Oregon bishop accused of fraud

 

Oregon bishop accused of fraud

Author: 

George Conger

The former finance officer of the Diocese of Oregon has filed suit against the bishop and diocese claiming the Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley misappropriated church money and physically assaulted a female priest. The diocese has denied the allegations, noting the charges had been investigated by the state Bureau of Labor and Industry and the Episcopal Church and had been dismissed as lacking any merit.

On 24 Oct 2017 Mary Macy filed suit in a Portland court seeking $844,875 in compensation and damages, claiming she had been dismissed from her post in retaliation for reporting misconduct by the bishop.

In her lawsuit Ms. Macy states that in her position as treasurer of the Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation, she alerted trustees in August 2015 the bishop was using assets of the $10 million fund to support the operations of the diocese, violating what she believed to have been the terms of the trust. She further accused the bishop of assault, misappropriation of funds, sex and age discrimination and tax fraud.

The complaint further states that on 16 May 2016, she was placed on involuntary administrative leave and dismissed from her post on 7 Oct 2017.

On 26 Oct 2017 the diocese posted a statement on its website defending the bishop and refuting the accusations.

A lawsuit has been filed by Mary Macy against the Diocese of Oregon and Bishop Michael Hanley.

Ms. Macy was an employee of the Diocese of Oregon. The Diocese (or any employer for that matter) will not comment on confidential personnel matters, so we are unable to comment on the circumstances of her leaving the Diocese. We can confirm that there have been multiple independent investigations by the Diocese into the allegations made by Ms. Macy.

Ms. Macy’s claims for whistle-blowing and employment discrimination were, as her complaint acknowledges, investigated by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and dismissed. Ms. Macy’s further allegations were investigated by The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States and the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Oregon and were dismissed.

The Diocese believes that Ms. Macy’s allegations are unfounded and will defend the lawsuit vigorously.

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