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A local chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is apologizing after The Daily Wire reported that a former member of its community was arrested last month for masturbating at a beachfront park in California.
Clinton Monroe Ellis-Gilmore, the alleged public masturbator, had been active in the local Eureka, California, chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for years, even attending a drag reading at the public school with the group back in 2018. Ellis-Gilmore appeared to go by several names in the group, including “Novice Sister Bethe Cockhim,” and “Novice Sister Man Romeo,” according to social media posts.
The Eureka House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence told The Daily Wire on Wednesday that Ellis-Gilmore’s arrest “is an embarrassment and a blight on our name.”
“The Eureka House of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence unreservedly condemns the behavior alleged in police reports,” the group said in a statement sent to The Daily Wire from Sister Marymagnalaid. “To have anyone associated with us accused of such behavior is an embarrassment and a blight on our name.”
The group came under the spotlight earlier this year when it was honored by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The decision caused an uproar in the community, given the Sisters are known for mocking the Catholic faith.
Police records show Ellis-Gilmore was arrested after multiple witnesses said he was sitting with no pants on and truck door open at Table Bluff County Park, with one leg out the vehicle and the other up on the dashboard while masturbating. One witness told The Daily Wire it was clear Ellis-Gilmore wanted “everyone to see what he’s doing.”
The local chapter says that although Ellis-Gilmore was involved, he was never a full-fledged member of the group.
“The person arrested was in a probationary process to become a full member at one time but this process ended in October of 2020,” the statement said. “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.”
The statement added that the group had a disciplinary by which they could kick out members and that full members were mandatory reporters.
“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,” the statement said.
Pictures on social media place Ellis-Gilmore at numerous events with the group alongside his husband, Bill Gilmore, who goes by “Saint Gives More.” According to the group, “Saints,” though not members of the “Abby,” are “very special people in our community who deserve recognition for their contributions to the community or the Sisters.”
The group said it was “frustrating” that Ellis-Gilmore’s masturbation arrest came as the group was in the national spotlight.
“It is particularly frustrating for us to have to address this accusation of inexcusable behavior at a time when we know many are seeking any way to marginalize and minimize us,” it said. “We would ask our critics to consider whether all the current and former members of their own organizations are without sin before hurling stones at our entire organization based on the alleged behavior of a former member.”
If convicted, Ellis-Gilmore faces six months of prison time, a $1,000 fine, and a requirement to register as a sex offender.