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Franklin Huntress abuse charges reinstated: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts, The Episcopal Church.
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The Supreme Court of New Hampshire has reinstated criminal charges brought against an Episcopal priest for child abuse. On 30 May 2014 the Supreme Court ruled the trial court did not have the authority to dismiss charges against the Rev. Franklin L. Huntress and ordered the matter for trial. First arrested by Lincolnshire Police in 1994 for child abuse, Huntress was arrested in July 2011 following a grand jury indictment for having sexually assaulted a child under the age of 13 in January 1984 and April 1985. Claims the then 77-year-old priest molested a child in 1974 prompted an investigation by the Diocese of Massachusetts that revealed Huntress had been arrested by police for abusing a child in 1994 while service as vicar of St Matthew’s Church in Skegness. However, the Diocese of Massachusetts said it had not been “contacted by either civil or Church authorities in England regarding the 1994 charges there.” The Diocese of Lincoln confirmed Huntress had been arrested, but the “charges were dropped and the detail and the circumstances were unclear.” Huntress’ file “had been destroyed as part of a previous archive policy” at the time Massachusetts had requested “further information”, a spokesman said. Ordained in 1962, Huntress served parishes in the US and from 1965 to 1967 at St Mary’s, Chester, from 1967-1971 at Waltham Abbey in Essex, from 1975 to 1979 at St Gabriel’s Abbey in Leicester, and from 1991 to 1994 at St Matthew’s in Skegness.

Priestly plagiarism leads to suspension: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013 p 7. May 30, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts, The Episcopal Church.
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The Diocese of Massachusetts has suspended a parish priest for allegedly plagiarizing sermons, taking them from the internet and then passing them off to his congregation as his own work.

In a 9 May 2013 letter to the members of St John’s Episcopal Church in Sandwich, Mass., Bishop Thomas Shaw stated he had placed the Rev John McGinn on administrative leave.

The Bishop reported that he had been alerted to the alleged plagiarism last year but had accepted Mr McGinn’s apology that this had been an isolated incident.

However: “We investigated further and have documentation that not only did he continue to copy sermons and preach and publish them verbatim, in print and online, as his own, but he had been doing so for many years,” the bishop said.

Mr McGinn has been accused of publishing 15 sermons taken from a book called “Dynamic Preaching” on the parish website, but identified as his own work.

“He admits to having done so,” the bishop said, noting: “This is a serious breach of the pastoral relationship between John and each of you, the congregation of St John’s.

“I am sorry that this matter has caused pain and will likely cause further pain in the parish. As difficult as this situation is, we know that truth-telling helps to bring about healing, and our renewal follows repentance.”

Claiming credit for others’ work is not confined to American clergy. In February the South China Morning Post four priests on the staff of St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong were accused of taking their sermons from the Internet and offering them to the congregation as their own work. Dean Matthias Der told the Post he was surprised to learn of the plagiarism.

“I had heard of it before, but I had never met anyone who had done it,” he said, noting it called into question a priest’s honesty.

“If we borrow, we need to attribute and that is the part they didn’t do,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate issue and it’s not something I condone or support.

Bishop of Massachusetts issues call for the election of a co-adjutor: Anglican Ink, January 15, 2013 January 15, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Massachusetts.
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The Rt. Rev M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE

The Bishop of Massachusetts has written to his diocese announcing the call for the election of his successor. In a letter dated 15 Jan 2013 the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE stated that he was “turning 68 this year.  From my prayer and conversation with my community, friends and family, I have decided to call for the election of my successor, a bishop coadjutor.  The election will take place at a special convention proposed for April 5, 2014.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Boston priest accused of abuse dies from drug overdose: The Church of England Newspaper, October 7, 2012 p 7. October 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts, The Episcopal Church.
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The Rev. Paul LaCharite. Photo: Somerville Police Dept.

The Boston priest accused of child rape has died of drug overdose, the Diocese of Massachusetts reports.

“With sorrow I received news this evening that the Rev. Paul LaCharite has died, an apparent suicide.  This is a shocking tragedy, and I’ve asked our diocesan community to pray for everyone concerned,” Bishop M. Thomas Shaw said in a statement posted on the diocesan website on 26 September 2012.

