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Charter
for the
Protection of the Faithful

Draft

 

Many years ago, the Bishops, Clergy and Religious of the Evangelical Catholic Church committed this Catholic faith community to protect the safety, dignity and rights of all men, woman and children to come through our doors from any form of predatorial abuse or neglect. 

Over the years, the Evangelical Catholic Church has continued to review and revise our policies and procedures to ensure the welfare of the People of God. 

For many years, most Church denominations have – rightly so - focused their programs of protection to minor children and teenagers in response to the plague of clerical sexual abuse.  Likewise the Evangelical Catholic Church also invested it times and energies for the protection of our children.

Embracing a broader vision

One of the lessons time has taught us is that in addition to the safety needs of our children, there are also members of our community who are also prone to abuse – our elderly, our immigrants, our disabled and members of our minority society.  In addition to our children, the above-mentioned are also easy targets of predators and we must commit ourselves to their protection and safety. 

Therefore the Evangelical Catholic Church is revising our commitment to the protection of the People of God with our “Charter for the Protection of the Faithful.”  

Let me emphasize that our evolution and discernment on the issue of protection and safety does not dilute our commitment to the safety and protection of children. The Charter for the Protection of the Faithful shall emphasis our unconditional inclusive commitment to protect the safety of each and every person we serve. 

Let there be no doubt or confusion on anyone’s part: For us, your bishops, clergy and religious - our obligation to protect all people and to prevent any form of abuse flows from the mission and example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, in whose name we serve.

 

 

Evangelical Catholic Church
Code of Pastoral Conduct
For Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Pastoral Minister,
Administrators, Staff and Volunteers

 

The purpose of the Code of Pastoral Conduct is to declare uniform guidelines for appropriate behavior in all situations involving pastoral and sacramental care, pastoral counseling and spiritual direction. While the Code of Pastoral Conduct cannot address all situations that may arise in pastoral relationships, it is intended to create a structure for addressing a variety of circumstances that, if not appropriately addressed, may create a risk of problematic incidents.

The Church must be exemplary. Bishops, Clergy, Religious, Staff, and Volunteers should and will be held accountable for their behavior. In order to maintain the highest level of accountability, there must be a clear and unambiguous blueprint of appropriate and inappropriate behavior. The Code of Pastoral Conduct provides a basic structure for identifying limits. It is intended as a “continuous improvement document.” Therefore, any suggestions and recommendations for additions and revisions are encouraged.

Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious, Pastoral Ministers, Administrators, Staff, and Volunteers throughout this Church must uphold Christian values and conduct.

The public and private conduct of bishops, clergy, religious, staff, and volunteers can inspire and motivate people, but it can also scandalize and undermine the people’s faith. Bishops, Clergy, Religious, Staff, and Volunteers must, at all times, be aware of the responsibilities that accompany their work. They must also know that God’s goodness and grace supports them in their ministry.

Responsibility for adherence to the Code of Pastoral Conduct rests with the individual. Bishops, Clergy, Religious, staff, and volunteers who disregard this Code of Pastoral Conduct will be subject to remedial action by the proper authority of the Church. Corrective action may take various forms—from a verbal reproach to removal from the ministry—depending on the specific nature and circumstances of the offense and the extent of the harm.
 




Pastoral Standards


 

1. Conduct for Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors


Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors must respect the rights and advance the welfare of each person.

1.1 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall not step beyond their competence in counseling situations and shall refer clients to other professionals when appropriate.

1.2 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should carefully consider the possible consequences before entering into a counseling relationship with someone with whom they have a pre-existing relationship (i.e., employee, professional colleague, friend, or other pre-existing relationship).

1.3 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should not audiotape or videotape sessions.

1.4 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors must never engage in sexual intimacies or financial relationships with the persons they counsel. This includes consensual and nonconsensual contact, forced physical contact, inappropriate sexual comments or matters of financial or legal matters.

1.5 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall not engage in sexual intimacies, financial or legal intimacies with individuals who are close to the client—such as relatives or friends of the client—when there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the client. Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should presume that the potential for exploitation or harm exists in such intimate relationships.

1.6 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors assume the full burden of responsibility for establishing and maintaining clear, appropriate boundaries in all counseling and counseling-related relationships.

