Gardiner rector suspended in wake of sexual misconduct

Posted Jan. 24, 2012, at 10:32 a.m.

GARDINER, Maine — The longtime rector of a historic Episcopal church in Gardiner has been suspended by the Diocese of Maine for two years following an investigation that found he engaged in sexual misconduct consisting of “inappropriate language and interpersonal boundary violations.”

The Rev. Jacob Fles has been at Christ Church in Gardiner for about 17 years.

A joint statement issued by Bishop Stephen Lane and Fles said the church’s inquiry did not uncover any evidence of criminal behavior. Fles declined further comment.

The Kennebec Journal reported that the congregation was told of the suspension on Sunday.

Fles had been on paid administrative leave since September while the diocese investigated allegations of sexual misconduct, financial impropriety and improper clergy conduct. The investigation did not find any evidence of financial misconduct.

 

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