Magazine article The Christian Century

Episcopal Bishop Awaits Ruling on Sex Charges

Magazine article The Christian Century

Episcopal Bishop Awaits Ruling on Sex Charges

Article excerpt

A court composed of nine bishops of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Minneapolis, have heard arguments in the case of a fellow bishop accused of immorality and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. A decision is expected by the end of the year.

The Court for the Trial of a Bishop had ruled in August that Charles I. "Ci" Jones III, bishop of Montana since 1986, was guilty of sexually exploiting a relationship with a female parishioner while serving as a rector in Russellville, Kentucky, almost 20 years ago.

Jones's attorneys argued that he had already been disciplined by then-Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning when the allegations came to light in 1993, and that allowing further proceedings against him amounts to his being punished twice for the same offense. But attorneys for the church counter that what Jones experienced was therapy, not discipline--and that he remains unrepentant and should be punished.

The hearing began with a Eucharist in the Church of Gethsemane, the "mother parish" of the Diocese of Minneapolis. Jones and his wife, Ashby, sat in the pews along with judges, attorneys, advocates and journalists. Following the Eucharist, the group adjourned upstairs to the parish hall-turned-courtroom, where Ted Jones explained the ground rules. …

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