Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Inquiry to the ACNA

I sent the following e-mail to the public inquiry address on the Anglican Church of North America's main web page:
Status of REC Rev Robert W Bowman

I’m trying to determine the current status of The Rev Robert W Bowman, who was rector of St Luke’s REC in Santa Ana, CA. In 2009, he was arrested on child pornography charges and terminated by the St Luke’s vestry. There were several references to the arrest in the Southern California press at the time, for instance at A year later, the Los Angeles District Attorney decided not to file felony charges in the case. However, due to the catastrophic consequences for anyone convicted of child pornography, it is in their interest to secure the best possible legal representation, and whether the DA decides not to file charges is not necessarily an indication that the individual should be in the priesthood.

I’ve been trying to determine whether Bowman was ever inhibited by the REC/ACNA, and what any eventual disposition of his case may have been. Naturally, termination by a vestry does not affect a priest’s ability to secure another parish job. St Luke’s REC Santa Ana closed its doors in 2012. However, following Bowman’s arrest and termination in 2009, Bishop Schofield of San Joaquin sent The Rev Earle Fox to serve as an interim there. Beyond that, I’m unable to find what diocese had responsibility for St Luke’s REC Santa Ana in 2009. I’ve inquired of both the REC Diocesr of the West and the ACNA Diocese of Western Anglcans, and they say St Luke’s Santa Ana and Bowman were never under their jurisdiction. REC Bishop Royal Grote has so far not answered my inquiry to him.

I would like to determine Robert W Bowman’s status as a priest in the REC/ACNA, and if possible, what actions may have been taken by the ACNA/REC following his arrest on child pornography charges. Bowman has recently been hired as an “interim priest” at the Anglican Church in America parish All Saints Fountain Valley, CA. I am concerned that the hiring authority, an elderly absentee priest-in-charge, may not have done due diligence regarding his decision. If the charges against him have been fully reviewed by the ecclesiastical authority and he was acquitted, well and good – but so far, I have no indication that this may have happened.

Since Bowman has now returned to parish work in another Anglican diocese and may be doing supply work at other parishes, I believe this matter should be resolved clearly, and I believe Bowman’s status as an REC priest should be public information. Many thanks for any help you may be able to provide in this.

We'll see what results.