The Franciscans of Sacred Heart Province commit themselves to Christian morality and integrity in all their relationships—personal, public, and professional. We commit ourselves to recognizing, reverencing, and protecting the rights and dignity of all those with whom and for whom we serve. Friars are forbidden to engage in any form of sexual misconduct, and those who do so will be removed from public ministry.
Sexual misconduct is a general term that encompasses sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, and boundary violations of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual conduct or language between co-workers in the Church setting. It may include, but is not limited to:
- Unsolicited sexual advances and propositions
- Retaliation against a co-worker who refuses sexual advances
- The use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual or his/her body.
- The telling of inappropriate or sexually-charged jokes
- Offers of preferential treatment such as promotions, positive performance evaluations, or favorably assigned duties or shifts in exchange for sexual favors.
Sexual exploitation in the context of the Church consists in the nonconsensual use or abuse of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of the perpetrator's sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit, personal advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Examples of sexual exploitation would include, but are not limited to:
- Observing, photographing, or videoing another’s nudity or sexual activity without their knowledge or consent
- Nonconsensual distribution of images of another’s nudity or sexual activity
- Making, possession, use, and/or distribution of child pornography
Sexual abuse in the context of the Church is sexual contact between a religious and a minor or vulnerable person. Sexual abuse can include physical contact, verbal behavior, or actions such as:
- Sexual touch or other physical contact that makes the person being touched feel uncomfortable
- Giving a sexually charged gift (such as lingerie)
- A prolonged hug when a brief hug is customary behavior
- Kissing on the lips when a kiss on the cheek might be appropriate
- Showing sexually suggestive objects or pornography
- Sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex
- Innuendo or sexual talk
- Suggestive comments
- Descriptions of sexual experiences, fantasies, or conflicts
- Sexual propositions
Boundary violations is a less specific term which could encompass all of the aforementioned misbehaviors. It is a term used to describe the intrusion upon a person’s dignity and privacy for the purpose of providing sexual gratification to the perpetrator and not for the benefit of the individual in the relationship.