Grand Lodges’ Policies Concerning Brethren Convicted of Crimes
The information on this chart comes from various sources, mostly email messages from several brethren. If anyone has definite information for additions or changes on this chart, please send email to Paul M. Bessel at paulb’at’bessel.org so I can update this chart.
|State||Some form of automatic action||No automatic action|
|Alabama||No automatic action|
|California||I was not able to find any reference in the Code to automatic action against a Brother convicted of a crime, but found the following concerning petitioners:§26020. INELIGIBILITY FOR DEGREES.
A person who has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to, or has been convicted of, a crime that is morally wrong in itself, is not eligible to apply for the degrees of Masonry unless, for the reason that he did not commit the offense, he either has been pardoned or had his judgment of conviction vacated
|District of Columbia||No automatic action|
|Indiana||From the 2001 Indiana Blue Book of Masonic Law:
Reg. 43.060. Conviction for Criminal Offense.
(a) It shall be the duty of every Worshipful Master of a subordinate Lodge in the event a member of such Lodge shall be convicted of a criminal offense (minor traffic violations excepted); to immediately obtain and file with the Grand Master a certified copy of the pleading and judgment showing such conviction.
(b) In the event such conviction is not reversed on appeal, or is not by pardon or otherwise set aside, and the same becomes final, it shall be the duty of the Grand Master, if in his opinion the conviction is either for a crime which demonstrates that the convicted person is not morally fit to be a member of the Masonic Fraternity (see Reg. 42.020) or is one for which he should be Masonically tried, to direct that proper charges against such convicted person be preferred and fairly tried in the Lodge of which he is a member or in any other Lodge of competent jurisdiction, by a Trial Commission.
(c) A Mason who has been or shall hereafter be convicted of a criminal charge of homicide, a Class A, B, C or D felony, or who shall plead guilty thereto, or who pleads guilty to a misdemeanor as a part of a plea bargain agreement to reduce a felony charge that contains a factual situation which clearly indicates that the Mason committed the felony charged in a court of competent jurisdiction, may also, by direction of the Grand Master, be expelled from the Order without the preferring of charges and usual Masonic trial; Provided, that no proceedings for such expulsion shall be taken while proceedings for reversal of the judgment of said court shall be pending and undecided. A certified copy of the judgment shall be sufficient evidence to justify such expulsion. Any Mason thus expelled shall retain his right of appeal.
(d) In the case of a Mason who has been or shall hereafter be convicted of a criminal offense greater than a misdemeanor or who shall plead guilty thereto in a court of competent jurisdiction, of a criminal offense in connection therewith, shall be eligible for only one of the penalties prescribed in Reg. 46.050, namely; expulsion.
|Iowa||From the Masonic Code of the Grand Lodge of Iowa:
Section 2. Conviction of or pleading guilty to a felony and to certain misdemeanors relating to child molestation, child pornography, or any sexual offense involving a child.
a. Felony. Any Mason who has, or hereafter shall plead guilty
to or be convicted of a felony in any court of competent jurisdiction shall,
by direction of the Grand Master, upon the filing with the Grand Master of a
certified copy of the court proceedings showing his plea of guilty or
verdict of guilty, as provided in Subsection c hereof, be expelled from
Masonry without the preferring of charges and the usual Masonic trial.
b. Misdemeanors. Any Mason who has, or hereafter shall plead
guilty to or be convicted of any misdemeanor in any court of competent
jurisdiction for child molestation, child pornography, or any sexual offense
involving a child shall, by direction of the Grand Master, upon the filing
with the Grand Master of a certified copy of the court proceedings showing
his plea of guilty or verdict of guilty of such misdemeanor as provided in
Subsection c hereof, be expelled, suspended, or reprimanded, depending upon
the severity of misbehavior or degree of guilt of the Mason involved.
|Maine||Sec. 49. 4.c.ii . . .charges which are a felony under the laws of the State of Maine or of the United States of America shall result in an automatic expulsion from the rights and privileges of masonry|
|Minnesota||Section G7.12: When the charges of unmasonic conduct are filed as the result of a conviction of the accused by a State or Federal Court of competent jurisdiction for a crime which is a felony or involves moral turpitude, the accused shall be suspended from all the rights and privileges of Masonry, subject to a decision of an appeal, if an appeal be taken. [However, the Brother still receives a masonic trial, which determines whether or not any masonic punishment will be imposed.]|
|North Carolina||No automatic action|
|North Dakota||It shall be the duty of every constituent Lodge, upon the conviction and sentence of any member thereof, of a Felony by any State or Federal Court, to immediately procure a transcript of the information or indictment, together with the verdict of the jury or a certificate of the minutes of the court, if the plea is guilty, and of the sentence of the court, certified by seal of such court, and to certify the same under the Seal of the Lodge and transmit all of said papers to the Chairman of the Trial Commission, who shall prepare a copy of the same and forward it to the Grand Master, who shall forthwith declare the Brother suspended pending final action of the Grand Lodge. Certified copies of the order suspending the Brother shall be filed with the Grand Secretary-Treasurer, the Secretary of the constituent Lodge and served upon the Brother in the same manner as service of a summons. The Trial Commission shall investigate all the facts and circumstances in the case and submit a report thereof together with its recommendations to the Grand Lodge at its next Annual Communication. No new trial shall be had by the Commission or the Grand Lodge. The conviction of the Brother constitutes a Masonic offense and the sentence shall be such as the Grand Lodge shall determine. Following the action of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Master shall make an order embodying such action, which shall be filed and served as herein before provided.|
|Ohio||No automatic action|
|South Carolina||From the 2003 edition of the SC Ahiman Rezon:
Sect. 249. Expulsion Upon Court Sentence. – Where a Mason has been sentenced by any State or Federal court upon his conviction of, or his pleas of guilty or nolo contendere to any felony of crime involving moral turpitude which discredits Masonry, he shall stand expelled.
