Hearing Panel recommends 3 year suspension and restoration of congregation to the parish properties
The Episcopal Church Hearing Panel has ruled against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno finding he comitted misconduct in office.
By a vote of 4 to 1, with Bishop Michael Smith of North Dakota dissenting, on 20 July 2017 the panel found Bishop Bruno guilty on all counts and recommended he be suspended from the ordained ministry for three years and that St James the Great be permitted to return to its Newport Beach property.
“The hearing panel has concluded that the scope and severity of Bishop Bruno’s misconduct … have unjustly and unnecessarily disturbed the ministry of a mission of the church,” the ruling stated.
The panel also had harsh criticism for the standing committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles, asking they “consciously choose to take part in a process of self-examination and truth-telling around these unfortunate and tragic events”.
It also recommended to the “Diocese of Los Angeles that as a matter of justice it immediately suspend its efforts to sell the St. James property, that it restore the congregation and vicar to the church building and that it reassign St. James the Great appropriate mission status.”
The complainants have until 26 July 2017 to offer comments on the recommendations, which will be reviewed by the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry. The Presiding Bishop has up to 40 days to offer his recommendations to the panel, which will hand down a final order. Should Bishop Bruno appeal the decision, his suspension would be placed on hold pending appellate review.