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Memorandum No. 838

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October 29 1998
In Re: Review of the Rewritten Sexual Ethics and Procedure Policy of the North Georgia Annual Conference.

Digest of Case

The North Georgia Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals is in conformity with the Discipline and Decision 812.

Statement of Facts

In Decision 812, the Judicial Council reviewed the North Georgia Sexual Ethics and Procedures Policy which had been approved at the 1997 North Georgia Annual Conference session, and documented several problems with it. It was remanded for revisions "to bring it into conformity with the 1996 Discipline and this decision." The North Georgia Annual Conference has submitted the rewritten document and the Judicial Council has jurisdiction under ¶ 2616 of the 1996 Discipline. The rewritten document, now called the Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals in the North Georgia Annual Conference is in conformity with the Discipline and Decision 812. The confidentiality requirement for clergy is accurately stated; a "church professional" is fully defined; the purpose of the policy and procedures are clear; the Disciplinary chargeable offenses are not expanded nor redefined; the separate types of behaviors covered are clearly defined; and the Discipline has not been either misquoted or paraphrased. We do suggest, however, that under "Purpose", paragraph C, an additional statement be made that the purpose of the Policy is, likewise, "to ensure that fair and clear policies and procedures will be employed when someone makes an allegation of sexual misconduct against a church professional." When the Policy is read in its entirety, it is clear that such a statement is the definite intent of the Policy. However, a clear statement to that effect would strengthen the Policy. Sally Curtis AsKew recused herself and did not participate in any of the proceedings that involved this petition.

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