PORTLAND, Ore. — A former employee of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon has filed a lawsuit against the diocese and Bishop Michael Hanley, claiming he assaulted a female priest and misused donated funds.

Former finance officer Mary Macy filed the $845,000 lawsuit in Portland on Tuesday, claiming she was fired last year for whistleblowing, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported .

The suit claims the bishop assaulted the Rev. Margaret McMurren during a visit to her Salem congregation three years ago.

Matthew Ellis, Macy’s attorney, said his client saw the bishop wrap his arm around the priest’s neck and move with her down some stairs.

Harris Matarazzo, McMurren’s attorney, said other witnesses reported seeing the same action, and they also heard the bishop make disparaging comments about her age.

The suit also claims that a $10.7 million fund created mostly by donations from single source wasn’t used for its intended purpose. It claims the bishop pushed his own plans for the money that was restricted to be used by a chaplain at a hospital, but the suit doesn’t specify what was done with the funds.

Hanley has disputed the allegations, but he said he couldn’t comment on the circumstances that led to Macy’s termination.

“The Diocese believes that Ms. Macy’s allegations are unfounded and will defend the lawsuit vigorously,” Hanley said.

Macy previously filed complaints on her firing with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which dismissed the complaints after the diocese presented evidence that she performed poorly as an employee, according to state documents.


Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com