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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Presiding Bishop to Speak Soon

Aired August 5, 2003 - 13:23   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Will it happen? Will there be a gay, openly gay bishop voted in? We've been following the story. I understand Susan Candiotti has a bit of breaking news. We'll go to her now live. A lot of commotion behind you.
Susan, what happened?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we heard in about five minutes or so from now, according to two sources who are very close to the church's investigation that's been ongoing now for about a day and a half, that the presiding bishop, Michael Griswald, is to make an announcement. And according to these two sources, with 99 percent certainty, they are saying that he is going to announce that the investigation that just started yesterday is already complete, that he intends to make that announcement. And furthermore, they say, they will announce there will be a vote rescheduled on whether to elect or ratify the election of Reverend Gene Robinson to bishop of New Hampshire -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Susan, I know this is breaking, happening at the last minute. From what you've heard, sources there in Minneapolis, is there any -- was there any credibility, I guess, to these accusations? Does it look like someone was just trying to stir the pot as this vote was coming forward? What's your sense?

CANDIOTTI: Well, we, of course, really need to wait to see what they're going to explain to us about how they conducted the investigation in order for, I think, anyone to really make a thorough assessment of that. Certainly, there was a lot of concern from the very beginning that these investigations, the timing of these allegations that came forward, one involving an e-mail sent from a man in Vermont, that was accusing Reverend Robinson of -- quote -- "inappropriate touching and behavior." And the other one had to do with what affiliation if any, he had to a Web site for an organization that he founded. But according to him, he hasn't had personal contact with it for a few years.

And so there was some concern voiced to us by some of the bishops just this morning attending the conference as to, as they put it, some of these allegations sounding rather thin to them.

In fact, one bishop went so far as to say that if this man was, indeed, talking about inappropriate touching in a public room, that he said the allegation involved, one of touching the bicep, the shoulder, and the back, he said that -- you know, he had some concerns about this, and said, perhaps if you looked around the room here, you might be able to accuse a number of us here at the convention of that very same behavior.

But everyone has said, whether they are for the ratification of Gene Robinson or against it, that these are very serious allegations and that they have to be looked at thoroughly.

Now, we'll see what happens and what Reverend Griswald has to say about this and what they did to look into these matters.

PHILLIPS: Our Susan Candiotti, thank you so much.

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