Before launching into the array of problems in ACNA clergy that are in the public domain, it would be helpful to review one section of Scripture that tells us exactly how leaders in the church are supposed to be. Paul, writing to Timothy, says:
The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not two-faced, not given to excessive drinking, not greedy for gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And these also must be tested first and then let them serve as deacons if they are found blameless. Likewise also their wives must be dignified, not slanderous, temperate, faithful in every respect. Deacons must be husbands of one wife and good managers of their children and their own households. For those who have served well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
With that passage in mind, let’s take a trip through some of the cases in the very short history of ACNA.
On June 10 2012 CANA Bishop Julian Dobbs ordained the Rev. Kent Hinkson to the diaconate. Hinkson was a volunteer minister at All Saints Church in Durham and had been a pastor at Presbyterian churches in Texas, California and Florida before joining the ACNA. In 2014 Hinkson met a man named Matthew John Reed on a gay website. On August 4 2014 Hinkson left his home and told his family he was going to visit a pharmacy and make a deposit at a Durham bank. Instead he met Reed at a restaurant, then proceeded to the Eno River State Park where there was a sexual encounter. Reed then threatened to reveal the rendezvous and asked for hush money. He became angry and killed Hinkson.
Buchanan was a pastor in CANA (part of ACNA) who was active in boy scouting and at one time was president of the Katahdin Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also in possession of child pornography and received a felony conviction for it.
In February 2016 according to reporter Bill Trotter:
Bishop Julian Dobbs…said Thursday that he has accepted the resignation of the Rev. Wayne Buchanan as pastor of Tremont Congregational Church. The church, home of St. Brendan’s Anglican Parish, is located on Route 102 in the village of Bass Harbor.
Dobbs declined to comment on why Buchanan has resigned, but he did say that police have been looking into a situation that preceded Buchanan’s departure. He did not provide any additional details.
In March 2016 Trotter reported:
Police are investigating a former Tremont pastor for alleged possession of child pornography, according to a search warrant on file at Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.
The Rev. Wayne Buchanan resigned as pastor of Tremont Congregational Church in January, after detectives with the Maine State Police Computer Crimes unit identified him as a suspect in sharing child pornography images online. Buchanan, who also was on the faculty at Grace Evangelical College and Seminary in Bangor, resigned from his position there the same month.
Buchanan is no longer affiliated with either the Tremont church on Mount Desert Island or the seminary.
According to a court affidavit written by Detective David Armstrong of the Maine State Police, investigators with the computer crimes unit were conducting online searches of a peer-to-peer computer network in late December 2015 when they found files known to law enforcement as being connected with child pornography.
Police identified a specific Internet Protocol address associated with these files and traced that identifying number to Buchanan’s home in Southwest Harbor, according to the affidavit. The account associated with the IP address has been active for the past seven years, the document indicated. Seized in the subsequent search of Buchanan’s home, executed on Jan. 6, were a laptop, two iPads, four thumb drives and a memory card, court documents indicate.
In 2017 he was convicted.
The former pastor of a Tremont church will serve a suspended sentence and probation after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge Friday in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court.
Wayne Buchanan, 63, of Southwest Harbor pleaded guilty to one count of possessing sexually explicit material of a minor under the age of 12, a Class C felony level crime.
Buchanan was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term and to two years probation with conditions that include no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 12. He also is required to register with the Maine Sex Offender Registry. (….)
Detectives with the computer crimes unit executed a search warrant at Buchanan’s home in January 2016, seizing computers, thumb drives and a memory card. In an affidavit filed to support the search warrant, Detective David Armstrong stated another detective downloaded “numerous sexually explicit images” involving children from Buchanan’s computer.
Buchanan resigned as pastor of the Tremont Congregational Church and St. Brendan’s Anglican Mission on Jan. 7, 2016, the day after state police executed the search warrant. (….) Buchanan…. has been “removed from his holy orders in the Anglican Church by action of the bishop according to the canons of the church and no longer is a member of the Anglican clergy.”
Buchanan, according to published reports, was active in boy scouting and at one time was president of the Katahdin Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Buchanan went on to violate his probation as you can read here.
