Stop me if you’ve heard this before. An Episcopal priest who condemned homosexuality has been accused of harassing and committing acts of sexual misconduct against young men who served under him.
Eric Dudley of Tallahassee, Florida’s St. Peter’s Anglican Church eventually resigned from his position as rector, but not before he abused the trust of several men, according to a report released this week by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (“GRACE”).
Here’s just one example of what the creepster did:
The next morning, John Doe woke up to Eric’s hands inside of John Doe’s shirt, rubbing his back and chest. John Doe asked Eric what he was doing, and Eric responded, “Just rubbing your back. I’ve never been this close to somebody before”…
The next morning, John Doe again awoke to Eric rubbing his chest under his shirt. John Doe immediately got out of bed. “At that point,” John Doe recalled, “I was disgusted with myself and angry at him. Ultimately, not sure what to do.” They went to the meeting at the church, then talked about the situation. John Doe said that he told Eric that it was “very strange,” but Eric “continued to insist that it was not erotic and compared his feelings to wanting to cuddle with his son.”
That’s just the beginning. It gets worse. And more graphic. Dudley kisses John Doe. On a different occasion, he tries to get the victim in bed.
“Part of me is going like, ‘This is super strange,’ ” the victim told investigators. “And another part is going, ‘This can’t be happening.’ Eric is known as the guy who hates gay people. We’re the church that built our church based on anti-homosexuality. He kind of has a caricature out there, so no way this guy is coming on to me. I’m misreading him.”
Dudley’s only response to all of these allegations is that he was showing affection to men, not doing anything sexual.
The report from GRACE was made with the help of 51 witnesses. It takes that many people to tell a story that spans 72 pages.
Dudley was allowed to resign last year after some of these complaints went public. About half the 1,500-member church left along with him. But even now, there’s no real apology or repentance from Dudley, who denies the behaviors described in the report.