(From the October 2012 edition of HopeSpeak)
Denomination: Presbyterian Church (USA)
Does the organization have a clergy sexual abuse policy in place? If yes, where can this policy be found (provide URL, mailing address if a copy must be requested, etc.)?
Yes, we do have a sexual misconduct policy at the denominational level. It can be found at http://www.pcusa.org/resource/presbyterian-church-us-sexual-misconduct-policy-an/. This applies to all employees at the denominational level including mission coworkers. Each synod, presbytery and congregation are mandated to have their own policies. Many use the denominational policy as a guide when writing their own.
How/where can victims or members of the congregation find out about the policy and proper procedures for reporting abuse? Is there a specific person or office to contact?
There is a website http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/sexualmisconduct/. It is being revised but contains this information.
Though we at the Presbyterian Center receive reports of alleged abuse, allegations against ordained clergy and certified Christian Educators are handled on the presbytery level. A congregation would act only on allegations against non-ordained staff (youth directors, music staff, etc) and members with assistance from the local presbytery.
The denominational hotline number is (502) 569-5207.
Does your organization’s policy include the abuse of vulnerable adults, as well as children?
Yes, it states, “Sexual abuse as defined in the Book of Order: “Sexual abuse of another person is any offense involving sexual conduct in relation to (1) any person under the age of eighteen years or anyone over the age of eighteen years without the mental capacity to consent; or (2) any person when the conduct includes force, threat, coercion, intimidation, or misuse of office or position” (Book of Order, D-10.0401c).
Submitted By and Position:
Susan W. Wright
Sexual Misconduct Ombudsperson
Presbyterian Church (USA)