Defrocked Episcopal Priest to Lead Spiritual Retreat in Episcopal Diocese of Georgia

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Rev. Lynn Bauman A defrocked Episcopal priest, who admitted abusing a boy at a retreat in 1999 and was convicted for his behavior, has resurfaced to lead a spiritual retreat at The Order of Saint Helena in Augusta, GA. A number of clergy sex abuse victims are urging that it be cancelled.

The Order of Saint Helena (OSH) in Augusta is letting the Rev. Dr. Lynn Bauman, 57, lead their upcoming spiritual retreat which has met with resistance from survivors of priestly abuse.

“We are well aware of Lynn’s story. A number of us have known him for many years and know the situation in considerable depth,” The Rev Sr Carol Andrew of OSH has told officials of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“Despite these crimes and accusations, the Order of Saint Helena in Augusta is letting Bauman lead their upcoming spiritual retreat. They are doing so without apparently making any mention of the fact that Bauman has been convicted of abusing a child, and has committed this crime while leading retreats such as this one. The event flyer they have put out online has no information about Bauman’s criminal history (available here: http://www.osh.org/_flyers/bauman-flyer-feb-2012.pdf),” said David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director.

Bauman pleaded guilty in Texas to indecency with a child by contact and inducing a sexual performance by a child. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and fined $1,500. The charges relate to an incident at a north Texas retreat run by Bauman. Dallas Bishop James Stanton said Bauman voluntarily resigned after the allegations came to light in April 1997.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Georgia said Bauman would not be welcome to lead any retreat in its diocese. “The Order is not under our ecclesiastical jurisdiction they have an Episcopal visitor in the person of Bishop J. Neil Alexander of the Diocese of Atlanta,” said The Rev. Frank Logue Canon to the Ordinary. “Bishop Scott Benhase is aware of Bauman’s background and we do not welcome him to lead the retreat.”

Outraged SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy told VOL, “This all has an Alice in Wonderland feel and we can’t help but wonder what other Episcopal bishops are welcoming Bauman but are smart enough to do it quietly under the radar. The bottom line is crystal clear: Why jeopardize children’s safety? Church officials will claim ‘it’s an adult retreat, kids are not invited.

“But that’s an irresponsible dodge. Pedophiles move carefully and often start with a seemingly harmless foot in the door and gradually escalate. No school superintendent would let a convicted child molester lead a workshop for parents and teachers. By going on these retreats Bauman may befriend a lonely distraught vulnerable single mom and eventually gain access to her children and violate them.”

Clohessy said the argument about reform, often used by Episcopal leaders, doesn’t hold water. “No reformed alcoholic seeks work in a bar or a brewery.

“Childhood sex abuse is a terrible thing. Victims are often forced to deal with depression, nightmares, failed relationships, substance abuse and when the pain becomes unbearable some take their own lives. No child should be placed at risk needlessly. Bauman has been defrocked. Bauman has been convicted. Is this the man you want to represent your faith? Your retreat center? We are outraged by this allegedly Christian retreat center allowing a man like this to speak, we are urging that it be cancelled,” added Clohessy.

“The organizers of this event are being incredibly reckless. It is dangerous to put Bauman in the exact same position and setting that he used to abuse children in the past.”

Barbara Dorris of SNAP commented, “We have no interest in bringing pressure or shame or discomfort to Episcopalian nuns or bishops. Our interest is in preventing child sex crimes and cover ups and in deterring institutions and employers from giving predators credibility and opportunities that they can later use to get close to kids and assault them.”

The Convent of St. Helena is located on 3042 Eagle Dr, Augusta GA 30906. It is in a heavily wooded area near the Bobby Jones Expressway. Their phone number is 706-798-5201. Their fax number is 706-796-0079. They can be reached by email at sisters@osh.org.

According to their website, The Order of St. Helena is a religious order in the Episcopal Church for lay and ordained women. “We witness to a contemporary interpretation of traditional monasticism, open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since our founding in 1945, our experience of the religious life has included prayer, the individual, the Church at large, and social action.”

The retreat starts Friday, February 10, and continues through Sunday, Feb. 12.

Last November, TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori defended her decision to allow a former Roman Catholic monk Bede Parry to become an Episcopal priest even after he admitted to sexual misconduct with a minor.

Schori said she knew of only one incident when Parry, now 69, sought ordination as an Episcopal priest. “I made the decision to receive him, believing that he demonstrated repentance and amendment of life and that his current state did not represent a bar to his reception.” A psychiatrist testified that Bede Parry would act out again if given the opportunity. The Presiding Bishop has never been held accountable for her actions or come under scrutiny by the Title IV Review Committee.

Defrocked Episcopal Priest to Lead Spiritual Retreat in Episcopal Diocese of Georgia
The Order of Saint Helena in Augusta says Lynn Bauman a convicted sex offender is fit to lead
Diocesan officials do not welcome him to lead retreat

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 8, 2012

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