In 2019 Father Eric Dudley of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee was found to have “…engaged in sexual misconduct against certain adult staff members and one other non-staff adult, abused his authority as an employer and priest and emotionally harmed those in his charge.” This included things like:
With each of these reported victims, the relationships with Father Eric not only grew much more personal, but they eventually crossed physical boundaries. This usually occurred when the men were alone, and Father Eric engaged them in a personal conversation about previously known vulnerabilities. Almost inevitably, this resulted in someone crying and Father Eric engaging in some form of physical contact, such as putting his head in the reported victim’s lap, holding the reported victim’s hands, touching the reported victim’s feet, or otherwise caressing the reported victim. In many cases, the physical contact escalated to the point that Father Eric was arranging to sleep in the same bed as the reported victim; he even kissed a reported victim on the mouth. If the respective person expressed any uneasiness with the touching, Father Eric would either normalize the behavior (such as by explaining that he was just an affectionate person or talking about men holding hands or kissing in other cultures) or reassure the victim that he was not sexually attracted to men.
Eventually this grooming escalated:
As the communications, meetings, and personal activities that Father Eric demanded from these young men grew in frequency and intensity, the reported victims and their spouses became increasingly annoyed and troubled. Attempts by the reported victims to reduce communications and contact with Father Eric, however, were often met with guilt trips, anger, and sometimes rage. Father Eric’s escalation of misconduct over time led each victim to disclose their experiences.
When John Doe got to the room he saw that there was, once again, only a single king-sized bed. This time, however, Eric admitted that he requested a single bed, and told John Doe that he “just enjoyed being close” to [John Doe] but that he did not “want to run away to California and get married.” John Doe thought this was strange” but also felt unable to do anything about it, “l realized that I was trapped in a hotel room hundreds of miles from home and that this person was clearly coming on to me. I had already told him that a single bed was weird in [South Carolina] and my nonverbal reactions should have clearly stated that I was not comfortable at all.” Eric insisted, however, that there was nothing erotic about it. John Doe recalled, “[Father Eric] was supposed to be my best friend and mentor. I was conflicted and unsure of who to talk to about it, so I didn’t resist.”
To read the entire report on Dudley, click here.
Rivera was found guilty of five counts of felony child sexual abuse and assault on December 15 2022. According to the Kane County (Illinois) State Attorney’s Office:
On multiple occasions between June 2018 and May 2019, Rivera sexually assaulted the victim, whom he knew. The victim was younger than 13 years old. Rivera at the time was a lay pastor at the Anglican Church of North America in Big Rock, Illinois.
Judge Barsanti set Rivera’s next court appearance for February 10, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 319 at the Kane County Judicial Center for motions and sentencing.
In addition to the prison term, Rivera must register for life as a sexual offender in accordance with the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act.
Judge Barsanti revoked bond upon conviction and ordered Rivera taken into custody at the Kane County jail.
ASA Rodgers said: “Mr. Rivera is a predator who used his position of respectability and stature in a church and within the community to prey on this child with no consideration for the trauma he caused. The victim showed great courage, however, telling her mother about his criminal conduct, in preparing for this trial and in facing him in court. My thanks to ASA Wilkinson, to Child Advocacy Center Investigator Beth Mullarkey, and to advocate Julie Pohlman for their work in bringing justice to this victim and her family.”
Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna
In the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin a priest named Jesus Antonio Castañeda-Serna was accused of sexual misconduct and arrested on February 24th 2019. According to this story:
Dyer said detectives believed Castañeda had sexually abused hundreds of people. Officers came up with the estimate by looking at the number of people who had come forward so far, times the number of years Castañeda had been an active priest in California and Washington, Dyer said later in an interview.
In 2017, several men came forward with allegations that Castañeda had sexually abused parishioners during massages that he said could heal them physically or spiritually, said Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin.
“All of the victims that I met with at the beginning were undocumented men and so going to the police was a scary prospect,” Menees said.
But, in early 2018, Luis and another man agreed to be interviewed by detectives.
The other alleged victim told police that Castañeda instructed him to masturbate in front of him on multiple occasions, according to a declaration by a Fresno police investigator to support an arrest warrant. He said the priest told him that he needed to see his semen to determine the exact curse or illness afflicting him. In one instance, the man said, Castañeda hugged him and told him he loved him “as a man loves a woman.”
Castañeda was arrested in February 2019 and released the next day on bond. Over 40 parishioners told church officials that they, or someone they knew, had been abused by Castañeda, Menees told KQED in an email.
