Archdiocese releases review of abuse-prevention policies, procedures

Chicago Catholic

June 27, 2019

By Michelle Martin

A review of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s policies and procedures on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors, the way the archdiocese reports and investigates allegations and how it supports victims showed many strengths, as well some areas that could be improved.

Monica Applewhite, an internationally recognized expert on sexual abuse and the development of policies and procedures to deal with it, was hired last year to evaluate what the archdiocese has done and could do better.

The review was not sparked by any particular incident in the archdiocese, Applewhite said. Rather, she was asked to look at the systems that were in place to prevent and respond to clerical sexual abuse and suggest any further steps the archdiocese can take.

William Kunkel, the archdiocese’s general counsel, said the archdiocese has asked outside experts for help evaluating and strengthening its sexual abuse prevention and response policies since they were first instituted in 1992.

However, this was the first time a U.S. Catholic diocese has asked Applewhite for this kind of review, she said. She has worked with other dioceses on developing and implementing policies, and from 2003 to 2007 she oversaw the response to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by religious communities in the United States, helping them develop their own accreditation policies and directing the accreditation process.

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