It has been 10 years since the Rev. Richard Arthur Pollard, 73, retired as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, a midsize parish with roughly 500 members.
But he, too, has been swept up in the deluge of allegations of sexual misconduct flooding denominations across the country.
On Saturday, one day after his bishop confronted him with the allegations, Pollard renounced his orders – in effect resigning, said Jim DeLa, spokesman for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida.
The two accusers were teenagers when Pollard allegedly molested them in the 1970s, DeLa said. The diocese is neither identifying the accusers nor describing the charges in detail, DeLa said.
The accusers are not filing a formal complaint with the Tarpon Springs Police Department, in part because they said they do not believe prosecutors could charge Pollard. They were older than 12 at the time of the alleged incidents, and the statute of limitations has run out, DeLa said.
One has taken up the church’s offer of counseling, the spokesman said.
“The victims right now do not want to press charges, so we are going to leave it to them to press charges or not,” DeLa said.
Bishop John B. Lipscomb and members of a diocesan pastoral response team were expected to hold a closed meeting with the congregation of All Saints at 7 p.m. Monday. Other congregations have been informed of the allegations, including a diocese in western New York, where Pollard also served.
Pollard was in charge of All Saints from 1974 until his retirement in 1992, according to a statement that appeared on the diocese’s Web site Sunday.
He also was associate rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tampa from 1969 to 1974, and before that, vicar of St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church in Zephyrhills from 1964 to 1969. He lives in the Tampa Bay area and will continue to receive a pension from the church, DeLa said.
The last Episcopal priest to be accused of wrongdoing was Kevin Donlon, who left St. Mary’s parish in Tampa amid allegations of lying, abusive behavior and an inappropriate supervisory relationship with a staff member. Donlon, who denied the accusations by eight church members, resigned and went on to found the breakaway Church of the Resurrection.
The Episcopal Church also took action against Thomas Leckrone, who while rector of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Hudson was accused of having affairs with two female parishioners, DeLa said. Leckrone fought the charges until he lost in an ecclesiastical trial in 1999, DeLa said. He died this year.