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Church Policy on Harassment, Stalking, etc.


MorningStar

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Could someone find me a link to church policy and procedures when it comes to harassment?  Thank you. 

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Morning Star, I am not aware of any specific policy that strictly addresses instances of harassement.  If this is a situation where the legal definition of harassement is occurring among the congregation then call the police. However, if this is something else then immediately talk to the bishop, explain what is happening and agree upon an immediate solution that will prevent any further instances.  If this includes a Mel. priesthood holder - talk to the stake president.

If this is happening in your neighborhood, but a church member is the perpetrator then call the police.  If not, my advice applies above.  

For me the first solution is the police unless the actions do not meet the legal definition of harassement - however, let the police decide if it doesn't meet that standard.  Regardless, they should be involved immediately to prevent any degree of escalation that would be harmful to you, your family, or your loved ones.  

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11 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Could someone find me a link to church policy and procedures when it comes to harassment?  Thank you. 

Elder D. Todd Christofferson said:

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. . . self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior. …

“Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.”  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/moral-discipline?lang=eng .

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Abuse can be defined as treating or speaking to someone in a way that is demeaning or that causes injury or serious offense. .............................

Child abuse occurs when someone who is in a position of trust or control threatens or causes physical or emotional harm to a child. It includes physical abuse or neglect, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.

Spouse abuse may also be physical, emotional, or sexual. Emotional abuse can consist of name calling, demeaning statements, unrighteous control or compulsion, threats, isolation, intimidation, or manipulation. Physical abuse includes withholding necessities and using physical violence such as pushing, choking, scratching, pinching, restraining, or hitting. Sexual abuse may be either emotional or physical and includes sexual harassment, the inflicting of pain, and the use of force or intimidation.

Every effort should be made by priesthood leaders, family members, and others to prevent abuse and to assist in the healing of an abused person. Leaders and family members should also try to help the abuser repent; Church discipline may be necessary to bring this about.  https://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-12?lang=eng .

 

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Church members should avoid compromising situations and should not allow themselves to be intimidated by the person’s position of authority. Members should not be afraid to say no to such advances and report cases of sexual harassment to appropriate authorities.  https://www.lds.org/callings/military-relations/resources-military-leaders/supporting-military-families?lang=eng .

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Ok, is it illegal to sexually harass?  You can be fired for it, but will the police arrest you? So let's say a man at church comments on a woman's body at church. I don't think that's grounds to call the police, but how would a bishop handle that? Or what if it's stalkery behavior?  Say a man at church sends a woman a FB request, she ignores it, and he starts private messaging her about why she hasn't accepted his request? Now let's say he's doing this kind of stuff to many women, but the women aren't talking because they're trying not to be judgey, but eventually it all comes out. How does a bishop handle that sort of thing?  Just tell them to knock it off? 

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21 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Ok, is it illegal to sexually harass?  You can be fired for it, but will the police arrest you? So let's say a man at church comments on a woman's body at church. I don't think that's grounds to call the police, but how would a bishop handle that? Or what if it's stalkery behavior?  Say a man at church sends a woman a FB request, she ignores it, and he starts private messaging her about why she hasn't accepted his request? Now let's say he's doing this kind of stuff to many women, but the women aren't talking because they're trying not to be judgey, but eventually it all comes out. How does a bishop handle that sort of thing?  Just tell them to knock it off? 

First, never ignore a message that is uncomfortable or too forward.  You should respond:  I am not interested in being FB pals; I don't want another message from you; this type of communication makes me very uncomfortable and it must stop immediately.  A "thick-headed" man will interpret silence as he still has a chance of a date, to engender your interest, etc.  This is not a time to avoid hurting his feelings by not communicating.  

I think the definitions stalking and harassement have lost all meaning.  The current national conversation has conflated boorish behavior with rape and/or harassement.  My advice is don't use them unless they fit a legal definition - also, this advice can be completely ignored.  I am a man and may be just as stupid as every other human.  It would be extremely helpful if each person studied the legal definitions of these words before they are used and correct others when they are used inappropriately.  Based upon what was said I am seeing a wide margin between the definitions and the way you are using them.

Yes, I would talk to the bishop. It would be better if you and another individual or a group of you went to him and recounted the behavior exhibited by this individual and that each of you has told him to stop immediately; you are each talking to him, the bishop, in order that should the fellow not stop that you wanted him, the bishop, dialed in to what was going on and that it is highly discomforting to each of you.  If he is a single person - he just might be clueless on how to interact with other single women.  However, if this is a married man then I suspect the crap is about to hit the fan big time and that is how the bishop will handle it and should handle it.  

