Connect with a Synod Staff Member Directly
Bishop Megan Rohrer
Rev. Manda Truchinski
Assistant to the Bishop: Leadership & Strategic Organization
Rev. Hazel Salazar-Davidson
Assistant to the Bishop: Authentic Diversity, Inclusive Community & Service
Rev. Tita Valeriano
Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) and Assistant to the Bishop
Director of Finance, Systems, and Administration
Communications & Connections Coordinator
Executive Assistant to the Bishop
Reporting child abuse
In the United States most states require allegations of abuse against a minor to be reported immediately to state authorities. The ELCA encourages immediately reporting to the civil authorities all instances of child abuse regardless of personal confidentiality issues. Each state has a different mandatory reporting process. You should call local law enforcement authorities or go to your state government website and find the appropriate office for reporting child abuse.
Reporting sexual misconduct in the ELCA
Sexual misconduct committed by congregational employees should be reported to the pastor, council president, or other congregational officer. Congregations are encouraged to have policies in place for addressing allegations against church staff and to respond with compassion and care to anyone reporting abuse by clergy or lay leaders.
Synods of this church usually have responsibility for addressing allegations of clergy sexual abuse, administering appropriate discipline, and responding to those who have been harmed. Procedures and policies in place in the synods of this church provide for compassionate and resolute response to those wounded by clergy sexual misconduct, and appropriate discipline for those who offend.
What is misconduct?
Sexual misconduct: Federal and state laws make distinctions among various types of sexual misconduct, such as “sexual harassment,” “sexual abuse,” and “sexual assault.” Similarly, the governing documents of the ELCA define what types of sexual misconduct can result in a pastor or other rostered person facing ecclesiastical discipline. These distinctions should not concern a person who is troubled about the sexual conduct of a pastor or rostered layperson. This church is concerned about all types of sexual misconduct by these individuals, regardless of whether or how the misconduct is characterized by the law or by the governing documents of the ELCA.
Any time a minister uses his or her position in the church for personal sexual gratification it is a misuse of the pastoral office and a betrayal of the nature of the pastoral relationship. Any sexual misconduct committed by a rostered church leader should be reported to the appropriate synod, including, but not limited to, any sexual contact between the rostered person and a congregant, counselee, employee or volunteer. It should be noted that the synod may not be able to assume primary responsibility for addressing all allegations of sexual misconduct. For example, law enforcement authorities would have responsibility for investigating and addressing criminal allegations, while congregations would have to deal with accusations of sexual harassment by the congregation's employees. Nevertheless, the appropriate synod office should be notified of all cases of inappropriate sexual behavior in the congregation.
Any suspected sexual contact with a minor must be reported to the appropriate governmental agency as required by state laws concerning reporting of child abuse.