The diocese’s provisional Bishop George Wayne Smith received a formal disciplinary complaint against McClain on May 9. McClain was then placed on administrative leave, and the congregation notified on May 11, said John Johanssen, Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Southern Ohio.
“With such a serious complaint, it is the usual practice for a bishop in our church to ensure due process for anyone so charged and to safeguard all the parties affected,” Smith wrote to congregants.
McClain has been “directed that he not engage in ministry” and must not have contact with the congregation, Smith said, pending resolution of the case. McClain also has a court-issued restraining order for his spouse, according to the diocese’s letter.
McClain could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Earlier this week, a group of three church leaders known as the reference panel requested a formal investigation conducted by outside legal counsel, which began Thursday. The diocese will notify the people of St. Paul’s when the disciplinary process is complete, Smith said.
The Episcopal Church’s Title IV canons, the process by which complaints of clergy misconduct are investigated and adjudicated, involves the bishop, laypeople, elected clergy, and the diocese’s clergy misconduct intake officer.
In addition to following all requirements of the Episcopal Church disciplinary process, the Diocese of Southern Ohio is cooperating fully with law enforcement, Johanssen said.