The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here -

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

James C. Key's Risk Management Skills And Rev. William G. Sinkford's Alleged Or Actual Clergy Sexual Misconduct - What's The Connection?

Besides being UUA Moderator, Jim Key aka James C. Key, is a *Certified* Risk Management consultant. One would think that James "See No Evil" Key's career in Risk Management might give UUA Moderator Jim Key some pause to appoint a person who has been credibly accused of clergy sexual misconduct to a third term as President of the UUA. Yes, I am talking about Rev. William G. Sinkford aka Rev. Bill Sinkford who, along with Rev. Sofía Betancourt and Dr. Leon Spencer, was appointed as one of three interim co-presidents of the UUA after the unexpected resignation of UUA President Peter Morales on April 1, 2017, aka April Fools Day 2017.

I blogged about Rev. Bill Sinkford's alleged clergy sexual misconduct in January of 2009, but I have known about it since the late 1990s when certain members of the long defunct advocacy group 'UUs For Right Relations' told me about it. Rev. William G. Sinkford's alleged clergy sexual misconduct, which allegedly includes, but may not be limited to. . . an illicit affair with a still married Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris that was allegedly condoned by former UUA Executive *Vice* President Kathleen "Kay" Montgomery, as well as former UUA Moderator Denny Davidoff, to say nothing of any number of other complicit U*Us, is one of those "open secrets" that Unitarian Universalists who are "in the know" about U*U clergy sexual misconduct whisper among themselves, but rarely if ever speak about openly in public. UU Safety Net's Rev. Gail Seavey spoke about such U*U clergy sexual misconduct "secrets" in her 2016 Berry Street Address aka Berry Street *Lecture*.

As if it wasn't bad enough that *Certified* Risk Management consultant and UUA Moderator James "See No Evil" Key, along with the April 2017 edition of the UUA Board of Trustees, happily appointed a person who has been credibly accused of fairly serious clergy sexual misconduct to be Interim Co-President of the UUA until either Rev. Alison Miller, or Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, or Rev. Jeanne Pupke is (s)elected as the next President of the UUA less than three months from now, it seems that James "See No Evil" Key, and the UUA Board of Trustees FAILed to pay attention to some other things that Rev. William G. Sinkford did or did not do aka FAILed to do on the clergy sexual misconduct front during his eight years as UUA President which were reported publicly in the UU World magazine article titled 'Reforms Take Aim At Clergy Misconduct' and which Rev. Gail Seavey publicly spoke about in her 2016 Berry Street Essay in the following rather telling paragraphs. . .

In 2005, Mary Katherine Morn asked Anna Belle Leiserson to help support a new reporter of clergy sexual misconduct, Amanda Tweed. Both Anna Belle and Mary Katherine had served on the UUA's Safe Congregational Panel that resulted in what many of us think of as the ‘Muir report’, named for the Panel’s chair, Fred Muir. The report, presented at GA in 2000 – at the same time as the UUA Vice President Kay Montgomery’s, public apology for the association’s mishandling of reported misconduct and her pledge to do better in the future - had recommended that reporters of misconduct be assigned Advocates as they went through the investigation process. The Women’s Federation Task Force I served on was disbanded because we thought the problem was solved.

But five years later, when Mary Katherine Morn was assigned to work with Amanda, the named role for her was that of liaison, NOT advocate. As they would quickly find out, Amanda needed more than just an intermediary between her and the UUA; she needed an advocate.

A lifelong UU, Amanda had reported to the UUA that in her first year out of college, she had approached the minister of the UU Congregation she was considering joining with concerns related to her sexual orientation. Amanda reports that, three days later, the woman minister invited her to her home where the minister sexually assaulted Amanda. Concerns about the implications for the minister’s professional standing initially kept Amanda from reporting the event to anyone, but a few year later, when she learned the same minister had begun a sexual relationship with another young woman she had been serving in a ministerial role, Amanda decided to file a formal complaint of clergy sexual misconduct so the experience she had would not occur for other women. She made her report to the UUA in January 2005.

As time wore on after Amanda’s initial report, it became increasingly clear the recommendations from the Muir Report had not, in fact, been adopted by the UUA. In addition to lessening the role of advocate - which Mary Katherine assumed despite the named role of liaison- the UUA kept Amanda in the dark about the status of her case – including when and whether it would be resolved.

