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  Annual Report of the Diocese of Dubuque
Regarding the Implementation of the Policy for the Protection of Minors

Diocese of Dubuque
January 6, 2006

http://www.arch.pvt.k12.ia.us/Protection/Protectionhome.html

1. Previous report

The previous report was dated February 18, 2005. It covered the period from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2004. This report covers activities since January 1, 2005.

2. Archdiocesan policy

The Archdiocese continued its efforts to implement the Policy for the Protection of Minors, which was adopted on July 1, 2003. According to this policy (Appendix D, III.D), the Review Board is to make "recommendations to the Archbishop for changes to the policy."

The Review Board recommended and the Archbishop approved a change in Section V of the policy, under letter E, dealing with the situation of an adult coming forward to report sexual abuse as a minor by church personnel. The policy requires that all such situations must be reported to civil authorities, regardless of the statute of limitations.

Some victims argued strongly that by requiring their situation to become somewhat public by notifying civil authorities, they felt they were being victimized again. To respond to this complaint, the Review Board recommended rewording that part of the policy to give victims an option.

The revised wording is: "A report to civil authorities will not be made if the following three conditions are met: An adult reports that he or she was sexually abused as a minor by church personnel, the statute of limitations has expired, and the individual signs a request within 30 days of filing his/her report that the case not be reported to civil authorities. This does not preclude a church investigation from proceeding." It is hoped that this removes what some victims/survivors felt was keeping them from coming forward and seeking help.

The policy also requires that "the Board will meet every two years for the sole purpose of reviewing this policy." Since the policy has been in effect for more than two years, the Board has been working to fulfill this review and will soon have finalized its recommendations.

3. Victim assistance coordinators

The Archdiocese continues to have in place four individuals who serve as victim assistance coordinators. They are Dr. Thomas Anderegg (563-556-1225), Joan Hoffmann (866-319-4636), Maureen Oates (800-803-6758), and for Spanish-speaking victims: Hermana Eileen McGovern, B.V.M. (866-598-4636).

Nearly 3,000 posters, with the icon of Saint Raphael, are prominently displayed in churches, schools, religious education facilities, and other buildings with the names and telephone numbers of the coordinators. Periodic advertisements have been printed in The Witness and in secular newspapers published in several communities in the Archdiocese.

4. Office for the Protection of Children and Young People

This office was created on July 1, 2004, and is under the direction of Joyce Connors. The goals of this office are threefold:

a) Reach out to all victims of clergy sexual abuse (past or present). There are four trained victim assistance coordinators, who take calls from victims, respectfully listen to their stories, and report the information to civil authorities and also to this office for follow-up.

b) Commitment to providing a safe environment for all children of the Archdiocese. This is accomplished by conducting background checks on all employees and volunteers throughout the Archdiocese who spend time with children. These employees and volunteers are also required to read the Policy for the Protection of Minors (2003), the Code of Ethical Standards for Church Personnel (2003), the Standards for Conduct for Personnel (Archdiocesan Board of Education 2003), and the Sexual Misconduct Policy (1993). All personnel must accept the applicable policies and sign an acknowledgment that they will abide by them.

c) All employees and volunteers are required to attend a three-hour training session entitled Virtus "Protecting God's Children" to learn more about identifying possible abuse of children and how to respond to these concerns.

5. Protection and prevention programs

In July 2003, officials from the Archdiocese of Dubuque joined the other three dioceses in Iowa to find an appropriate prevention program in order to provide safe environments for children. The program chosen was Virtus " "Protecting God"s Children." This program focuses on preventing child sexual abuse by eliminating the opportunities for abuse to occur and by strengthening children"s ability to resist potential offenders. The format is a three-hour presentation conducted by a trained facilitator. To date over 9,000 people throughout the Archdiocese have attended these training sessions, with more sessions being offered on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the Virtus program, Catholic schools and religious education programs provide training to their students through two methods. The "Human Growth and Development" curriculum, which has been in place for many years, has been enhanced in the areas of positive attitudes about sexuality and appropriate types of behaviors and boundaries.

In addition, the "Safe Environment" curriculum developed by the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama, has been incorporated into the programs. There are also several other commercial programs used in the Catholic schools to help promote positive behaviors.