1.7 Physical contact of any kind (i.e., touching, hugging, holding) between Pastoral Counselors or Spiritual Directors and the persons they counsel can be misconstrued and should be avoided.

1.8 Sessions should be conducted in appropriate settings at appropriate times.

1.8.1 No sessions should be conducted in private living quarters.

1.8.2 Sessions should not be held at places or times that would tend to cause confusion about the nature of the relationship for the person being counseled.

1.9 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors shall maintain a log of the times and places of sessions with each person being counseled.

 

2. Confidentiality



Information disclosed to a Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director during the course of counseling, advising, or spiritual direction shall be held in the strictest confidence possible.

2.1 Information obtained in the course of sessions shall be confidential, except for compelling professional reasons or as required by law.

2.1.1 If there is clear and imminent danger to the client or to others, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director may disclose only the information necessary to protect the parties affected and to prevent harm.

2.1.2 Before disclosure is made, if feasible, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director should inform the person being counseled about the disclosure and the potential consequences.

2.2 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should discuss the nature of confidentiality and its limitations with each person in counseling.

2.3 Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors should keep minimal records of the content of sessions.

2.4 Knowledge that arises from professional contact may be used in teaching, writing, homilies, or other public presentations only when effective measures are taken to absolutely safeguard both the individual’s identity and the confidentiality of the disclosures.

2.5 While counseling a minor, if a Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director discovers that there is a serious threat to the welfare of the minor and that communication of confidential information to a parent or legal guardian is essential to the child’s health and well-being, the Counselor or Spiritual Director should:

● Attempt to secure written consent from the minor for the specific disclosure.

● If consent is not given, disclose only the information necessary to protect the health and well-being of the minor.

2.5 While counseling the aged or disabled, if a Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director discovers that there is a serious threat to the welfare of the aged or disabled individual and that communication of confidential information to a custodial relative or conservator is essential to that person’s health and well-being, the Counselor or Spiritual Director should:

● Attempt to secure written consent from the person for the specific disclosure.

● If consent is not given, disclose only the information necessary to protect the health and well-being of the person.

Consultation with the appropriate Church supervisory personnel is required before disclosure.
 

3. Conduct Structure

Bishops, Clergy, staff and volunteers working with all people shall maintain an open and trustworthy relationship.

3.1 Bishops, Clergy, staff and volunteers must be aware of their own and others’ vulnerability when working alone. Use a team approach to manage group activities.

3.2 Physical contact with others may be misconstrued and should occur when completely nonsexual and otherwise appropriate and never in private.

3.3 Bishops, Clergy, staff and volunteers should refrain from the illegal possession and/or illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol at all times.

3.4 Bishops, Clergy, Staff and volunteers should not provide shared, private or overnight accommodation with others. In rare, emergency situations, when accommodations is necessary for the health and well-being of someone, extraordinary care to protect all parties from the appearance of impropriety.



4. Sexual Conduct


Bishops, Clergy, staff, and volunteers must not, for sexual gain or intimacy, exploit the trust placed in them by the faithful whom they serve.

4.1 Bishops, Clergy, religious, staff, and volunteers are called to be an example of chastity in all relationships at all times.

4.2 All who provide pastoral counseling or spiritual direction services must avoid developing inappropriately intimate relationships with those with whom we have been entrusted to serve. Staff and volunteers must behave in a professional manner at all times.

4.3 No bishop, clergy, staff, or volunteer may exploit another person for sexual purposes.

4.4 Allegations of sexual misconduct should be taken seriously and reported to the Diocesan Bishop and to civil authorities if the situation involves a minor.

4.5 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should review and know the contents of the child abuse regulations and reporting requirements for their individual states and should follow those mandates.

5. Harassment

Clergy, staff, and volunteers must not engage in physical, psychological, written, or verbal harassment of staff, volunteers, or parishioners and must not tolerate such harassment by other Church staff or volunteers.

5.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers shall provide a professional work environment that is free from physical, psychological, written, or verbal intimidation or harassment.

5.2 Harassment encompasses a broad range of physical, written, or verbal behavior, including without limitation the following:

A. Physical or mental abuse.

B. Racial insults.

C. Derogatory ethnic slurs.

D. Unwelcome sexual advances or touching.

E. Sexual comments or sexual jokes.

D. Requests for sexual favors used as a condition of employment, or to affect other personnel decisions, such as promotion or compensation.


