The Diocese of Marquette (“the Diocese”), which was established in 1857, encompasses 15 counties in the upper peninsula of Michigan, consists of 74 parishes and 10 schools, and serves a population of 69,500 registered Catholics with 49 diocesan priests and 25 deacons. The Most Reverend James H. Garland, who was installed as bishop in 1992, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of September 8-12, 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 Diocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
FindingsTo Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese has established an outreach program. The bishop, or his designee, has met or offered to meet with victims/survivors of abuse in the Diocese who have reported the abuse since June 2002. The victim assistance coordinator is Rosalyn Groves, who also functions as coordinator for the diocesan Office of Family Life. The diocesan review board, which is the successor to the sexual misconduct assessment team, was established in 2002 and consists of nine members, including the bishop, two other members of the clergy, and six respected members of the lay community. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are readily available in printed form. 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 had no recent cases requiring reports to civil authorities and, therefore, has had little dialogue with them. A Recommendation was made for the Diocese to expand its dialogue with civil authorities regarding complaints received when the victim is no longer a minor. The Diocese 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. The Diocese has established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons. The Diocese has a communications policy that reflects the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children. A Commendation was issued, recognizing the Diocese for the excellence of its efforts to share information regarding sexual abuse cases with the media and the congregations.
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 selected and begun implementation of the VIRTUS safe environment program, consisting of presentations to diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with children. The Diocese 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 Diocese has just begun a process of conducting background evaluations for all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. A detailed Recommendation was made to assist the Diocese in expediting this effort. The Diocese 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 cases of three priests who have taken up full- or part-time residence in other dioceses, the bishop of Marquette had not made notification to the bishops of those dioceses to confidentially provide information relating to allegations of sexual abuse of a child by the priests. An Instruction was issued for the Diocese to verify the current addresses of the three priests and make the appropriate notifications. The bishop, or his delegate, and the major superiors have not coordinated their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a cleric member of a religious institute, although some informal discussions have taken place. The Diocese 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 Diocese has established screening and evaluative techniques in the selection of candidates for ordination.
Compliance with the Provisions of the CharterAt the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Marquette was issued one Instruction, two Recommendations, and one Commendation.
INSTRUCTION—The Diocese will verify the current addresses of three priests who have been removed from active ministry and who live, either full-time or part-time, in the territory of other dioceses, and the Diocese will thereafter make notification to the bishops of those dioceses, providing appropriate background information.
RECOMMENDATION 1—That the Diocese expand its dialogue with prosecutors regarding information in complaints of sexual abuse received by the Diocese where the victim/survivor is no longer a minor.
RECOMMENDATION 2—That the Diocese carry out numerous actions to ensure a timely implementation of effective background evaluations for diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with children.
COMMENDATION—For the excellence of the Diocese’s efforts to ensure open and transparent communications with the media and the congregations regarding matters of sexual abuse of minors.
As of December 1, 2003, all Instructions and Recommendations had been addressed. The Diocese of Marquette is compliant with 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