Sexual misconduct committed by congregational employees should be reported to the pastor, council president, or another congregational officer. Congregations are encouraged to have policies in place for addressing allegations against church staff and to respond with compassion and care to anyone reporting abuse by clergy or lay leaders.
This synod has responsibility for addressing allegations of sexual abuse by rostered ministers (ordained clergy and deacons), administering appropriate discipline, and responding to those who have been harmed. Policies and procedures in place in this synod provide for compassionate and resolute response to those wounded by rostered minister sexual misconduct, and appropriate discipline for those who offend.
Report to the Southeastern Minnesota Synod if this synod is where the misconduct occurred, where the rostered minister (clergy or deacon) is currently located, or where the victim is currently located.
The following synod staff are available to receive reports:
Sexual misconduct: Federal and state laws make distinctions among various types of sexual misconduct, such as “sexual harassment,” “sexual abuse,” and “sexual assault.” Similarly, the governing documents of the ELCA define what types of sexual misconduct can result in a pastor or deacon facing ecclesiastical discipline. These distinctions should not concern a person who is troubled about the sexual conduct of a pastor or deacon. This church is concerned about all types of sexual misconduct by these individuals, regardless of whether or how the misconduct is characterized by the law or by the governing documents of the ELCA.
Any time a minister uses their position in the church for personal sexual gratification it is a misuse of the pastoral office and a betrayal of the nature of the pastoral relationship. Any sexual misconduct committed by a rostered church minister should be reported to the appropriate synod, including, but not limited to, any sexual contact between the rostered person and a congregant, counselee, employee, or volunteer. It should be noted that the synod may not be able to assume primary responsibility for addressing all allegations of sexual misconduct. For example, law enforcement authorities would have responsibility for investigating and addressing criminal allegations, while congregations would have to deal with accusations of sexual harassment by the congregation’s employees. Nevertheless, the synod office should be notified of all cases of inappropriate sexual behavior in the congregation.
Any suspected sexual contact with a minor must be reported to the appropriate governmental agency as required by state laws concerning reporting of child abuse.