There is or was a lawsuit against the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin:
It is unclear if diocesan officials in Fresno ever told parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe about the allegation. Fifteen current and former parishioners — out of the 23 interviewed for this story — said they were never informed a past allegation was lodged against Castañeda. The remaining eight parishioners didn’t respond to follow-up calls about whether they had been informed.
When asked whether parishioners were notified of the allegation, the diocese’s current bishop, Menees, said in an email, “Due to the pending criminal and civil proceedings, I have been advised by counsel to make no comment.”’I started realizing that, well, this wasn’t OK. I had no idea how many people were going through the same thing as me.’Luis (Luis is a pseudonym. KQED is not using the real names of alleged sexual assault survivors in this story.)
Three people have also filed a lawsuit against Castañeda and the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin. They allege Castaneda sexually assaulted them and that the priest and the church violated their trust. The lawsuit claims the church was negligent in hiring and supervising Castañeda, resulting in infliction of emotional distress.
The Diocese put out a statement that said:
Castañeda (commonly known as Father Antonio Castañeda) joined the diocese in 2008 as the vicar of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Fresno, California. On the evening of October 29, 2017, Bishop Eric Menees received credible accusations that Castañeda had committed sexual misconduct against adults in the diocese. The following morning, Bishop Menees suspended Castañeda from all pastoral and priestly ministry and reported the accusations to the police.
The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin hired an independent third party to conduct an internal investigation. Pursuant to diocesan policy, Castañeda was notified of his right to representation at an ecclesiastical trial convened to hear the accusations. On November 24, 2017, Castañeda informed the bishop he would not contest the accusations, and he consented to be deposed from priestly ministry in the Anglican Church. Castañeda was then stripped of all priestly roles, privileges, and standing, and Bishop Menees began lending day-to-day pastoral care and oversight to Castañeda’s former congregation.
Disturbingly, Castañeda had previously withdrawn from the Roman Catholic priesthood before coming to the Diocese of San Joaquin and apparently the diocese was warned about his sexual misconduct with an adult and yet took him in! Donald W. Meyers wrote in he Yakima Herald:
Serna was a priest in the Yakima Diocese in 1997, but was suspended in 2005 amid allegations that he had revealed information he received in the confessional, said Monsignor Robert Siler, spokesman for the diocese.
While the diocese was investigating that and seeking direction from the Vatican, Castañeda Serna asked to withdraw from the priesthood, Siler said — a request granted in 2007. The diocese notified regional parishes that Castañeda Serna might attempt to pass himself off as a priest, Siler said.
A year later, the diocese attempted to look into an allegation that Castañeda Serna had engaged in sexual misconduct with an adult while a priest, but Siler said Serna did not cooperate with the diocese’s investigator. That allegation was passed on to Castañeda Serna’s Anglican diocese, Siler said. Siler said the Yakima Diocese has put Fresno investigators in touch with the man who made the allegation.
Bishop Ronald Jackson
According to the ACNA:
On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, Bishop Jackson admitted to the use of pornography over many years and pleaded guilty to the charges of sexual immorality (Canon IV.2(6)) and conduct giving just cause for scandal or offense (Canon IV.2(4)).
According to Canon IV.8(2) it is the responsibility of the College of Bishops to impose a sentence when a bishop is guilty of an ecclesiastical charge. Meeting on June 2, 2020, the College voted to impose the sentence of deposition from the sacred ministry on Bishop Jackson. His holy orders have been removed, and he is no longer permitted to engage in ordained ministry in the Anglican Church in North America.
A commenter on this blog added:
When I worked for a diocese in the ACNA, the vetting process was a joke. Questions were raised about Ronald Jackson regarding background and those questions were blown off In order to have a quick election for a bishop.
I have personally witnessed people who were ordained even after a vocations committee rejected the candidate due to questionable past behavior.
Bishop James Hobby
Bishop Hobby stonewalled a situation in his diocese about a priest in his diocese who brought a grievance against another priest of a sexual nature in August 2018. Hobby slow walked the accusation and the Standing Committee of his diocese wasn’t informed until 14 months later when other complaints were also made. The Standing Committee was stonewalled by Bishop Hobby who would not turn over relevant files as required by canons until the delegate bishop Bishop Lawerence was appointed to clean things up with the priest in August 2020. Bishop Hobby allowed this priest to be elected President of Diocesan Council for 2020.
