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DIOCESE OF ARLINGTON VA

Accused Priests: 9 (1 exonerated)
Total Priests: 891 (diocesan and religious)
Persons Making Accusations: 11
Costs: $155,000 (of which $55,000 for victim counseling and settlements, and $100,000 for legal expenses
The Arlington diocese was established in 1974; the data are from the period 1974-2002.

A Letter from Bishop Paul S. Loverde:
With God's Help, We Can Restore Trust

Special to the [Arlington Catholic] Herald
(From the issue of 2/19/04)

Feb. 18, 2004

http://www.catholicherald.com/articles/04articles/JJletter.htm

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Our journey as Catholics in the United States has not been easy since January of 2002. A dark cloud has been cast over the Church by the crisis of child sexual abuse by some bishops, priests and deacons. This terribly scandalous situation has tarnished the credibility of the Church’s leadership, especially of the bishops.

In June of 2002, we bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. In it, we recognized that the bonds of trust had been strained. We also recognized that to restore trust, we need to reach out for God’s help and also to work in full collaboration with our people. Moreover, we acknowledged that the task of rebuilding trust needed to begin with actions — first at our General Meeting in June of 2002, and then at home in our individual dioceses.

Sadly, within our 30-year history, the Diocese of Arlington has not been exempt from instances of abuse of children by priests and deacons. We must pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, for healing and new hope, especially for the victims of this terrible abuse and for their families. In union with my brother bishops, I ask forgiveness and pledge my every effort to do what is right and good. I find it deplorable that the painful circumstances we are trying to address occurred and it pains me personally that avoidable suffering was compounded by the errors of Church leaders.

With the passing of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002 came a heightened awareness of the steps the Church needed to take in order to ensure the safety and protection of children. The Charter includes both steps to address the problem of child sexual abuse and also the means to make the bishops accountable for implementing these steps. When I arrived in the Diocese of Arlington in 1999, I found that a strong sexual abuse/misconduct policy, together with mandatory seminars on the policy for all diocesan staff and volunteers who have contact with children, was in place as of 1991. Since the passage of the Charter in 2002, the Diocese of Arlington has established a majority lay-person Review Board to assist me in my assessment of any instances of child sexual abuse by clergy; established a majority lay-person Advisory Board, which serves in an advisory role in the formulation of child sexual abuse policies and procedures; hired a Director of Child Protection and Safety and Victim Assistance Coordinator; instituted official criminal history background checks on all priests, teachers, teachers’ aides and Catholic Charities personnel; revised its policy on sexual abuse and misconduct; updated its sexual abuse/misconduct seminars in light of the Charter; and participated in the national audit and in the national John Jay Study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

As your bishop, I assure you that as far as humanly possible, we will do all that we can in the Diocese of Arlington to ensure that there are no further instances of abuse of minors by priests, deacons, religious, employees or volunteers of our diocese. I can tell you that at this time there are no allegations of sexual abuse of minors against any of our priests who are in ministry, nor to my knowledge is there any priest serving in this diocese who is a danger to children. I am taking this opportunity, in advance of the Feb. 27 release of the John Jay Study on the nature and scope of the crisis of child sexual abuse in the Church, to report to you on all known incidents of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the history of the Diocese of Arlington.

The John Jay Study was undertaken at the request of the bishops themselves. In Article nine of the Charter, we bishops wrote: "The National Review Board will commission a descriptive study, with the full cooperation of our dioceses/eparchies, of the nature and scope of the problem within the Catholic Church in the United States, including such data as statistics on perpetrators and victims." This study will contain information about the number of clergy alleged to have perpetrated sexual abuse of minors, how many victims there have been and associated financial costs.

Sadly, we cannot change history, but we can do all that is possible not to repeat it. One way to do that is to have available the significant data which help us to understand the nature and scope of the problem. With this information in hand, we can determine whether the steps we have taken are adequate to address the problem. As a result, although the John Jay Study has no real counterpart in any other profession, we have taken the initiative in doing this in order to make every effort to ensure that this terrible problem will not reoccur in the Church.

