Bishop to Suspend Priest for “Abusive Cult Practices”?

The Globe and Mail reports Anglican authorities have begun investigating the activities of a retired Anglican priest who was headmaster for two decades of a now-closed private Christian school where alleged abusive cult practices were carried out.

Bishop George Bruce is considering whether to exercise his authority under Canon Law to “inhibit” – suspend the priestly duties- of Rev. Charles Farnsworth.

Anglican Canon law specifically allows for inhibition in disciplinary inquiries “if it appears to the bishop that great scandal is likely to arise if a priest continues to perform the duties of his or her office while a charge is under investigation…”

Over the last 15 years I have represented many victims of clergy sexual abuse and read the reports of hundreds of other cases. I am not aware of any case where a Bishop has publically stated that he would exercise his power of inhibition. Bishop Bruce is to be commended for acting so quickly after the accusations became public. But it begs the question, what are the allegations that he thinks will cause “great scandal”? The details that have come out so far are pretty bizarre, involving accusations of physical abuse and psychological brainwashing.

This story is one to watch.  Kathy Shaw has posted a number of stories about Farnsworth on the Abuse Tracker blog.

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