Posts Tagged Dallas Charter
The AP checked all the roughly 180 dioceses in the U.S. for information, reviewed thousands of pages of church and court records and interviewed more than 75 abuse survivors, board members and others to uncover a tainted process where the church hierarchy holds the reins of power at every stage. (Associated Press)
Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.
“These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.
“But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts.
“The AP also found dozens of cases in which review boards rejected complaints from survivors, only to have them later validated by secular authorities. In a few instances, board members were themselves clergy accused of sexual misconduct. And many abuse survivors told the AP they faced hostility and humiliation from boards.”
By Reese Dunklin, Mitch Weiss and Matt Sedensky, Associated Press — Read more …
“People don’t care about this until it happens to them, until something happens to their child,” the employee said. (New Jersey Advance Media)
More than six dozen parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Newark may be out of compliance with a policy meant to protect children from sexual abuse, documents obtained by NJ Advance Media show.
“Sixteen years ago, after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops passed the historic Dallas charter meant to address the allegations of sexual misconduct in the church, dioceses across the U.S. were required to implement background checks and training for all staffers and volunteers working with children.
“As part of that policy and in order to sustain accountability, parishes and schools were required to submit annual reports to the diocese listing the workers who had completed the screening and training and those who had not.
“Documents obtained by NJ Advance Media show that in the Newark archdiocese, 24 percent of the parishes in 2017 did not submit a compliance report. That means 53 parishes could be fielding teachers, volunteers and other workers who may not have passed a background check, said an employee within the archdiocese.
By Erin Banco, New Jersey Advance Media for NJ.com — Read more …
Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful wrote today to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Review Board, which oversees the Church’s child protection policies, declaiming its distress that disgraced Bishop Robert Finn will preside at ordinations this month in his former diocese. In doing so, we add our voices to those of SNAP and other organizations that believe public support for abuse survivors and endorsement of strong child protection policies is essential for the Church.
Here is the text of the letter:
Dear NRB Members,
Voice of the Faithful urges you, as the office charged with ensuring the protection of children, to speak out immediately on the recent that Bishop Robert Finn, who recently resigned from the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, is scheduled to confer ordinations there later this month.
Bishop Finn, as you no doubt know, was convicted three years ago for the crime of failing to report the discovery of child pornography on the computer of a priest in his diocese. Despite that conviction, Bishop Finn was permitted to attend USCCB meetings. No other bishop publicly criticized his presence, and only when the Vatican announced his removal was there any consequence to his public failure to observe the 2002 Dallas Charter requirements or the laws protecting children in Missouri.
To have Bishop Finn preside at ordinations sends a compelling signal to the Faithful of cronyism and coverup, of clerical preference at the expense of a strong commitment to protecting children. Bishop Finn, who by his conviction is no longer legally eligible to teach children, does not embody the qualities needed for leaders and teachers of the faith and surely should not be in the position of ordaining future pastors and spiritual guides.
In the name of abuse survivors and our children and grandchildren, we pray you speak out against this misguided plan to have Bishop Finn confer ordinations. Your message would be a significant demonstration that it’s not “business as usual” for the coverup of child sex abuse. If you fail to act, the message delivered instead is that “courtesy” to bishops matters more to the USCCB than its own promises about protecting children from sex abuse.
Mark Mullaney, President
The resignation of Robert Finn as bishop of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., is a bitter but necessary moment of reckoning for leaders of the Catholic church if they hope to begin to deal seriously with their long betrayal of the community’s trust.
“Let’s be clear that this is only a beginning. Finn was removed for cause, we have been told. Finn was criminally convicted for failing to report Fr. Shawn Ratigan, who ultimately pleaded guilty to possessing and producing child pornography. Ratigan received a 50-year prison sentence.
“Finn also violated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, commonly called the Dallas Charter, which the U.S. bishops themselves wrote to guide their response to the violation of children by clergy.”
Editorial by National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.
It is time for Archbishop John Nienstedt to go.
Reading the affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger, the former chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Paul, is grim. Caveat: A lawyer friend told me that a good defense attorney could drive several trucks through the document and that may be true. But, even if a quarter of what is asserted in that document is true, it is obvious that the Archdiocese of St. Paul has failed to live up to the bishops’ own requirements regarding the protection of children. Instances of suspected child abuse were not reported to the civil authorities. Clergy were not removed from active ministry as required by the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children. Almost every page of Haselberger’s affidavit illustrates a clerical culture that, when confronted with evidence of proven or potential sexual abuse of a minor, instinctively reacted with the thought, ‘poor Father.”’
By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.
In June 2012, Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer was removed as a pastor, after the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese received a complaint of child sexual abuse against him. The archdiocese informed the police, and by November Wehmeyer had pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two boys, ages 12 and 14, and possessing child pornography. He is serving a five-year prison sentence.
“Ostensibly, the archdiocese had complied promptly and fully with the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the standards for dealing with priests accused of abusing a minor. The archdiocese certainly spun the story that way. That may have been the final perception, if Minnesota Public Radio had not followed the story to its origins.” Editorial in National Catholic Reporter
Read the rest of NCR’s editorial by clicking here.
Voice of the Faithful® has called repeatedly over many years for accountability for bishops who have covered up clergy sexual abuse. Why? Read Nicholas Cafardi’s article Accountability Gap, which appears in the June 11, 2013, issue of Commonweal magazine. Cafardi is a civil and canon lawyer, dean emeritus and professor of law at Duquesne University School of Law and one of the original members of the USCCB’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth.
When the spotlight of the national press was on them, it appeared that the bishops had acted responsibly. But, as an inaugural member of the bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth, I had a different perspective. When the board went looking for national data about the phenomenon of sexual abuse by clergy, the California bishops, led by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles (now retired), strongly resisted the audits. By Nicholas Cafardi, Commonweal