In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul continues, "We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor 4:8-11). As we continue to pass through this period of purification and conversion, I call upon the lay faithful to increase your prayers for victims and their families, as well as for bishops, priests, deacons and religious. Let no one be driven to despair, but rather through this time of adversity, deepen his or her faith and contribute to the healing of the Church. We are a family, and we need each other in order to be faithful to God and to grow in holiness.

Let us call to mind the words of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who said in 2002, "We must be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community, a purification that is urgently needed if the Church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force."

This terrible scandal and the response to it have caused great divisiveness throughout our Church in these United States. May God heal those who have suffered as victims of abuse. Strengthened by our prayers and penance, may we, as a Church and as a family, come together and work to repair the damage done by these sinful and criminal acts and the violation of trust they have caused.

I am hopeful that with this account of our past, together with a rigorous framework to heighten the safety of children under our care, we will emerge more deeply and steadfastly committed to the call to holiness.

Assuring you of a daily remembrance in my prayers, especially as we prepare to enter into the Lenten season, I remain

Faithfully in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington


John Jay Report Summary

Special to the Herald
(From the issue of 2/19/04)

http://www.catholicherald.com/articles/04articles/JJsummary.htm

Here, in summary, is the status of allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy who have served in the Diocese of Arlington since its founding in 1974:

— In his letter of Feb. 18 to Catholics of the diocese, Bishop Loverde wrote, "We must pray for forgiveness and reconciliation, for healing and new hope, especially for the victims of this terrible abuse and for their families. In union with my brother bishops, I ask forgiveness and pledge my every effort to do what is right and good. I am hopeful that with this account of our past, together with a rigorous framework to heighten the safety of children under our care, we will emerge more deeply and steadfastly committed to the call to holiness."

— The diocese’s Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse, in place since 1991, is available at www.arlingtondiocese.org.

— Since the diocese was established in 1974, nine of the 891 diocesan and religious priests who have served in the diocese, or 1 percent, were accused of sexual abuse of minors by 11 victims.

— Of the nine priests, one was exonerated; two are deceased; one is retired without faculties; and the remaining five are no longer in ministry. They are not permitted to serve in any ministry, celebrate Mass publicly, administer the sacraments, wear clerical garb or present themselves publicly as priests.

— One permanent deacon was also accused of child sexual abuse and is no longer in ministry.

— All of the alleged incidents occurred before 1994.

— No cases are currently pending against the diocese.

— The diocese offers counseling whenever a credible allegation is made. Since the diocese was established in 1974, approximately $55,000 has gone to victim counseling and settlements. In addition, the diocese has incurred approximately $100,000 in legal fees in connection with alleged instances of sexual abuse of minors. These expenses were paid through insurance and general operating revenues of the diocese. The annual diocesan fund-raising appeal (the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal) and the capital campaign (Rooted in Faith ~ Forward in Hope) funds are received as restricted gifts and used only for the areas stated in campaign materials.



Report on the History of Sexual Abuse of Minors
By Clergy in the Diocese of Arlington

Special to the [Arlington Catholic] Herald
(From the issue of 2/19/04)

http://www.catholicherald.com/articles/04articles/JJreport.htm

Introduction

Bishop Paul S. Loverde was installed as the third Bishop of Arlington, Va., on March 25, 1999.

The diocese was established in 1974 and encompasses 21 counties in the northern tier of Virginia. It consists of 66 parishes and 37 schools, 157 diocesan priests, 61 religious priests, 42 deacons, and serves a population of 391,000 registered Catholics. A total of 891 priests have served in the diocese since it was established.

Bishop Loverde in his letter of Feb. 18 to Catholics of the diocese wrote, "I am hopeful that with this account of our past, together with a rigorous framework to heighten the safety of children under our care, we will emerge more deeply and steadfastly committed to the call of holiness."

