Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors by Seminarians, Religious, Eparchial Employees or Regular Volunteers
The Norms listed above regarding sexual abuse of minors by priests or deacons, with the exception of those that deal specifically with priests or deacons according to canon law, are also to be applied to seminarians, religious, eparchial employees, and regular volunteers of the Eparchy. In addition, there are these following norms.
In all cases of alleged or suspected or known child abuse committed by a seminarian, religious, eparchial employee or volunteer of the Eparchy, the Eparchy will comply with all applicable civil laws in respect to reporting the allegations and will cooperate with civil authorities in the investigation.
Besides any actions taken by the civil authorities, the Eparchy will conduct its own investigation of the alleged abuse.
Based on the results of the civil disposition, the eparchy’s own investigation, and the advice of the Review Board, the Eparchial Bishop will determine the continued working relationship of the accused with the Eparchy.
During the investigation, the accused will be relieved from his or her responsibilities, and removed from any contact with minors.
The background of all eparchial and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors will be evaluated. Administrators must take due precautions to assure that only persons who are psychologically and temperamentally suited are chosen to work with children.
No applicant with a history of a felony or misdemeanor sex offense conviction will be considered for placement or hire.
Applicants for employment or to volunteer in a position with children contact in parishes and institutions of the eparchy must provide the hiring agent personal information adequate to assess their suitability for contact with minors. They must sign a waiver to conduct a criminal background check. They must supply names of three references, at least one from the most recent employer and none from close friends or relatives. And they must complete the screening interview process.
Hiring agents and/or volunteer coordinators must speak with all references provided by applicants for employment and examine and verify the employment history. The hiring agent is to conduct criminal records check of any person seeking employment or to volunteer at their facility. Any applicant who has not lived continuously for five years in the state of the eparchial parish or institution must also provide an FBI identification record or a waiver allowing the hiring agent to obtain it.
Pastors will require that any person or group who are hired through a third-party contract, and who will have responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a child, must provide proof of a criminal background check.
Each parish or institution of the eparchy must establish procedures for gathering the information and completing the reference checks mentioned above. All information gathered will be retained in a confidential file at the location of employment for as long as legally required.
All persons covered by this Supplement shall undergo training in Child Protection and Safe Environment procedures as mandated by the Bishop in accordance with the norms of the USCCB prior to serving the Church or at the earliest opportunity after this Supplement has been promulgated. Virtus or the program used or accepted by the local Roman Catholic Diocese is acceptable to satisfy this requirement. Such training shall be repeated every six (6) years.
- cf. Canonical Delicts Involving Sexual Misconduct and Dismissal form the Clerical State, 1995; Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 18, 2001.
- Article 13, “Procedural Norms” for Moto proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela, AAS, 93, 2001, p. 787.