Display of offensive materials.

5.3 Harassment can be a single severe incident or a persistent pattern of behavior where the purpose or the effect is to create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.

5.4 Allegations of harassment should be taken seriously and reported immediately to the Diocesan Review Administrator


6. Records and Information

Confidentiality will be maintained in creating, storing, accessing, transferring, and disposing of parish, religious community/institute, or organizational records.

6.1 Sacramental records shall be regarded as confidential. When compiling and publishing parish, religious community/institute, or organization statistical information from these records, great care must be taken to preserve the anonymity of individuals.

6.2 Most sacramental records older than 75 years are open to the public.

6.2.1 Information regarding adoption and legitimacy remains confidential, regardless of age.

6.2.2 Only staff members who are authorized to access the records and supervise their use shall handle requests for more recent records.

6.3 Parish, religious community/institute, or organization financial records are confidential unless review is required by the Diocese or an appropriate government agency. Contact the Chief Financial Officer upon receipt of any request for release of financial records.

6.4 Individual contribution records of the parish, religious community/institute, or organization shall be regarded as private and shall be maintained in strictest confidence.

7. Conflicts of Interest

Clergy, staff, and volunteers should avoid situations that might present a conflict of interest. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest can call integrity and professional conduct into question.

7.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should disclose all relevant factors that potentially could create a conflict of interest.

7.2 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should inform all parties when a real or potential conflict of interest arises. Resolution of the issues must protect the person receiving ministry services.

7.2.1 No clergy, staff, or volunteer should take advantage of anyone to whom they are providing services in order to further their personal, religious, political, or business interests.

7.2.2 Pastoral counselors should not provide counseling services to anyone with whom they have a business, professional, or social relationship. When this is unavoidable, the client must be protected. The counselor must establish and maintain clear, appropriate boundaries.

7.2.3 When pastoral counseling or spiritual direction services are provided to two or more people who have a relationship with each other, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director must:

a. Clarify with all parties the nature of each relationship,

b. Anticipate any conflict of interest,

c. Take appropriate actions to eliminate the conflict, and

d. Obtain from all parties written consent to continue services.

7.3 Conflicts of interest may also arise when a Pastoral Counselor’s or Spiritual Director’s independent judgment is impaired by:

a. Prior dealings,

b. Becoming personally involved, or

c. Becoming an advocate for one (person) against another.

In these circumstances, the Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director shall advise the parties that he or she can no longer provide services and refer them to another Pastoral Counselor or Spiritual Director.

8. Reporting Ethical or Professional Misconduct

Clergy, staff, and volunteers have a duty to report their own ethical or professional misconduct and the misconduct of others.

8.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers must hold each other accountable for maintaining the highest ethical and professional standards. When there is an indication of illegal actions by clergy, staff, or volunteers, you should notify the proper civil authorities immediately. Also notify the Diocese, parish, and/or religious community as applicable.

8.2 When an uncertainty exists about whether a situation or course of conduct violates this Code of Pastoral Conduct or other religious, moral, or ethical principles, consult with:

a. Peers,

b. Others knowledgeable about ethical issues

c. The Bishop

d. The responsible administrative authority for the religious community or organization, if applicable.

8.3 When it appears that a member of clergy, a staff member, or a volunteer has violated this Code of Pastoral Conduct or other religious, moral, or ethical principles:

a. Report the issue to a supervisor or next higher authority, or

b. Refer the matter directly to the Bishop

8.4 The obligation of Pastoral Counselors and Spiritual Directors to report client misconduct is subject to the duty of confidentiality. However, any agreement or duty to maintain confidentiality must yield to the need to report misconduct that threatens the safety, health, or well-being of any of the persons involved except as provided for in Section 2.6

9 Staff or Volunteer Well-being

Clergy, staff, and volunteers have the duty to be responsible for their own spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health.

9.1 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should be aware of warning signs that indicate potential problems with their own spiritual, physical, mental, and/or emotional health.

9.2 Clergy, staff, and volunteers should seek help immediately whenever they notice behavioral or emotional warning signs in their own professional and/or personal lives.

9.3 Clergy, staff, and volunteers must address their own spiritual needs. Support from a Spiritual Director is highly recommended.

