Protecting children, vulnerable adults: Diocese outlines policies and procedures dealing with abuse by clergy

The Catholic Messenger

September 2018

By Barb Arland-Fye

Catholics in the Diocese of Davenport and around the country want to know what they can do to prevent clergy sexual abuse and its cover up from ever happening again. Their outrage and call for action comes after news broke this summer about some bishops’ culpability in covering up clergy sexual abuse committed decades ago.

What they may not know is that the Davenport Diocese’s rigorous policies and procedures to protect children and vulnerable adults from clergy sexual abuse appear to be having a positive effect. Bishops, priests and deacons are members of the clergy.

In 2002, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which was implemented in dioceses across the country, including the Davenport Diocese. Allegations of abuse of minors or vulnerable adults have been reported in the Davenport Diocese since then, but none allege abuse that occurred post-2002, said diocesan Chief of Staff Deacon David Montgomery.

“The Dallas Charter is working,” writes Stephen J. Rossetti in America magazine (Sept. 20). “Abuse rates in the Catholic Church have fallen dramatically,” added Rossetti, who assisted the U.S. bishops’ committee on the drafting of the charter.

Deacon Montgomery provided statistics of allegations the diocese has received over the past five years. All of the allegations relate to abuse reported to have occurred more than 20 years ago:

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