Vermont bishop received e-mail allegation

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(Host) A delegate to the Episcopal Church convention in Minneapolis says Vermont Bishop Thomas Ely was one of a group of bishops who received an e-mail alleging sexual misconduct by the bishop-elect of New Hampshire – and that Ely has been in touch with the person who sent the e-mail.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) The bishops were poised to vote on the confirmation of Gene Robinson as the church’s first openly gay bishop Monday when news of the e-mail reached the convention. Lay and clergy leaders had already confirmed the controversial appointment.

According to news reports, the e-mail came from David Lewis of Manchester. The reports say Lewis describes himself in the e-mail as “a straight man reporting homosexual harassment by a gay male priest from another diocese” and alleges Robinson put his hands on him inappropriately.

Anne Brown of Plymouth is one of eight Vermont delegates to the Minneapolis convention. Brown says Vermont Bishop Thomas Ely was among the recipients of the e-mail. Brown says she’s hopeful the investigation into the allegations can be completed before the end of the convention on Friday.

(Brown) “In the meantime, Bishop Ely is in communication with the person who wrote the e-mail and is treating this as a pastoral situation.”

(Zind) Brown says the news of the e-mail shook the convention. She says Robinson has been instrumental in efforts to prevent sexual abuse in the church. Vermont’s Episcopal bishop has supported Robinson’s nomination. Brown says she doesn’t believe Monday’s developments will change his position.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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