Ten survivors decline to participate in ACNA’s sex abuse investigation

Citing concerns with the process the denomination is following, several survivors of sexual abuse in ACNA have declined to participate. A petition asking the Anglican Church in North America to adopt a “survivor-centric” process has garnered over 350 signatures.

ACNA was formed by Episcopal clergy and laity disenchanted with the consecration of LGBTQ bishops in the Episcopal Church. It is not affiliated with the Anglican Communion.

RNS: Hundreds sign petition asking ACNA for ‘survivor-centric’ abuse investigation

The petition, published Thursday (Jan. 6) by the abuse prevention advocacy group #ACNAtoo, asks that ACNA hire an investigative firm that will “search for and publish all the truth, even if it shows the Province in an unflattering light, following the best practices of a survivor-centric investigation.”

Several individuals who reported being sexually abused by Mark Rivera, a former lay minister in ACNA’s Upper Midwest Diocese, have said leaders in the diocese repeatedly mishandled their allegations [on mishandling see our four earlier posts]. On Aug. 28, ACNA announced an eight-member Provincial Response Team to oversee an investigation into the Upper Midwest Diocese’s handling of the abuse allegations.

On Wednesday, the response team emailed some of the accusers, inviting them to vote between two possible investigative firms. The email said the eight members of the response team would also vote. However, 10 of the alleged survivors have signed or initialed the petition stating that they will not participate in the investigation process due to several concerns. 

The #ACNAtoo petition states that, based on publicly available information, “it seems clear that both firms are committed to serving and prioritizing the needs of the client (i.e the Province), which elevates protection from liability rather than elucidating the truth.” The petition says the firms do not appear to have experience with church investigations and seem to indicate little commitment to survivor-centered practices.

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