The Archdiocese of Detroit (“the Archdiocese”), which was established in 1833, encompasses six southeastern Michigan counties. It consists of 315 parishes, 155 schools, five Catholic colleges, and two seminaries, 145 deacons, and 475 diocesan priests serve a population of approximately 1.5 million registered Catholics. His Eminence, Cardinal Adam Maida, who was installed as archbishop in 1990, leads the Archdiocese. A compliance audit of the Archdiocese was conducted during the period of June 2-6, 2003.
The information presented below reflects conditions as they were found to exist during the week of the audit. Information regarding any 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 has met or offered to meet with several victims/survivors who reported abuse after June 2002, but this function has principally been given to the cardinal’s delegate, Bishop Walter Hurley, who has met or communicated with most of the victims/survivors. It was recommended that the Archdiocese take a more proactive stance with regard to maintaining contact with victims/survivors and that such contacts be more thoroughly documented. The victim assistance coordinator is Sr. Beverly Hindson, who also serves as chaplain of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. It was recommended that she be provided with a more detailed policy and procedures for working with victims/survivors. The archdiocesan review board was established in 2002 and consists of seven members, including a sitting judge, a retired judge, a county prosecutor, three health care/psychological professionals, and a pastor. 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 an open dialogue regarding sexual abuse allegations. The Archdiocese was commended for negotiating memoranda of understanding with each of the six counties within the archdiocesan territory regarding handling of these matters. 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. It was recommended that the Archdiocese implement a basic monitoring plan for such members of clergy residing within archdiocesan territory. The Archdiocese has established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons. The Archdiocese has a communications policy that reflects the cardinal’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children. The Archdiocese was commended for its excellent procedure for communicating with parishes directly affected by such 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 selected and implemented the VIRTUS safe environment program for adults and
children. The Archdiocese has publicized standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with
children and young people. The Archdiocese is conducting background investigations for all archdiocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. The Archdiocese was commended for extending this policy to include individuals having contact with the elderly and disabled. 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 one case of a priest who transferred to another diocese for residence after June 2002, the Archdiocese has forwarded a letter to the bishop of that diocese, confidentially providing all information relating to any allegation of sexual abuse of a child by the priest. The cardinal meets regularly with major superiors but has not formally coordinated, with them, the respective roles regarding issues of sexual abuse made against a cleric member of a religious institute. It was recommended that a set of protocols be developed and adopted. The Archdiocese has not had the 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 ongoing programs for priestly formation.
Compliance with the Provisions of the CharterAt the conclusion of this audit, the Archdiocese of Detroit was issued four Recommendations and four Commendations.
RECOMMENDATION 1—That contact with victims/survivors be better documented in order to facilitate future contacts, and that a more proactive approach be taken to keeping victims/survivors advised of developments relating to their cases.
RECOMMENDATION 2—That the Archdiocese develop and implement a basic monitoring plan for clergy removed from active ministry.
RECOMMENDATION 3—That the Archdiocese develop detailed protocols for use by the victim assistance coordinator and others who work with victims/survivors.
RECOMMENDATION 4—That the Archdiocese expand its dialogue with religious orders for the purpose of development and adoption of protocols regarding issues of sexual abuse involving members of religious institutes.
COMMENDATION 1—For mandating background checks for all church personnel having contact with children, the elderly, and the disabled.
COMMENDATION 2—For the adoption of a sexual abuse policy in 1988.
COMMENDATION 3—For an excellent communications policy and procedures for assisting parishes directly affected by sexual abuse.
COMMENDATION 4—For the creation of memoranda of understanding pertaining to the handling of allegations of sexual abuse of minors with civil authorities in the six counties composing the archdiocesan territory.
As of December 1, 2003, all Recommendations had been addressed. The Archdiocese of Detroit 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