Reporting Misconduct, Clergy Discipline, Title IV

 As covered by the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, Title IV specifically.  

 

What is Title IV?

  • A discernment process designed to help the Church address serious misconduct by its ordained leaders
  • A series of conversations
  • An ecclesiastical process, not a secular legal process

What are the guiding principles behind the Title IV process?

  • Emphasize pastoral care for all
  • Be less adversarial than prior disciplinary processes
  • Reflect our theology as people of faith, promoting repentance, forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, justice, restitution and amendment of life
  • Allow for the story to be told early in the process
  • Provide options and flexibility to resolve matters constructively

What standards of conduct for clergy are named in Title IV?

Every member of the clergy is expected to abide by the following Standards of Conduct and shall be accountable for any breach thereof.

Every member of the clergy shall:

  • respect and preserve confidences of others
  • conform to the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer
  • abide by the promises and vows made when ordained
  • safeguard the property and funds of the Church and community
  • abide by the requirements of any applicable accord or order, pastoral direction, restriction on ministry or placement on administrative leave
  • report to the Intake Officer all matters which may constitute an offense

Every member of the clergy shall refrain from:

  • any act of sexual misconduct
  • holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any doctrine contrary to that held by the Church
  • engaging in any secular employment, calling or business without the consent of the Bishop
  • being absent from the Diocese for more than two years without the consent of the Bishop
  • any criminal act that reflects adversely on the member of the clergy’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a minister of the Church
  • conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
  • habitual neglect of the exercise of the ministerial office without cause, or habitual neglect of public worship, and of the Holy Communion
  • any conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy
  • violating the Constitution or Canons of the Church or of any diocese
  • failing to cooperate with any investigation or proceeding conducted under this Title
  • intentionally and maliciously bringing a false accusation or providing false testimony in any investigation or proceeding under this Title

What is actionable?

To be actionable, the conduct complained of must be material and substantial or of clear and weighty importance to the ministry of the Church.

To whom does one report?

Information regarding offenses is reported to Intake Officers, designated by the Bishop. Notify an Intake Officer by phone, e-mail, or letter. More details about reporting an incident are listed below.

What happens when a report is made?

A series of conversations begins to hear the complaint made and to commence a process of understanding, assessment, discernment and clarification to determine if the complaint is actionable and, if so, how to come to terms with what is described. An agreement may be reached during any one of the conversations. If an agreement is not reached, the matter proceeds to the next conversation. The goal of every conversation is to reach an accord, a written resolution which is negotiated and agreed among the parties. (See flow chart.)

The levels of conversation are:

  • The Intake Officer
  • A Reference Panel made up of the Intake Officer, Bishop, and President of the Disciplinary Board
  • A Conference Panel made up of one to three members of the Disciplinary Board
  • A Hearing Panel made up of three different members of the Disciplinary Board
  • The Court of Review

Learn more about the officers and board involved in Title IV and how you can contribute to the process in the sections below. There is a helpful and fulsome explanation of the Title IV process, the roles of those involved, and how it works, by clicking here.

Basic Shape of Title IV

Download the flow chart below. A more detailed description of each phase can be found here.

Getting Involved

Who is needed to make this work?

  • Intake Officers – appointed by the Bishop in consultation with the Disciplinary Board
  • Disciplinary Board – elected by Annual Convention
  • Church Attorneys – appointed by the Disciplinary Board

We also need appropriate persons from across the Diocese to serve in four areas. You may nominate yourself or someone else to serve in one of these roles by completing a nomination form and submitting it to  the Rev. Canon d’Rue Hazel (804-643-8451 x1012).

  • Investigators – Persons with sufficient knowledge, skill, experience and training to conduct investigations and to make formal reports of investigations. Investigators use appropriate investigative means, with due consideration to pastoral sensitivities.
  • Advisors – Persons who support, assist, consult with and advise Complainants (those who bring information to the Intake Officer) and Respondents (those who are the subject of matters reported) in any matter of discipline.
  • Conciliators – Persons skilled in dispute resolution techniques who seek a resolution that promotes healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among the Complainant, Respondent, affected Community and others involved in the matter.
  • Pastoral Care Team Members – Persons with skills in prayer and pastoral care who provide care for the Complainant, the Complainant’s family, the Respondent, the Respondent’s family, Injured Persons, Injured Persons’ families, any affected Community, witnesses and the Disciplinary Board.
Reporting an Incident

To report misconduct committed by a Clergy Person:

Information regarding offenses is reported to Intake Officers, designated by the Bishop. Notify an Intake Officer by phone, e-mail, or letter. The Intake Officers are listed below. We recommend contacting the intake officer closest to you, but ultimately the the person reporting can contact any intake officer they choose.

The Very Rev. Fran Gardner-Smith
email:  fran.gardnersmith@stthomasmcleanva.org
Phone:  540 532-5665
Location:  Northern Virginia, McLean

Thomas M. Keithly
email:  thomas.keithly@gmail.com
Phone:  703 505-7434
Location:  Northern Virginia, Fairfax County

The Rev. Burl Salmon
email: bsalmon@thefallschurch.org
Business Phone: 703-241-0003
Cell Phone: 202-236-0801
Location: Northern Virginia

Please note that the Title IV Canons address offences by clergy. To report an alleged offence by a lay person, please contact the Rev. Canon d’Rue Hazel (804-643-8451 x1012).

All suspected child abuse or sexual misconduct must be reported to Child Protective Services. Call the statewide toll-free hotline 800-552-7096 to make the initial report. Or call the local Social Services office.

In reporting to Child Protective Services, it is helpful for the reporter to provide as much of the following as possible: the name and address of the child and the parent or person responsible for his/her care; the child’s age, sex and race; a description of the alleged abuse and neglect including how long it may have been happening; the name of the school the child attends; the names of other people, especially children, in the home; the reporter’s relationship to the child. Do report even if you are unable to provide all of the information. The person reporting abuse to Child Protective Services is not required to give his or her name.

If you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult over age 60, or an incapacitated adult over the age of 18, call the Adult Protective Services hotline of the Virginia Department of Social Services at 888-832-3858.

To report misconduct committed by a lay person:

Notify the rector or other clergy person on staff of the lay person’s church or of the church of the offended person. The clergy person should then call the office of the bishop or the office of the canon to the ordinary at 800-DIOCESE.

All suspected child abuse or sexual misconduct must also be reported to Child Protective Services. Call the statewide toll-free hotline 800-552-7096 to make the initial report. Or call the local Social Services office.

In reporting to Child Protective Services, it is helpful for the reporter to provide as much of the following as possible: the name and address of the child and the parent or person responsible for his/her care; the child’s age, sex and race; a description of the alleged abuse and neglect including how long it may have been happening; the name of the school the child attends; the names of other people, especially children, in the home; the reporter’s relationship to the child. Do report even if you are unable to provide all of the information. The person reporting abuse to Child Protective Services is not required to give his or her name.

If you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult over age 60, or an incapacitated adult over the age of 18, call the Adult Protective Services hotline of the Virginia Department of Social Services at 888-832-3858.

Download Form on Reporting Suspected Abuse or Misconduct

Title IV Hearing Panel Proceedings

Hearing panel in the Title IV matter of the Rev. Dr. B. Cayce Ramey. Click to view documents in this case.