The highest-ranking Episcopal priest in the nation, who headed a national committee examining the church's position on sexuality and the priesthood, has resigned following charges that he sexually abused young men in his upstate New York congregation, church officials announced yesterday.
The allegations surrounding the priest, the Rev. Wallace A. Frey, rector of St. David's Church in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt, N.Y., are expected to stir uncertainty as the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church continues to struggle with the issue of ordaining homosexuals, a debate that dominated the denomination's General Convention last year.
The 56-year-old priest had played a central role in achieving a compromise on the issue at the convention, staving off a resolution that would have declared sexual relations allowable only for married priests.
Father Frey could not be reached yesterday for comment on the charges against him.
Father Frey's resignation in connection with the sex-abuse allegations was announced by the bishop of the Diocese of Central New York, David B. Joslin.
Father Frey is married and the father of two grown children.