9.4 Inappropriate or illegal use of alcohol and drugs is prohibited.

 





Evangelical Catholic Church
Policy on Handling
Abuse Reports




The following policy and procedures have been adopted to address the particular situation in which a member of the clergy, or an employee, volunteer or religious working in the Diocese or in any parish, school or agency of the Church and its local dioceses (the latter hereinafter referred to collectively or individually as "church personnel") is accused of abuse.

It is the policy of the Church that no person with a substantiated allegation of abuse will serve as a member of the clergy in active ministry or hold a position of pastoral appointment. All bishops, priests, deacons and other church personnel who minister in the Church and local dioceses are expected to be familiar with this policy and to comply with the procedures adopted to implement the policy. The Church and the local dioceses will assist in make the resources required to implement the policy and procedures.
 

A. DIOCESAN REVIEW BOARD


1. The Responsible Bishop shall establish a Review Board whose mission is to assist him in responding to allegations of abuse by clergy or other church personnel. The membership of the Review Board will be comprised of at least five persons who are in full communion with the Church. At least one member will be a diocesan priest who is an experienced and respected pastor. The majority of the members will be lay persons not in the employ of the Diocese. At least one member will have particular expertise in the treatment of sexual abuse of minors. Members of the Review Board may include permanent deacons, as well as women and religious. Members will be appointed to five year terms which may be renewed. The diocesan Promoter of Justice is to be a participant in the meetings of the Review Board.

2. Duties of the Review Board include:

Providing counsel to the Bishop in the assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors and in his determination of a cleric’s suitability for ministry;

Reviewing diocesan policies for addressing sexual abuse of minors;

Providing counsel to the Diocese on all aspects of these cases whether retrospectively or prospectively;

Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to any and all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy or other church personnel; and

Maintaining an ongoing review of unresolved cases.

3. If the allegation of abuse involves a cleric, in addition to the aforementioned duties, the duties of the Review Board will also include:

Providing counsel to the Bishop regarding any further action which may appear needed when a cleric has had a psychiatric or psychological evaluation;

Providing counsel to the Bishop regarding any further action which may appear needed and, where appropriate, regarding return to ministry when a cleric has received treatment; and

Maintaining an ongoing review of clerics who are in treatment and who have either returned to ministry or who are on temporary or indefinite administrative leave.


B. REVIEW ADMINISTRATOR


1. A Review Administrator appointed by the Bishop will serve as a point of contact and will ensure that the process is followed. An Alternate can also be appointed to serve in case of the unavailability or a conflict of interest on the part of the Review Administrator.

2. Duties of the Review Administrator include:

Interviewing those bringing an allegation of abuse and preparing an initial report for the Bishop;

Appointing an Assistance Coordinator for the person bringing the allegation;

Appointing Review Teams to investigate allegations which are deemed by the Bishop to have a semblance of truth and coordinating the activities of the Review Teams;

Maintaining ongoing communication with persons alleged to have been abused and their Assistance Coordinators throughout the process of implementation of this policy;

Attending Review Board meetings, preparing reports, answering questions and assisting the Review Board as needed;

Receiving information about other possible victims/survivors; and

Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to any and all allegations of abuse by a member of the clergy or other church personnel.


C. REVIEW TEAMS


1. A Review Team will be established for allegations which are to be investigated under these policies. It shall be comprised of members from the Review Board chosen by the Review Administrator for each case, provided that in certain cases as determined by the Review Administrator the entire Review Board may be designated to serve as a Review Team. It shall have a consultative role to the Bishop.

2. The Bishop may sit in with review teams but shall not be a member.

3. Duties of the Review Team include:

Investigating and gathering facts regarding allegations referred to it by the Review Administrator, reporting its findings to the Bishop, and providing any appropriate counsel;

Conducting, if necessary, a further investigation of those allegations which the Bishop deems to be serious, thereafter providing him any additional appropriate counsel as to whether the allegation bears the semblance of truth;

Meeting as needed for specific cases;

Taking all appropriate steps to protect the reputation and to protect the civil and ethical rights of the accused during the review process;

Providing counsel to the Bishop regarding notification of parishioners about allegations against their parish priest, deacon, or other church personnel; and Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to any and all allegations of abuse by a member of the clergy or other church personnel.