Boston police are investigating the death of Fr. LaCharite, whose body was found at his home last week. On 7 Sept the Middlesex District Attorney’s office announced that the former rector fo St James Episcopal Church in Somerville, Massachusetts had been charged with multiple counts of child abuse, assault and battery and attempted rape of a young boy, now 26, over a period of ten years. The abuse began when the boy was 7 years of age and ended when Fr. LaCharite retired, the victim alleged.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy,” David Meier, a lawyer for LaCharite, told the Boston Herald. “Fr. Paul LaCharite was truly an innocent man who was driven to the depths of despair by a false accusation.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Boston priest accused of child rape found dead: Anglican Ink, September 27, 2012 September 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Ink, Massachusetts, The Episcopal Church.
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Paul LaCharite. Photo: Somerville Police Department

The Massachusetts priest facing charges of attempted child rape and sexual abuse has died.

“With sorrow I received news this evening that the Rev. Paul LaCharite has died, an apparent suicide.  This is a shocking tragedy, and I’ve asked our diocesan community to pray for everyone concerned,” the Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, said last night.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Priest arrested for attempted child rape: The Church of England Newspaper, September 16, 2012 p 6. September 17, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts.
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A priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has been arrested by police on suspicion of indecent assault and attempted rape of a young boy.

On 7 September 2012, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office reported the Rev. Paul A. LaCharite (65) had been taken into custody by the Somerville (Mass.) Police Department.

“We allege that this defendant, holding a trusted position within the Episcopal Church, indecently assaulted and touched the victim over several years, only ending his 10-year long predatory abuse of the victim when the defendant left the church,” District Attorney Leone said.

“Our office will continue to prosecute those who harm or exploit children, as they are our most vulnerable victims and most deserving of our protection,” she said.

Fr. LaCharite, who presently serves as priest associate of Old North Church in Boston, is accused of molesting a boy over a period of ten years when he was rector of St James Episcopal Church in Somerville from 1989 to 2005.  According the district attorney’s office, the alleged abuse began when the victim was an elementary school student and continued until Fr. LaCharite’s retirement earlier this year.

Fr. LaCharite is alleged to have begun inappropriately touching the child and progressed over time to acts of indecent assault and attempted rape. The victim reported the assaults to the police earlier this week, and after investigation a warrant was arrested for Fr. LaCharite’s arrest.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Massachusetts told The Church of England Newspaper it was “cooperating fully with the investigation, and is making arrangements for pastoral care for the congregations where Paul LaCharite had affiliations and for Paul LaCharite himself.”

The diocesan spokesman said the church’s “canonical disciplinary process was initiated upon receipt of news from the DA’s Office.  The diocese remains committed to making our congregations safe through transparency, diligence, care for victims and due process.  We face this situation with real sorrow and concern for everyone affected.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Massachusetts priest arrested for attempted child rape: Anglican Ink, Sept 7, 2012 September 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Ink, Massachusetts.
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A retired Diocese of Massachusetts priest has been arrested by police and charged on one count of assault to rape a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery.

On 7 September 2012, the Middlesex District Attorney’s office reported the Rev. Paul A. LaCharite (65) had been taken into custody by the Somerville Police Department.

“We allege that this defendant, holding a trusted position within the Episcopal Church, indecently assaulted and touched the victim over several years, only ending his 10-year long predatory abuse of the victim when the defendant left the church,” District Attorney Leone said.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Massachusett priest re-arrested on new abuse charges: The Church of England Newspaper, July 15, 2011 July 20, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts, New Hampshire.
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The Rev. Franklin E. Huntress, Jr.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

A priest arrested by Lincolnshire Police in 1994 for child abuse, has been re-arrested in the United States for sex crimes committed in New Hampshire.

Last week Franklin E Huntress, Jr, was arrested at his home in Massachusetts and extradited to neighbouring New Hampshire following his indictment of having twice sexually assaulted a child under the age of 13 in January 1984 and April 1985.

The incidents occurred while Mr Huntress served as rector of St Stephen’s Church in Schuylerville, NY, and took place during a church programme in New Hampshire. In April allegations of child abuse by Mr Huntress were filed with the New York State police, however, the Saratoga Country District Attorney said his office could not pursue criminal charges against the retired priest.

