CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
This page is a work in process. It seeks to provide resources related to the clergy sexual abuse crisis in our Church in terms of how people can report instances of sexual abuse with children, information about the Office for Protection of Children and Youth of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and resources available to victims for help and healing.
WEBSITES WHERE YOU CAN GET FURTHER INFORMATION:
Archdiocese of Chicago: https://www.archchicago.org/ - On the homepage, click on Child Protection
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – USCCB: http://www.usccb.org/ On the homepage, click on Issues and Action. Then click on Child and Youth Protection
The Vatican: http://www.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html - at the bottom of the homepage, click on Abuse of Minors: the Church's Response
NEW SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR REPORTING SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST A BISHOP
A reporting system accepting sexual abuse allegations against U.S. bishops and eparchs is in place. Called the Catholic Bishops Abuse Reporting Service, or CBAR, the system became operational March 16. The mechanism incorporates a website and a toll-free telephone number through which individuals can file reports regarding a bishop. The website is ReportBishopAbuse.org. Calls can be placed at 800-276-1562. For further information about this new initiative, go to the link Clergy Sexual Misconduct - Articles under the About Us pull down menu on our homepage.
On Sept. 9, 2018, St. Gregory hosted an open forum inviting people to come and share their feelings about and reaction to the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report about clergy sexual abuse with minors. After the meeting a group of 7 people volunteered to come together to look at ways in which they as members of the laity could address the issue of sexual abuse by priests and bishops and the issue of accountability for bishops who protected priests. What follows is information gathered by this committee about resources that are available to help people who have been victims of sexual abuse by clergy and religious, information about how to report instances of sexual abuse to civil authorities and to Church authorities and suggestions about what the laity can do to promote healing for victims and can do to let bishops and other Church authorities know what they need to do to better protect children and to hold those who protected priest abusers accountable for their actions. For an update on what the Archdiocese of Chicago currently does to protect children, heal victims and make sure all priests and church leaders are held accountable, please visit the website http://heal.archchicago.org.
PRAYER FOR THE HEALING OF THE CHURCH AND FOR VICTIMS OF CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE
Clergy Sexual Abuse and its cover-up has been a serious issue for the Church for a long time. As more instances come to light, it is important that we as church members pray for the healing of our the Church and its leadership and for victims and for all members struggling with these issues.
Communal prayer is very effective. We would like to suggest that anyone who wishes to participate take a few minutes at 6p.m. every Wednesday evening, to stop and pray with each other, for each other, wherever they may be, with our families, our friends or as individuals.
It can be a simple prayer – a calling to mind of the problem and asking God for his help in bringing about healing. Another suggestion is to pray the Angelus - a traditional Catholic call to prayer. It is a way of praying together in praise of God and asking him for his help. The Angelus is a prayer that traditionally was prayed daily at 6a.m., noon and 6p.m.
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
The Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) Archdiocese of Chicago’s Response to Sexual Abuse of Minors
Early and Decisive:
1991 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin convened a lay commission to review the Archdiocese of Chicago’s procedures for handling accusations of sexual abuse.
1992 The Archdiocese of Chicago put in place policies and procedures to address allegations and issues related to sexual abuse of minors. The Archdiocese of Chicago created the first Office of Victim Assistance Ministry to provide direct outreach and support to victims-survivors and their families. The Archdiocese of Chicago created an independent office (now known as the Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review) to receive allegations of abuse of minors by clergy.
1993 The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Independent Review Board convened to review allegations of abuse and to make direct recommendations of the accused clergy’s fitness for ministry to Cardinal.
Comprehensive and Sustained:
The Archdiocese of Chicago created the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) in 2003 to bring together the various ministries within the archdiocese that had been operating to ensure the archdiocese is a safe place for children. The following offices work together to stay current on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse. You can contact the Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) at 312.534.5254.
Office for Assistance Ministry (OAM) personnel reach out and extend supportive services to victims-survivors from the moment they come forward with an allegation of clergy sexual abuse. This includes traveling throughout the country with personnel from the Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review (CAIR) to meet with and listen to victims-survivors. OAM personnel also provide the opportunity for victims-survivors to get independent professional counseling from fully accredited therapists. Additionally, OAM personnel have worked in collaboration with victims-survivors to respond to their need for healing. This has led to the development of the Healing Garden, annual Mass for Hope and Healing and Pinwheel Service for Child Abuse Prevention, victim-survivor led peace circles, and the Healing Voices magazine. To date over 400 victims-survivors and family members have been served by OAM personnel. Contact Thomas Tharayil at 312-534-8267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review (CAIR) is headed by a lay professional who provides a compassionate and thorough process for receiving and investigating reports of child abuse against archdiocesan personnel. Archdiocese personnel notify public authorities of all reports of possible abuse of any kind and from any date, regardless of legal requirements. Contact Leah McCluskey at 312-534-5205 or email@example.com.
• The Director of CAIR serves as staff for the Independent Review Board, which is an advisory board for the Cardinal. The Board’s main charges are ensuring the safety of children and determining a cleric’s fitness for ministry. Over 230 recorded Board meetings have been held. The Board has determined 296 allegations of abuse to be substantiated and determined 75 allegations of abuse to not be substantiated.
