Archdeacon Thomas Corston of the diocese of Algoma will be tried in ecclesiastical court June 2 in Sudbury, Ont., on the charge of immorality, which has no definition in canon law.
A five-member court, two clergy and three lay people, all of whom were elected at a diocesan synod in January, will try the archdeacon. The court’s decision cannot be overturned by the diocesan bishop and is final, said Archdeacon Harry Huskins, executive archdeacon of the diocese. Bruce Payne, an Ontario court judge, will preside at the church court, but will not vote on the outcome.
Herve Sauvé, former crown attorney of Sudbury, is the “advocate” acting for the church, and Roy Sullivan is the defense counsel.
(A diocesan court differs from a bishop’s court, in that the members are elected by synod, not by the bishop.)
Bishop Ron Ferris referred the charge of immorality to the church court after an investigation by the diocesan response team into a complaint of sexual misconduct against Archdeacon Corston. Sudbury Regional Police investigated the complaint and found no basis for criminal charges, according to a statement from the diocese.
The archdeacon was suspended with pay on Jan. 30 from his position as rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Sudbury, pending the outcome of the investigation and was also relieved of his duties as archdeacon of Sudbury-Manitoulin.
The members of the diocesan court are Rev. Tom Cunningham, regional dean of Muskoka, and Rev. Douglas Fox, a former teacher at Queen’s College, St. John’s, Nfld. and at Huron College, London, Ont., Dr. David Gould, a former member of council of General Synod, Barbara Graham, a lay reader who works with Anglican Inuit inmates at the Fenbrook Correctional Centre, and Patricia Mark, a lay steward from the deanery of Thunder Bay, Ont.