6. Public awareness notices

During the course of calendar year 2005, notices and articles were published in The Witness and news releases were made informing the public that persons had come forward claiming abuse as minors by priests in earlier decades. Parishes in which the priests had served published notices in their bulletins, indicating when the priest had been assigned there. Information was also published about how to contact the victim assistance coordinators.

These accusations were made against the Revs. William Roach, William Schwartz, Patrick McElliott, John Schmitz, Albert Carman, John Peters, William Goltz, Robert Reiss, and Albert Forster. The information about when and where these priests were assigned may be found on the Web site of the Archdiocese (www.arch.pvt.k12.ia.us) under Protection of God"s Children.

7. Outside audit

The Archdiocese has been audited by the Gavin Group three times since the inception of the Safe Environment Program. In each audit the Archdiocese was found to be in complete compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002.

The Gavin Group, located in Massachusetts, hires and trains retired FBI personnel to conduct the audits. These annual audits will continue to ensure that dioceses throughout the United States are in compliance with the Bishops" Charter.

8. Canonical investigations and penalties

The Archdiocese has conducted investigations of several priests in accord with the Church"s canon law (CIC, cc. 1717-1719) and submitted the results of the investigations to the Holy See (Vatican). Some of the cases are still in process, and some await determination by the Holy See.

The Holy See directed the Archbishop to impose a penal precept upon the Rev. William A. Goltz, obliging him to lead a life of prayer and penance. This determination was made in light of the fact that Rev. Goltz is now retired and advanced in age, with the realization that he had earlier been disciplined in accord with Church law. In accord with the Essential Norms, n. 8b, he is not permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments; he is not to wear clerical garb or to present himself publicly as a priest.

After studying the investigation report regarding the Rev. William T. Schwartz, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, by virtue of his office (ex officio), dismissed Rev. Schwartz from the clerical state. The Church"s canon law (c. 1395, 2) specifies that a cleric who has committed an offense against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed with a minor, "is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants." The decree was communicated to the cleric in November of 2005, and the final details of the process were completed in December 2005.

9. Lawsuits

Several lawsuits have been filed in recent months against the Archdiocese of Dubuque. These lawsuits were in connection with Revs. Albert Carman (1), Albert Forster (2), William Goltz (3), Patrick McElliott (5), John Peters (1), William Roach (3), John Schmitz (2), and William Schwartz (3).

Legal and other professional fees for these cases amounted to $101,132 during the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2005.

10. Method used in arriving at disposition of claims

When a credible accusation is brought to the attention of the Archdiocese, the response varies, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If the accused priest (or other church person) is alive, an outside private investigator is hired to research the case. The investigator"s report is sent to the Review Board for a determination. The Review Board in turn makes a recommendation to the Archbishop about that case.

If the accused church person is dead and the victim/survivor is requesting a settlement, the victim/survivor is asked to agree to a psychological evaluation by an outside professional in the mental health field. The purpose of this is to attempt to determine the extent of the psychological or emotional damage resulting from the abuse. Following this evaluation, a sworn statement is taken by the archdiocesan attorney. If a settlement cannot be reached through one-on-one discussions, a resolution is attempted through mediation or arbitration.

11. Cost of psychological counseling and settlements

In the fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2005, the Archdiocese provided the following financial support in connection with the sexual abuse of minors by church personnel.

Counseling and other medical assistance (8) $ 25,276
Settlements (3) $305,000

12. Renewal of commitment

The efforts of the Archdiocese to prevent sexual abuse of minors by church personnel are under the patronage of Saint Raphael, the archangel who accompanied the son of Tobit and Anna on a dangerous journey. The young people of this Archdiocese are also on a journey through life, a journey where they are helped by many individuals serving so generously and professionally in the Church.

Saint Raphael assured the parents of Tobiah, "I will go with him; have no fear. In good health we shall leave you, and in good health we shall return to you, for the way is safe" (Tobit 5:16). The Archdiocese recommits itself to make the way safe for all the children and young people being served in its programs.

The Archdiocese continues to reach out to people and to extend an invitation to come forward. All who were personally abused or who have members of their families who were abused are invited to call one of the victim assistance coordinators.

 
 

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