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Now I'm ready (long...sorry) - Page 2

post #31 of 46
Eileen, I don't know how the law views this in your jurisdiction, but is there a confidentiality agreement that you could sign. A sort of contract to keep confidences told to you as part of your job. Then when you met with someone who wanted to seek your help, you could make it clear to them at the start that you are bound by a duty of confidence and anything they tell you will remain confidential.

I know that this application has not been successful this time, but it might be something to consider in case you come up against this kind of obstacle again.
post #32 of 46
Originally Posted by eilcon
Since it had been a few weeks since I'd heard anything about the chaplain's program, I emailed the coordinator this morning. He just called me back and said my application has been denied because under our state revised code because the confidentiality issue could not be resolved. He still couldn't give me the statute they referred to me when making this decision. When I asked for something in writing he initially refused then said he'll look into it. Sounds suspicious to me. I think the way all of this has been handled smacks of it being a gender issue. They've given me the runaround, made excuses, etc... So my next step is to write a letter to follow up on our phone conversation and again request the statute. I'm also going to get all the documentation I have together and have a lawyer I know look into this. So, please keep the good vibes coming. I may a fight on my hands.

What a bunch of baloney they are giving you! My first thought WAS to take this to the media in your area. Sounds like a good story. I would talk to the lawyer first though. It drives me crazy that they have someone who wants to help them and they are shoing her out for technical reasons. The other thought was that you should try to be a chaplain somewhere else, like a hospital.
My best friend was brought up Catholic, and wanted to be a priest. She converted to Episcopalian (sp?) and before she was ordained was a chaplain at a hospital. Now she works at a private school as a chaplain there. She did have to go through a ton of studying and got her masters degree from yale. Too much work for me though.
post #33 of 46
I'll take the other side. I think that would be beneficial to have a woman chaplain with the police dept. However, the above concerns MUST be addressed for legal reasons. An entire investigation and prosecution of a crime could legally be in jeopardy if the suspect confides in you. A defense lawyer would have a field day. Imagine that the defense calls you to testify in court. I do not think that you are protected and can claim that the conversation you had with the defendant as privledge information. It would be a very sticky situation. There are times that a victim or perp will only be comfortable speaking with a woman. How would you feel if some perp walks due to you status.
post #34 of 46
I don't ahve any advice, I just want to say Good Luck!
post #35 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the support and feedback, everybody. I feel strongly enough about this to pursue it. I'm really skeptical about whether the "law" the coordinator refers to even exists. I've asked him for the source several times but kept getting the same response, "I'm looking into it." I know of at least four other women religious serving as police chaplains in other states, so there is a precedent for this. Will keep you posted.
post #36 of 46
NavDoc, you make excellent points. I agree with all of them, she must have confidentiality protected. I am just not convinced that the prospective employer is correct, that the ONLY way to get there is for ordained ministers to have this job. I think there are lots of examples out there that eilcon can use to show that there are alternatives.

It sure sounds to me like they are using this (very valid) concern as a reason to not hire her, because she doesn't fit their standard of who should have the job. Not because it's an issue they can't resolve.
post #37 of 46
Most software companies have employees sign an NDA (Non disclosure Agreement) as part of the application process.

I honestly see no difference between a standard NDA and a contract of confidentiality.

Good luck to you, thoughts and prayers heading your way.
post #38 of 46
I am no lawyer, but I do think that NDA's are a civil matter vice criminal.
post #39 of 46
Thread Starter 
Well guys, it's been over a month now since I wrote to the head of the police clergy team as a follow up to the conversation in which he told me my application had been denied. I requested something in writing stating the specific reason and the statute on which they based their decision. I know he received the letter because I followed up with him a couple of weeks after I mailed it. He said he was still "looking into" the matter. He's been "looking into" it for months.

Does it seem unreasonable to request something in writing? Personally, I think it's a matter of professional courtesy. When I asked him about in our last phone conversation he said, "I don't think that's going to be possible." Why not? This whole thing has been going on way too long. It's been a year now since I first submitted my application and it's just been one excuse after the other.

Most people I know have been encouraging me to pursue this. My mom, however, believes I should just let it go. She thinks it would just be
too difficult to work with a bunch of male clergy members that don't want me to be part of their team. I really don't care how they feel about me.
They're not the ones I'm going to be ministering to. It's the officers, their spouses and the victims that are my concern. They are the ones who I need to build relationships and trust with. I already know from speaking with several officers I know that they feel there is a definite need for a female police chaplain in our local department.

My next step, which I plan to do this week, is to contact an attorney. I may really have to put up a fight to get this position, but I'm determined to see it through. Please continue to send good vibes and prayers. And, if you
have any suggestions, let me know. Thanks so much!

post #40 of 46
I'm right there pulling for you. You go girl!
post #41 of 46
Eileen, I don't have any advice, but I'm sure that once you convince them (legally or otherwise) you will a huge asset to your clients (or whatever you call them). I can't imagine anyone more sincere and dedicated. In my mind, you are a lot like Sally Fields in "The Flying Nun." I was a little kid when I watched it, but I remember how heartfelt and strong she was in everything she did.
post #42 of 46
We are all behind you. You go, girl!
post #43 of 46
Thank you for the update!! {{{prayers & vibes}}} for encouragement and success in your efforts.. I hope you find an "Atticus Finch" (from To Kill A Mockingbird) kind of attorney!!!
post #44 of 46
It seems to me that there are three issues here:

1. Your right to be given equal consideration, even for a volunteer position.

2. The right of female officers, victims, and suspects to have access to a female chaplain. (Can you imagine a rape victim trying to talk to a male priest?)

3. The patently false assertion that confidentiality cannot be assured unless you are ordained. Lawyers are not ordained, yet they can go to jail or be disbarred if they breach client confidentiality. Doctors are not ordained, yet there is a long tradition of doctor/patient confidentiality (often breached these days by the power of the insurance lobby, but that's another discussion). There is surely some sort of document that could protect you, as a chaplain, from being compelled to testify.

I think this may be something the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) would be interested in. They should be careful not to make it a media circus, as they sometimes do, because part of what you're promising the department is discretion -- but I think they might help you.

Good luck!
post #45 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the support, feedback and advice. You guys are so awesome! Will keep you posted!
post #46 of 46
My understanding is that anyone can become an ordained minister of their own church by having 2 followers. If you want to be difficult, you could start the church of I love Kittycats, and declare yourself the minister and be ordained. I don't know if this would conflict with your views, but it is one way to have confidentiality apply!

Change is always hard, but it sounds like you have a calling for this job, so it needs to be done! Maybe you can talk to the priests that already do this, to see if they can help you if you apply again.

Prayers that God works to make this happen for you, so you can help in ways a man could not.
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