Caroline Parkinson is an Episcopal priest canonically resident in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Now retired, she previously served on a volunteer basis as the Title IV intake officer for the diocese, responsible for initial processing of complaints against clergy. In that role, she was utterly inept and staggeringly unethical.
I know Caroline because she was the one of the intake officers who handled my complaints about perjuring priest Bob Malm. In that role, she exceeded her authority, purporting to conduct an investigation of the matter by calling Bob and asking him if he had behaved badly. And she did the same with Bob’s assistant rector, Leslie Steffensen, a sneaky, two-faced duplicitous POS if there ever was one.
The decision to conduct an “investigation” is at variance with canons and church policy, which are to conduct an investigation at the intake stage only if needed to understand the matters complained of.
Beyond that, the role of an intake officer is to assume that the matters complained of are true, and if so, to apply a two-pronged test:
1) Would they violate church canons if they were true?
2) Are they of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church?
So let’s see what I complained about:
– Gender-based harassment.
– Violations of pastoral confidentiality.
– Missing funds.
– Questionable HR, governance, cash management and financial reporting practices.
– Failure to follow church canons.
But in all of those, Caroline concluded that violations are “not of weighty and material importance to the ministry of the church.” She later urged me not to appeal, and trivialized the situation, lamenting that the church would “spend thousands of dollars” because someone said something unpleasant—which was not at all the basis of my complaint.
Moreover, she ignored perjuring priest Bob Malm’s later retaliation against me. And when the issue of not being included in the church directory came up, Parkinson lied, claiming it had been addressed last summer. Funny, I didn’t know that the ability to time travel was one of the benefits of ordination.
She and the diocese also ignored Bob Malm’s perjury and other misconduct. And she steadfastly refused to provide the pastoral response mandated by Title IV, which has to be provided any time a complaint is made to the intake officer. Moreover, she disclosed Title IV complaints to third parties, breaching confidentiality.
In short, Caroline is okay with bullying, harassment, the illegal misuse of funds, retaliation, and more. She is a piece of trash and a disgrace to her ordination vows. The best thing Caroline could do at this point is to resign holy orders — but she has nowhere near the integrity to do that.
Nor is it wrong to call her out on these issues. I have personally shared these concerns with her, but Caroline has neither acknowledged me, discussed my concerns, or apologized. She thinks because she wears a dog collar she’s somehow special. She is not, unless it is the depth and breadth of her lack of integrity.
Caroline is an example of all that is wrong with the Episcopal Church, and the perfect example of why the Episcopal Church is dying. And yet she is so lacking in introspection that she doesn’t see anything wrong with her behavior — indeed, she says she has prayed about it.
So who exactly is Caroline praying to?