the diocese when he applied for reception. Even if the presiding bishop’s handling of this case was flawless, recent revelations are cause for Parry’s deposition. Instead, the bishop allowed him to resign, which–while it may strike some as pastoral–keeps the facts of the case from becoming a matter of record.


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John B. Chilton

There’s a pastoral tradeoff — when Parry escapes accountability (yet again) his victims suffer once again. That’s crazy.

There’s a message sent to bishops as well: it’s ok to quietly let someone resign rather than depose them. The problem is a bishop may have an adverse motive to do so. For too long we’ve tolerated sweeping things under the rug.

I’m not saying there’s anything to sweep under the rug in this case, but it’s sets a poor example not to depose and not to examine how the system of receiving clergy can be improved so errors of this kind are reduced.

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