(RNS) — Survivors of abuse and anti-abuse advocates in the Anglican Church of Canada are calling for the denomination’s general secretary to resign, saying he and other ACC leaders have continued to bungle their response to the leak of a draft of an article on sexual misconduct written for the denomination’s paper.
“The ACC absolutely has the capacity to respond in an appropriate way, but it has made deliberate and calculated choices not to out of its need for self-preservation or out of fear,” said Cydney Proctor, a self-identified survivor of sexual misconduct.
In February, an advocacy group called ACCToo published an open letter claiming a “high-ranking official of the ACC” leaked a draft of an Anglican Journal article about the ACC’s mishandling of abuse allegations to some of the ACC authorities implicated in the story.
On March 13, the executive office of the ACC’s governing body, called the Council of General Synod, apologized and said it was conducting reviews of the ACC’s journalistic practices and sexual misconduct policies.
Two days after the council’s statement went live, General Secretary Alan Perry, chief operating officer of the ACC’s governing body, was identified publicly as the person who shared the story draft.
Perry had been known to be the leaker by some inside the church since at least September 2021, when the church’s top official primate, Linda Nicholls, referred to him by title in a summary response to the incident that was published on the ACC website March 15. “In light of the sensitivities of such an article,” Nicholls wrote, “a draft was shared with the Director of Communications, General Secretary and Primate. Believing it was a penultimate draft, it was shared by the General Secretary with dioceses/institutions reflected in the article.”
On March 23, Perry said in a statement that the sharing of the article “happened on my watch.” He also expressed “regret” at the harm caused to survivors but did not accept personal responsibility for circulating the draft. Perry and Nicholls did not respond to requests for comment.
It’s not clear whether the ACC intended to reveal that Perry had leaked the draft when it posted its response this month, but now, the Anglican Journal’s former editor-in-chief Matthew Townsend, Proctor, ACCToo and at least one member of the council told Religion News Service they are calling for Perry’s resignation.
ACCToo also learned last week that a report of an investigation into the Anglican Journal leak had been shared with the Anglican Journal’s editorial board. That report — which ACCToo has repeatedly requested be shared with survivors — contained an appendix with confidential information about Proctor’s original complaint, according to Townsend.
“Multiple sources have confirmed that in fact, the full report received by the editorial board included an appendix that not only identified one of the perpetrators in my story, it also provided details of my complaint against them,” Proctor said in a March 24 video. “This further degrades the trust which remains between me and the General Synod’s senior leadership. It is another breach for which I demand another apology.”
The chair of the editorial board did not respond to request for comment.