Media coverage of complaints about priests has generally focused on sexual misbehavior. This case study of complaints about priests in the Church of Sweden from 2001–2013 gives a much more varied picture. Documentation of all the complaints received during 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013 was collected. In all, there are 199 complaints, which correspond to approximately 1.2% of priests every year. The rate of complaints rose and doubled, peaking in 2010. The complaints are categorized in three categories: general complaints, complaints that can lead to prohibition and other complaints. The most common complainant was the private individual (42%), although bishops and colleagues were also responsible for some of the complaints. During the years studied, private complaints increased. This finding is interpreted to reflect an increasing tendency in Swedish society to complain. Com- plaints about female priests are increasing and are now occurring at the same rate as for male priests. However, no female priests have been prohibited yet; only males have been. Sexual issues account for 15% of the complaints, which are outnumbered by other complaints. Decisions made by the Church chapters have changed during the studied years; earlier, the most common decision was to take no ac- tion, but later, the chapters generally decided on some type of action (for example, commissioning someone to talk to the priest or to give a statement).
Keywords: priests, misbehavior, professional misconduct, Church of Sweden