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US bishop resigns after allegations of domestic abuse raised by his sons and ex-wife

15 September 2023

The Rt Revd Prince Singh resigned a day after his ministry was restricted

Episcopal News Service

The Rt Revd Prince Singh

The Rt Revd Prince Singh

A BISHOP in the Episcopal Church in the United States has resigned a day after his ministry was restricted while a disciplinary investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made by his sons and ex-wife is under way.

The Rt Revd Prince Singh’s resignation was announced by the standing committees of the dioceses of Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, in what they described as a “mutual decision”.

Bishop Singh had requested a Title IV investigation be carried out into his own conduct after his two sons accused him of abusive behaviour towards them and their mother and excessive drinking (News, 30 June). His ministry was initially allowed to continue, but his sons increased pressure on the Church by posting documents and multimedia footage online. They also accused the Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, of not adequately responding to their allegations earlier, when they first reported them in December last year.

Bishop Singh’s decision to resign was made a day after the Episcopal Church announced that he had been restricted from exercising any aspect of ordained ministry as part of the disciplinary investigation.

In a statement, Bishop Singh said that his resignation was “not an admission of guilt but intends to remove the distraction from our discernment in these dioceses”. He apologised for the impact on the two dioceses, which are considering formally merging.

“I am sorry for the impact this Title IV situation has had on our work and for any harm this situation may have raised out of past traumas of individuals and communities,” he said.

The statement from the two standing committees read: “Our Standing Committee Presidents have met with Bishop Singh and reached a mutual decision: it is time for him to step down as our bishop provisional, allowing him to focus on the next phase of the Title IV process, his family, and his personal well-being, and allowing our dioceses to step ahead in forward-thinking mission together, focused on our collective ministry and ongoing discernment.”

The sons of Mr Singh, Nivedhan and Ekalaivan Singh, and their mother, Roja Suganthy-Singh, released their own statement calling for changes in the Title IV process.

In an email, they expressed their concern that the Church would “sacrifice Bishop Singh in order to deflect attention from the system that both empowered him and allowed him to stay in power for over nine months after we disclosed abuse.

“Until we are willing to hold those we love accountable for causing harm in positions of power, [the Church] will not substantially change,” they said.

Three bishops in the Episcopal Church have recently faced, or are facing, a Title IV investigation, including the Bishop of Florida, the Rt Revd John Howard, and a retired bishop, who, it is alleged, sexually harassed the president of the House of Deputies, Julia Ayala Harris (News, 6 September).

Bishop Singh’s predecessor, the Rt Revd Whayne Hougland, was also suspended for one year after admitting to adultery (News, 9 July 2021). An Episcopal Commission has been asked to review the disciplinary canons in the wake of the cases.

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