Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dallas Morning News Article

Dallas Episcopal Bishop James Stanton (right) is responding to the scandal surrounding stockbroker-priest William Warnky with new rules for his clergy.

Effective immediately, priests are "barred from soliciting, providing or selling secular products or services to parishioners," a diocesan press release says. It quotes Stanton thusly: "This new policy is designed to eliminate any conflicts of interest, and we hope these changes will raise the level of confidence in our clergy and that of the people under their care."

Diocesan leaders previously told me that priests had long been prohibited from financial involvement with parishioners. But it turns out that the policy was pretty vague -- it read, according to the press release: "The relationship of members of the clergy with fellow clergy and with members of the laity must be of the highest moral and professional character."

Stanton recently suspended Warnky from the ministry after financial regulators barred him from selling securities. The regulators acted because Warnky failed to pay a former parishioner, D.R. Marshall, $50,000 for stock fraud.

RayJennison.JPGDiocesan leaders are now weighing whether to also suspend the Rev. Raymond Jennison (right). He runs First Canterbury Securities, a northeast Dallas firm where Warnky worked, and is priest in charge of St. David's Episcopal Church in Garland.

Another former member of Warnky's parish (Good Samaritan, near White Rock Lake) told diocesan officials this week that Jennison mistreated her when she complained to him, in late 2007, about Warnky.

The parishioner, Jeanette Prasifka, sought to close an account that Warnky had managed for her. She said Jennison "threatened me with serious tax consequences" even though "it was a simple IRA account; I had 60 days to reinvest the money with no tax consequences, and he knew it."

Prasifka said Jennison also:

* "boasted he had the money of churches all across the Dallas Diocese and even Fort Worth ... He offered that as a reason why I should trust him."
* made an unauthorized trade on her account.
* shouted at her after "I told him I wasn't leaving his office until he closed the account."

"Jennison's conduct was unbecoming of a stockbroker, much less a priest," Prasifka said.

Jennison declined to comment today.

Stanton told me last week that he doubted that any parishes had invested with First Canterbury. Now his top aide, Bishop Suffragan Paul Lambert, is telling me that issue is under investigation.

From here

No comments:

Post a Comment