Byzantine Eparchy of
The Byzantine Eparchy of Parma, Ohio (“the Eparchy”), encompasses all Byzantine Ruthenian Rite Catholics in 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Ohio (excluding the Ohio counties of Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana, Carroll, Harrison, Guernsey, Noble, Morgan, Athens, Meigs, Gallia, and Lawrence). In total, 36 diocesan priests and six deacons serve 31 parishes with a total Catholic population of 12,417. The Eparchy operates two elementary schools in Ohio; there are no seminaries or Catholic colleges within its boundaries. The Most Reverend John M. Kudrick has served as bishop of the Eparchy since July 2002. A compliance audit was conducted during the period of September 4-8, 2003.
The following describes conditions evident during the week of the audit. Information on corrective actions taken by the Eparchy subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
FindingsTo Promote Healing and Reconciliation
Since 1991, the Eparchy has had a policy dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy; it was in the process of finalizing an updated version to conform to the Charter at the time of this audit. The policy, in its entirety, will be published in a variety of places, including the Eparchy’s website and in the eparchial newspaper. An Instruction was issued to finalize, promulgate, publish, and disseminate this policy revision in order to achieve full compliance with the Charter. Interviews of the protosyncellus, the special projects coordinator, and the victim assistance coordinator confirmed that an outreach program is in place. The Eparchy utilizes the resources of the respective Latin Rite dioceses when making referrals for services outside of the immediate area of Parma, Ohio. Offers to meet with victims/survivors of sexual abuse are made by the bishop. The Eparchy has a well-qualified victim assistance coordinator, Dr. Sharon DiLauro Petrus, an M.D. who has managed a family crisis ministry. A seven-member lay review board, established in September 2002, comprises a diverse, qualified group of individuals from the community. The board is in the process of defining its procedures. The Eparchy has not entered into any confidentiality agreements since June 2002.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
Eparchial policy requires reporting all allegations of abuse of a minor to civil authorities, and victims/survivors are advised that eparchial personnel must report all such allegations. A complete list of all reporting agencies for the Eparchy’s multi-jurisdictional territory is maintained by the victim assistance coordinator and the chancery. The Eparchy has cooperated with civil authorities in investigations of allegations of sexual abuse by clergy and makes full disclosure to parishioners and the public. Standards of behavior for clergy and all eparchial personnel have been clearly articulated and included in a variety of trainings given to priests, eparchial employees, and volunteers. The audit determined that the revised policy and codes of conduct will make these standards uniform among recipient groups. The bishop and his staff actively assist and support affected communities by directly communicating with them through parish visits and conducting pastoral outreach and other listening sessions as necessary.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Eparchy 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 Eparchy has established a safe environment program, but all of the required participants have yet to receive the training. Revised codes of conduct will be furnished to priests, deacons, employees, and volunteers when they receive the finalized Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests, Deacons, or Other Church Personnel. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to complete the safe environment training for all required personnel and to distribute the codes of conduct. The Eparchy has established procedures for evaluating the background of all personnel, including use of the resources of law enforcement, but those background checks had not been completed. An Instruction was issued for the Eparchy to complete the background checks of all eparchial and parish personnel, including volunteers who have regular contact with minors. There have been no transfers or relocation, for ministerial or residential purposes, of any clergy member who has committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor. The bishop participates in discussions about issues involving sexual abuse of minors by clergy at the Council of Hierarchs and the Ohio Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Eparchy utilizes extensive screening procedures for seminary candidates that include psychological evaluations. As part of the ongoing formation process, all priests meet annually to discuss a variety of matters, including sexual abuse and boundary issues; five priest support groups also meet four times a year to discuss relevant issues.
Compliance with the Provisions of the CharterAt the conclusion of this audit, the Byzantine Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, was issued three Instructions.
INSTRUCTION 1—The Eparchy will finalize, promulgate, publish, and disseminate a revised policy for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
INSTRUCTION 2—The Eparchy will complete safe environment training for all required personnel and distribute the codes of conduct.
INSTRUCTION 3—The Eparchy will complete background checks of all eparchial and parish personnel, including volunteers who have regular contact with minors.
As of December 1, 2003, the Byzantine Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, has completed the actions set forth in the Instructions and is found to be compliant with provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in Section I.
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