The Episcopal Church In Texas -- Covering Up For Its Pedophiles

In 2005, the Austin American-Statesman wrote about Allen Becker, the retired headmaster of a prestigious Austin Episcopal boarding school, hitting the bricks once again to raise money for a lower-income black congregation on the city's east side.

"We want to give children in this part of Austin a chance for a first-class education," Becker was quoted as saying. He was known for his love of molding young minds, and the library at St. Stephen's Episcopal School was even named after him. And it was a former St. Stephen's teacher, Dean Towner, who asked Becker to spearhead the fundraising campaign.

"I knew he had a special feeling about educating young black kids," Towner was quoted as saying. The article also goes on to say that Becker "felt that African American children could learn as much and achieve as much as white children if given the chance."

However, what Becker didn't mention, and what certain higher-ups at The Episcopal Diocese of Texas were well aware of, was that 35 years earlier he had booted a pedophile priest out of his school, and that priest wound up at a mostly black congregation in Houston. The man who believed in equality had allowed a predator into the lives of the very children he purported to love.

The same year the article came out, stories of that priest, James Tucker, were told at a St. Stephen's reunion. This time, the stories weren't suppressed. They made their way up the ladder to a new coadjutor bishop, who ultimately ordered an investigation that revealed at least nine children were molested. Tucker was defrocked. Andy Doyle, the coadjutor bishop, said the Diocese hoped it would be part of the healing process.

But when three men who say they were molested while attending St. Stephen's in the 1960s asked the Diocese to pay for the counseling that would lead to that healing, Doyle wasn't interested. It seemed he and the Diocese preferred vague remarks about healing than actual healing.

So the men sued, and their chief complaint is the cover-up -- a whole network of adult authorities who suppressed the awful truth about boys being molested, rather than a single degenerate. You can read about the toll they say it took on their lives in this week's feature.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow