Child Protection Protocols

The following protocols were announced on October 13, 2014.

 

1. The Archdiocese shall not recommend any clergy for a position in active ministry (i.e., those clergy with permission to exercise priestly ministry to the faithful) or a position that provides for access to minors, who has a pending credible or previously substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor against him,* or is otherwise deemed unsuitable for ministry under circumstances that arise in whole or in part, out of accusations or risk of sexual abuse of a minor. Unsuitability determinations are made by the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis with recommendations from the Director of Ministerial Standards and the Clergy Review Board. Likewise, the Archdiocese shall not recommend, and shall direct clergy not to recommend, any non-clergy employee for a position that provides access to minors, who has a pending credible or previously substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor against him or her.

2. The Archdiocese shall disclose any accusation of sexual abuse of a minor to any Diocese, Catholic entity or secular employer who inquires about the existence of any accusation of sexual abuse of a minor with regard to a past or present Archdiocesan clergy member to the extent that communication is allowed by federal and state law. The Archdiocese shall also disclose the status or resolution of that  claim as reflected in its records as allowed by federal and state law. This policy does not apply to ministerial assignments within the Archdiocese.

3. Archdiocesan leadership shall meet with any survivor or his or her support person as reasonable in a supervised setting with a facilitator when appropriate, with due respect for the needs of the survivor. Meetings shall be private and may be interrupted or delayed by the facilitator if the setting becomes overly difficult.

4. The Archdiocese shall publish in the Catholic Spirit four times per year for five (5) years and one time per year for an additional five (5) years thereafter a statement urging those subject to the sexual abuse of a minor to contact law enforcement to make a report of the abuse.

5. Upon request of a survivor, the Archbishop shall, on behalf of the Archdiocese, send a personally signed letter of apology to the survivor with a credible claim of sexual abuse of a minor in the context of a Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 408 settlement communication.

6. The Archdiocese shall continue to provide information in writing to parishes and schools regarding the prevention of abuse, training to identify signs of abuse, statements that the abused are not at fault and encouraging the reporting of abuse.

7. The Archdiocese shall continue to provide VIRTUS training or equivalent safe environment training to all new Archdiocese employees and agree to provide updated VIRTUS training or equivalent safe environment training to all Archdiocese employees every five years. If significant changes are made to the Archdiocese’s VIRTUS training materials, the Archdiocese shall provide updated training to all Archdiocese employees within a reasonable time after these changes are adopted.

8. All mandated reporters, as defined in the Minnesota Statutes, at the Archdiocese shall receive specific training regarding reporting obligations every three years and within thirty (30) days of their retention if newly hired.

9. The Archdiocese shall adopt a whistleblower policy concerning the reporting of abuse.

10. On or before March 31, 2015, the Director of Ministerial Standards shall make a good faith effort to obtain, from each clergy member working within the Archdiocese, a signed and dated written statement affirming that the clergy member (1) has not sexually abused any minor at any time, and (2) has no knowledge of any abuse of a minor by another priest of the Archdiocese or employee of the Archdiocese that has not been reported to law enforcement and the Archdiocese. The Director of Ministerial Standards shall also make a good faith effort to obtain from any visiting priest who is given open-ended faculties to minister in the Archdiocese or has an assignment in a parish or related archdiocesan entity (this does not include clergy visiting for a single event or over a time period of less than twenty one (21) days) a signed and dated statement under this paragraph no later than thirty (30) days after assignment or open-ended faculties are given. The written statements provided under this paragraph shall not require any clergy to disclose knowledge of sexual abuse of minors obtained in the course of confession or where a person seeks religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort pursuant to Minn. Stat. $ 595.02 or Minnesota law.

11. The Archdiocese shall continue its current policy prohibiting its employees and volunteers from being alone (i.e. out of sight of at least one other adult) with any unrelated minor while serving as an employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese or a Parish subject to common sense exceptions, such as emergency situations, interactions with a minor that are incidental and not extended, parents transporting their children or related individuals, and employees or volunteers transporting the children of friends and neighbors. This policy does not apply to employees and volunteers providing services in or for schools or providing Catholic education. Priests are prohibited from being alone (i.e. out of sight of at least one other adult) with any unrelated minor except when the clergy member is hearing confession in a confessional and except for common sense exceptions, such as emergency situations and circumstances where interaction with a minor is incidental and not extended.

12. The Archdiocese shall continue its current policy prohibiting clergy from traveling or taking any overnight trips alone with any unrelated minor. If a clergy member travels with any unrelated minor(s), then there must be at least one other adult present and actively supervising the minor(s) at all times. The clergy members are strictly prohibited from sleeping in the same space (e.g., room, bedroom, hotel room, tent, bed, etc.) with any unrelated minor.

13. The Archdiocese shall continue its policy that prohibits priests from having an unrelated child or children in their automobile unless supervised.

14. Public disclosure of substantiated claims of sexual abuse by clergy and those facing pending credible claims that are under investigation shall be ongoing. The disclosures will be updated when a claim is determined to be substantiated, whether from the review of clergy files by outside experts or otherwise. In every such case, the Archdiocese will add the name of the clergy member to the disclosure section of its website. The Archdiocese will also disclose the names of clergy deemed unsuitable for ministry under circumstances that arise, in whole or in part, out of accusations or risk of sexual abuse of a minor. Public disclosures under this paragraph shall be made as soon as reasonably practicable but, in any event, no later than forty five (45) days after the relevant determination. The Archdiocese will also share this information with the public by issuing and posting a press release on its website.

15. With regard to a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor, at the conclusion of the canonical process for determination of clerical status, documents pertaining to the accusation of sexual abuse of a minor and the Archdiocese’s response to the claim will be made accessible to the public.

16. The Archdiocese shall remove photos and any visible honors (such as a plaque honoring that cleric individually or naming of a building or hall in that cleric’s honor) from public display for each priest with a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor. This does not prevent the Archdiocese from displaying photos of priests with a substantiated claim of abuse if that photo or the words accompanying it clearly indicate that the priest had a substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor asserted against him.

17. When the Archdiocese receives a report of child sexual abuse and makes a mandated report to law enforcement pursuant to Minnesota statutes, the Archdiocese shall not conduct an internal investigation and will not interfere in any way with law enforcement until law enforcement concludes its investigation, closes its file without an investigation, or authorizes the Archdiocese to proceed with its investigation.

 

*A “credible claim” is one that, as determined by the Archdiocese, is “not manifestly false or frivolous.” A “substantiated claim” is one for which, as determined by the Archdiocese, sufficient evidence exists to establish reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged abuse occurred.

 

Child Protection Protocols (PDF)