The Archdiocese of Baltimore (“the Archdiocese”), which was established in 1789, encompasses the City and County of Baltimore and eight other Maryland counties. It consists of 154 parishes, 72 schools, and two seminaries, 171 deacons, and 261 diocesan priests serve a population of approximately 500,000 registered Catholics. His Eminence, Cardinal William Keeler, who was installed as archbishop in 1989, leads the Archdiocese. A compliance audit of the Archdiocese was conducted during the period of September 1-5, 2003.
The information set forth below represents conditions as they were found to exist during the week of the audit. Information regarding necessary corrective actions taken by the Archdiocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
FindingsTo Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Archdiocese has established an outreach program. The cardinal, or his designee, has met or offered to meet with victims/survivors of abuse in the Archdiocese who reported the abuse after June 2002. The victim assistance coordinator is Judy Dobson, who holds an advanced degree in social work. It was recommended that provisions be made to ensure that victims/survivors initially reporting abuse have an opportunity to speak immediately to a qualified individual, rather than leaving a message on voice mail. The archdiocesan review board was established in 1993 and consists of 11 members, including a priest and prominent representatives of the law enforcement, business, education, social work, and medical communities. The Archdiocese was commended for its early creation of the board and also for the diverse representation on the board, including members of non-Catholic religious denominations. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are readily available in printed form. There have been no confidentiality agreements entered into by the Archdiocese since June 2002.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Archdiocese has established effective liaison with local civil authorities, ensuring that an open dialogue regarding sexual abuse allegations will occur. The Archdiocese has a procedure in place to advise victims/ survivors of their right to report allegations of abuse by a member of the clergy to civil authorities. An Instruction was issued for the Archdiocese to develop appropriate administrative devices, such as checklists, to be used to ensure that all priests who have been removed from active ministry receive the notifications required by the Charter. The Archdiocese has established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons. A Commendation was issued for the excellence of this code and for the training efforts planned to ensure wide awareness of it. The cardinal’s actions and communications policy reflect his pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children. A Commendation was issued regarding outreach to parishes directly affected by sexual abuse.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Archdiocese has participated in the research study regarding the “nature and scope” of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.
To Protect the Faithful in the Future
The Archdiocese has developed and implemented the STAND safe environment program, which includes training sessions, printed materials, and a self-developed videotape. The Archdiocese was commended for the excellence of the program. The Archdiocese has publicized standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as archdiocesan employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people. The Archdiocese has begun conducting background investigations for all archdiocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. It was recommended that this process be expedited. The Archdiocese has not transferred any priest or deacon who has had a credible allegation of sexual abuse lodged against him to another ministerial assignment in another diocese. In the case of two priests who moved to another diocese for residence, no documentation could be located showing that a letter was sent to the bishop of that diocese, confidentially providing all information relating to allegations of sexual abuse of a child lodged against those priests. It was recommended that letters be promptly sent. The cardinal, or his delegate, and the major superiors have coordinated their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a cleric member of a religious institute. The Archdiocese has not had an opportunity to cooperate with other churches, religious bodies, and institutions of learning in conducting research in the area of sexual abuse of minors. The Archdiocese has established screening and evaluative techniques in the selection of candidates for ordination and an ongoing formation program for priests.
Compliance with the Provisions of the CharterAt the conclusion of this audit, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was issued four Recommendations, and four Commendations.
RECOMMENDATION 1—The Archdiocese will develop and use administrative devices, such as checklists, to ensure that priests removed from active ministry receive notifications required by the Charter.
RECOMMENDATION 2—That the Archdiocese make provisions to ensure that victims/survivors can immediately speak with a qualified individual, rather than reach voice mail, when calling the published victim assistance telephone number to report an incident of abuse.
RECOMMENDATION 3—That background investigations be promptly conducted for all personnel having regular contact with children, and that a monitoring and tracking system be developed to ensure compliance with archdiocesan policy regarding such investigations.
RECOMMENDATION 4—That the Archdiocese provide immediate notification to dioceses to which priests removed from ministry have transferred for residence.
COMMENDATION 1—For the excellence and diversity of the review board.
COMMENDATION 2—For excellence of communications policy and outreach to parishes directly affected by sexual abuse.
COMMENDATION 3—For the in-house development and implementation of a safe environment program.
COMMENDATION 4—For the establishment of a code of conduct for personnel having regular contact with children and a subsequent training effort.
As of December 1, 2003, all Recommendations had been addressed. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is found to be compliant with the provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in Section I.
The compliance audit measured activity that has occurred since the adoption of the Charter in June 2002 with the exception of certain mandated actions found in Articles 5 and 14. Actions taken by the diocese/eparchy prior to June 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons are not included in this summary report.
Office of Child and Youth Protection
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20017-1194
(202) 541-5413 | FAX: (202) 541-5410