Anna Belle Leiserson was shocked to discover that Amanda was being repeatedly dismissed by staff and told to keep all details of her story and the complaint secret because the minister could respond by suing her. Amanda felt silenced, shut out, disrespected and manipulated by the UUA staff; keeping secrets seemed to be at the heart of their response.  To this day Amanda has never been officially told the results of the investigation.
The UUA’s response to Amanda’s report galvanized Anna Belle to carry through an idea she’d had several years before-- to create “Safety Net” – which is both a website and a Congregational Social Justice Committee Action Team. On the web site she warned people that policies from the Muir Report were not being followed and that one might feel abused a second time by the UUA if they reported clergy sexual misconduct. I joined the Safety Net Action Team, which had the mission to explore best practices for the prevention of and a just compassionate response to clergy sexual misconduct at both the congregational and the UUA level.  Anna Belle led that team for over seven years, inspiring us all with her skillful analysis of institutional power and persistent advocacy for justice.

During those years, Amanda became a deeply respected affiliate of Safety Net, even though she lived in a distant state. Amanda asked me to publicly use her name because the minister who sexually abused her is still working as a Fellowshipped UU minister and she feels that to use a pseudonym continues to perpetrate the same secrecy surrounding what occurred.  As recently as two years ago, Amanda was warned against going public for fear of a lawsuit. UU lay people considered informing the institution for which that minister works about this history for the sake of public safety, but decided not to, also anxious about possible lawsuits. When the present staff at the Department of Ministries looked for the file on Amanda’s case, they discovered that there were skeletal and missing files reporting ministerial misconduct, creating gaps in the record from the previous decade. Previous employees told them that some records were removed at the advice of a lawyer because a minister had threatened to sue them

So, what would justice look like to Amanda at this point? Amanda has discussed this with me, with the UUA Board Boundaries Working Group, with the UUA Advocates and with Marie Fortune. We agreed on one thing: justice is still called for and it is all of our responsibility to discern how to find justice in cases that were mishandled in the past. How Amanda was treated by UUA staff and members of the MFC was egregious for a religion that purports to hold the inherent worth and dignity of every person as its first principle. Her complaint was filed as a written report and no one ever contacted her to discuss what she reported. In addition, the actual investigation into the abuse was botched with the investigator being directed by the minister as far as who should be contacted and interviewed. It was stacked in favor of the minister from the very beginning. It should come as no surprise that the minister was (presumably, since the official outcome remains unknown) not found guilty of conduct unbecoming a minister.

I considered naming the minister in Amanda's complaint here, during this lecture. There are good reasons to break the secrecy from a preventive risk perspective. The minister remains in a position where she could abuse others. Naming the minister could encourage other possible victims to come forward -- knowing that they weren't alone. Additional complaints shouldn't be needed to support Amanda's reporting. The evidence in her case is strong enough to stand alone but it would be difficult for the UUA to continue to hide behind the "past being the past" if others reported.

This being said, the primary reason I do not disclose the minister's identity here is because Amanda wants to avoid a kangaroo court. She believes in justice and wants the UUA to adjudicate it appropriately. What that looks like is still unknown but in the least would require a new, unbiased investigation into the events she first reported eleven years ago. While she waits for the UUA to do the right thing, Amanda continues to advocate for justice for all reporters as a consultant to the Board's Congregational Boundaries Working Group, and also the trained Advocates. We are called to figure out how to do this together.

end quote

The last time I checked, the two terms as President of the UUA of Rev. William G. Sinkford aka Rev. Bill Sinkford began in June of 2001 and ended in June of 2009, that places the initial filing of Amanda Tweed's clergy sexual misconduct complaint arising out of her alleged sexual assault by a lesbian Unitarian Universalist minister near the end of Rev. Bill Sinkford's first term in office, with the apparently ongoing negligent and complicit egregious mishandling of Amanda Tweed's clergy misconduct complaint, about what Rev. Gail Seavey describes as sexual assault, by the Rev. Bill Sinkford led UUA staff spanning most if not all of the four years of Rev. Bill Sinkford's second term as President of the UUA, and even extending into Rev. Dr. Peter "Beyond Belief" Morales' two terms as UUA President. As if it wasn't bad enough that *Certified* Risk Management consultant James "See No Evil" Key, and the post-April Fools Day 2017 edition of the UUA Board of Trustees, were only too happy to turn willfully blind eyes to the clergy sexual misconduct that Rev. William G. Sinkford has been credibly accused of being guilty of himself, they also seem to be only too happy to collectively and individually bury their heads in the proverbial sand like Big Fat U*U Ostriches. Do  U*Us know what happens to Big Fat U*U Ostriches when they foolishly bury their heads in the sand? They risk getting their Big Fat U*U Asses kicked by Yours Truly, to say nothing of getting their Big Fat U*U Asses kicked by any number of other persons of inherent worth and dignity who have had it up to here with The Secrets Of The U*Us. . .

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