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MIAMI, FL: Episcopal Chaplain quits after appearing on gay website

MIAMI, FL: Episcopal Chaplain quits after appearing on gay website

By Evan S. Benn
November 8, 2006

An Episcopalian chaplain resigned from his job at a Palmetto Bay private school after explicit images of him appeared on a gay wrestling website that was circulated this week around the school, school officials said.

Father Adrian Parry, 47, of South Miami, quit his post at Palmer Trinity School on Monday after almost two decades as its chaplain and head of the humanities and history department, according to school headmaster Sean Murphy.

Parry "had been engaging in what, in our opinion, were inappropriate and unacceptable outside activities," Murphy wrote in a statement.

A former Palmer Trinity student who is now in college found a website called miamilucha.com -- lucha is a Spanish word for fight -- with photos of Parry and forwarded the link to some former and current students, according to Mike Casey, an attorney for Palmer Trinity.

The website, which records show is registered to Parry, was taken offline Monday, but archived pages have links to gay nude wrestling DVDs for sale, Parry's e-mail address and an invitation to participate.

"If you want to wrestle me, simply send me an e-mail," Parry wrote on the site, which contains a disclaimer about adult content. "I can host . . . or travel to you. All serious challenges will be responded to. Let's wrestle!"

The Episcopalian Diocese of Southeast Florida defrocked Parry of his duties as a reverend as the group investigates him. He can choose to renounce his priesthood or face a trial among church leaders, said Bishop Leo Frade, head of the Diocese.

"The evidence that we received . . . shows conduct unbecoming a clergy person," Frade said.

"There are certain promises a priest needs to fulfill, and according to what was presented to us, we had no choice but to take the action we have with Father Parry."

The Parry incident comes at a time when the 2.4-million-member Episcopal Church is divided about gay rights. The church's newly elected presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has said she supports same-sex unions, and she voted to confirm the church's first openly gay bishop. But critics say those stances are too liberal for the church.

Parry's resignation and the unearthing of his website shocked students and parents, many of whom described him as a dedicated teacher who led humanitarian efforts in Thailand after a tsunami struck the country in December 2004.

Parry was vacationing in Thailand with friends, as was his tradition every year, when the deadly natural disaster hit the region. Murphy, the Palmer Trinity headmaster, agreed to let Parry stay in the country an extra two weeks to help with the recovery. Other teachers substituted for Parry in his economics and modern history classes.

While he was in Thailand, Parry e-mailed journal entries to Palmer Trinity students. In one dispatch, he said he didn't have the courage to help pick up and move dead bodies, so instead he concentrated on reconnecting victims who had lost track of their relatives.

The Miami Herald published a story in January 2005 about Parry's efforts. A few days later, Frade wrote a letter to the editor praising the chaplain:

'Adrian says that he doesn't have the 'fortitude' to help lift bodies, but he is surely lifting spirits," the bishop wrote. "I am so proud of him."

Attempts to contact Parry were unsuccessful.

"Everybody's in shock," said Casey, whose children are alumni of Palmer Trinity. "I knew Adrian pretty well. He's a good teacher, and he always handled the religious aspects admirably."

"I just hope the parents and kids will be able to move past this and understand that something like this can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any school," Casey said.

Parry document | Official statement from Palmer Trinity School Blog | Gay South Florida

Miami Herald staff writer Carli Teproff contributed to this report.


This past Sunday evening, we discovered that a faculty member apparently had been engaging in what, in our opinion, were inappropriate and unacceptable outside activities, considering his position at Palmer Trinity School. This discovery led to immediate action on our part. We met on Monday with the individual, who decided to immediately resign his faculty position. He is no longer employed by Palmer Trinity.

We have no evidence that the individual ever engaged in any improper or inappropriate behavior involving anyone in the school community.

Palmer Trinity takes great pride in our institution, our students, their parents and our faculty .We shall continue to provide one of the best educations in the greater Miami community.


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