Lastly, when communicating with this poor soul that has no clue on how to talk to a member of the opposite sex, and if you felt like it is appropriate and comfortable, tell him, "Look, John, don't comment on a woman's body until such time as you are in an close or intimate relationship. Making such comments are not appropriate and make women feel that you are way too creepy. Do you understand? 

Also, if a woman does not want to be friends on social media and does not respond to your invitations, it means they are not interested. You need to move on and stop asking them about it. The only reason they don't immediately shut you down is that are trying to save your feelings.  I am telling you this because it has gone past a level of decency between LDS an/or humans. Please stop doing these things and you will be happier and the women around you will stop feeling uncomfortable around you."  I think some men need remedial help - you are not responsible for providing it.  However, IF this fellow has been a friend, it may be worth helping him see the light.

Edited by Storm Rider
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Thanks for the input.  This isn't actually happening in a ward, but in a volunteer organization that didn't have the foresight to make a sexual harassment policy. Mostly LDS people and I thought they could copy whatever policies the church has in place.  The man involved is crazy and there is no reasoning with him. I know his daughter and she moved out of state to get away from him.  Women have told him to stop messaging and he will just start bothering other women instead of learning that his behavior is creepy.  I think our leadership is being stupid as heck and wasting a bunch of time instead of booting the guy. Long story, but walking up to women (one who is 18) and telling them their breasts move a lot is definitely sexual harassment. He is married and he messages women ALL THE TIME and will say things like, "Sending you ehugs." Being in the position that I am, he sometimes has valid reasons to message me, but when he told me he was in tears because of the people we both know and felt this connection with me, I was so done.  I wanted to send him my eMiddleFinger. He is so crazy, the women feel like if you reject him, he will confront you.  He does confront people for unfriending him.  He's almost 60 years old.  Stop bothering people and pay attention to your wife, moron!  

He has over 1200 FB friends. People accept his request and then obviously unfollow because of his insane rants because he typically gets 5 or less reactions on his each post. Sometimes it's about his anger that his elderly parents won't answer their phone (because he's crazy) or a joke about how he's never been sexually harassed and why don't women hit on him?  I don't know why a policy is necessary. There isn't a flipping contract and we're an at will state, so you can fire people from paid jobs for no reason. They're trying to handle this in a "Christlike way", but they're just dragging it out for the victims, one of whom he groped! She fears retaliation and won't press charges.  I totally would for the good for everyone.  If I had the slightest grounds, I would at least get a restraining order. 

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In Oldenburg, Germany, we had a had a crazy investigator. After he started propositioning several women in the branch, the branch president told him that he was not to enter our building --- ever. No police involved, just self-enforced. That's how I would handle it if something like that happened in my ward. You might be able to get an order of protection to give it legal teeth. 

Oh, that guy. We stopped teaching him after one discussion because it was clear that he was nuts. He called the mission office complaining that he wanted to be baptized, but I wouldn't teach him, so the APs were on my case, and I invited them to come visit him with me. One did, and it could not have gone better! He had hundreds of Polaroids on his wall of the same woman at the same time/setting (they had gone out to eat, and he burned through lots of Polaroid cartridges taking the same picture of her. And put them all up on his wall). He answered the door in boxers, and then, when he handed the AP one of the pictures to look at, began screaming (scary, violently screaming) at him for "folding it." He then went out onto his balcony and breathed steam for a few minutes (it was February, and he was in his boxers). Then he came inside and told him he had been praying for him. He then told him that he hadn't been able to play tennis for a while because of his scar (I thought, "Uh, oh"), and when the AP asked where his scar was (I closed my eyes), he dropped his boxers and stuck his rear end in his face. 

AP pressure to teach and baptize him stopped after that. :) 

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4 hours ago, rongo said:

In Oldenburg, Germany, we had a had a crazy investigator. After he started propositioning several women in the branch, the branch president told him that he was not to enter our building --- ever. No police involved, just self-enforced. That's how I would handle it if something like that happened in my ward. You might be able to get an order of protection to give it legal teeth. 

Oh, that guy. We stopped teaching him after one discussion because it was clear that he was nuts. He called the mission office complaining that he wanted to be baptized, but I wouldn't teach him, so the APs were on my case, and I invited them to come visit him with me. One did, and it could not have gone better! He had hundreds of Polaroids on his wall of the same woman at the same time/setting (they had gone out to eat, and he burned through lots of Polaroid cartridges taking the same picture of her. And put them all up on his wall). He answered the door in boxers, and then, when he handed the AP one of the pictures to look at, began screaming (scary, violently screaming) at him for "folding it." He then went out onto his balcony and breathed steam for a few minutes (it was February, and he was in his boxers). Then he came inside and told him he had been praying for him. He then told him that he hadn't been able to play tennis for a while because of his scar (I thought, "Uh, oh"), and when the AP asked where his scar was (I closed my eyes), he dropped his boxers and stuck his rear end in his face. 

