Hearing Panel rejects LA bishop’s motion to dismiss complaint
A trial date has been set for the Bishop of Los Angeles to face charges of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. Last week the Hearing Panel adjudicating the dispute between the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno and the parishioners of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach rejected a motion filed by attorneys for the bishop seeking to dismiss the charges. In a motion filed on 29 August 2016 the bishop alleged the national church had failed to conform to the disciplinary canons governing his case, and that the parish had engaged in misconduct during the hearing process by publicizing the proceedings. The panel meeting in Chicago dismissed the bishop’s motion on 25 Oct 2016 and set a trial date of 28-30 March 2017. The panel also dismissed a motion by the parish asking it to compel Bishop Bruno to allow the parish to return to their property pending a final decision. In June 2015 the bishop evicted the congregation from the multi-million dollar oceanside church and attempted to sell the property to developers. The panel held canon law did not give them the authority to compel the bishop to permit the congregation to return to its buildings. BIshop Bruno stands accused of making false statements to the congregation and Newport Beach city officials, entering into a sale agreement without proper authorization, and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy. The hearing panel consists of a member of the clergy, a lay woman, and the bishops of North Dakota, Rhode Island and Southern Virginia.