The Diocese of Tucson (“the Diocese”), which was established in 1897, encompasses nine counties in southern Arizona. It consists of 72 parishes and missions and 21 elementary and secondary schools and serves a population of abut 300,000 registered Catholics with 153 diocesan priests and 120 deacons. The Most Reverend Gerald Kicanas, who was installed as bishop in March 2003, leads the Diocese. A compliance audit of the Diocese was conducted during the period of August 11-15, 2003.
The information presented 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.
To Promote Healing and Reconciliation
The Diocese has a prevention policy on sexual abuse of minors, Guidelines for the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Misconduct, which provides for an outreach program designed to provide immediate pastoral care to victims/survivors and their families. The Diocese does have a victim assistance coordinator, Paul N. Duckro, Ph.D., who serves as the director of the diocesan Office of Child, Adolescent, and Adult Protection and who is a clinical psychologist. A lay review board, the sexual misconduct review board, was established in October 2002 and consists of 11 respected members of the community, including experts in the social sciences, three members of the clergy and one woman religious. The procedures for making a complaint of abuse are readily available in printed form. The Diocese has entered into no confidentiality agreements since June 2002, unless requested by the victim/survivor.
To Guarantee Effective Response to Allegations of Abuse of a Minor
The Diocese has had contact with local civil authorities regarding sexual abuse allegations, and all allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been turned over to the local authorities. Diocesan policy provides for immediate reporting of allegations to the appropriate authorities. The Diocese does have a procedure for advising victims/survivors of their right to report allegations of sexual 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, which is currently under review for purposes of updating. The Diocese has a communications policy reflecting the bishop’s pledge to be open and transparent on issues regarding the sexual abuse of children. A Commendation was written regarding this policy and the publication of the names of 26 priests who have had credible allegations made against them.
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 developed a series of safe environment seminars for presentation to adults having regular contact with children. A program is in place for presentation of appropriate material to the children, but a Recommendation was made that the program be monitored for progress and completion. As mentioned above, 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 a procedure in place to conduct background investigations on all members of the clergy and all diocesan and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors. Two members of the clergy who have had credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against them have moved to another diocese for residence since June 2002; appropriate notification to the other bishops was made. No priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse lodged against them have moved or were transferred for ministry. The bishop and major superiors of all religious orders having a presence in the Diocese have coordinated their respective roles regarding issues of allegations of sexual abuse made against a clerical member of a religious institute. 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 and has ongoing formation programs for priests.
Compliance with the Provisions of the Charter
At the conclusion of this audit, the Diocese of Tucson was issued one Recommendation and one Commendation.
RECOMMENDATION—That the Diocese monitor and report progress on the safe environment training programs in place to ensure timeliness.
COMMENDATION—For the Diocese’s diligence in reviewing all police reports and diocesan files to identify all allegations against priests, its reporting of all allegations to the local authorities, and its relevant notifications to the public.
As of December 1, 2003, the Recommendations had been addressed. The Diocese of Tucson 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