Excerpts from the Rev. Gordon Scruton's investigation into the allegations surrounding the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who on Tuesday became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. The "I" references refer to Scruton; all references to "he" or "the individual" refer to David Lewis of Manchester, Vt., who had alleged that Robinson touched him inappropriately:
According to the individual, the events took place at a Province I convocation in November of 1999. There were two exchanges between the individual and Canon Robinson at the convocation.
In the first, the individual was seated at the beginning of a plenary session. As Cannon Robinson was passing by him, the individual asked Canon Robinson a question about the order of events or the schedule of the convocation procedure or something of that nature. Canon Robinson put his left hand on the individual's arm and his right hand on the individual's upper back as he listened to the questions and answered them. This incident was in public view and was brief. The individual said Canon Robinson answered his questions and spoke no inappropriate words. The second incident occurred later in the convocation, while the two were standing in proximity. During a light moment in the convocation, the individual turned to Canon Robinson to make a comment. In response, Canon Robinson touched the individual's forearm and back while responding with his own comment.
The individual said that, in his opinion, Canon Robinson's placement of his hands seemed inappropriate to him, given that they did not know each other, and presumed a far greater familiarity or intimacy than was the case. The individual said these incidents made him feel uncomfortable. He said he has never said anything to anyone about this, but did mention it to his wife, but not at the time. He acknowledged that other people could have seen the exchange as natural and normal.
He said he had not thought that the House of Deputies was going to consent to Canon Robinson's election, and when he learned consent had been given, he found himself late Sunday night needing to tell someone of his experience. He observed that when he wrote that e-mail, he was feeling upset, in part because he expected his concern to be brushed under the rug. He thought the Church would close ranks and not listen to him. I asked him whether he wanted to bring a formal charge of harassment. He said very clearly, no. He regretted having used the word 'harassment' in his e-mail.
The Title IV disciplinary process for priests was then explained to the individual, and I asked him again if he wished to proceed to file a written complaint. Again, he indicated that he had no desire to pursue the matter any further. He said he was thankful the church has taken this seriously, and that he felt 'listened to.'
Allegations also were made that Robinson was connected to a group whose Web site can indirectly link users to pornography:
What appears to be beyond dispute is that Canon Robinson helped to found Concord Outright in 1995. Investigation shows that the organization was founded to provide support and counseling for young people concerned about their sexuality. Canon Robinson's role in the Concord Chapter of Outright was primarily to provide training to insure that appropriate boundaries were observed for the protection of both young people and those working with them.
Canon Robinson ended his involvement in Outright in 1998 and has not been associated with Outright since that time. The Web site was established in 2002. Canon Robinson was not aware that the organization has a Web site until this convention.
In both allegations, it is my conclusion that there is no necessity to pursue further investigation and no reason on these grounds to prevent the Bishops with jurisdiction from going forward with their voting about whether or not to consent to Canon Robinson's Consecration.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Hampshire concurs in these conclusions and continues to seek the required consents.