NEW YORK (NY)
Archdiocese of New York
September 30, 2019
By Honorable Barbara S. Jones (ret.),
Independent Reviewer and Special Counsel for the Archdiocese of New York
[Also contains statement by Cardinal Dolan and video of the press conference.]
Last September, Cardinal Dolan asked me to review the Archdiocese of New York’s policies and procedures for responding to allegations of sexual abuse and to make recommendations for improvements. My review has focused on current practices and on the Archdiocese’s compliance with its obligations under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002. I have received the Archdiocese’s total cooperation, including complete access to all records. I have conducted dozens of interviews, performed an exhaustive review of documents, and assessed many different aspects of the Archdiocese’s practices.
The Cardinal asked for my honest, objective assessment, and I have reported my findings and recommendations to him on an ongoing basis. Overall, I have found that the Archdiocese has complied with the Charter in all material respects. It has faithfully followed its policies and procedures and responded appropriately to abuse complaints, and is committed to supporting victims-survivors of abuse. I have recommended some enhancements to current practices. A summary of my findings and recommendations is set forth below.
• The Archdiocese follows strict protocols any time that it receives an allegation that a cleric has sexually abused a minor. The District Attorney for the appropriate county is promptly notified of the allegation. When an allegation is made against a cleric in ministry, regardless of whether criminal charges are brought, the Archdiocese initiates an independent investigation of the allegation. The results of that investigation are presented to a Lay Review Board, which decides whether the allegation is substantiated. If the allegation is substantiated, the Board recommends to the Cardinal that the cleric be permanently removed from ministry. Cardinal Dolan accepts the Board’s recommendation and has never returned a cleric to ministry against whom there has been a substantiated complaint.
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