Episcopal Diocese Accused Of Sending Sex-Abuse Chaplain to Houston

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The Episcopal Diocese of Texas acknowledged that the headmaster of a Diocese-run school in Austin covered up allegations of sexual abuse against the school’s chaplain and moved him to a Houston church, where he was later accused of sexual abuse, according to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese and Bishop Don Wimberly last week.

As outlined by the Diocese itself, the four-page timeline of allegations against Rev. James Tucker was the culmination of a 2006-2007 study conducted by Praesidium, Inc. It states that the headmaster of St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Allen Becker, covered up allegations brought to him by students in 1966 and 1968.

“Becker removed Tucker from dorm duty, canceled a trip to Africa that Tucker had planned with students, and told Tucker he would have to leave the school,” according to the timeline. It also states that “Becker explained Tucker’s abrupt departure to others as a health issue.”

After his 1968 dismissal from the school, Tucker came to Houston. He served for one year as St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital’s chaplain and then was rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church from 1970-1992.

After the Diocese informed St. Stephen’s alumni of the allegations, “the Diocese received reports from five additional former…students who alleged they were abused as minors or subjected to inapproprioate sexual overtures by Tucker dating back to the 1962-63 school year,” the timeline states.

The Diocese also received a complaint in 1994, from a former St. James student, according to the timeline. It states that then-Bishop Bill Sterling “received the 1994 complaint and made arrangements for counseling for this victim. However, there are no records that Bishop Sterling ever reported the complaint to anyone at the Diocese.”

The suit against the Diocese was filed in Corpus Christi on behalf of three men (identified as John Does I, II and III) who say they were abused by Tucker, and who are accusing Diocese personnel of conspiracy, fraud, and fraudulent concealment.

The Diocese has moved to dismiss the case, claiming the statute of limitations has expired.

More to come…

-- Craig Malisow

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