Episcopal priest in Maryland on leave after report reveals child sexual abuse allegation from 1976

By ENS staff
Posted May 25, 2023

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Maryland was ordered to take a leave of absence after a news report on an investigation into sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church identified him as facing allegations from a 1976 incident with a 15-year-old boy.

The 75-year-old priest, the Rev. Thomas Hudson, was appointed in 2020 by Maryland Bishop Eugene Sutton to serve as priest-in-charge at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Mount Savage. On May 21, he shared a letter with the congregation announcing that Sutton had directed him to take a leave of absence while he tends to “some very important personal and family issues.” He did not elaborate.

Hudson’s name surfaced in connection with a Maryland attorney general’s investigation into child sexual abuse in Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. His name was one of 10 redacted from the attorney general’s April 5 report, but he was identified May 24 in a story by the Baltimore Sun.

Hudson confirmed his was one of the 10 redacted names but declined to comment on the allegations, according to the Sun. He has not been charged with a crime.

The Sun reported that Hudson in the 1970s was a public high school teacher and active at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Frederick, Maryland. According to the Sun, he was accused in the attorney general’s report of inviting the unnamed 15-year-old boy camping and giving him alcohol. When Hudson allegedly tried to take off the boy’s pants, the boy resisted and left the tent.

Hudson later attended an Episcopal seminary and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2008, the Sun reported.

Late May 25, Sutton issued a pastoral message saying he was notified by Hudson in late April of the priest’s inclusion in the attorney general’s report, at which point Sutton advised him to take leave of his parish role, but the diocese didn’t become aware of the details of the allegation until the Sun reported them.

Hudson’s background check to serve in the diocese had revealed no charges or other red flags, Sutton said, and the Catholic archdiocese did not inform the Episcopal diocese that an investigation had revealed the decades-old allegation against Hudson.

“The Diocese of Maryland strives for reconciliation and as the church, we seek to repair relationships,” Sutton said. “As a community of love, we are committed to holding each other accountable through our church canon law and ecclesiastical disciplinary process, and to making amends and practicing forgiveness, of ourselves, those we have harmed, and those who have harmed us. This is our role and responsibility. Civil legal matters remain in the hands of civil authorities.

“We pray for healing and wholeness for any situation that violates who we are as the body of Christ. We seek to offer pastoral care while we embody the Gospel values of repentance, restitution and justice on the road to reconciliation.”