What is Professional/Clergy Misconduct?
Professional/Clergy Misconduct is not a new problem. It is only recently however, that church officials, congregations, and professional organizations have begun to deal openly with it.
Professional/Clergy Misconduct is a violation of professional ethics, a violation of personal boundaries, a violation of trust and power. Where an imbalance of power exists, there can be no authentic consensual relationship.
Professional misconduct can involve doctors, lawyers, counsellors, teachers, clergy, etc. It can also include lay and/or volunteer church leadership or representatives of a faith community.
Report any incidents of child abuse immediately as required by law.
Marie Fortune describes the emotional cost of such violations for the victims including feelings of shame, guilt, stupidity, betrayal, and exploitation. The victims become depressed and lose faith in themselves and their religious convictions.
Complaint is a formal written statement by a victim/survivor accusing a professional/clergy usually under procedures established by the related professional association.
Clergy Professional Misconduct
Clergy misconduct is a grave injustice toward another person and an entire religious community. It is a power issue. A sacred trust is violated. It is the crossing of a boundary by another person. This includes sexual behaviour, inappropriate words and overtones, harassment, threats, physical movement and contact, hugs, kisses, touching, intercourse, emotional and spiritual manipulation.
The risk of misconduct behaviour is inherent in the very job of clergy because the nature of ministry is about intimacy. In order to do ministry it requires being in intimate relationship with others. People let clergy into a vulnerable part of their lives, into the most sacred parts and parishioners assume a level of safety with a clergy.