Thomas McKenzie
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Stuff Not To Do When You're a Priest

STONINGTON, Conn. - Stonington police have arrested the pastor of an Episcopal church accusing him of hosting a graduation party that resulted in two girls getting sick on alcohol.

The Rev. Mark Robinson of Calvary Episcopal Church was arrested Monday on charges stemming from a party at his home Sunday night.

The 50-year-old pastor is charged with delivery of alcohol to minors, reckless endangerment and permitting minors to possess alcohol.

Police say they responded to a call reporting hat a 17-year-old girl was drunk and needed medical attention.

Police said that when they arrived, many of the 30 or more youths who were present at the party fled into the woods behind the Robinson home.

Follow Up from the Episcopal Church periodical, the Living Church:

Police responded to the private graduation party after receiving a call placed by Fr. Robinson about an intoxicated 17-year-old girl in need of medical care. In addition to being charged with delivery of alcohol to minors, Fr. Robinson was also charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and permitting minors to possess alcohol.

In an e-mail message sent to parents of the students afterward, Fr. Robinson said that one of the girls taken to the hospital arrived at the party already severely intoxicated, while other students disregarded his rules and brought alcohol onto his property. As a precaution, he had hired two paramedics from the Stonington Ambulance Association to check the guest list as cars arrived and otherwise assist with supervision of the party.

“We elected to have the party because we trusted we could host the event safely with so many precautions set in place,” Fr. Robinson wrote, adding that he, his wife Eleanor, and his parents were “ever-present” and “continually monitored [the] well-being” of the young adults.

No disciplinary action against Fr. Robinson has been taken by the diocese at this time, according to Karin Hamilton, the diocese’s director of communications and media. Ms. Hamilton said Fr. Robinson will not be conducting services this coming Sunday because he was already on sabbatical at the time the incident occurred. She said Bishop Andrew Smith has already spoken with Fr. Robinson about the incident.

“Any kind of ecclesiastical response that the diocese would make would come after the police investigation is complete,” she said.