The Diocese of Monterey (“the Diocese”) was established December 18, 1967. The Diocese now encompasses four counties in California, consists of 46 parishes, 90 diocesan priests, three deacons, and 13 schools, and serves a population of 150,000 registered Catholics. The Most Reverend Sylvester D. Ryan was installed as bishop on March 19, 1992. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of October 27-31, 2003.
The information found herein represents conditions as they were found to exist during the week of the audit. Information regarding recommended corrective actions taken by the Diocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
FindingsTo Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese established an outreach program in 1993 that has been revised on three occasions—the last being September 2003. The current revision has been published in both English and Spanish. The Recommendation was made that the Diocese expand its outreach program to reach individuals through the secular media. The bishop has made himself available to meet with victims/survivors and their families who have reported allegations since June 2002. The pastoral assistance coordinator is Martina O’Sullivan, who also functions as the executive director of Catholic Charities. The diocesan review board was formed in July 2002 and consists of eight members with varied experience, education, and vocations. It reviews those cases presented by the pastoral response team, which determines whether the allegation has merit. The Recommendation was made that all allegations be presented to the review board. It was also recommended that the review board develop written policies and procedures by which to operate. The process for making a complaint of abuse is readily available in printed form, appearing on the diocesan website and published in the diocesan newspaper from time to time. It was recommended that the pastoral assistance coordinator be designated as the central point for complaints. The Diocese has not entered into any confidentiality agreements unless requested to do so by the victim/survivor.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Diocese has established effective liaisons with civil authorities and has reported all allegations to the proper authorities. An ongoing dialogue continues with civil authorities. 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. A clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons has been established. The Diocese has a communications policy, reflecting the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children.
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
An effective, internally developed safe environment program has been established and is efficient, personalized, and innovative. A Commendation was given for this effort. The Diocese has publicized standards of conduct for priests and deacons, as well as for diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and youth. Background investigations include fingerprint-based police record searches, and a national bureau will be used to check those persons who have spent time outside of California. The Diocese has not transferred any priest or deacon who has had a credible allegation of sexual abuse made against him to another ministerial assignment, or for purposes of residency to another diocese. The bishop has frequent contact with the major superiors and has planned a meeting in the near future to discuss issues pertaining to the Charter. No opportunities have arisen to conduct research in the area of sexual abuse of youth; however, ministers from other churches have requested to attend meetings in the Diocese regarding mandated reporting of sexual abuse. The Diocese has established screening and evaluation procedures for selecting candidates for ordination and systematic ongoing formation programs for priests.
Compliance with the Provisions of the CharterAt the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Monterey was issued four Recommendations and one Commendation.
RECOMMENDATION 1—That the outreach program be expanded through use of the secular media.
RECOMMENDATION 2—That the pastoral assistance coordinator be designated as the central point for intake of complaints of abuse.
RECOMMENDATION 3—That all complaints of abuse by clergy be presented to the review board.
RECOMMENDATION 4—That the review board establish written policies concerning procedures and bylaws by which to operate.
COMMENDATION—For the establishment of the Diocese’s innovative and personalized safe environment program.
As of December 1, 2003, all Recommendations have been addressed. The Diocese of Monterey 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