Bishop Also Announces Appointments of Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator/director of Child Protection and Safety and Members of Diocesan Review and Advisory Boards
Catholic Herald [Arlington VA]
Downloaded July 30, 2003
Bishop Paul S. Loverde announced that the Catholic Diocese of Arlington has issued a revised and updated policy on prevention of sexual misconduct and/or child abuse in order to conform to the requirements adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
In related actions, Bishop Loverde announced the appointment of Catherine M. Nolan, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., as Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator and Director of Child Protection and Safety, and the appointment of members of the Diocesan Review and Advisory Boards.
"I am pleased that Catherine Nolan has accepted my invitation to assist the Diocese of Arlington in the full implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," Bishop Loverde said. "She comes to us with over 25 years of experience in working with children and families. She has worked with public school systems, U.S. Navy Family Advocacy Program and the U.S. Department of Education and Human Resources."
"I am very pleased to be asked to take on this new challenge," Nolan said. "I believe that my years of experience in this field, my education, my values, and my desire to make a difference, will result in a positive outcome for the Diocese of Arlington and the successful launching of this new program. I cannot say ‘no' to this opportunity, and I am looking forward to getting started."
Since 1991, the Diocese of Arlington has implemented a policy against sexual misconduct and child abuse. All personnel of the Diocese are required to comply with applicable state and local laws with regard to reporting incidents of actual or suspected sexual misconduct and/or child abuse. The policy has required educational programs on abuse as well as background checks for new personnel. An independent review board was provided to assist the bishop in cases of reported incidents of child abuse by priests or deacons. In cases supported by credible evidence, the policy required that law enforcement authorities be notified and that alleged perpetrators be relieved of all responsibilities.
In November of last year, the USCCB adopted the revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Essential Norms were given recognitio by the Apostolic See on Dec. 8, 2002.
The diocese has adopted revisions to its existing policy which are responsive to its dedication to promoting and ensuring the protection of all children and young people and to fully implementing the Charter and the Essential Norms. The full text of the revised policy will be available at the diocese's web site, and printed copies are being distributed to all parishes, schools, outreach centers, and related offices and facilities.
Under the revised policy, credible allegations of sexual misconduct or child sexual abuse by diocesan personnel while performing diocesan work or activities will continue to be reported to public authorities. In addition, victims will be offered counseling. Any priest or deacon who has committed even one act of sexual abuse of a minor shall not continue in active ministry or be transferred for ministerial assignment.
As the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator and Director of Child Protection and Safety, Nolan will be responsible for implementation of a Safe Environment Program to provide education on child abuse. The diocese will provide child safety and protection programs specifically designed to address areas of service, including students in parochial schools and religious education programs, religious personnel, school personnel, youth ministers and coaches and child care providers.
The Diocesan Review Board, which met for the first time on Oct. 28, 2002, will assist Bishop Loverde in his investigation of any instances of sex abuse of minors by priests or deacons and in his determination of suitability for ministry. The Diocesan Review Board consists of at least five individuals appointed to five-year terms, and the majority will be lay persons not employed by the diocese.
The members, who include an experienced pastor of the diocese as well as individuals with expertise in treatment of sexual abuse, are The Honorable Timothy Murphy, Superior Court of the District of Columbia; Father Anthony J. Pinizzotto, O.S.F.S., Ph.D., forensic psychologist; Joseph V. Gartlan, retired state senator; Mrs. Mary Ellen Bork, Catholic speaker; Robert J. Chirles, M.S., director, Child Protective Services; Richard B. Perry, M.D., MACP, physician; Father Stanley J. Krempa, pastor, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Winchester; and Margaret E. Coogan, Ph.D., psychologist.
"I am grateful for their generosity of time and service to the diocese," Bishop Loverde said. "I look forward to working with the members of the Review Board and welcome the wealth of expertise each member brings to the Diocesan Review Board."
The Diocesan Advisory Board will perform a range of functions regarding child safety and protection, including reviewing policies and procedures, making recommendations for improvements, assisting in implementation and compliance, assessing victim assistance efforts, and advising Bishop Loverde on standards of conduct and education programs. The Advisory Board is comprised of eight members, including clergy, religious and laity from various ministries, as well as professionals in the field of identifying and counseling victims of sexual misconduct and child abuse. Those appointed by Bishop Loverde to five-year terms as members of the Diocesan Advisory Board are Mrs. Jennifer Gross Alvaro, LCSW, Specialization in Child Safety Programs; Ms. Suzanne L. Brown, RN., INOVA F.A.C.T. Program Coordinator; Mr. James M. Byrne, Compliance Officer, American Red Cross; Patricia Dalton, Ph.D., psychologist; Father Dennis Kleinmann, administrator, St. Mary Parish in Alexandria; Richard B. Perry, M.D., MACP, Physician; Mrs. Mila Tecala, M.S.W., Counselor; and Mr. Jim F. McGuire, Private Security Firm. Bishop Loverde welcomes and appreciates the experience and competency which each member of the advisory board offers to the efforts to provide a program for child and youth safety.
With renewed faith, the Diocese of Arlington has recommitted itself to the original goals of its policy. The revised policy will continue to reiterate and strengthen education and screening procedures to prevent sexual misconduct or child abuse by Diocesan personnel or volunteers. The diocese will continue to observe reporting requirements to civil authorities. The diocese will address spiritual, physical and emotional care of any abused child, the family, and any affected Catholic Community. Care will be taken to protect the rights of all parties involved in allegations of sexual misconduct and/or child abuse, particularly those persons claiming to have been sexually abused and of the person against whom a charge has been made.
Copies of the revised policy are being distributed throughout the diocese, and the policy will be posted and maintained by the diocese for access via computer network at its web site (www.arlingtondiocese.org).
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