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Decision No. 882

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April 30 2000
In Re: Review of the Rewritten Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals of the North Alabama Annual Conference.

Digest of Case

The Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals of the North Alabama Annual Conference is in compliance on the condition that the second paragraph of section four of the policy be modified to state, "The procedures for reporting and responding to complaints shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Book of Discipline." Upon notification of the Judicial Council that the North Alabama Conference has adopted this modification, the policy is in full effect. The 1999 session of the North Alabama Annual Conference adopted a revised "Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals in the North Alabama Conference" in response to Decisions 814 and 839. The Judicial Council has jurisdiction under Par. 2616 of the 1996 Discipline.

Statement of Facts

The 1999 session of the North Alabama Annual Conference adopted a revised "Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals in the North Alabama Conference" in response to Decisions 814 and 839 and the related guidelines set forth in Decision 736. In the adopted policy the second paragraph of section four states: "The provisions of Paragraph(s) 358, 413, and Paragraphs 2623-2629 of the Book of Discipline (1996) shall determine the procedure." The intent of this wording is properly to affirm compliance with the appropriate paragraphs of the Discipline related to fair process and the related administrative and judicial procedures on reporting and responding to complaints. The annual conference may not vote for or against a statement which constitutes a vote on whether the Discipline " . . . shall determine the procedures." Although it is proper to cite the specific paragraph numbers of the Discipline, to include specific paragraph numbers may require policy revision following each General Conference where the paragraph numbers may be changed. To avoid confusion on the issues mentioned above the Judicial Council recommends a modification of the second paragraph of section four to state, "The procedures for reporting and responding to complaints shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Discipline." This modification brings the 1999 revised policy of the North Alabama Conference in compliance with the Discipline and Judicial Council Decisions 814, 839 and 736.

Decision

The Policy on Sexual Misconduct by Church Professionals of the North Alabama Annual Conference is in compliance on the condition that the second paragraph of section four of the policy be modified to state, "The procedures for reporting and responding to complaints shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Book of Discipline." Upon notification of the Judicial Council that the North Alabama Conference has adopted this modification, the policy is in full effect.

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