At the time the alleged abuse took place, New York law required that criminal proceedings be brought within five years, or five years after the alleged victim turned 18. The statute of limitations on sex crimes differs in New Hampshire and a grand jury returned an indictment on two counts of abuse committed over 25 years ago against Mr Huntress.

The former clergyman posted a $25,000 bond in New Hampshire and has been released from custody pending trial.

Claims the 77-year-old priest molested a child in 1974 last year prompted an investigation by the Diocese of Massachusetts. During the course of its investigation, the Diocese learned Mr Huntress had been arrested by police for abusing a child in 1994 while service as vicar of St Matthew’s Church in Skegness, Lincs.

No charges were filed as the victim’s family did not want the child to testify in court. However, Church investigators concluded the allegations were true after reading the police report and speaking to the officers involved, said Canon Mally Lloyd, the Bishop of Massachusetts’s assistant.

Confronted with the charges, Mr Huntress resigned his orders, and was formally removed from the priesthood on 11 February by Bishop Thomas Shaw SSJE of Massachusetts.

However, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Massachusetts told The Church of England Newspaper “there is nothing in the records here indicating that the Diocese of Massachusetts was contacted by either civil or Church authorities in England regarding the 1994 charges there.”

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lincoln confirmed that Mr Huntress “had been arrested and charged in 1994 on accusations of abusing a minor when he was serving in England. However it appeared that these charges were dropped and the detail and the circumstances were unclear.”

Diocesan spokesman Will Harrison stated that “when the request for further information from the Diocese of Massachusetts was received the former Diocese of Lincoln file had been destroyed as part of a previous archive policy.”

Mr Huntress gave permission for the Lincolnshire Police to release their file on his arrest to the Diocese of Massachusetts, Mr Harrison said, adding the Diocese “was then informed that he was removed from the priesthood in the USA and the Diocese therefore notified the national Church authorities in case he moved back to the UK.”

Ordained in 1962, Mr Huntress served parishes in Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire and in the UK. From 1965 to 1967 he served at St Mary’s, Chester, from 1967-1971 at Waltham Abbey in Essex, from 1975 to 1979 at St Gabriel’s Abbey in Leicester, and from 1991 to 1994 at St Matthew’s in Skegness.

Diocese chided for its silence over 1994 abuse arrest: The Church of England Newspaper, March 11, 2011. March 10, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Massachusetts.
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The Rev. Franklin Huntress, Jr.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Lincoln failed to inform the Diocese of Massachusetts that one of its priests had been arrested for child abuse while serving as a vicar in Skegness.

The Rev. Franklin E. Huntress, Jr., relinquished his priestly orders rather than face a church trial last month after the Diocese of Massachusetts began an investigation into charges the 77 year old retired priest had molested a child in 1974.

During the course of its investigation, the diocese learned Mr. Huntress had been arrested by police for abusing a child in 1994 while service as vicar of St. Matthew’s Church in Skegness, Lincs.  No charges were filed against the American vicar as the family did not want the child to testify in court.  However, church investigators concluded the allegations were true after reading the police report and speaking to the officers involved, said Canon Mally Lloyd, the Bishop of Massachusetts’s assistant.

Confronted with the charges, Mr. Huntress resigned his orders, and was formally removed from the priesthood on Feb 11 by Bishop Thomas Shaw SSJE of Massachusetts.

However, the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Massachusetts told The Church of England Newspaper “there is nothing in the records here indicating that the Diocese of Massachusetts was contacted by either civil or church authorities in England regarding the 1994 charges there.”

Ordained in 1962, Mr. Huntress served parishes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and in the UK.  From 1965 to 1967 he served at St. Mary’s, Chester, from 1967-1971 at Waltham Abbey in Essex, from 1975 to 1979 at St. Gabriel’s Abbey in Leicester, and from 1991 to 1994 at St Matthew’s in Skegness.

Following his return to the US, he served in a part-time capacity at churches in the greater Boston-area.  The Diocese of Massachusetts turned over the records of its investigation of the 1974 incident to prosecutors in the US, but no action was taken by police as the statute of limitations had been tolled.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Lincoln confirmed that Mr. Huntress “had been arrested and charged in 1994 on accusations of abusing a minor when he was serving in England. However it appeared that these charges were dropped and the detail and the circumstances were unclear.”