AP pressure to teach and baptize him stopped after that. :) 

Oh, that's terrible!!! Let's just assume they can accept the gospel in the next life.  That is crazy!   I once went to visit teach this woman I had never met before. Me and my companion sat at the table with her and there was a gun laying on it and it was aimed in her direction.  We started the lesson and then I said, "I'm sorry.  There's a gun aimed at you.  Can you put it away?"  She rolled her eyes, aimed it at me, and said, "It's not loaded."  I never went over there again and never told them I wanted a different route because I didn't want anyone else visiting her. She was nuts!

Also, thank you for the feedback.  

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10 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Thanks for the input.  This isn't actually happening in a ward, but in a volunteer organization that didn't have the foresight to make a sexual harassment policy. Mostly LDS people and I thought they could copy whatever policies the church has in place.  The man involved is crazy and there is no reasoning with him. I know his daughter and she moved out of state to get away from him.  Women have told him to stop messaging and he will just start bothering other women instead of learning that his behavior is creepy.  I think our leadership is being stupid as heck and wasting a bunch of time instead of booting the guy. Long story, but walking up to women (one who is 18) and telling them their breasts move a lot is definitely sexual harassment. He is married and he messages women ALL THE TIME and will say things like, "Sending you ehugs." Being in the position that I am, he sometimes has valid reasons to message me, but when he told me he was in tears because of the people we both know and felt this connection with me, I was so done.  I wanted to send him my eMiddleFinger. He is so crazy, the women feel like if you reject him, he will confront you.  He does confront people for unfriending him.  He's almost 60 years old.  Stop bothering people and pay attention to your wife, moron!  

He has over 1200 FB friends. People accept his request and then obviously unfollow because of his insane rants because he typically gets 5 or less reactions on his each post. Sometimes it's about his anger that his elderly parents won't answer their phone (because he's crazy) or a joke about how he's never been sexually harassed and why don't women hit on him?  I don't know why a policy is necessary. There isn't a flipping contract and we're an at will state, so you can fire people from paid jobs for no reason. They're trying to handle this in a "Christlike way", but they're just dragging it out for the victims, one of whom he groped! She fears retaliation and won't press charges.  I totally would for the good for everyone.  If I had the slightest grounds, I would at least get a restraining order. 

Yup, as a married man this guy needs a "come to Jesus meeting" with the bishop.  I don't see it ending well because he will not listen - he is crazy and I suspect highly unteachable.  Regardless, he is not some sweet old man overstepping social boundaries, but he is a whack job that could lose it and do some real harm if allowed to continue.  

Individuals can have problem, all kinds of problems, but this is one that affects others and he needs to learn the difference between what is acceptable and what is not.  The moment he says "Hey, Jane, did you know your breasts jiggle when you walk?" Is when he needs to slapped and told how stupid the question is. That may be the best way to teach him rather than the organization leader trying to get through his thick head.  In that it is a volunteer organization he needs to be disinvited, told why, and told not to return.  

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Honestly, if guys are not to slap women for any reason, I don't believe women should slap men.

Defense against physical assault works for both, imo; verbal aggression should not be responded to with violence.

 

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Yeah, my brother is a cop in our state and even if a man exposes himself or something, you can't beat the crap out of him unless you feel threatened. 

People on the board have different philosophies on how it should be handled and want to help the victims and perps. Personally, I think that's total crap. We are not clergy. Let the man hit rock bottom and get help.  

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18 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Thanks for the input.  This isn't actually happening in a ward, but in a volunteer organization that didn't have the foresight to make a sexual harassment policy. Mostly LDS people and I thought they could copy whatever policies the church has in place.  The man involved is crazy and there is no reasoning with him. I know his daughter and she moved out of state to get away from him.  Women have told him to stop messaging and he will just start bothering other women instead of learning that his behavior is creepy.  I think our leadership is being stupid as heck and wasting a bunch of time instead of booting the guy. Long story, but walking up to women (one who is 18) and telling them their breasts move a lot is definitely sexual harassment. He is married and he messages women ALL THE TIME and will say things like, "Sending you ehugs." Being in the position that I am, he sometimes has valid reasons to message me, but when he told me he was in tears because of the people we both know and felt this connection with me, I was so done.  I wanted to send him my eMiddleFinger. He is so crazy, the women feel like if you reject him, he will confront you.  He does confront people for unfriending him.  He's almost 60 years old.  Stop bothering people and pay attention to your wife, moron!  

