Home Christian News Alleged US Anglican Abuse Victims Break With ACNAtoo and Support Bishop

Alleged US Anglican Abuse Victims Break With ACNAtoo and Support Bishop

In her own statement published in the ACNAtoo website, Cherin contested this characterization, which would take some blame off of Ruch. Cherin wrote that Rivera only became part of the community in Big Rock because of his leadership roles at Resurrection.

“My mother was the one who invited Mark and his family to move to Big Rock, to live on my childhood home property, after knowing and serving alongside him as a volunteer leader at the church for several years,” wrote Cherin. “My extended family members, who lent additional trust and credibility to Mark Rivera, met him through Church of the Resurrection.”

The authors of the statement wrote that ACNAtoo members and other ACNA “factions” “made an arbitrary connection between their doctrinal frustrations and Mark’s abuse” because they disagree with Ruch’s hard-line stance against same-sex marriage and women’s ordination.

The BelieveUsToo statement charged that some ACNA priests and other leaders “engaged in libel and preyed upon our pain in the service of furthering a political and doctrinal agenda.” BelieveUsToo asked that denominational leaders speak publicly in support of Ruch, reinstate him by Holy Week, end the investigation into ecclesial abuse and refrain from further negotiations with Rudenborg, who they said has wielded too much power in the investigation of Rivera and the church’s response.

In February, ACNAtoo raised concerns about Husch Blackwell, the second investigative firm named to examine the Upper Midwest Diocese’s handling of the allegations. The BelieveUsToo authors said they had already spent “emotionally grueling hours” giving testimony to the first investigative firm, Grand River Solutions, which ACNAtoo members objected to in summer 2021.

“We believe that by attempting to appease ACNAtoo,” the statement said, “the Province is granting Joanna and ACNAtoo a position of authority that they should not have, and allowing untold delays in the timeframe for resolution.”

RELATED: ACNA moves forward with investigation amid concerns from survivors and advocates

ACNAtoo said its focus goes beyond Rivera because it’s important to examine the systems in which abuse takes place and because abuse doesn’t occur in a vacuum. “Abuse happens because abusers use culture, context, and relationships to normalize their behavior,” wrote Conor Hanson, an ACNAtoo advocate, in an email.

The three members of the church’s response team who resigned told RNS that the team often saw Rivera’s survivors as two groups: one “hostile to the ACNA” and one “supportive of Bp. Ruch” which was “described very positively,”

Autumn Hanna VandeHei, the Rev. Gina Roes and Christen Price, who resigned from the team in January over concerns that its process “never felt survivor-centered,” said separating survivors of the same perpetrator into groups can be re-traumatizing. “Every story and experience is real,” they said. “We believe and stand firmly with ALL survivors of Mark Rivera’s alleged horrific sexual abuse.”

This story has been updated. 

RELATED: Three members of ACNA response team resign from overseeing abuse investigation

This article originally appeared on ReligionNews.com.