What To Expect In a Title IV Procedure
Those in a Title IV process will first see the complaint identified, received, and explored, and other incidents of concern and information from witnesses. A critical principle is that those involved will be afforded pastoral care. Another critical principle is that the process is one of “truth seeking through active listening.”
Pastoral care is at the heart of expectations for all involved. It can be extended not only to the Complainant and the Respondent, but also to congregations, communities, families, witnesses, and others as determined on a case-by-case basis. The Intake Officer does not provide the pastoral care, but notifies the bishop to provide care.
Title IV seeks to develop an outcome that reflects the values of the church, is collaborative, and leads to reconciliation. In part, Title IV.1 states: By virtue of Baptism, all members of the Church are called to holiness of life and accountability to one another. The Church and each Diocese shall support their members in their life in Christ and seek to resolve conflicts by promoting healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among all involved or affected.
Bishop Scott B. Hayashi believes a Pastoral Direction can be an effective tool to address many issues. It can help shield the victim from further harm. The victim no longer has to continue telling his or her story in the process once the determination has been made that a Title IV Offense has been committed, because it is dealt with through a Pastoral Direction.
Title IV is intended to be a prayerful and thoughtful process as the Title IV officers conduct their study to determine if the incident in question was true, and if it constitutes a Title IV Offense. (Title IV.3 and 4)
The quest for truth and the determination that an incident rises to the level covered by Title IV are not capricious. The Disciplinary Board and bishop are canonically given the trust to seek the truth and determine if an incident or pattern of behavior falls under Title IV. The procedures they follow are structured and defined by the canons. The Rev. Canon Frank Logue, the Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Georgia, has also served as an Intake Officer. He says there is every expectation that the process will be transparent to those involved in it as a complaint moves forward.
There is also an expectation of promptness. Examples of canonically required promptness include Title IV.6.7 which requires the Intake Officer promptly to forward complaints that if true, would be Title IV Offenses, to the Reference Panel. Additionally, Restrictions on Ministry (if necessary during the process) are promptly served upon the Member of the Clergy. (Title IV.7.4.) Title IV.13.1 requires prompt notification of the president of the Disciplinary Board if a matter is referred to the Hearing Panel. Other steps also require transparent process.
All parties need to know that the expectation of confidentiality is canonically ensured during the intake and referral stages except as the Bishop deems to be pastorally appropriate or as required by law. (Title IV.6.10) Additionally, various investigations and discussions with a conciliator are confidential. However, there is not an expectation of confidentiality if accords or other interim outcomes are made or the process reaches a Hearing Panel or trial.
Best practices offer an honest assessment that a Complainant’s name may be revealed in certain instances. Canon Robin Hammeal-Urban trains clerics and the laity in understanding and facilitating Title IV processes.
Those in the process will also be guided by the Intake Officer, who is responsible for alerting the Bishop to provide pastoral care. Additionally, both the Complainant and Respondent can expect the proper disciplinary officers to identify and assign other assistance, such as Advisors.