Friday, October 3, 2008

Episcopal bishop defrocked in cover-up

For immediate release: Friday, October 3, 2008

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)

We believe this is a first in US history: a clergyman defrocked for concealing a pedophile priest's crimes. We believe it should happen far more often.

This long overdue but crucial move sends a strong signal to Episcopalian officials: child sex abuse should be reported and disclosed, not minimized and hidden. More importantly, it sends the message that you will be punished, not promoted, for covering up for criminal colleagues. If this signal had ever been sent in the Catholic hierarchy, perhaps thousands of kids and their families would have been spared devastating pain.

Unacknowledged wounds rarely heal, so we hope this important validation can help those so deeply wounded by the Bennison brothers to recover from the horrific betrayal they've experienced. We commend them for being brave and wise enough to come forward, speak up, cooperate with authorities, and expose both a dangerous child molester and a corrupt church supervisor. Episcopalian families are safer and Episcopalian churches are healthier because of these courageous victims.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)

Episcopal bishop defrocked in cover-up

Friday, October 03, 2008 | 12:41 PM

Charles E. Bennison Jr. was formally "inhibited" by the diocese and was ordered to "cease all episcopal, ministerial and canonical acts." The church indictment, called a presentment, charges that Bennison reacted "passively and self-protectively" and "failed to take obvious, essential steps to investigate his brother's actions, protect the girl from further abuse, and find out whether other children were in danger."


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - October 3, 2008 -- An Episcopal bishop in Pennsylvania has been defrocked after a church panel found him guilty of covering up his brother's assaults of a teenage girl in the 1970s.

Church documents released Friday say 64-year-old Charles Bennison Jr. should no longer serve as a member of the clergy.

The church panel chose the harshest sentence for Bennison, who has been bishop of the nation's fifth-largest Episcopal diocese. He could have been reprimanded or suspended.

1 comment:


Sadly, this case of sexual abuse in the Episcopal Church happened in Pennsylvania.

If it had happened in the State of Delaware, the sexual abuse of a minor, no matter when it happened, could be brought into civil court. There both the abuser and any enabling individuals or institutions WOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.


believed to be the most comprehensive civil legislation concerning the sexual abuse of minors.

There is no question that the signing of this bill should provide the necessary impetus for states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland, the District of Columbia and the state of Colorado to pursue this type of legislation. Victims whose lawsuits previously were barred due to time limits will now have their day of justice in a court of law in Delaware.

It is sadly ironic that this latest case concerning Bennison can only come before its own church court.

Pennsylvania's law currently do not protect victims but give more protection to predators, no matter their religious affiliation.


Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Victims' Advocate