NY - Congregant exploited by female priest; SNAP responds
We support the brave man who is speaking publicly about the sexual exploitation he suffered because of an abusive Episcopalian priest.
An educated, allegedly holy woman who holds the revered title of priest cannot ever have truly consensual or healthy sexual contact with a parishioner. It is always morally wrong and psychologically harmful, regardless of age or gender.
There is a huge and inherent power imbalance between clergy and church members. It is like a doctor-patient or therapist-client relationship, where any sexual contact is expressly forbidden. And for good reason: because it almost always results in devastation, with individuals and with congregations.
It's always the duty of powerful official – doctor, therapist or priest - to maintain boundaries and refrain from any sexual contact with the radically less powerful person – patient, client or parishioner.
We applaud Erik for his courage. We hope others who have been exploited by powerful figures will consider speaking up, getting help, exposing wrongdoing and protecting others.