San Diego, California
The Diocese of San Diego (“the Diocese”), which was established on July 11, 1936, encompasses Imperial and San Diego counties. It consists of 98 parishes and 16 missions, one seminary, one university, and 46 schools, with a population of 919,195 registered Catholics. They are served by 104 deacons and 392 priests assigned to the Diocese, on loan, or from religious orders. The Most Reverend Robert H. Brom, who was installed July 10, 1990, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of July 14-18, 2003.
The information found herein represents conditions as they were found to exist during the week of the audit. Information pertaining to the recommended action taken by the Diocese subsequent to the audit will be found in the last paragraph.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese has established a comprehensive outreach program, which is supported by a victim assistance coordinator, who is bilingual and has 12 years of experience in child abuse and domestic violence. The bishop also developed an existing sensitive issues committee in the diocesan review board, which is comprised of respected members of the lay community and appropriate clergy. The bishop has issued numerous letters offering pastoral assistance to victims/survivors at any stage in the process. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are contained in a pamphlet, and copies are maintained in the rear of churches and on the website. The Diocese has not entered into confidentiality agreements unless requested to do so by the victim/survivor.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Diocese is fully cooperating with civil and public authorities by reporting every incident of alleged sexual abuse by clergy of both minors and of persons who are no longer minors, regardless of when the incident occurred. A procedure is in place to advise victims/survivors of the right to report an allegation of abuse by a member of the clergy to civil authorities; this has been made known to victims/survivors and their families. A recommendation was issued suggesting the Diocese revise its current policy dealing with Article 5 of the Charter to reflect its actual policy and practices of providing professional assistance to accused clergy. The Diocese has established a clear and well-publicized code of conduct for priests and deacons. The bishop has demonstrated his full commitment to transparency and openness as demonstrated by the use of pastoral letters, homilies, parish bulletins, the diocesan newspaper, and his ongoing contacts with the media.
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 initiated a safe environment program, which will employ appropriate screening and training for parents, diocesan employees, volunteers, and all clergy who will work with minors and young people. The Children’s Hospital and Health Center is developing and will implement a training curriculum and was scheduled to submit its proposal to the Diocese by the end of July 2003. On March 1, 2003, the Diocese published 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 utilizes Choice Point to perform background investigations for all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. 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. One retired priest with a credible allegation against him has moved to another diocese, and that diocese has been appropriately notified. The bishop meets regularly with the heads of religious communities who serve in the Diocese, to discuss personnel issues. The bishop also discusses personnel matters with the leaders of the Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Methodist denominations. The bishop’s appointee addresses these issues on a routine basis. The Diocese has an effective program that involves screening, evaluation, and training of candidates for ordination. The Diocese has a systematic, ongoing formation program in keeping with the Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (2001).1
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of San Diego was issued one Recommendation and one Commendation.
RECOMMENDATION—That the Diocese revise its current policy dealing with Article 5 of the Charter to reflect its actual policy and practice of providing professional assistance to accused clergy.
COMMENDATION—For the Diocese’s commitment to openness and transparency in dealing with incidents and matters of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
As of December 1, 2003, the Recommendation had been addressed. The Diocese of San Diego is found to be compliant with the provisions of the Charter as measured by the process described in Chapter 2 in
- USCCB, Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2001).
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