Upon receipt of a certified copy of his conviction or plea, and of the sentence imposed therefor by the court, the Grand Master shall give notice of such expulsion to the Secretary of his Lodge, and he shall be erased from the roll. Such Lodge, and no other, may receive and act upon an application for reinstatement from him in the manner and subject to the provisions and limitations set forth in section 119 of the Code.”
|Tennessee||The Tennessee Grand Lodge Penal Code reads: “When a Mason amenable to the laws and regulations of this Grand Lodge shall be convicted of a felony in a state or federal court, he shall stand indefinitely suspended automatically from the date of his conviction, unless such conviction is appealed from, in which event, if the conviction is affirmed his suspension shall become effective on the date of his affirmation, and shall not be restored except by legal action of the Lodge after due petition.”|
|Texas||Page 202c, Title 5 a.
Art. 506 a. Any Mason in the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge shall be expelled or suspended, as hereinafter provided upon his conviction of a felony by any court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other state of the United States or by a court of the United States.
1. Suspension shall be effective on the date of sentence and continue until said conviction shall become final, at which time the subject Mason shall be expelled, said expulsion to be effective as of the date of the sentence without further action of the Lodge.
2. Should such conviction be reversed or set aside by the judgement of any court, the suspension shall continue until the final disposition of the case, unless the charges shall be dismissed in which event the subject Mason shall be restored to good standing without further action by the lodge.
2a. In any case in which probation or deferred adjudication is not an issue, should such conviction be reversed or set aside by the judgment of any court, the suspension shall continue until the final disposition of the case, unless the charges shall be dismissed in which event the subject Mason shall be restored to good standing without further action from the Lodge.
2b. In any instance where a Mason is charged with the commission of a felony and there is a finding of guilt by a court or jury or if a Mason enters a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere to such offense of felony and the court, after receiving evidence finds that the defendant is guilty and places the defendant on probation or otherwise suspends the imposition of the sentence, or in the event a defendant is charged with the offense of a felony and enters a plea of guilty or enters a plea of nolo contendere and the court, after hearing evidence, finds that such evidence substantiates the defendant’s guilt and defers further proceedings without entering an adjudication of guilt and places the defendant on probation, such proceedings shall be deemed a conviction of a felony for all purposes relative to this article, and said Mason shall be expelled to be effective as of the date the defendant is placed on probation.
3. The Secretary of the Lodge shall notify the subject Mason by U.S. mail at his last known address of his expulsion or suspension from the Lodge as a result of his conviction. (Note: See Form 10-B)
4. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Lodge to certify the
record of expulsion or suspension to the Grand Secretary. (Note: See Form
Art. 506 b. In addition to an occurrence contemplated in Article 506 a herein above, any Mason in the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge shall be EXPELLED without Notice of and Masonic Trial upon charges and specification in due Masonic form, if such Mason, upon becoming aware AT ANY TIME of written charges and naming him as the Accused, completes, executes and delivers to the Secretary of a Subordinate Lodge, Form 10-C, or a like or similar form satisfactory in form and content to the Grand Master, thereby requesting to avoid and waive for all purposes Notice and trial in due Masonic form upon such charges and specifications, and thereby agreeing to EXPULSION FOR LIFE without (1) any right to appeal same or to request any modification or reduction of same at any future date or (ii) any right to ever request his status as a Mason to ever be restored or his membership in any Subordinate Lodge or in the Grand Lodge of Texas to ever be reinstated. The Secretary of the Subordinate Lodge which received Form 10-C, upon verifying the genuineness of the Accused signature shall sign Form 10-C in the space provided and apply the seal of the Lodge to same and then shall forward same to the Grand Master for action; if said form is executed by the Grand Master, then the Accused will be then EXPELLED FOR LIFE and the Grand Secretary will notify in writing each Subordinate Lodge of which the Accused is a member and any other organization upon which membership is in any manner dependent upon being a Mason under the jurisdiction of Texas in good standing of which the Accused is a member, that the Accused has been EXPELLED FOR LIFE; however, if said form is not executed by the Grand Master, notice and/or trial in due Masonic form will occur as otherwise required herein.At its December 2003 meeting, the GL of Texas approved a resolution providing for the automatic permanent expulsion of any brother convicted of pedophila.
|Virginia||Edict issued by Grand Master Feb. 15, 1989, later ratified by the Grand Lodge:
“On being satisfied of the validity of a conviction of felony and whether or not such sentence was in fact imposed, the Grand Master shall forward a copy of the conviction order in such case to the Brother concerned and allow him a period of forty (40) days in which to show cause why he should not be expelled from the Craft. In the event he does not show such cause to the satisfaction of the Grand Master, he shall be forthwith expelled from the Craft, and his Lodge, or in the case of a sojourning Mason, his Grand Lodge duly informed.
It is my further edict that individuals expelled hereunder for conviction of a felony shall not be eligible for re-election to membership in any Lodge so long as the conviction shall remain in effect.”
|Washington||No automatic action|
|SUMMARY||9 US Grand Lodges are listed as having some form of automatic action against a Brother who is convicted of a crime||6 US Grand Lodges are listed as having no automatic action against a Brother who is convicted of a crime|