The Orthodox Church in America’s Sexual Misconduct Advisory Committee (SMPAC) held a teleconference on July 6, 2010.
The SMPAC advises the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (Office), which is under the authority of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and coordinated by the Chancellor, Archpriest Alexander Garklavs.
Among other important issues, the SMPAC discussed that there is a misunderstanding as to the purpose of the Committee. Some members of the Church mistakenly believe that the Committee is supposed to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct. The SMPAC is not investigating any current cases or allegations, since that goes beyond its adopted Charter. The Charter had been blessed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH and adopted on May 20, 2010. Previously cited in a release on the OCA website on May 27, 2010, the complete text of the Charter appears below.
ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHARTER
The Sexual Misconduct Policy Advisory Committee (“Committee”) was created by Metropolitan JONAH on January 28, 2010 to work with and assist the Office of Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations (“Office”). The Committee was initially known as the “Sexual Misconduct Allegations Review Committee.”
AUTHORITY, RESPONSIBILITY AND SUPERVISION
The Committee is under the authority of the Metropolitan, and is chaired by the Chancellor of the Church, who is the day-to-day supervisor of the Office. The Committee operates in an advisory capacity only and does not assume any responsibility for the handling of sexual misconduct allegations, because that responsibility properly belongs to the Diocesan Hierarchs and the Office, according to the Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct. Committee members are appointed by the Metropolitan.
The complexity of sexual misconduct allegations requires a multi-dimensional awareness of issues and skills in various disciplines, so that allegations of misconduct may be considered from several perspectives—spiritually, ethically, legally, clinically as well as pastorally. Overlapping and interrelation between these disciplines can best be addressed by a team approach, such as via a standing advisory committee to assist the Metropolitan and the Office.
- Provide advice on how to improve both the content and effectiveness of the Church’s Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct.
- Assist in reviews of the extent to which the Church’s Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct are implemented in practice and how compliance with them is ensured.
- Assist in finding and nominating qualified professionals, who would be called on to do investigations when occasions arise.
- Assist in developing increased and improved training for clergy, Church employees, and applicable laypersons to enable a better understanding of their duties under the Policies, Standards and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct, including their mandatory reporting obligations under various state laws.
- Assist in any other requests for advice made by the Metropolitan and the Office.
(as of March 1, 2010)
Archpriest Alexander Garklavs (Chair), Archpriest Eric Tosi, Archpriest Michael Matsko, Archpriest Theodore Bobosh, Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, Dr. Nikita Eike, Mr. James Spencer, Esq.