Archdiocese fully compliant with safeguarding policies

A new report says the archdiocese of New York is fully compliant with the U.S. bishops’ safeguarding policies.

The U.S. bishops have a zero tolerance policy in relation to abuse.

They aim to have no priests or deacons in active ministry that have had claims of abuse substantiated.

The report was prepared by Judge Barbara Jones who was commissioned by Cardinal Timothy Dolan to serve as an independent investigator into its handling of cases of abuse.

“I have found that the Archdiocese has complied with the Charter in all material respect” Jones’s report says.

“It has faithfully followed its policies and procedures and responded appropriately to abuse complaints, and is committed to supporting victim-survivors of abuse.”

Jones explained she and a team of lawyers have gone through all the personnel files for “every priest and deacon in the Archdiocese.

This involved checking “several thousand files”.

“No Archdiocesan priest or deacon against whom there is a substantiated complaint of abuse of a minor is in the ministry today,” she said.

Almost all of the complaints lodged in the last few years against archdiocesan priests are not “complaints of current conduct,” Jones said.

“Rather, they are complaints about conduct that occurred sometime decades earlier.

“Most of these complaints also involve priests who are deceased.”

Despite her positive words, Jones urged Dolan to hire a “sex abuse czar” to oversee sex abuse complaints.

“I have recommended that the Archdiocese hire a person whose sole responsibility is to oversee its response to sexual abuse complaints,” she said.

Jones also recommended the archdiocese hire “a compliance officer for the Office of Priest Personnel to monitor its functions and oversee the new document management system.”

However, she does not specifically say whether those hired for these key posts should be nonclerics or not.

That troubles David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests.

“Victims are not going to report sex abuse by a cleric to a cleric, they’re just not,” Clohessy said.

If the archdiocese is “sincere,” it will play no role in the hiring of what are essentially watchdogs who police the priests, he said.

“The bishops have done a superb job of finding deferential people who will do the bishops’ bidding and keep the bishops’ secrets,” Clohessy said. “As always, the resolution lies outside the church hierarchy and structure.”

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling emailed a one-word response to Clohessy’s concerns:



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