David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Tue May 15 09:30:41 EDT 2001


Special Report

By David W. Virtue

The former Bishop of Montana, the Rt. Rev. Charles I. "Ci" Jones III
has filed a notice of appeal following his conviction and sentence of
deposition, after being found guilty of sexual exploitation with a
female parishioner, while serving as vicar almost 20 years ago.

"I am filing this appeal with the court of review because the trial
court violated the canons in my case, in addition I was lied to, and my
attorney's fees totaling $200,000 have not been paid by the National

The 57-year old bishop said he has a cause of action against the
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold because of "improper influence" on the
Court and because Griswold requested a sentence of Deposition through
the church attorney.

The Diocese of Montana paid Jones a 15-month, $170,000 compensation
package upon his resignation on the grounds that he would not sue the
diocese for anything up to that point.

Jones, who had 30 days to file an appeal, argues in a 17-count notice
of appeal that "the Court committed reversible errors."

The former bishop cites "double jeopardy"; "charges arising from
conduct that occurred prior to his becoming a bishop", and the rubrics
of the Book of Common Prayer.

Jones says he was denied due process; self-incrimination in 1993,
denial of presumption of innocence in 1993, denial of a speedy trial
and denial of the right to confront his accuser.

Jones argues that there was "undue influence" and communication by the
Lay Assessor with the church attorney and the Presiding Bishop's
Chancellor, David Beers, without notifying Jones' attorney.

In his most damning indictment, Jones says that Presiding Bishop Frank
Griswold improperly interfered in the proceedings and that Griswold
called for him to be deposed. "There is no place in the canons that
authorizes him to do that. In fact the canons are specifically designed
to exclude the Presiding Bishop or anyone else from influencing the
court," said Jones.

The bishop who describes himself as a theological moderate, believes
that what lies behind his being deposed was his refusal to allow non-
celibate gay and lesbian priests to take parishes in his diocese
because, he argues, General Convention has never passed a resolution
affirming that.

"It was not the evangelicals that opposed me, it was the liberals and
revisionists in my diocese," said Jones, who had been a bishop for 15
years and had seen his Diocese grow both in membership and financial
stability during that period.

"It's a great big mess. I have never been allowed to face my accuser,
so I'm obliged to file a civil action against the national church.
Bishop Griswold will have to reveal what
he has said to others when we take his deposition. I'm entitled to know
that. I regret this is going to the civil courts but I have no option.
He has violated the canons and he and others will have to reveal the
contents of their defamation of me."

"If the National Church had abided by the canons and followed their own
rules, i.e. the canons to discharge me, this would not be happening."

"I am still a bishop. I have never been inhibited and I am not looking
to get back my position, but I would like to work again as an assisting
bishop and serve the church I have loved all of my life. I reiterate
that I am truly sorry for the mistake I made almost twenty years ago."

While his own debt is $200,000, Jones believes the national church
spent in excess of $1 million to prosecute him.


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