Chargeable Offenses

"Sexual Misconduct is a chargeable offense, for both laity and clergy."

The Book of Discipline 2012, ¶ 2702.1,3
The Book of Resolutions 2012, #2802: “Prevention of the Use of Pornography in the Church”

 

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Sexual Misconduct is a betrayal of sacred trust. It is a continuum of unwanted sexual or gender-directed behaviors by either a lay or clergy person within a ministerial relationship (paid or unpaid). It can include child abuse, adult sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual assault, sexualized verbal comments or visuals, unwelcome touching and advances, use of sexualized materials including pornography, stalking, sexual abuse of youth or those without capacity to consent, or misuse of the pastoral or ministerial position using sexualized conduct to take advantage of the vulnerability of another. (The Book of Discipline 2012, ¶161)

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual Harassment is “any unwanted sexual comment, advance, or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender.” (The Book of Discipline 2012, ¶ 161.I)

SEXUAL ABUSE

SEXUAL ABUSE

Sexual Abuse is a form of sexual misconduct and occurs when a person within a ministerial role of leadership (lay or clergy, pastor, educator, counselor, youth leader, or other position of leadership) engages in sexual contact or sexualized behavior with a congregant, client, employee, student, staff member, coworker, or volunteer.

PORNOGRAPHY

PORNOGRAPHY

Pornography is sexually explicit material that portrays violence, abuse, coercion, domination, humiliation, or degradation for the purpose of arousal. Any sexually explicit material that depicts children is pornographic. "We deplore all forms of the commercialization, abuse, and exploitation of sex." (The Book of Discipline Social Principle ¶161)

 See full list of definitions in Alphabetical Lexicon below

 

 

“The United Methodist Church declares that the use of pornography … is a form of sexual misconduct, a chargeable offense for laity and clergy.”

 

Examples of Sexualized Behavior or Sexual Contact:

  • Displaying sexually suggestive visuals
  • Making sexual comments or innuendos
  • Touching another person’s body, hair or clothing
  • Touching or rubbing oneself in the presence of another
  • Kissing; fondling; sexual intercourse

 

Guidelines for Determining a Hostile Environment:

               Is the behavior …

  • Sexual in nature or gender specific?
  • Unwelcome?
  • Severe or pervasive enough to interfere with one’s ability to work, get an education, or participate in ministry?

Common Terms: Alphabetical Lexicon

A Helpful Reference | Finding the Right Words

View Complete List

The Social Principles

II. The Nurturing Community | The UMC Book of Discipline

The Nurturing Community of the United Methodist Church speak to the human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation. They are a call to faithfulness and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit. They are a call to all members of The UMC to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice.

 

For the purposes of information on this website, the following excerpts from  “The Book of Discipline” ¶161 are shared:

H. Sexual Abuse

H. Sexual Abuse

Violent, disrespectful, or abusive sexual expressions do not confirm sexuality as God’s good gift. We reject all sexual expressions that damage the humanity God has given us as a birthright, and we affirm only that sexual expression that enhances that same humanity. We believe that sexual relations where one or both partners are exploitative, abusive, or promiscuous are beyond the parameters of acceptable Christian behavior and are ultimately destructive to individuals, families, and the social order. We deplore all forms of the commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery, and we denounce such business and support the abused and their right to freedom. We call for strict global enforcement of laws prohibiting the sexual exploitation or use of children by adults and encourage efforts to hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible. We call for the establishment of adequate protective services, guidance, and counseling opportunities for children thus abused.

I. Sexual Harrassment

I. Sexual Harrassment

We believe human sexuality is God’s good gift. One abuse of this good gift is sexual harassment. We define sexual harassment as any unwanted sexual comment, advance, or demand, either verbal or physical, that is reasonably perceived by the recipient as demeaning, intimidating, or coercive. Sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship rather than as an exclusively sexual issue. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a hostile or abusive working environment resulting from discrimination on the basis of gender. Contrary to the nurturing community, sexual harassment creates improper, coercive, and abusive conditions wherever it occurs in society. Sexual harassment undermines the social goal of equal opportunity and the climate of mutual respect between men and women. Unwanted sexual attention is wrong and discriminatory. Sexual harassment interferes with the moral mission of the Church. “The Book of Discipline” ¶161 -