Evangelical Lutheran synod updating sexual misconduct policy that doesn’t follow state law

The Morning Call

July 2, 2018

By Tim Darragh

While six Catholic dioceses across the state await the release of a grand jury report cataloging decades of sexual misconduct by priests, the local synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church continues to operate under a sexual misconduct policy that doesn’t comply with state law.

The policy, posted on the Northeast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s website, says those who receive complaints about sexual misconduct should “consider whether civil authorities need to be informed when the alleged victim(s) is a minor.”

Elsewhere on the site, the synod lists the state’s child protective services law, which requires all congregation leaders, paid church employees who work with children, volunteers over age 18 who work with children, Sunday school teachers, nursery attendants, vacation Bible school volunteers and youth group leaders to be “mandated reporters.” Contrary to the synod’s policy, mandated reporters must contact law enforcement if they suspect abuse of a minor; the law does not allow them to “consider” whether to report it or not.

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