When a Complaint is Being Investigated
YOU SHOULD EXPECT THAT:
• the complaint will be taken seriously and fully investigated.
• the investigation should happen in a timely manner.
• the investigation will be objective.
• that you will be treated with respect and dignity.
• if English is not your first language, you have the right to a confidential interpreter for your conversations with church officials.
• an explanation of the investigation/ complaint process will be shared.
• if you ask, you will receive a copy of the Sexual Ethics policy of the annual conference.
• when you file a complaint (written, signed statement), the accused will have the right to know of your name and your statement regarding the accused clergy’s conduct identified in the complaint.
• that notes will be taken during the conversations.
• if you are invited to a meeting, you should know ahead of time who will be present and the nature of the meeting.
• if you are invited to a meeting, you have the right to bring a support person or advocate who will have voice (this cannot be a lawyer).
• the person receiving your complaint will be acquainted with conference policies and procedures.
• presumption of innocence will be maintained until the completion of the process; after that, the conclusions reached in the process will apply.
• that no retaliation should result regarding the complaint and if so, then the incidences of retaliation should be reported.
• that you would be asked to keep the investigation and the complaint process confidential during the time of the investigation.
• you do not have right to have legal counsel present during the time of submitting a complaint (and during the supervisory process), although you can bring a support person or advocate.
YOU SHOULD EXPECT THAT:
• you would receive a written letter indicating the next steps or the conclusion of the complaint process.
• the parameters of confidentiality would be shared with you – who has a “need to know” in order to proceed in a fair and consistent manner with all parties.
• as events unfold, you will know the stages of the process, yet not know all the information of all parties.
• you may be contacted again in order to review information uncovered during the additional fact-finding of the investigation.
• you may contact the person taking the complaint if you remember any further information which may be helpful.
• the annual conference may offer services and other means of care and support. Depending on the nature of the concern, the annual conference may offer support and services provided by the annual conference or make referrals – advocates, support persons, pastoral counseling services, referrals to professionals for care and other support.
YOU SHOULD EXPECT THAT YOU WILL BE ASKED:
• to describe the situations which you believe to be misconduct of a sexual nature, including dates, time and place, details of the conduct, identity of all persons involved in the conduct, the identity of any witnesses to the conduct, your response to the conduct, if you have shared the alleged misconduct information with anyone, whether you are aware of any other persons who have been subject to the same conduct, and the effect of the misconduct for you.
• whether you would like an advocate assigned to you during the processes.
YOU SHOULD EXPECT THAT YOU MAY BE ASKED:
• what type of remedy you are seeking. (The Church is not bound by your desire, but will keep that remedy in mind as it determines the appropriate response, in the event the complaint is supported.)
• whether you work in close proximity to the clergy and whether you can continue to work or worship in this same location.