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WRAL’s David Crabtree admits on-air to ‘inappropriate’ relationship, cites church fallout

WRAL’s David Crabtree admits on-air to ‘inappropriate’ relationship

WRAL anchor David Crabtree delivered a statement at the end of Friday’s 6 p.m. newscast admitting to an inappropriate relationship that cost him his position as a clergy member in the Episcopal Church.
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WRAL anchor David Crabtree delivered a statement at the end of Friday’s 6 p.m. newscast admitting to an inappropriate relationship that cost him his position as a clergy member in the Episcopal Church.

WRAL-TV lead anchor David Crabtree surprised viewers tonight with a personal announcement delivered at the end of the station’s 6 p.m. newscast.

Crabtree announced that he had lost his position as a member of the clergy in the Episcopal Church because of an inappropriate relationship that violated church rules.

Crabtree’s statement was also posted online on the WRAL website:

“You may know that I am a member of the clergy in the Episcopal Church. On Friday, the church announced I have lost that position because I violated church rules.

“Years ago, I had a consensual relationship with a woman ... A relationship the church deemed inappropriate.

“I accept the decision. My actions were unacceptable. I apologize.

“My faith remains strong. I seek God’s forgiveness. I hope that, in time, I might earn yours.”

Crabtree, who is divorced with two adult daughters, was an ordained deacon at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh.

Joel Davis, vice president and general manager at WRAL, provided the following statement to The News & Observer on Friday evening:

“David Crabtree made a statement Friday night about a personal matter that is between him and the Episcopal church. He will continue his long career here at WRAL. His statement speaks for itself.”

The News & Observer reached out the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina with questions about Crabtree’s statement.

The group responded with the following statement:

“In late October 2018, the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina received a complaint against the Rev. David Crabtree with an allegation of sexual misconduct and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

After an immediate and thorough investigation following the canonical process as outlined under Title IV of The Episcopal Church’s canons and constitutions, an Accord was reached by all parties in which it was agreed that as a result of the investigation’s findings, Crabtree would be deposed (no longer a member of the clergy) in The Episcopal Church. Crabtree was ordained as a deacon in 2004; a deacon is an ordained member of the clergy who assists priests and bishops.

The canons of the Church require that any and all church conduct proceedings remain confidential for the sake of fairness and healing; however, we can say that at no point in the investigation was evidence discovered of anything that might be considered criminal, and all those involved in the complaint were adults.

Pastoral care was provided to all parties, and this support will continue and remain available for all involved as long as it is wanted or needed.

Deposed clergy are not ex-communicated. They are still welcome in the Episcopal Church; they simply cannot hold a clerical leadership position.

As a point of general information, the Diocese understands public concern regarding the transparency, or perceived lack thereof, of any Church disciplinary process. In the hope of allaying this concern, should the Diocese ever receive a complaint that requires it, the Diocese will not hesitate to involve law enforcement when required by law, when someone has been obviously harmed or we believe is in harm’s way. We emphasize we did not find evidence of anything in those categories in this case, and so the investigation proceeded per canonical process, and the information shared is done so in an effort to inform as necessary while maintaining the privacy of those involved and the confidentiality required by the process.

It is the sincere hope of the Diocese that those who learn of this situation will respond with grace and prayer, as we continue to work toward and pray for healing for those affected by these recent events.

Please visit the diocesan website for more information on frequently asked questions relating to Title IV situations, and the Title IV website for all information relating to the disciplinary process of the Episcopal Church.”

Crabtree has been in TV news for more than 35 years, taking over as the lead anchor at WRAL when Charlie Gaddy retired in 1994. He is a native of Tennessee who has lived in Raleigh since 1994.

Crabtree announced his retirement from WRAL last year and was set to retire at the end of 2018, but announced in November that he would postpone the retirement to continue working in news.

A news release from WRAL then cited last year’s hurricanes as one reason for Crabtree hanging around: “I’ve got some unfinished business here … there are still interviews to be had and a community to be served … I was re-energized during coverage — where else do you get an opportunity to make a difference for people and to have THEM make such a difference in you? I felt summoned to continue to do this work.”

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Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and answers CuriousNC questions for readers.
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