Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri
The Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph (“the Diocese”) comprises the 27 counties of northwestern Missouri and has 118 diocesan priests and 59 deacons serving a Catholic population of approximately 152,000. The Most Reverend Raymond J. Boland, who was installed as bishop on September 9, 1993, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of September 8-12, 2003.
The following describes conditions evident during the week of the audit. Any information on corrective actions taken by the Diocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese established a written policy on priest sexual abuse in 1988 that included an outreach program utilizing a response-team approach. One of the four members of the response team is a victim advocate. The Diocese established an independent review board in 1993 and modified it in 2002 to conform to the Charter. The review board consists of eight highly qualified and diverse members of the community. Although the board functions effectively, a Recommendation was issued for more formal documentation about the investigation of allegations, presentations to the board, and the results of board reviews. The procedures for making an allegation of abuse are available in a printed brochure and on the diocesan website, and they have been printed in the diocesan newspaper. There have been no confidentiality agreements entered into by the Diocese since June 2002.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Diocese has established effective liaison with civil authorities, ensuring an open dialogue and cooperation will ensue. The Diocese has a procedure in its published policies to advise victims/survivors of their right to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities. Standards of conduct are articulated in several policies that cover the activities of all clergy, employees, educators, and volunteers. The Diocese has a communications policy reflecting the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on any issue concerning the sexual abuse of children and young people.
To Ensure Accountability of Procedures
The Diocese 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 Diocese has implemented a safe environment program built on the VIRTUS model. More than 4,500 personnel and parents have received training, representing 100 percent of those required to attend. A Commendation was issued for the aggressiveness and timeliness in which this training was delivered. Diocesan standards of conduct for those in positions of trust who have regular contact with youth are articulated in several policies, as noted above. The Diocese has established procedures for conducting background evaluations of all personnel and volunteers since 1990. Requests are made through the Division of Family Services, which accesses the Missouri Highway Patrol databases. Since the adoption of the Charter, no priest or deacon who has had a credible allegation of sexual abuse lodged against him has been transferred to another ministerial assignment, or for purposes of residency in another diocese. The Diocese has established screening and continued evaluation techniques and programs in the selection of candidates for ordination. The bishop meets regularly with the two major superiors in the Diocese, and a continuing dialogue exists between the bishop and the religious orders on all matters. The Diocese has not had an opportunity to cooperate with other institutions regarding the issues of sexual abuse of children. The bishop has extensive screening and ongoing evaluation procedures for determining the fitness of candidates for ordination. The Diocese has ongoing formation for priests.
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph was issued one Recommendation and one Commendation.
RECOMMENDATION—That the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph document the activity of the response team and the review board.
COMMENDATION—For early recognition of the need to provide a safe environment program, and for implementation of a safety training program that as of August 2, 2003, included 73 presentations to 4,589 adults who work with youth.
As of December 1, 2003, the Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph was 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