A founder and anti-gay former priest at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in Tallahassee was stripped of his position after it was revealed that he sexually abused and harassed at least four other men, according to WTXL Tallahassee.
The church asked for a private investigation to be done by the Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment, or GRACE, in response to Eric Dudley’s resignation as dean of St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral in 2018. A report that was made public on Tuesday reveals that Dudley engaged in sexual misconduct against young men who are involved in the church.
Dudley was once the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church for a decade, from 1995 to 2005. In 2003, St. John’s Episcopal Church elected a gay man to the position of bishop and was becoming more accepting of same-sex marriage. This upset Dudley and he left two years later, citing “deeply unrepentant heresies” within the Episcopal church, and then proceeded to buy an old church building and then founded St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral. In February of 2018, Dudley became the dean of the church and shortly after that, four men came forward and reported sexual misconduct by him.
Dudley resigned in August of 2018, which was most likely a response to the accusations against him. I don’t think I would create an entire church, work hard in it, and become the dean to just resign for no reason, so Dudley definitely knew that he was in trouble. In his resignation letter, he admitted to becoming “more affectionate than usual” and that he overstepped boundaries when he drinks too much. The report revealed that the four men who came forward, three of which worked in the church and one a parishioner, all had things in common, such as coming from troubled homes, having financial problems, or being newly married. They were all also thin and good-looking men.
The men said that their relationships with Dudley were progressive, in that Dudley expressed a special interest in them and gave them gifts, financial assistance, and treated them to outings. The report mentioned specific things, such as expensive cassocks, tuition for a college course, meals and drinks, clothes, airline tickets, and more. This was Dudley’s way of gaining his victim’s trust no doubt, which makes this case even more disturbing.
Eventually, the men confided in Dudley, revealing their vulnerabilities and struggles. According to the victims, Dudley would caress them, hold their hands, rub their feet, and kiss them on the lips. Dudley also secretly requested that there be only one bed in the room. The victims reported that if they felt uncomfortable, Dudley would simply claim that he was an affectionate person and that his conduct was not sexual in nature. However, one victim stated that whole Dudley was lying on him he announced that he was getting aroused.
Dudley apologized in his resignation letter, saying “I apologize and ask for forgiveness from those affected by my inappropriate actions. Please pray for their peace. I also apologize to this congregation and the church. I am deeply sorry and have earnestly repented before God.” The victims were also provided with counseling and financial support from the church. While this is definitely a step in the right direction, this should have never happened in the first place. I hope that the victims and Dudley get the help that they need because things like this cannot continue.
Source: WTXL Tallahassee