KITTY HAWK, NC (WAVY) — The North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church has confirmed that four women have made sexual harassment complaints about Pastor Jonathan Mills of Kitty Hawk Methodist.
Conference communications director Derek Leek says Pastor Mills is suspended for up to 90 days as part of the complaint process, effective December 19.
Kitty Hawk police say no one has filed any criminal complaints against Mills.
Mills has been pastor at Kitty Hawk United Methodist since July of 2016.
It’s unclear how many of the women who have complained are Kitty Hawk Methodist members, but Leek says he believes they do attend church there.
Church officials say the Bishop’s office in Raleigh is handling the investigation of the claims of sexual harassment, and is working toward “a just resolution with healing and accountability.”
Leek says they are currently trying to determine the nature of the alleged behavior and whether the allegations can be substantiated.
We tried to reach Mills by phone and email to get his side of the situation, but received this response from church officials:
“Due to the complaint process, Reverend Mills is not allowed to talk to anyone at this time. This creates a time of safety for the complainants, for Reverend Mills and the church. He will be given an opportunity to respond as the process unfolds.”
In addition, the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church issued the following statement:
We are committed to integrity in pastoral relationships and receive any complaint against clergy with deep regret and seriousness. We surround all persons affected in this difficult situation with care, prayer, and confidentiality as we honor and engage the processes outlined in the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church. The Book of Discipline contains the polity and processes of The United Methodist Church. The District Superintendent and others will be working closely with all parties to ensure clear communication and faithful processes of healing and accountability.