He has over 1200 FB friends. People accept his request and then obviously unfollow because of his insane rants because he typically gets 5 or less reactions on his each post. Sometimes it's about his anger that his elderly parents won't answer their phone (because he's crazy) or a joke about how he's never been sexually harassed and why don't women hit on him?  I don't know why a policy is necessary. There isn't a flipping contract and we're an at will state, so you can fire people from paid jobs for no reason. They're trying to handle this in a "Christlike way", but they're just dragging it out for the victims, one of whom he groped! She fears retaliation and won't press charges.  I totally would for the good for everyone.  If I had the slightest grounds, I would at least get a restraining order. 

My advice:

Get a group of women together that have been harassed and any men and women who have witnessed the harassment. The bigger the group the better. Have copies of his weird text and Facebook messages or whatever. I would then tell the lunkheads in charge they either ban this creep or that you and many others will either stop volunteering/working there or, if that is too extreme, makes this a huge embarrassment to them. If she does not want to press charges she can still report it to whatever city or state organization you have that investigates employers failing to follow the law. Or find a local reporter and get it in the press. Social media might be an option. Volunteer organizations die from negative press and unless the leadership are idiots they will clean up their acts quickly.

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5 hours ago, The Nehor said:

My advice:

Get a group of women together that have been harassed and any men and women who have witnessed the harassment. The bigger the group the better. Have copies of his weird text and Facebook messages or whatever. I would then tell the lunkheads in charge they either ban this creep or that you and many others will either stop volunteering/working there or, if that is too extreme, makes this a huge embarrassment to them. If she does not want to press charges she can still report it to whatever city or state organization you have that investigates employers failing to follow the law. Or find a local reporter and get it in the press. Social media might be an option. Volunteer organizations die from negative press and unless the leadership are idiots they will clean up their acts quickly.

Your first sentence I am strongly considering and I will be risking my membership by being the ringleader. I already ticked off our pres. this week by demanding accountability from him. He knows me as being nice, helpful, cooperative, etc. This is his first time dealing with me while furious and no one beats a dead horsy like Morningstar.  :lol: Right now they think I'm going to help gather more witnesses and then if necessary, help the victims feel OK about him still being there, if they choose to give him another chance.  I have accepted that role so I can gather the women and stage a massive walkout. Bring it! If they won't listen to common sense, then they're in for a rude awakening. I will have to be very careful to find loyal women. The ones I know as being two-faced won't be notified. We will walk out, head to a restaurant or something, and wait for one of them to text us. Then we will reply that we will return when they get rid of him already. 

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8 hours ago, MorningStar said:

Your first sentence I am strongly considering and I will be risking my membership by being the ringleader. I already ticked off our pres. this week by demanding accountability from him. He knows me as being nice, helpful, cooperative, etc. This is his first time dealing with me while furious and no one beats a dead horsy like Morningstar.  :lol: Right now they think I'm going to help gather more witnesses and then if necessary, help the victims feel OK about him still being there, if they choose to give him another chance.  I have accepted that role so I can gather the women and stage a massive walkout. Bring it! If they won't listen to common sense, then they're in for a rude awakening. I will have to be very careful to find loyal women. The ones I know as being two-faced won't be notified. We will walk out, head to a restaurant or something, and wait for one of them to text us. Then we will reply that we will return when they get rid of him already. 

I am cheering you on! Go Morningstar!

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6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I am cheering you on! Go Morningstar!

Grateful.  Thank you. 

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I found another groping victim. That should support the other groping victim. That was back in the spring. UGH!!! 

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Just now, Stargazer said:

Is this guy physically dangerous?  That is, do you think he has a potential of becoming violent?

I believe he has the potential. He talks about carrying concealed often on FB and a law he wants passed to be able to carry across state lines. Here's a fun one. He wrote a rant yesterday about how he hopes the children of (fill in derogatory terms for liberals) will eat the Tide Pods.  I'm not sure why I have to stress so hard that this guy should be dismissed swiftly. And possibly law enforcement involved. 

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1 minute ago, MorningStar said:

I believe he has the potential. He talks about carrying concealed often on FB and a law he wants passed to be able to carry across state lines. Here's a fun one. He wrote a rant yesterday about how he hopes the children of (fill in derogatory terms for liberals) will eat the Tide Pods.  I'm not sure why I have to stress so hard that this guy should be dismissed swiftly. And possibly law enforcement involved. 

Oh, that sounds like fun.  