Diocesan spokesman Will Harrison stated that “when the request for further information from the Diocese of Massachusetts was received the former Diocese of Lincoln file had been destroyed as part of a previous archive policy. The Diocese of Lincoln then liaised with the statutory authorities to find a way forward.”

He stated that Mr. Huntress asked the Lincolnshire Police to release their file on his arrest to the Diocese of Massachusetts.  “The Diocese of Lincoln was then informed that he was removed from the priesthood in the USA and the Diocese therefore notified the national church authorities in case he moved back to the UK.”

Mr. Harrison added the “Diocese of Lincoln takes all allegations of abuse seriously and works with the statutory authorities to establish the facts.  Our thoughts and prayers are, as ever, with the victims.”

Boston Cathedral celebrates first lesbian marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 14, 2011 p 7. January 14, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Marriage, Massachusetts.
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Canon Mally Lloyd, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, and Dean Katherine Ragsdale on Jan 1 at St Paul's Cathedral, Boston

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Massachusetts married two women priests last week.

On Jan 1, Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE celebrated the marriage of the Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School and the Rev. Mally Lloyd, the canon to the ordinary for the Diocese of Massachusetts.

“God always rejoices when two people who love each other make a lifelong commitment in marriage to go deeper into the heart of God through each other,” Bishop Shaw said, according to a press release from the Episcopal Divinity School.

“It’s a profound pleasure for me to celebrate with God and my friends Katherine and Mally their marriage today.”

The New Year’s Day wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral in Boston comes one year after Bishop Shaw permitted his clergy to perform same-sex marriages.  The Ragsdale-Lloyd wedding was the first marriage of a lesbian couple Bishop Shaw has performed, the press release noted.

The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church authorized bishops, “particularly in those dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal” to provide a “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”

Responses to the lesbian wedding have been low key.  Gay activists celebrated the event as a victory for “full inclusion” while conservatives repudiated the ceremony as a caricature of the church’s theology of marriage.

A spokesman for the Gafcon movement said he was not surprised by the news, but declined to comment on the latest news out of America.  A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury said Dr. Williams was on retreat, but noted “this looks like it’s a provincial matter so not something we would comment on.”

Dr. Ephraim Radner, a member of the Anglican Covenant design team, and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, Toronto, however, expressed disappointment with Lambeth Palace’s view of the affair.

“While I am not surprised at Lambeth’s response at this point, it is nonetheless very disappointing:  that is, the marriage in question continues to underline the degree to which the Episcopal Church has no interest in abiding by the teaching and discipline articulated by the Instruments of Communion, and thus emphasizes her incoherence as a province with the rest of the Communion in these fundamental areas of Christian life together,” the Anglican Communion Institute scholar noted.

“Why is this fact not worthy of comment?  Does the Church of England as a province have no interest in this ever-strengthening rebuff?  Does the Archbishop of Canterbury have no interest in this?  Will he continue to act as if nothing has happened?  If so, the avoidance of “response” constitutes ongoing Communion negligence,” Dr. Radner said.

Same-sex blessings authorised in Massachusetts: CEN 12.04.09 p 7. December 9, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Massachusetts.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Massachusetts has authorised his clergy to solemnise same-sex marriages. The Nov 29 announcement by the Rt Rev M Thomas Shaw, SSJE follows announcements by the Bishops of Bethlehem, Huron and Southern Ohio authorising their clergy to bless gay civil unions.

In a letter read to congregations last week, Bishop Shaw said that experience had shown him that many same-sex relations are characterised by “fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, and the holy love which enables spouses to see in one another the image of God.”

Go-ahead for same-sex marriages in Massachusetts

Because Christian marriage is a “sacramental rite” it must be “open to all as a means of grace and sustenance to our Christian hope,” he said.

In 2004 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court authorized gay marriage. Courts in California, Iowa, and Maine followed suit, as did the Vermont legislature. Referendums mounted by petition in California and Maine, however, have nullified the courts’ decisions.

