Following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the diocese has an established Review Board, a confidential, consultative body whose primary purpose is to assist the diocesan Bishop in deciding of a cleric’s suitability for ministry upon receipt of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, young person, or vulnerable adult. The Review Board does not investigate the credibility of an allegation if the accused priest or religious is deceased as no action can be taken in terms of that cleric’s suitability for continued ministry. The Review Board is convened following notification to the appropriate civil authority and after the diocese is advised that civil authorities will take no further action.
DIOCESAN REVIEW BOARD MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
- At least five persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment in full communion with the Church.
- A majority of laypersons are not in the employ of the Diocese.
- At least one member who is an experienced and respected pastor of the Diocese.
- At least one member with particular expertise in the treatment of the sexual abuse of minors.
- Members shall serve upon written appointment by the Diocesan Bishop for a period of five years, renewable for an additional five-year term. The Board shall meet at least annually and otherwise as needed.
All matters discussed by and all information presented to the Board shall be maintained confidentially.
DIOCESAN REVIEW BOARD FUNCTIONS
- Assessing allegations of sexual abuse by minors, young people, and vulnerable adults by priests and deacons under the auspices of the diocese to advise the Diocesan Bishop on the credibility of the allegations and whether the allegations fall within the definition of sexual abuse, as defined in the Child and Youth Protection Policy.
- Advising the Diocesan Bishop in his determination of suitability for ministry on a case-specific basis.
In every instance of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon in ministry, the Diocesan Review Board will either:
- Decide that the allegation is credible and falls within the definition of sexual abuse as defined in the Child and Youth Protection Policy. The Review Board will, in that event, make a recommendation to the Bishop as to whether the person suspected of abuse will be relieved of or continued on leave from any ecclesiastical ministry or function; or
- Determine that the allegations either are not credible or do not meet the definition of sexual abuse as defined in the Child and Youth Protection Policy. In addition, if the Diocesan Review Board nonetheless concludes that there remains reason(s) for concern, the Diocesan Bishop will determine the most appropriate course of action and the disposition of the accused.
The deliberations of the Diocesan Review Board will be strictly confidential, and no detailed minutes will be taken or maintained.
The Diocesan Bishop will forward all credible allegations to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will, in turn, refer cases to a church tribunal or retain the case and determine the future of the accused. Those clerics found to have a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor will be placed on the List of Clergy with Credible Allegations.