Diocese of Rockville Centre Statement
Newsday [Long Island NY]
July 23, 2003
Bishop Murphy testified before the grand jury and answered all questions honestly and to the best of his ability. He recently issued a report detailing his role in the Boston Archdiocese and we invite anyone interested in reading that to log on to www.drvc.org. Without in any way diminishing the gravity of the situation, Bishop Murphy's report on his role in the Boston Archdiocese attempts to provide a comprehensive perspective on his responsibilities at the time in question.
What is more relevant to Long Islanders is Bishop Murphy's leadership and actions on issues involving sexual abuse since his appointment to the Diocese of Rockville Centre in September, 2001. To start, Bishop Murphy reviewed the files of all priests in the diocese and removed from ministry anyone who had an allegation of sex abuse of a minor in his personnel file. He revamped the diocesan procedures for dealing with sex abuse of minors, established a hot line for reporting incidents of sexual abuse and appointed a Pastoral Intervention Team to report allegations to law enforcement and to work with victims and the priests accused. All of this was in place more than a month before the bishops met in Dallas in June 2001.
Since he has been the bishop of this diocese, with the ultimate responsibility for the workings of this diocese, Bishop Murphy has also:
established a Review Board, a confidential consultative body made of nine laypersons and one priest, to review diocesan policies for dealing with sexual abuse and offering advice on all aspects of these cases, including whether the clergyman may be returned to ministry. He has stated that he will never be less stringent than the Review Board but may, in fact, be more strict;
made all employees and volunteers in the diocese, and the diocese itself, mandatory reporters of sexual abuse with exceptions for confidential relationships and the Sacrament of Reconciliation;
offered counseling to persons reporting abusive conduct and encouraged them to bring their charges to the appropriate legal authorities while at the same time advising them that the diocese would also be doing so;
put in place "Protecting God's Children," a program designed to inform and instruct employees and volunteers working in the church on how to identify and prevent the sexual abuse of children and young people. That program is now in its second phase;
offered to work with legislators in crafting a law extending the statute of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse of minors.
Bishop Murphy is determined that issues raised in the Massachusetts Grand Jury report never be repeated under his jurisdiction. He remains committed to the people of the Diocese of Rockville Centre to doing everything in his power to ensure protection of the children in the Diocese. He is determined that any charges of sexual abuse be handled quickly, openly and with a priority being placed on the safety and security of the victims.
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