D. ASSISTANCE COORDINATORS


1. An Assistance Coordinator shall be appointed for an alleged victim. The Assistance Coordinator will assist persons who allege that they have been abused by a member of the clergy or other church personnel in making their claims known to the proper diocesan personnel.

2. Duties of the Assistance Coordinator include:

Listening to the individual and his or her allegations, treating the individual with respect;

Being present during meetings between the person alleged to have been abused, the accused and diocesan personnel, as requested by the individual;

Explaining the diocesan response to the specific allegations raised by the individual in order to allow the individual to select the options for assistance;

Assisting with referrals to therapists and/or support groups;

Assisting the individual with information about how to follow-up on the options chosen by the individual; and

Maintaining the confidentiality of all information relating to any and all allegations of abuse by a member of the clergy or other church personnel.

3. The Assistance Coordinator shall maintain a professional relationship with the individual and will not act as a therapist, attorney or spiritual director for the individual. A person shall not serve as the Assistance Coordinator for an individual with whom he or she has a family relationship or to whom he or she is a personal friend, or where there is any other potential conflict of interest.
 

 

Filing of a Abuse Report

 

 

A. BRINGING AN ALLEGATION


1. A person may file an allegation of abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy or other church personnel by calling the office of their Bishop and asking to speak with the Review Administrator.
 

B. RECEIVING AN ALLEGATION

1. Any person bringing an allegation of abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or other church personnel of a Diocese will be referred to the Review Administrator. The Review Administrator will then promptly consult with the Bishop upon receiving the allegation. If after such consultation the Bishop determines that the allegation is without any semblance of truth, a decree  is to be issued stating such, and no additional action is to be taken other than informing the person bringing the allegation, and making a record of the contact for future reference.

If the allegation, involves solely the sexual abuse of a person who is then a minor, a report shall immediately be made to the appropriate Division of Family Services in accordance with the provisions of the laws governing child abuse and neglect.


2. If an allegation involves solely the sexual abuse of a minor is received by an employee or volunteer of a parish, school or agency of the Diocese, he or she shall report the allegation to his or her supervisor who shall immediately contact the Review Administrator, who will then contact the Bishop. If the accused is a member of the clergy, the Vicar General will also be contacted. If the alleged victim is then a minor, the supervisor of the staff member receiving the allegation has the obligation of making a report to the appropriate office of Family Services.

3. Upon receiving any allegation which has the semblance of truth, the Review Administrator shall arrange a personal interview as soon as possible with the person bringing the allegation and will provide a written report of this meeting to the Bishop. The Review Administrator will also advise the person bringing the allegation of his or her right to bring the allegation to civil authorities.


4. If an allegation of abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or other church personnel is made first to civil authorities and the civil authorities bring the information to the Diocese, the matter shall be referred to the Review Administrator. The Review Administrator shall immediately contact the Bishop, and the information shall then be brought to a Review Team for further investigation. The Diocese will cooperate with law enforcement officials investigating an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.



C. REVIEW OF AN ALLEGATION

1. Within 24 hours, or as soon as circumstances permit, after meeting with the person bringing an allegation which has at least the semblance of truth and/or the person alleged to have been abused, the Review Administrator will assemble a Review Team. The Review Team, the Review Administrator, and the Bishop will then meet to discuss the allegation which will be presented by the Review Administrator. This meeting may be held by conference telephone.


After its initial review, the Review Team will take one or more of the following actions as it deems appropriate:


a. When the accused is a member of the clergy, if there is reasonable cause to believe that someone is presently at risk, a recommendation will be made to the Bishop and Vicar General that the accused be immediately placed on a temporary administrative leave at a place to be determined with the Vicar General. Every effort will be made to protect the good name of the accused. The cleric shall be informed of the identity of his accuser and any information concerning the accusation against him or her. They shall also be informed of their right to seek civil and canonical legal counsel.


b. When the accused is a member of the church personnel and not a cleric, if there is reasonable cause to believe that someone is presently at risk, a recommendation will be made to the person in charge of the agency where the accused is an employee or volunteer, that the accused be immediately placed on a temporary administrative leave pending the inquiry of the Review Team. Every effort will be made to protect the good name of the accused. The employee or volunteer shall be informed of the identity of his or her accuser and any information concerning the accusation against him or her. He or she shall also be informed of his or her right to seek legal counsel.

