The Overseers Board of The Meeting House church says that its teaching pastor, Bruxy Cavey, abused his position of authority to carry out an inappropriate relationship with a congregant.
The church held a hurried town hall meeting on Tuesday evening, which it broadcast live and publicly on YouTube after another teaching pastor announced her resignation publicly on Monday in support of the victim. Danielle Strickland said in her announcement that "I’m called to walk in solidarity with the oppressed. The victim in this situation has been silenced through this process and devastated by the outcome."
Maggie John, the chair of the church's board said the church had originally planned to hold a town hall on March 9 but moved it up an evening so that they could also address Strickland's resignation.
John says that the victim, who has not been identified to protect their privacy, first came forward to the church with her allegations on November 30, 2021. By December 6 Cavey had been placed on leave and the process of a third-party investigation had begun.
"The investigator’s work is now complete," John told the church in the town hall. "Over the last number of days, the Overseers have read the report and we have taken time to process the information and consider the required actions."
John says the findings of the investigation concluded that not only did a sexual relationship occur over the course of "several years" but that it also constitute abuse of his power as a member of the clergy.
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"The investigator determined that Bruxy had maintained a sexual relationship with the victim, an adult woman, in violation of The Meeting House policy and the Handbook of Faith and Life of Be in Christ Church of Canada. The investigator also found that what became a sexual relationship between Bruxy and the Victim, which lasted over an extended period of time, constituted an abuse of Bruxy’s power and authority as a member of the clergy, and amounted to sexual harassment."
The report was given to the board at the end of February and it then asked Cavey to resign. He then submitted his resignation on March 3rd, which the Overseers accepted, John says. When asked why he was given the chance to resign instead of being fired, John says that it was an opportunity for Cavey to accept responsibility for his actions, and had he not done so then he would have been fired.
In addressing Strickland's concerns that the victim had been silenced, John says the church feels that is not the case. The third-party investigator had several meetings with the victim, and the final report went through "thorough" revisions at the request of the victim.
John says that the reason Strickland resigned in "solidarity" with the victim is that both women felt the report should use "stronger language."
"We want to be careful not to speak on behalf of Danielle," John says, "but we do want to acknowledge that we are so very saddened by her resignation."
John says that the third-party investigator looked into what the victim had brought forward, "knew what the investigation was about, and was not silenced." John says that the church recognizes the importance of handling the situation with transparency and that it did not limit the scope of the investigation. She says the victim met with the investigator three times, and the "investigator prepared a detailed list of allegations based on what the victim wanted to be investigated.
"Danielle has been a valuable friend and advocate to the victim and based on Danielle and the victim's understanding of the victim's experience they would like us to use stronger language that goes beyond what was found in the report." John says that the church is using the language of the investigator's findings to maintain the "integrity of the independent third-party nature by sticking with the findings of the investigator."
The church is offering counselling to its congregants as well, many of who have been shocked that the allegations were true. Cavey is a well-known pastor and author and was well respected in Canadian evangelical circles.
"The Meeting House stands against sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of power and authority," John says. "We are praying through this situation."
The church will be holding another town hall soon that will be strictly Q&A to allow the congregation to get more clarity.
Updated March 9, 11:55 a.m. to add quotes and clairty with regards to the victim and Strickland wanting stronger language used in the report.