Sexual Misconduct Policy

POLICY AND PROCEDURE OF THE TROTH REGARDING ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
(4.03.01 Q42018 - Passed on January 23, 2019)

I. Troth Sexual Misconduct Policy

The Troth holds security of the person to be paramount and knows that sexuality is sacred, and therefore takes the strongest stance against sexual misconduct. The ethical conduct of all persons who represent The Troth is of vital importance to this organization, because it is through our members and officers that our reputation as an organization is formed, as is our organizational Wyrd.

If allegations of sexual misconduct arise, our first priority as an organization is to understand what the accuser wants, and then to partner with them in the spirit of compassion and justice.

II. Persons Covered

It is the policy of this Organization that all members, Officers, Clergy, Program leaders, Stewards, and volunteers working in, with, and for this Organization, are to maintain the integrity of professional relationships at all times. Sexual misconduct is a violation of the professional relationship and is never permissible or acceptable.

III. Sexual Misconduct

It is an act of sexual misconduct to be a party to any sexual act without full and knowing consent of both parties, with the understanding that consent cannot be given by those compromised by injury, trauma, disease, drugs or across the power differential existing in a pastoral counseling relationship, or with any subordinate.

Sexual Misconduct, as used in the above definition, includes:

  1. Child Sexual Abuse includes, but is not limited to, any contact or interaction between a Child and an adult when the Child is being used for the sexual stimulation of the adult or of a third person. The behavior may or may not involve touching. Sexual behavior between a Child and an adult is always considered forced whether or not consented to by the Child.

  2. Sexual Harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of an individual’s employment or volunteer service, 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual, or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment including volunteer work.

  3. Rape or sexual contact by force, threat, intimidation, or misuse of power in a trust relationship

  4. Sexual conduct (including, but not limited to, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other kinds of verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as obscene or suggestive language or behavior, use of Organization property, computers and other equipment for sexual or pornographic purposes, unacceptable visual contact, touching or fondling) that is unwelcome and/or repeated when the person engaged in the conduct knows or has been informed that the conduct is unwelcome or offensive to the recipient.

  5. Sexual misconduct as used in the policy is intended to include any conduct which would come within the meaning of “sexual abuse” as legally defined in the Accused’s home jurisdiction.

IV. Principles and Standards of Conduct

  1. Sexual misconduct is a misuse of authority and power that breaches ethical principles by misusing a trust relation to gain advantage over another for personal pleasure in an abusive, exploitative, and unjust manner.

  2. Sexual misconduct is a violation of the roles placed upon volunteers, particularly clergy, who are called upon to exercise integrity, sensitivity, and caring in a trust relationship.

  3. Sexual misconduct takes advantage of the vulnerability of children, the elderly, and persons who may lack the power to protect themselves from such misconduct.

  4. For the above reasons, sexual misconduct is prohibited by this Organization and will never be condoned or tolerated. Proven Sexual Misconduct shall be deemed a violation of Troth law and constitutes grounds for suspension from all offices and titles.

V. Sexual Misconduct Response Person

A: Purpose and Function

A sexual misconduct response person (SMRP) is appointed by this Organization as the person to whom reports of allegations of sexual misconduct will be made, and whose function it is to receive and quickly and objectively respond to reports of sexual misconduct by persons covered by this policy. The response person’s first priority will be to seek to provide support for the Accuser/Victim as he/she decides how to resolve the situation, as well as to exhibit appropriate and professional concern for the protection of the rights of the alleged Accused.

It is not intended that the response person will offer medical, psychological or legal advice as to secular law, and the SMRP is in no way to serve as, or as a substitute for, legal counsel for any person. The SMRP will neither initiate disciplinary proceedings nor be available to testify in disciplinary proceedings arising from an accusation of sexual misconduct.

B: Sexual Misconduct Response Person

This Organization’s primary sexual misconduct response person is the Ombuds.  In their role as SMRP, the Ombuds has immediate clearance from the Rede to engage the Troth’s attorney.

Should the Ombuds deem it necessary, s/he can appoint up to two Associate Ombuds to deal with specific cases. These associate Ombuds are beholden to same procedures and confidentiality clauses as the Ombuds. They likewise have clearance from the Rede to contact the Troth attorney. (See Ombuds Policy and Procedures document for further details). Anyone taking on Associate Ombuds role must be agreed upon by both parties in the misconduct complaint.  Associate Ombuds are previously chosen and approved by a majority of the High Rede.

If the primary SMRP is not reasonably available at the time that an allegation of sexual misconduct arises, or if an allegation is raised against or involves the sexual misconduct response person him or herself, then the following persons, in order, are approved by this Organization as persons authorized to receive such allegations and serve as the sexual misconduct response person:

Any member of the Rede, including Associate Steer and Steer.

All SMRPs, upon taking office,  shall be made fully familiar with this policy and shall receive contact information for the Troth attorney.

VI:  Response Procedures

Any person with a complaint or report of sexual misconduct or a question involving this policy may contact the SMRP via their respective email.  The SMRP will then contact the attorney.

Reports of sexual misconduct will never be taken lightly or disregarded. When reports of alleged sexual misconduct are brought to the  SMRP, such reports are treated as confidential, sealed under existing Rede’s oath with one additional requirement; any member of the Rede named in an accusation will recuse themselves from the discussion, and may not be party to any communications relating to it, save to answer direct questions from the Rede.  

Confidentiality rules apply to both accused and accuser until such time as investigation by authorities (if required) or Rede (if appropriate and possible) are complete. The Rede retains the power to ask any member, officer, or even Steer to temporarily step down from their duties until such time as investigations are complete

VII: Protection of Minors

No Troth function or ceremony will call for or permit a single adult, not a parent or authorized caregiver as designated by the parent, to be unsupervised with one or more children, unless duly authorized by said parent or caregiver.   The Troth shall provide permission slips for said authorization, or said parent or caregiver must send notarized statement.

There may be circumstances where minors are involved when secular law requires that suspected abuse be reported to secular authorities.

VIII: Orders of Protection

Any existing court orders, including restraining orders or child custody orders, may be shared with the Rede or Ombuds if concern exists that  someone attending a Troth-sponsored event could have their security compromised by existing domestic disputes. The Steer or head of the hosting group will see that the hosts are aware of any individual concerns to make sure the frith of the hall is preserved from identified issues, and any requirements regarding safety perimeters and access are respected.