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EXAMPLES OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IN A MINISTERIAL SETTING

Sexual harassment is sexualized language or conduct found to be unwelcome and offensive, such as:

  • Making unsolicited sexual advances and propositions
  • Using sexually degrading words to describe an individual or an individual’s body
  • Telling inappropriate or sexually related jokes;
  • Retaliating against the co-worker who refuses sexual advances
  • Offering favors or employment benefits, such as promotions favorable performance evaluations, favorably assigned duties or shifts recommendations and the like in exchange for sexual favors.

Sexual exploitation is the sexual conduct that violates a trust relationship.


Sexual abuse is sexual contact between a church leader and a minor or a “vulnerable adult” as defined by law.

Either sexual exploitation or sexual abuse can include physical contact from the church leader, such as:

  • Sexual touch or other intrusive touching (i.e. tickling, wrestling, or other physical contact) that causes uneasiness or discomfort in the one touched.
  • An inappropriate gift (such as lingerie).
  • A prolonged hug when a brief hug is customer behavior.
  • Kissing on the lips when a kiss on the cheek would be appropriate.
  • Showing sexually suggestive objects or pornography.
  • Sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex.

Sexual exploitation or sexual abuse can also include verbal behavior such as:

  • Innuendo or sexual talk
  • Sexual comments;
  • Tales of sexual exploits, experiences or conflicts
  • Making sexual proposals.