The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Ex-bishop admits sexual harassment

Ronald K. Hasley, 63, bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod from 1988 to 1998, acknowledged April 28 that he "engaged in improper sexualized conduct and contact with several adult women" while synod bishop.

Since Hasley is retired and was out of the active ministry when the allegations were received, he "signed an agreement ending his exercise of pastoral ministry in the Northern Illinois Synod or elsewhere." He also resigned from the ELCA clergy roster.

A letter from current synod Bishop Gary Wollersheim, synod vice president Myrna Andersen and ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson says pastoral care and support have been offered to those who came forward with complaints and to Hasley and his family.

The letter states, "Written complaints have been received from four women establishing that [Hasley's] actions, attitudes and language toward them violated this church's expectations for ordained ministers and constituted sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. ... There have been no allegations of sexual intimacy or genital contact. When confronted with these credible complaints and without knowing the identities of those who came forward, Hasley acknowledged that his behavior while serving as bishop caused distress and pain to people under his care and oversight. "

In a statement, Hasley apologized, expressing regret for his actions. "My hope is that the disclosure action will begin a healing process," he said.


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Embracing diversity