HISTORY

Parameters:

This report outlines instances of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington from its establishment in 1974 to the present. It represents a compilation of data provided to the John Jay College research team for the purpose of providing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with data about the scope of the matter in accordance with provisions in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Perspective:

A review of records since the diocese was established in 1974 found that nine of the 891 diocesan and religious priests who have served in the diocese, or 1 percent, were accused of sexual abuse of minors by 11 victims. Of the nine priests, one was exonerated; two are deceased; one is retired without faculties; and the remaining five are no longer in ministry. They are not permitted to serve in any ministry, celebrate Mass publicly, administer the sacraments, wear clerical garb or present themselves publicly as priests. One permanent deacon was also accused of child sexual abuse and is no longer in ministry.

All of the alleged incidents occurred before 1994. No cases are currently pending against the diocese.

Procedures:

The procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests have changed over the years in response to the increasing level of awareness of the damage done by the misconduct. In the 1950s and 1960s, sexual misconduct was perceived as a spiritual matter, a sin for confession with a penance to be performed with sincere contrition and a firm purpose of amendment. There was always the goal of forgiveness and redemption. The priest was sent for treatment at a residential facility or required to attend psychological counseling. Oftentimes, the recommendations from the mental health profession was that the problem had been satisfactorily addressed and that the priest could safely be returned to ministry with appropriate monitoring and psychological and spiritual support.

The severity of the problem of sexual abuse of minors reached a new level of awareness in the 1980s when allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests were widely publicized in the media.

In 1991, the second Bishop of Arlington, the Most Reverend John R. Keating (who served from 1983-98), put in place the diocesan Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse. This policy was revised in 1993, 2000 and 2003 in light of the passage of the bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Since the passage of the Charter in 2002, the Diocese of Arlington has established a majority lay-person Review Board to assist Bishop Loverde in his assessment of any instances of child sexual abuse by clergy; established a majority lay-person Advisory Board, which serves in an advisory role in the formulation of child sexual abuse policies and procedures; hired a Director of Child Protection and Safety and Victim Assistance Coordinator; instituted official criminal history background checks on all priests, teachers, teachers’ aides and Catholic Charities personnel; revised its policy on sexual abuse and misconduct; updated its sexual abuse/misconduct seminars in light of the Charter; and participated in the national audit and in the national John Jay Study commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Finances:

The diocese offers counseling whenever a credible allegation is made. Since the diocese was established in 1974, approximately $55,000 has gone to victim counseling and settlements. In addition, the diocese has incurred approximately $100,000 in legal fees in connection with alleged instances of sexual abuse of minors. These expenses were paid through insurance and general operating revenues of the diocese. The annual diocesan fund-raising appeal (the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal) and the capital campaign (Rooted in Faith ~ Forward in Hope) funds are received as restricted gifts and used only for the areas stated in campaign materials. The diocese’s Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and Prevention of Misconduct and/or Child Abuse is available at www.arlingtondiocese.org.

THE PRESENT

Bishop Loverde has revised the policies and procedures of the Diocese of Arlington for addressing sexual misconduct so that they are now in full conformity with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. The Arlington Diocese’s Policy on the Protection of Children/Young People and Prevention of Sexual Misconduct and/or Child Abuse is given to all clergy and diocesan employees, as well as volunteers who have contact with minors in the diocese. Each recipient is required to sign a statement that he or she has read it and agrees to abide by it. Any credible allegation regarding minors, without exception, will be reported to the appropriate civil authorities. As the Charter and our policy state, confidentiality agreements are not to be part of any settlement, unless requested by the victim.

Bishop Loverde has appointed Jennifer Alvaro, L.C.S.W., to be the director of the Child Protection and Safety Program as well as Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Arlington. It is Alvaro’s primary duty to oversee implementation of the Charter and to coordinate the pastoral care of anyone who reports having been sexually abused as a minor by a priest or diocesan employee, including personal meetings with Bishop Loverde, as requested. This appointment is in conformity with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

To report an allegation

To report an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, people are directed to:

1. Call their local police authorities and;

2. Then call the Diocese of Arlington at 703/841-2529.



Survey Reveals Arlington Diocese Abuse Data
In Past 30 Years, One Deacon and Nine Priests Have Been Accused of Child Sex Crimes

By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post
February 18, 2004

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49273-2004Feb17.html

Nine priests and a deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington have been accused of child sexual abuse over the past 30 years, and the diocese has spent about $155,000 on victim counseling, settlements and legal fees, according to a diocesan report to be released today.

