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Passing on the Pastor: Sexual Abuse and Public Statements About Ministerial Qualifications

passing the pastorIf a religious organization believes that a minister or other employee has engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, what responsibility does it have to notify others? How does child sexual abuse change the rules for normal termination procedure? Those who become victims of that person insist it is the organization’s duty to share that information. Employees who have been terminated for such behavior say sharing such information is a breach of confidence amounting to defamation. 

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Part 9: What Happens With the Retaliation Lawsuit?

fighting retaliation claimsOur question today is, how do you avoid a retaliation lawsuit? The original complaint doesn’t have to have merit. It could be wrong or ill-conceived. It is still going to be difficult to get a claim of retaliation dismissed. You are going to have to show a non-retaliatory business reason for the termination... 

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Part 6: What Reports or Observations Trigger an Investigation

investigationsIn our hypothetical, Tom and Sally reached out and made allegations to the mission leader. It seems fairly obvious this should have triggered an investigation. But we probably want to spend more time thinking about how investigations get started. When should you investigate? A number of situations may call for an investigation. 

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Part 5: It Really is About Confidentiality and Trust in the Investigation

trust and confidenceIn your hypothetical, there is already a lack of mutual trust. Tom and Sally are seen as being perpetual complainers. And your mission leader isn’t consistent. He “usually” investigates and doesn’t have a methodical approach. So what do complainants have the right to know about the progress of an investigation and what is the effect of trust issues with leadership? 

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Part 4: Complaints, Protection, Confidentiality and Trust

trusting leadersI can see where if you deal with complaints in a regular process, and document them, it makes for good protection. Two comments, though, one about confidentiality, and one about trust. In a perfect world, people see leadership as benevolent, compassionate, trustworthy (don’t laugh! I am going somewhere with this!). However, the reality is that we each project our own ... 

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