The Gnostic Order Of Christ

The Gnostic Order of Christ

The purpose of this document is to provide a framework within which alleged violations of the Ethics Code of The Gnostic Order of Christ may be addressed. When persons are injured by the actions of its members and representatives, The Gnostic Order of Christ itself, and its Work are also compromised.

The process outlined below represents an attempt to adhere to accepted standards of justice and due process, while allowing ample room for spiritual guidance and direction. The goal should always be to restore even the most serious offender to fellowship within the broader spiritual community, even when forgiveness and reconciliation cannot be extended to include restoration to positions of responsibility.

Section A: Initial Process of Filing Complainant
Persons accused of unethical conduct are to be considered innocent until the accusation has been substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt. The protection of those involved including the victim(s), the accused and the accused's family, and the community shall be maintained until all facts have been carefully considered and appropriate actions determined.

Any complaint or allegation of unethical conduct (as defined in the Ethics Code) shall be brought to the immediate attention of the Ethics Committee or the Board of Directors. If a teacher is involved, and circumstances warrant, the Committee may immediately suspend the accused teacher temporarily from his/her teaching activities within the community; in this event, the Committee shall notify the community of the investigation.

When a complaint or allegation of ethical misconduct is brought to the attention of the Ethics Committee, the Committee shall meet (or, if that is not physically possible, converse by telephone) with the person(s) bringing the complaint forthwith, in order to:

A1. Hear his/her allegations directly;

A2. Request that complainant(s) prepare a written complaint;

A3. Request permission from complainant(s) to use the written complaint and her/his name in discussion with the accused member;

A4. Outline the process that will be followed in response to the complaint.

Section B: Initial Process of Serving the Accused
Once the written complaint is received and if the Ethics Committee believes that there is sufficient cause for concern that a violation of the Ethics Code has occurred, the Committee shall meet with the accused member in order to:

B1. Present him/her with the formal, written complaint;

B2. Outline the process that will be followed in response to the complaint, emphasizing the presumption of innocence and the right to due process;

B3. Hear his/her response to the complaint directly (may be verbal and/or written);

B4. Make available a summary of the accused member's response to the complainant for comment.

If there is sufficient cause for concern that a violation of the Ethics Code has occurred, the Ethics Committee shall proceed.

The Ethics Committee shall presume the innocence of the accused member until unethical conduct is proven.

The Ethics Committee shall not ask the complainant and the accused member to meet together during this phase of the process.

If not already accomplished, in order to protect the rights of the accused community member and to protect the complainant(s) and the community from possible harm during the investigation:

Section C: Suspension of Activities
C1. The Ethic Committee shall recommend to the Board that the accused member suspend the activities within which the alleged unethical conduct is said to have occurred;

C2. The Board of Directors shall notify the community of the investigation, temporarily suspend the questionable activities of the accused member and, where warranted, appoint another member to serve in his/her place. The temporary servant shall be fully informed of the circumstances of the temporary suspension in order to serve effectively with the community.

The Ethics Committee shall fully investigate the accusation through information and documentation from the complainant(s), the accused member, and other credible sources, as appears appropriate.

Based on the investigation carried out by the Ethics Committee, it shall determine the veracity of the complaint and recommend action to the Board of Directors, as follows:

Section D: Responsive Actions to Allegations Substantiated and not Substantiated
D1. IF THE ALLEGATIONS ARE NOT SUBSTANTIATED by the Ethics Committee, the investigation will cease and every effort will be made to exonerate the accused member. A record of the process and its conclusion will be provided for the accused. A public statement of exoneration by the Board of Directors may be made if the accused so chooses. The Board of Directors and the Ethics Committee shall respond with care and concern to the complainant(s) and to the community, as appropriate.

D2. IF THE ALLEGATIONS ARE SUBSTANTIATED by the Ethics Committee and the offense and consequences of misconduct are determined to be relatively MINOR, the Ethics Committee will recommend that the Board of Directors shall take the following steps:

D3· Issue an educative advisory in response to a situation which is not necessarily unethical but shows poor judgment. It should provide clear guidance in order to accomplish the necessary corrective.

D4· Issue an educative warning in response to a situation of unquestionably inappropriate and unwise behavior that is not clearly unethical. It is expected that this clear warning will bring a cessation of the behavior.

D5· Issue a reprimand in response to a situation that involves unethical behavior that has resulted in relatively minor consequences.

The Board of Directors, using its best judgment and the recommendations of the Ethics Committee, will determine the Order's appropriate response and will meet with the community to communicate and explain the action(s) taken. This action will also be communicated in writing to all parties involved.

D6. IF THE ALLEGATIONS ARE SUBSTANTIATED by the Ethics Committee and the consequences of the misconduct are determined to be relatively MAJOR, the Board of Directors shall take one of the following steps:

D7· Censure the accused member in response to clearly unethical behavior that was persistent and resulted in (or could have resulted in) serious harm to others. This action may not necessarily result in suspension of the activities within which the misconduct occurred.

D8· Suspend the member temporarily from engaging in the activities within which the misconduct occurred in response to unethical conduct that resulted in harm to others and to the Work of the Order. Protection of others from harm is paramount. The suspension shall continue until there is clear evidence of rehabilitation of the guilty member. At that time, the member may petition the Ethics Committee that originally received the case (or, if unavailable, as many of those originally hearing the case as possible, with new members appointed by the Board) for cessation of the suspension.

D9· Suspend the member permanently from the activities within which the misconduct occurred in response to unethical conduct that resulted in substantial harm to others, the Order, the community, and the Work and, in the face of which, there is little possibility of him/her effectively carrying out his/her former activities. Protection of others from harm and protection of the integrity of the Work of the Order are paramount.

Section E: Responses to the Offending Community Member
Confronting an offending member with the disciplinary action of the Board should be understood as a compassionate and caring act of the community. It provides the greatest potential for both spiritual growth and emotional and psychological healing.

A requirement of the evaluation and/or treatment may be utilized in combination with any of the six levels of response listed above. This requirement should be clearly communicated and monitored as appropriate over time.

The Board may limit the community-related activities of the offending member during the rehabilitation process and may appoint an Order teacher, if the member has none, to monitor the limited activities.

Evaluation and/or treatment should be carried out by qualified therapists selected by the offending member from a list provided by the Board. Assistance may be made available for the spouse and the family. Possible reinstatement of the offending member shall be dependent upon the therapist, supervisor, Board, and members of the Ethics Committee concluding that the member is sufficiently capable of effectively engaging in the activities within which the offense occurred.

Once a community member has been suspended from the activities within which the offense occurred, the matter of restoration to the former position of trust must be assessed in the more public grounds of the community.

Responses to the Victim(s)

The Board shall respond to the victim(s) of the misconduct by the offending member with sensitivity and care. An appropriate teacher or community member shall be named and offered to the victim(s) early in the process to serve as advocate and support, interpreter of the process, and spiritual presence.

When there are multiple victims identified, an opportunity should be made for these persons to meet together throughout the process.

Response to the Community

The President of the Board and a representative of the Ethics Committee shall meet with the community and communicate the results of the hearing process with special attention to the disciplinary action taken and its implications.

The Board shall notify each member of the community in writing of the particulars of the charges, their resolution and action taken by the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors shall make available a trained resource person who can assist the community in whatever ways necessary to address its concerns so as to bring healing to its brokenness.

WITH and WITHIN The Gnostic Order of Christ

See Ethics Code

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