Reporting Suspected Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Exploitation, or Sexual Harassment

Posted by & filed under Grace Notes, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPP).

We as a parish believe that sexual misconduct is morally and ethically wrong. Among other things it violates our promises in the baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being. All forms of sexual misconduct by clergy, lay leaders, or church members with other church members are unacceptable within the life of the church. The church should be a safe place where people can worship, learn, work, love and receive care in a manner that is free from sexual misconduct.

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different gender. Sexual misconduct may include sexual exploitation or sexual harassment or but is not limited to these offences.

Sexual exploitation includes but is not limited to the following actions:

  1. Verbal: such as sexual innuendo, indecent proposals, sharing sexual stories, jokes or fantasies, or making inappropriate comments about someone’s appearance.
  2. Behaviors: such as inappropriate touching, sending or posting communications with sexual content (correspondence, email, text messages, instant messages, photographs, attachments, phone conversations, voice mail, etc.)
  3. Sexualizing a Pastoral Relationship or relationship between a clergy or lay person and anyone to whom he or she provides ministry (e.g., requesting dates, giving unwanted attention, etc.).

 

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors. Other unwelcome conduct which may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Verbal:

  • repeated sexual innuendos, sexual epithets, derogatory slurs, off-color jokes (for example, jokes that include sexual language, innuendo, references, scenarios, etc.);
  • propositions, threats, or suggestive or insulting sounds (for example, comments about body, sexuality, etc., including insults and innuendo) even if the comment is about someone else;
  • inappropriate e-mail (for example, e-mail that includes sexual jokes or other references of a sexual nature about any person, gossip or speculation about a person’s sexuality, sexual practices, sexual health, pregnancy, virility, etc.). This includes e-mail that was sent accidentally, for example by hitting the “forward” button instead of “reply,” or forgetting that a particular individual or worker is on one of your group lists.

Visual/Non-Verbal:

  • derogatory posters, cartoons or drawings (for example, cartoons and calendars that include nudity, sex acts, provocative poses, innuendo, sexual language, etc.);
  • suggestive objects or pictures (for example, photographs that include nudity, sex acts, provocative poses; wallpaper, Screensavers, or other electronic displays of a sexual nature);
  • graphic commentaries; leering; or obscene gestures (for example, vulgar gestures, gestures simulating sexual acts, “shooting the finger,” kissing the air toward someone or licking the lips in a sexually suggestive or provocative manner).

Physical:

Unwanted physical contacts (including touching, interference with an individual’s normal work movement, unwelcome displays of romantic or sexual affection, aggressive physical contact or assault); and

Other:

Making or threatening reprisals to an individual who opposes, objects to or complains about sexual harassment; possession of inappropriate material of a sexual nature in the Church or its display, duplication, or transmission.

Such verbal and physical conduct may constitute harassment when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or other Church work;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or other Church work decisions affecting such individual;
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

 Reports of suspected or known sexual misconduct may be brought to:

Via any of the following:

  • Telephone call
  • Letter
  • Email
  • In-person meeting

All reports of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior will be taken seriously and handled as confidentially and as quickly as possible.

Sexual misconduct may also be reported directly to law enforcement (Phone: 231-922-4450; The Traverse City Police Department Central Dispatch Non-Emergency).

Members of the clergy who have knowledge of sexual misconduct, by a clergy person, are required by the Canons of the Episcopal Church to report this to Canon to the Ordinary of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, unless such knowledge is gained as a confessor within the Rite of Reconciliation of a Penitent.

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