Safe Environment Office personnel provide resources to educate archdiocesan clergy, employees and volunteers on how to prevent child sexual abuse, how to recognize sex offender behavior and how to create safe environments for children and youth. Since 2003 more than 3,700 training sessions in the archdiocese have been held training more than 263,000 adults.
• Archdiocesan parishes and schools are required to provide valuable training to children and youth on how to recognize, respond and report grooming or abuse.
• Safe Environment Office personnel also screen, through name-based background checks, all clergy, employees and volunteers. Office personnel also receive and review fingerprint results for school personnel.
• All employees and volunteers who work with children and youth in the archdiocese must submit a CANTS (Child Abuse and Neglect Tracking Systems) Form.
• All employees and volunteers in the archdiocese must abide by the archdiocese’s Code of Conduct.
• The archdiocese requires Mandated Reporter Training for all clergy, school personnel, religious education personnel, youth ministers and coaches as part of the archdiocese’s Safe Environment Compliance.
Contact Mayra Flores at 312.534.5238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priest Monitoring Program is the Archdiocese of Chicago’s stringent monitoring program of clergy with substantiated cases of sexual abuse against them.- No priest with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor is in public ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. No withdrawn priest is permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or perform any sacraments. They are also not permitted to wear clerical garb.
The Prayer and Penance Program was established for priests withdrawn from ministry due to at least one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The program was initiated in 2008 by Francis Cardinal George to provide safety for the community, the program participants and the Church. Withdrawn priests are expected to do penance for their sins, pray for victims/survivors of sexual abuse and pray for the Church harmed by the actions of some priests.
What We Do
The primary purpose of the Prayer and Penance Program is to prevent sexual abuse by the program participants and to protect the community from harm.
The Prayer and Penance Program seeks the following:
Reduce risk by promoting healthy living on the part of participants in the program.
Prevent harm to the faith of Catholics within the Archdiocese.
Protect the reputation of the priesthood from further harm by individuals in the program.
Consistent accountability within a supervised framework is the core of the program. The program participants are monitored daily by the Case Manager who utilizes various techniques to review their compliance with the program. The Case Manager also works closely with other offices to fulfill the objectives of the program.
Contact Moira Reilly, Case Manager - 312.534.5251 or email@example.com.
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People:
The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was approved in 2002 by the bishops of the United States Catholic Conference. The latest revision was approved June 2018. The Charter reinforced what the Archdiocese of Chicago was doing by requiring all dioceses to:
• Heal and promote reconciliation of victims survivors and their families;
• Make prompt and effective response to abuse allegations;
• Cooperate with civil authorities;
• Discipline offenders;
• Create a safe environment for children and young people through training and screening;
• Provide means of accountability for the future and to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.
Every year the Archdiocese of Chicago participates in an audit of the implementation of the Charter’s requirements. Every year the archdiocese passes the audit.
To report an allegation of abuse and/or neglect of minors, contact the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Hotline at 800.25.ABUSE and/or contact your local police department. You can also contact the Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY) at 312.534.5254.
Resources for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse:
Outgrowing the Pain Together: Book for spouses and partners of adults abused as children. Author: Eliana Gil. (1992)
The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.
Author Wendy Maltz (2012).
Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace by Nicole Sotelo, Paulist Press, 2006
Trauma Proofing Your Kids-A Parents’ Guide to Instilling Confidence, Joy, and Resilience. Authors: Peter Levine and Maggie Kline. (2008)
Healing Voices: A magazine created by survivors abused by clergy. It includes articles from victims-survivors, clergy, academics and more. It was created by survivors who wish to find healing through the church and not against it. www.thehealingvoicesnewsletter.wordpress.com
Male Survivor: Resources and support available to male survivors of sexual abuse and their loved ones. www.malesurvivor.org
One in Six : A site for male survivors. 1in6.org
Peace Circle: Support group for survivors and loved ones at the Healing Garden, Holy Family Catholic Church. Meets one Sunday/month. Contact Vince Sperduto, (e)firstname.lastname@example.org
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. www.rainn.org
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
SNAP: Survivors Network by those Abused by Priests, www.snapnetwork.org
USCCB Victim Assistance
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.usccb.org
Tom Tharayil, Chicago Archdiocese Victim Assistance Coordinator
To ensure the best resources and investigation practices are engaged, we encourage all allegations concerning the abuse and/or neglect of minors be reported to the DCFS Hotline (1-800-25-ABUSE) and the local police department first before reaching out to the Chicago Archdiocese Office of the Protection of Children and Youth (OPCY). If you need to report historical abuse, please contact OPCY at 312.534.5254, protect.archchicago.org
Voice of the Faithful - Members seek full transparency and accountability in Church governance and full incorporation of lay Catholics in the life and work of the Church at every level. www.votf.org
Catholic Charities Inspiring Hope Program – Do you know a child who has experienced physical or sexual abuse or neglect by anyone, not just clergy? Are you an adult who as a child experienced physical or sexual abuse or neglect by anyone, not just clergy? As a result, are you struggling to find ways to cope? We can help! the ICJIA Inspiring Hope Program through Catholic Charities offers FREE counseling services and case management services to children and adults. The Inspiring Hope Program is centrally located at the Tolton Peace Center (5645 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL 60644) with availability to meet throughout Chicago and Cook County. For more information, call 773-922-7219.