Petition 81463

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Complaint (81463-JA-¶2704.2b)

Amend ¶2704.1b as follows:
  
b) If a written complaint is made against a bishop for any of
the offenses in ¶ 2702.1, the counsel for the Church, as appointed under ¶ 2704.1a, shall prepare, sign, and forward the judicial complaint and all documentary evidence under consideration to the chairperson of the committee on investigation, the person making the original complaint, and the bishop being charged (respondent). The respondent shall be given an opportunity to submit to the committee on investigation a written response to the judicial complaint within thirty days of receipt of the judicial complaint. Furthermore, the respondent shall have the benefit of counsel by another clergy person in good standing with the Conference. Such counsel shall have the right to speak.  If the respondent is unable to find or obtain counsel on his/her own, counsel shall be appointed for him/her by the District Committee on Ordained Ministry from within the district the respondent is assigned. The chairperson shall convene the committee on investigation within sixty days of receiving the judicial complaint.  

Rationale

In our appointive system where the bishop has absolute control of all appointments, many clergy persons are reluctant to serve as counsel. It was all but impossible for me to find a clergy person to be with me at my hearing for fear of retribution by the bishop at appointment...