Sex allegations delay vote on gay bishop

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The Independent US

Leaders of the Episcopalian Church in the United States postponed a vote on whether to confirm the appointment of an openly gay bishop last night after receiving 11th-hour allegations of inappropriate conduct and "touching".

The sudden development caused disarray at a gathering of bishops of the Episcopalian Church, the American cousin of the Church of England. The Rev Gene Robinson was expected to be confirmed as the Bishop of New Hampshire, a move that has threatened to provoke a schism in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Officials of the Episcopalian Church, holding a triennial convention in Minneapolis, said the vote would be put off while bishops investigated the allegations. A second claim suggested Canon Robinson was associated with a website aimed at gay teens called with links to pornography.

An e-mail to Thomas Ely, the Bishop of Vermont, from a man called David Lewis, alleged that Canon Robinson, 56, was a "skirt-chaser" and unsuitable for high office.

"He does not maintain appropriate boundaries with men," said the note, dated Sunday. The author said he had met the canon "a couple of years ago" and "he put his hands on me inappropriately every time I engaged him in conversation". Canon Robinson has lived with his male partner for 13 years.