My advice would be for those who confront him to carry an activated digital voice recorder so if he makes any threats that they can be documented.  I was once having a very dangerous and difficult time with a family member who sometimes made threats of violence, and I did record his rants.  It was not on the telephone, thus not subject to wiretapping laws, and the recording made it possible for the police to arrest him just after he'd made some more threats -- and got him out of my house, with a restraining order.  

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28 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

Oh, that sounds like fun.  

My advice would be for those who confront him to carry an activated digital voice recorder so if he makes any threats that they can be documented.  I was once having a very dangerous and difficult time with a family member who sometimes made threats of violence, and I did record his rants.  It was not on the telephone, thus not subject to wiretapping laws, and the recording made it possible for the police to arrest him just after he'd made some more threats -- and got him out of my house, with a restraining order.  

Oh wow.  So you can record people in our state as long as it's not on the phone? 

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7 minutes ago, MorningStar said:

Oh wow.  So you can record people in our state as long as it's not on the phone? 

Well, I didn't think it was illegal at the time I made the recording.  When I played the recording back to the police officer, he didn't indicate that I had done anything wrong.

Just now, wanting to make sure I wasn't handing out wrong advice, I checked the Revised Code of Washington, and the relevant statute in the RCW does forbid recording a private conversation without the consent of all parties to it, but gives a specific exception in the case of threats being made.  Here's the web page of the law: http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.73.030

Quoting parts of it here (emphasis added):

RCW 9.73.030
Intercepting, recording, or divulging private communication—Consent required—Exceptions.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or the state of Washington, its agencies, and political subdivisions to intercept, or record any:
(a) Private communication transmitted by telephone, telegraph, radio, or other device between two or more individuals between points within or without the state by any device electronic or otherwise designed to record and/or transmit said communication regardless how such device is powered or actuated, without first obtaining the consent of all the participants in the communication;
(b) Private conversation, by any device electronic or otherwise designed to record or transmit such conversation regardless how the device is powered or actuated without first obtaining the consent of all the persons engaged in the conversation.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, wire communications or conversations (a) of an emergency nature, such as the reporting of a fire, medical emergency, crime, or disaster, or (b) which convey threats of extortion, blackmail, bodily harm, or other unlawful requests or demands, or (c) which occur anonymously or repeatedly or at an extremely inconvenient hour, or (d) which relate to communications by a hostage holder or barricaded person as defined in RCW 70.85.100, whether or not conversation ensues, may be recorded with the consent of one party to the conversation.

So, according to this, those who confront this man with the expectation that he might react with threats of violence might legally record the conversation without gaining his consent.  I suppose that legal opinions might be sought for from a professional.

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3 hours ago, MorningStar said:

I found another groping victim. That should support the other groping victim. That was back in the spring. UGH!!! 

I think gathering evidence and documenting cases will go along way. Many don't report because they are embarrassed but when asked, will come forward. If the church does not have a harassment policy, they should. I had a college aged girl being harassed by the typical delusional boy who felt God told him they were meant to be together. He only goes to church when she is home. Her parents and brother block him from her and we were brought into help since she served with me for the summer. They have had blunt conversations with him and his parents but he does not listen. So far, no one feels he is a danger but he definitely makes her very uncomfortable. His parents feel people are just mean to him but the truth is, he is creepy. 

 

On 1/18/2018 at 7:33 PM, Storm Rider said:

Lastly, when communicating with this poor soul that has no clue on how to talk to a member of the opposite sex, and if you felt like it is appropriate and comfortable, tell him, "Look, John, don't comment on a woman's body until such time as you are in an close or intimate relationship. Making such comments are not appropriate and make women feel that you are way too creepy. Do you understand? 

Also, if a woman does not want to be friends on social media and does not respond to your invitations, it means they are not interested. You need to move on and stop asking them about it. The only reason they don't immediately shut you down is that are trying to save your feelings.  I am telling you this because it has gone past a level of decency between LDS an/or humans. Please stop doing these things and you will be happier and the women around you will stop feeling uncomfortable around you."  I think some men need remedial help - you are not responsible for providing it.  However, IF this fellow has been a friend, it may be worth helping him see the light.

This is good advice. Sometimes, we are not doing anyone a good turn by not calling out their bad behavior. Sometimes, Mormons try to be too nice.

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From Handbook 2

 

13.6.18

Reports of Abuse

If a leader becomes aware of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of someone during a Church activity, he or she should contact the bishop immediately. Instructions for bishops are provided in Handbook 1,17.3.2.

Handbook 1 seems to discuss abuse but not necessarily sexual harrasment. https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Question:_What_is_Mormonism's_stance_toward_the_victims_of_sexual_abuse,_sexual_assault,_rape,_or_incest%3F

Edited by bsjkki
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