If you have come to this page it may mean that your trust has been broken. We sincerely regret abuse and recognize our moral and ethical obligation to seek the truth, deal appropriately with misconduct and strive for justice, healing and peace. We commend you for your courage and thank you for considering this important first step. Please know that we are deeply committed to a fair, careful and thorough process. All reports will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego considers the reporting and investigation of misconduct to be of critical importance. It is our hope that the potentially painful reporting process will realize healing and peace for all involved, particularly for the victims.
Reporting enables the diocese to protect the complainant, the respondent and the larger community. It also allows the diocese to assist with the spiritual, psychological and emotional needs of all concerned during and after the report of misconduct. We ask that those who believe they are victims of misconduct, or know of misconduct (sexual or otherwise), abuse of power by clergy, or child abuse to report incidents immediately and directly to one of our intake officers, Mr. John Seitman or Ms. Equilla Luke.
Intake officers are defined in, and required by, Title IV, the church’s disciplinary canon. Intake officers, designated by the bishop, listen to, document and respond to the complaint. They also serve on the reference panel. Note that this is not, in any way, a role of mediation.
In this diocese, we have selected two people to serve as intake officers. We chose two, in part, to offer the complainant a choice and, in particular, a choice of gender, recognizing that this may be an important consideration for you.
We have chosen each for this role because of their history in handling delicate human situations. Both are compassionate individuals trained in the art of active listening. While both are eminently capable of serving in this capacity for any and all complaints, we also recognize that this is a sensitive, personal situation, so we invite you to choose whomever makes you feel most comfortable. Your comfort in this process is of primary importance.
Mr. John M. Seitman is a parishioner at St. Peter’s, Del Mar, where he has attended with his family for over 20 years. Prior to his retirement in 1997, John spent his career as a California lawyer, and served as the president of the State Bar in 1991-1992. Since retirement, he has been a private arbitrator. He and his wife, Joan, live in Del Mar; they have two adult sons.
After years as licensed clinical psychologist, Ms. Luke retired and moved to Imperial Beach. She still maintains an active role in her congregation, Good Samaritan, University City.
The Reporting Process
We understand that this process itself may be a source of anxiety for anyone who enters it. What follows will be a general description of what one may expect. Please understand, though, that no two cases are alike, so variations should be anticipated and bear no significance.
Once you take the important first step of reaching out to one of our intake officers, you will work with him or her to determine a mutually agreeable time to meet. Every effort will be made to arrange for the meeting to occur as soon as possible and certainly at your convenience.
The intake officer may make a suggestion as to possible meeting locations. You are perfectly welcome to make suggestions of your own. The important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable wherever you meet.
For the meeting itself, you should plan to allow several hours to tell your story and to allow for any follow-up questions. You are invited to have a trusted person accompany you, if you like.
Once you make your report, there will be a period of waiting while the process continues. Please be aware that the entire process is a matter of months, not days or weeks. We hope this knowledge prepares you for the thorough and deliberate reporting process and that its length does not deter you. We would rather handle things carefully than rush through this important work.
As you wait for the intake officers to do their work, you will be assigned a chaplain/adviser to journey with you through this process. That assignment usually takes one to two weeks. In the meantime, the intake officer is your main point of contact.
While you are waiting, this may be a time to take care of yourself. This is generally a difficult and emotional period for any complainant; consequently, it is helpful to have a strong support system. Take some time to shore that up. Be willing to let family and close friends know that you need support and allow them the opportunity to help and to comfort you.
We understand that you may currently be experiencing a profound lack of trust in the church, clergy and church leaders. We encourage you to seek the professional services of a therapist, counselor or spiritual adviser. If you do seek the support of counselors and spiritual directors, please understand that this is entirely independent of the church and the reporting process; you will still need to speak with one of the above-mentioned intake officers in order to start the formal complaint process.
Misconduct Prevention Training
The Diocese also provides an online course that teaches church leaders how to prevent misconduct. Learn more about that program: Safeguarding God’s People Training.
The confidentiality of the complainant, the accused and all other parties will be observed, provided it does not impede the diocese’s ability to investigate or take corrective action. All reports will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
Bulletins and Newsletters
As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact Mr. John Seitman, (firstname.lastname@example.org), 858-793-4555 or Ms. Equilla Luke, (email@example.com), 760-583-0485.
Please post a link to this page: Safeguarding God’s People on your websites.