In the Diocese of Massachusetts, “while faithfully waiting for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to act in response” to the legalisation of gay marriage, “our clergy have not been allowed to solemnise same-gender marriages, but they have been permitted to bless them after the fact.” Bishop Shaw said the decision by General Convention this year to “provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church,” allowed him to give the go-ahead for gay church weddings.

The Prayer Book rite for marriage, with its language of ‘man and woman’ was not to be used, the bishop said, noting, however, that other trial liturgies were available.

In Canada, where gay civil marriage is also authorised, the Rt Rev Robert Bennett on Nov 26 told his clergy that “as we await General Synod 2010, the Diocese of Huron will maintain the moratorium agreed to at Lambeth” and not permit gay marriage, but would allow blessings of gay unions. “These celebrations are understood to be a pastoral response to same-sex couples in our communities,” he said, and are to take place in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, but “there is to be no exchange of vows, no exchange of rings and no nuptial blessing.”

Clergy in Bethlehem and Southern Ohio have also been authorised to perform gay blessings. But the Rt Rev Paul Marshall of Bethlehem reminded his clergy that they could not hold out these ceremonies as marriages as state law did not recognize their validity.

Writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 16 and 17, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori claimed the Episcopal Church had not authorized gay marriage.

Convention resolution C056, which authorised dioceses to “collect and develop” same-sex blessings rites, and encouraged a “generous pastoral provision” of support for gays and lesbians, including offering gay blessings rites “does not authorise public liturgical rites for the blessing of same-gender unions,” said Bishop Jefferts Schori said.

The Bishop of Massachusetts September 27, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Massachusetts.
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The Rt Rev. M Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Bishop of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Diocese, Parish Settle Lawsuit: TLC 8.08.07 August 8, 2007

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Living Church, Massachusetts, Property Litigation.
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The Diocese of Massachusetts has settled its lawsuit against the former rector and members of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Attleboro. On Aug. 1, the diocese discontinued litigation against the Rev. Lance Giuffrida and members of the vestry of All Saints’ Anglican Church, a parish of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMIA), in consideration of payment of an undisclosed sum.

Both sides hailed the agreement. The Rev. Gregory A. Jacobs, diocesan staff officer for urban ministry development, said the settlement will help support the remnant of the parish that chose to remain in The Episcopal Church. The agreement “will allow the continuing congregation at All Saints’ Episcopal Church to grow their ministry as they continue to be a vital presence in the faith community of Attleboro,” he said.

Fr. Giuffrida also lauded the agreement, writing to his congregation on Aug. 4 that the agreement was fortuitous.

“In a shorter time than seemed possible, God has removed every obstacle from our paths,” he said, reporting both the settlement of litigation and the purchase of a redundant Methodist church for the AMiA congregation.

In September 2006, the congregation voted to withdraw from the Diocese of Massachusetts and affiliate with the Rwandan-backed AMiA. Following negotiations, the congregation turned over the property to the diocese in January.

However in late June, the diocese filed suit against the former rector and 18 vestry members, alleging they had diverted $196,863 from parish coffers to the newly formed AMiA congregation. The diocese also sought damages against Fr. Giuffrida, seeking repayment of a $10,000 home equity loan given by the parish to its rector and $7,600 in salary paid during the transition from The Episcopal Church to the AMiA. The leaders of the breakaway group denied the allegations.

Fr. Giuffrida told the Attleboro Sun Chronicle the agreement included a hold-harmless agreement binding both parties, repayment of a $10,000 home loan, and the return of some prayer books.

First published in The Living Church.

Diocese, Congregation Announce Amicable Separation in Massachusetts: TLC 7.20.07 July 20, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Kenya, Living Church, Massachusetts, Property Litigation.
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The Diocese of Massachusetts recently announced an amicable separation agreement with the Rev. William Murdoch and the majority of members at All Saints’ Church, West Newbury, who have left The Episcopal Church for the Anglican Church of Kenya.

In a statement released July 17, Fr. Murdoch, who along with the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood will be consecrated Aug. 30 as bishops suffragan of the Kenyan church to oversee their American congregations, stated that the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Bishop of Massachusetts, will permit the congregation to worship at All Saints’ until Sept. 2.

Read it all in The Living Church.