One of the nine priests was exonerated, two are deceased and a fourth, who is retired, is not permitted to administer sacraments, said the report, which was to be published today in the diocesan weekly newspaper, the Arlington Catholic Herald. The report said the remaining priests and the deacon were removed from ministry.

The abuse allegations were made by a total of 11 people, the diocese said. The nine accused priests, it added, represent 1 percent of the 891 diocesan and religious order priests who served in the diocese in the past 30 years.

The statistics were compiled for a national survey mandated under the children protection policies adopted in 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Arlington Diocese covers all of Northern Virginia, and its review went back to 1974, when the diocese was established.

Diocesan spokesman Soren Johnson would not name any of the accused priests or the deacon yesterday, saying that the diocese wanted to respect "the privacy and reputations of the individuals involved." Johnson said that one of the priests was criminally prosecuted in Henrico County and that the exonerated priest, who is no longer working in the diocese, was cleared after an investigation by Prince William County's child protective services.

In a statement read by Johnson, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde said that "in order to move forward to ensure the safety of children under our care, we must know the extent to which children were abused in the past both nationally and locally. With this account of our past, I am hopeful that we will emerge more deeply and steadfastly committed to the call for holiness."

Victim advocates expressed skepticism at the number of victims noted in the report. "It would be foolish for us to trust that there were only 11 victims" in the Arlington Diocese, said Mark Serrano, regional representative of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "It is necessary to be skeptical about data that the diocese submits without scrutiny by others."

Evelyn Mercantini of the Northern Virginia chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization formed in the wake of the church's national abuse scandal, said she was "surprised and saddened" at the numbers. "Now that we have the data, clergy and laity have an obligation to . . . reach out to support these 11 survivors. . . . Now is the time for Bishop Loverde to set the standard and lead our diocese and our church so we can begin to repair the damage created by this crisis."

Two Arlington Diocese priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor have been named in news media reports. Monsignor William T. Reinecke, 53, shot himself to death in 1992 after being confronted by a man who accused the priest of molesting him 25 years earlier. A second man later alleged that Reinecke also abused him as a child.

In 1994, the Rev. Stephen Roszel was placed on administrative leave after a woman accused him of abusing her when she was a minor. Roszel denied the allegation. The civil suit was settled under undisclosed terms, and Roszel was returned to ministry. He is no longer on the diocese's list of active priests, however.

The U.S. bishops' national survey, which is being conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, is aimed at providing a more complete picture of the nature and scope of child sex abuse in the church.

Survey results, to be released Feb. 27, will not include data for individual dioceses. But so far, more than 86 of the 194 dioceses participating in the survey have voluntarily published their findings.

The Baltimore Archdiocese disclosed in September 2002 that 56 of its priests had been accused of child sexual abuse since the 1950s and that it had spent more than $5.6 million in related expenses in the past 20 years. In November, the Washington Archdiocese revealed that 26 of its priests had been credibly accused over a 56-year period and that it spent $4.3 million in expenses stemming from those cases.

Baltimore released the names of its accused priests. Washington did not, but its officials said that 16 of the priests had been named in previous media accounts and that the others were deceased.

The Arlington Diocese has 391,000 Catholics, Washington has 556,851 and Baltimore 500,178.

In the Arlington Diocese, which was carved out of the Richmond Diocese 30 years ago and covers 21 counties, the earliest incident of abuse was in the 1960s and the latest one in 1994, the diocese reported. It added that there are no pending abuse allegations against any priests in the diocese.

Since 1974, the diocese has spent about $55,000 on victim counseling and settlements and $100,000 on legal fees, it said, adding that the money came from insurance and "general operating revenues," not from donations by church members. Johnson also said that the priests removed from ministry are receiving "limited financial support" from the diocese.

 

 
 

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