2. If the allegation bears a semblance of truth, but is lacking in sufficient detail, the Review Administrator may be instructed by the Review Team to meet again with the person bringing the allegation. More information shall be sought or the person bringing the allegation may be referred to a professional for help in clarifying the alleged incident.

3. If after having heard the Review Team the Bishop finds that the allegation does not bear the semblance of truth, the Bishop will issue a decree to this effect, the Review Administrator will inform the person making the allegation of this conclusion and no further action will be taken.


4A: The following procedures shall be followed in cases of allegations involving a member of the clergy if, after hearing the results of the Review Team’s investigation, the Bishop judges an allegation to bear the semblance of truth:

i. The Review Team will typically meet with the person alleged to have been abused and, if a minor, with his or her parents. The Review Team will listen to the account of the allegation, gathering any additional pertinent facts and information which may be available.

ii. The Review Team will typically meet with the cleric who has been accused. In the meeting the Review Team will communicate to the cleric the details of the accusation and the name of the accuser. Prior to the meeting, the cleric is to be informed that he may retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel.

iii. The Review Team will prepare a complete report of the facts of the case and provide it to the Bishop along with any additional appropriate counsel. The Bishop will review the report, make a judgment on the merits of the allegation, and issue that judgment by means of a decree which concludes the preliminary investigation. In cases when there appears to be sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, the Bishop is then to make the facts of the case known, along with his votum, to the House of Bishops. The determination of the need for a canonical trial, the venue for such, and the determination of any further definitive action to be taken against the accused cleric are henceforth subject to whatever directive is received from the House of Bishops.

iv. When a report of the allegation has been made to the local Bishop, the cleric is to be placed by decree of the Bishop on temporary leave from his present assignment, effective immediately and pending the outcome of a canonical trial or the issuance of any other decree from the House of Bishops.

v. The Bishop or his designee may encourage the accused cleric to undergo a comprehensive evaluation. The accused cleric is free not to undergo an evaluation. If the cleric agrees to undergo an evaluation, the Bishop or designee will arrange for the evaluation. Information resulting from such an evaluation is the property of the accused cleric. The cleric may agree to make it available to the Bishop or he or she may decline to do so. He or she may further agree to have the information made available to the Review Team. Any such information shall be kept confidential by those receiving it, except as it may be required by law to be revealed.


4b. The following procedures shall be followed in the case of an allegation involving a member of church personnel who is not a cleric if after due consultation with the Review Team the Bishop finds an allegation to bear the semblance of truth:

i. The Review Team will typically meet with the person alleged to have been abused and, if he or she is a minor, with his or her parents. The Review Team will listen to the account of the allegation and may inquire as to whether others are alleged to have been abused.

ii. The appropriate director, as applicable, will be informed and the accused will be placed on temporary administrative leave in accordance with the personnel policy for the parish, school or agency, as applicable.

iii. The Review Team will typically meet with the person against whom the allegation has been made and present him or her with the details of the allegation. He or she shall be advised of his or her right to legal counsel.

iv. The accused may be provided immediate assistance and support as determined to be appropriate.

c. The Bishop will communicate with those involved with the program in questioned and to offer help in dealing with the alleged abuse and its effects on the community at large. Spiritual and pastoral care will always be offered.

5. If an accused cleric is from another diocese or is a member of a religious community, the Review Administrator will make a report of the allegation. The diocesan bishop or major superior of the accused cleric will be informed of the pending investigation and the diocesan protocol in response to such allegations. The diocesan bishop or major superior of the accused cleric will be asked to provide full cooperation throughout the process. With the permission of the Bishop, the Review Administrator will make a full report to the diocesan bishop or major superior when necessary.
 

D. REVIEW OUTCOME

1. If the allegation is against a cleric and has, according to the process outlined above, been referred to the House of Bishops any eventual outcome, including the determination of penalties to be applied to the cleric, will result wholly from either a canonical trial or from a decree of the House of Bishops.


2. If, after due consultation, the Bishop has judged that there does not appear to be sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred, the following shall occur:
a.  Every step will be taken to restore the good name of the accused.

b. If the allegation is against a cleric, the Bishop will make a decision regarding the ministry assignment of the cleric.
 

 

National Church Office
Post Office Box 170336  Chicago Illinois  60617-0336
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©2014