A response is appropriate any time a person with authority to respond becomes aware of information that a prudent person would believe to be credible. In addition, a response is also appropriate when information which would cause a prudent person to believe that harm is likely to come to the church, to potential victims of misconduct, or to any other person as a result of misconduct by a person in a position of trust or authority within the Church.
When a person who does not have authority to respond for the church becomes aware of information which a prudent person would consider to be credible and which would cause a prudent person to believe that wrongful conduct by a person in a position of trust or authority may be occurring within the church, the person with the information shall make the representative of the church who has the authority to respond aware of the information.
The person who has authority to respond is determined by the position within the church of the individual or individuals who may be involved in misconduct as follows:
|Person Implicated||Person with Authority to Respond|
|Nonmember||Pastor of local church where the conduct in question takes place.|
|Layperson||Pastor of church where layperson is a member.|
|Member of the clergy||District superintendent where the person implicated is a member or the pastor of the local church where the person is on staff.|
|District superintendent||General superintendent in jurisdiction|
|Not otherwise defined||General secretary|
The person with authority to respond should also in a timely manner notify respective persons in leadership at the district, field, regional, and/or global dimensions about the accusations. The person with authority to respond may enlist the help of others in any fact-finding or response.
If no accusation has been made, the purpose of an investigation shall be to determine whether or not action is needed to prevent harm or to reduce the impact of harm that has previously been done. In circumstances in which a prudent person would believe that no further action was needed to prevent harm or to reduce the impact of harm, no investigation will continue unless an accusation has been filed. Facts learned during an investigation may become the basis of an accusation.