According to The Rev. Jeffrey Wylie:
The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh Standing Committee unanimously concluded that Bishop Hobby had broken the bond of trust which is essential to the office of Bishop. As a result of this conclusion, after consultation with Archbishop Foley Beach, the Standing Committee requested on October 28, 2020 that Bishop Hobby resign as Bishop of Pittsburgh. Bishop Hobby agreed to resign and submitted his resignation on October 29, 2020. The Standing Committee reached its conclusion because Bishop Hobby:
Failed to act with urgency, transparency, and timeliness when an accusation of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy was brought to his attention. To be clear, this misconduct involved another adult who is a clergy member.
- Repeatedly failed to properly follow the Canonical process for this accusation.
- Inexplicably delayed in advising the Standing Committee of other formal complaints about the same clergy member.
- Did not share material information regarding the investigation with the Standing Committee and the Canonical Investigator in a timely manner.
- Failed repeatedly to act in a manner that demonstrated proper concern for the victims of an abusive priest. To be clear, this abuse related to adults and did not involve physical contact.
With regard to the process leading to Bishop Hobby’s resignation, the ACNA Canons include a procedure to follow in situations in which “The Episcopal Relationship is Imperiled or Hindered.” See ACNA Canons, Title III, Canon 8, Section 8. After the Standing Committee unanimously concluded that Bishop Hobby had broken the bond of trust essential to the office of the Bishop, it consulted with Archbishop Foley Beach and Canon Phil Ashey, who serves as Special Counsel to the Archbishop, and received their advice. The committee then unanimously agreed to ask Bishop Hobby to voluntarily resign. Bishop Hobby was aware that he could reject this request and go through the formal Canonical process set forth in Title III, Canon 8, Section 8 of the ANCA Canons. In response to the committee’s request, Bishop Hobby chose to resign.
There are far more details that I am not including here.
Jay Greener was the rector of Redeemer North Shore and C4SO Dean of the Midwest. He was the first communications director for the AMiA. In May or June 2022 he resigned as rector and forfeited his license in C4SO. According to the report that summarized the investigation of his behavior:
A third woman recalled instances in which Mr. Greener would engage in unwanted or unwelcome touch of an intimate or sexual nature. She recalled, “He would give me a hug, which could be appropriate. But then whisper in my ear how nice I look, which is probably not appropriate.” Mr. Greener reportedly extended embraces in a way that caused discomfort. “But then he’d hold me longer and be like, it’s so good to see you. So good.” Other touch included holding and kissing her hand in a way that felt uncomfortable. She reported:
He would get way too close to me, walk up behind me and put his hands on my hips, kiss my head, I said, oh its just endearing, or he is just drunk. He was drunk often. He would pull me close and mutter that I looked really nice, or lovely. He asked about my sex life, if I was keeping my husband happy, and I brushed it off as him trying to be paternal. Except my own father would never ask such things. If I walked into room [sic] and he was already sitting down he would reach for my hand, hold it to his face and kiss it. He would give me hugs that were way too long and then tell me how nice it was that I was so affectionate because some of the other people in our group weren’t.
She recalled, “it made me feel sick in my stomach, the whole time. Like, something is not okay about this.” Mr. Greener reportedly put her hands on her waist at least two different times. Mr. Greener also reportedly made in appropriate comments about her appearance. She recalled, “He would make comments about my body. He continually made jokes about my large ass in front of many different groups of people.”
(…) She reported that Mr. Greener “consistently made comments about the size of my breasts” and at one point suggested that he could not imagine breastfeeding being a problem for her after he became aware that she was seeing a lactation consultant.
A letter from Bishop Todd Hunter says in part:
Last December, our Ombudsman, Canon Kimberley Pfeiler, received allegations of “actions not appropriate for clergy” involving the Rev. Canon Jay Greener, Rector at Church of the Redeemer. I determined that an independent investigation was required, and the Diocese then engaged Wade Mullen of Pellucid Consulting.
The investigation included interviews with 27 current and past staff, vestry and congregation members, a survey involving 99 Redeemer parishioners, and a review of supporting documentation. On that basis, Pellucid delivered their Independent Assessment Report last week, concluding that they found “credible and compelling” accusations of inappropriate conduct, including the abuse of power, sexual harassment, and alcohol abuse.
After reviewing the report with his Chaplain/Representative, Bishop Kevin Donlon, and discussing the report with me, Jay resigned as Rector of Church of the Redeemer and forfeited his license in C4SO.