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B.C. bishop forbidden to work as priest in Canada after sexual misconduct allegations

·2 min read
Lincoln Mckoen served as a bishop for 17 parishes, from Merritt to Prince George, in the B.C. Interior.  (Submitted by Philomena Hughes  - image credit)
Lincoln Mckoen served as a bishop for 17 parishes, from Merritt to Prince George, in the B.C. Interior. (Submitted by Philomena Hughes - image credit)

A B.C. bishop who resigned over sexual misconduct allegations has been defrocked.

Archbishop Lynne McNaughton, who heads the Anglican Church in B.C. and Yukon, told CBC News that Lincoln Mckoen was no longer a bishop or priest and would not be able to preach anywhere across the country.

"It's really important that we need to protect people from sexual misconduct," said McNaughton.

In a written statement shared with the church community, the Anglican Church of Canada said Mckoen was alleged to have sent "inappropriate sexualized electronic communications" via text and images to an adult with whom he was in contact in his role as a priest or bishop.

"Lincoln Mckoen acknowledges that the allegations are well founded," said the statement signed by the national church's leader, Archbishop Linda Nicholls.

Breach of trust 'very harmful'

McNaughton said priests and church goers have a deeply personal relationship of profound trust.

"It's a relationship like they would have with a doctor.., a therapist, a teacher. If you have it breached, it's very harmful," she said.

For the congregations where Mckoen ministered, "it's a time of confusion for people and it's grief," McNaughton said.

Territory of the People
Territory of the People

She said the Anglican Church had made errors in the past by "moving priests or putting allegations aside, as part of the terrible, terrible legacy of things like residential schools."

She said clergy are now being trained in the church's zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct with clear guidelines "to keep people safe."

McNaughton said the alleged misconduct is not a criminal offence under the law.

Ministries in Newfoundland, Ontario, B.C. coast

The person who Mckoen allegedly sent the texts and images to resided outside of the Interior B.C. diocese where Mckoen had worked since his election as bishop in 2020, according to church officials.

Based in Kamloops, Mckoen presided over 17 parishes from Merritt to Prince George until he resigned in June.

McNaughton said information about the sexual misconduct allegations has now been shared with congregations where Mckoen previously served, in Newfoundland, Ontario, and on the B.C. coast.

"The possibility is that there might be other allegations come forward," said McNaughton.

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