In the realm of accountability and apologies, timing is crucial. On Wednesday, September 13, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Eureka issued a public apology for their former member, Clinton Ellis-Gilmore, who had been arrested for masturbating in public. This occurred almost exactly a month after Ellis-Gilmore was initially arrested on August 12, 2023. While their effort to publicly apologize is commendable, some individuals can’t help but question the delay in response, especially considering the timing coincided with the spread of the story to The Daily Wire and other national and international news outlets.
The Sisters Picnic
On Sunday, the 10th of September 2023, the Sisters hosted a community picnic at Sequoia Park in Eureka. Donnie and Ash from LCP seized this opportunity to seek answers regarding their former member. They engaged in conversations, including a segment with Sister Juana Little, which can be viewed in the video below, offering a glimpse into the discussions. A longer video of this interaction can be found on X, formerly Twitter.
The Sisters picnic was a fact finding mission for the LCP team, trying to verify research form social media and get reactions from the local Sisters group about how they felt about the incident and where it placed Ellis-Gilmore within their ranks.
Sisters Apologize A Month Late
The apology was viewable on the Sisters FB page and was also published as an opinion article on Kym Kemp’s website, the Redheaded Black Belt (RHBB). One thing that caught the attention of many was the singular article on the incident featured by RHBB, besides the initial booking report.
The piece was an opinion article penned by the Sisters themselves, it is not clear why the Sisters waited a full month to issue a statement. We suspect either the LCP team showing up at the picnic on the 10th or the story breaking national headlines could have been the catalyst. The pertinent segment of the Sisters statement can be seen below.
“In response to media reports of a former probationary member of the Eureka, California, house of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence being arrested for indecent exposure last month, we humbly offer the following response, along with corrections to some factually incorrect statements that have been made in the press.
The Eureka House of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence unreservedly condemns the behavior alleged in police reports. We are a global nonprofit organization dedicated to community service, fundraising, and activism on behalf of marginalized communities. To have anyone associated with us accused of such behavior is an embarrassment and a blight on our name.
The person arrested was in a probationary process to become a full member at one time but this process ended in October of 2020. They were not a member at the time of their arrest, as several media outlets have stated.
We have a long and complex process for admitting new members to our order and we take every step to be as certain as possible that anyone admitted as a fully-professed member will not bring dishonor to our order. We have a Misconduct and Grievance Resolution Process to ensure that any member who violates our policies, or the law, faces sanctions up to, and including expulsion. Fully professed members are mandated reporters who react with diligence in duty to the law in order to ensure the safety of our community.
Without minimizing the gravity of this situation, it is worth noting that our Order is hardly alone among religious, political and social service organizations in having former members who have been accused of behavior contrary to their stated values, often in much more serious and harmful ways, and sometimes working to conceal and thus enable that behavior over the course of years.
We offer our most profound apologies to the community for what happened and specifically to any individuals impacted by this inexcusable behavior. It is not representative of our Order, our values, or the hundreds of individuals who serve as Sisters.”
We Asked the Sisters Why
In pursuit of transparency and clarity, we reached out to the Sisters via email, posing questions about the reasons behind the delay in their response to the incident, as seen below.
“I was wondering if you could explain the timing of the statement, being a month later than the incident itself?
Were the sisters not aware of it until we attended your picnic, and the story broke national headlines?
Did the lack of local media coverage aside from ourselves and John Chiv contribute to any possible lack of awareness on the incident?”
The Sisters have yet to respond to our questions.
Jon Chiv Notices the Time lapse
John Chiv also noticed this time lapse as described in his most recent article, he even put out a request to the Sisters that went unanswered at the time of Ellis-Gilmore’s initial arrest.
“I asked the local chapter of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to send me a statement. If they wished. They did not and that was a choice they made. Since I reported on Gilmore’s arrest in August, he has changed his profile and mysteriously any references and photos about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from his Facebook page have disappeared.”
Johns article also cites the fact that this all occurred right after The Daily Wire picked up the story and it became a national headline, also citing the fact that The Daily Wire failed to give John credit for being the first to cover the story. Something that the LCP has done in its initial story and all subsequent stories on this topic (something that I personally requested that the Daily Wire fix, yet for some reason they did not).
Additionally, John notes that the statement issued by the Sisters was sent to Kym Kemp and not himself though he had contacted the Sisters asking if they wanted to make a statement roughly a month beforehand.
John does get one thing wrong in his article though, he claims to know why we report on this topic and ties it in with our views on the LGBTQ community.
“I don’t agree with why LCP chose to report on this or their views on the LGBTQ community but at least in the initial post, LCP gave credit that I was the only one and the first one to report on Gilmore’s arrest.”
Our main reason for reporting on this is to call out the local media hypocrisy, with the secondary purpose of pushing back against activist groups who use theatrics to indoctrinate our local youth in the concepts of queer theory.
All bickering and nitpicking aside, the Lost Coast Populist team thinks John does a great job. He provides quick, accurate reporting on many topics other local media misreports, under reports, or completely fails to report on at all.
The Importance of Communication
In this age of connectivity and information sharing, news travels fast. Delays in responses, especially in serious matters such as the Ellis-Gilmore incident, are likely to raise concerns and questions. It is the responsibility of the organizations involved to address these concerns promptly and transparently, something that the Sisters kind of dropped the ball on in this instance.
Responding to to an incident a month late after doing a deep clean on Ellis-Gilmore’s facebook content does not create good optics for the the Sisters as an organization. Then, only communicating with select news organizations and failing to respond to others, does not lead to communication and understanding.