Diocese of Lafayette

Diocese of Lafayette

“A Safe Environment for the Protection

of Children and Young People”

Facilitator’s Guide

DIOCESE OF LAFAYETTE

Policies and Programs

“A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE PROTECTION

OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE”

Diocese of Lafayette

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECREEi

INTRODUCTION1

ARTICLE I 1-2

Outreach1-2

ARTICLE II2-3

Victim Assistance Coordinator2

Review Board2-3

ARTICLE III3

Confidentiality3

ARTICLE IV3

Reporting3

ARTICLE V3-6

Investigation3-5

Investigation, Non-clergy Employees/Volunteers4

Investigation, Clerics/Seminarians5

Determination and Recommendations5-6

Appellate Review6

ARTICLE VI6-7

Code of Conduct, Clerics6

Code of Conduct, Non-clergy Employees/Volunteers6-7

ARTICLE VII7

Communications7

ARTICLE VIII7

Office of Child and Youth Protection7

ARTICLE IX8

Education/Training8

ARTICLE X9

Prevention9

ARTICLE XI10

Transfer of Clergy/Deacon10

ARTICLE XII10

Cooperation with Religious Communities10

ARTICLE XIII10

Seminaries/Religious Formation10

D E C R E E

Recognizing the needs and valuable contributions made to our Church by the clergy, religious sisters/brothers, lay employees, and volunteers who are engaged in her service and ministry, and respecting the principles of Church teachings on justice, it is necessary to set forth certain written policies for the good of all children and young people.

These new policies are to be reviewed and evaluated every two years.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding, this Decree shall take effect on June 1, 2003. It shall be published to all diocesan clerics, seminarians, religious, lay employees and volunteer workers, and shall be perpetual unless revoked or amended by me or my legitimate successor(s), as Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette.

Given at the Chancery, Lafayette, Louisiana, on this ______day of ______, 2003.

______

+Most Reverend Michael Jarrell

Bishop of Lafayette

______

Msgr. Russell Harrington, Chancellor

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“A Safe Environment for the Protection

of Children and Young People”

INTRODUCTION

Our society has grown acutely and painfully aware of the tragedy of child sexual abuse. The trauma and damage such abuse causes its victims, their families, and the community are compounded when the abuser is a priest, deacon, seminarian, or a lay employee or volunteer working for the Church. In these situations, not only the victims and their families, but also the parish, the Diocese and the universal Church are seriously compromised and jeopardized.

On June 14, 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved a “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” (hereinafter USCCB Charter.) The charter addresses the Church’s commitment to deal appropriately and effectively with cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests, deacons, and other personnel (i.e., employees and volunteers.) The bishops of the United States have promised to reach out to those who have been sexually abused as minors by anyone serving the Church in ministry, employment, or a volunteer position, whether the sexual abuse was recent or occurred many years ago. They stated that they would be as open as possible with the people in parishes and communities about instances of sexual abuse of minors, with respect always for the privacy and the reputation of the individuals involved. They have committed themselves to the pastoral and spiritual care and emotional well being of those who have been sexually abused and of their families.

In addition, the bishops will work with parents, civil authorities, educators, and various organizations in the community to make and maintain the safest environment for minors. In the same way, the bishops have pledged to evaluate the background of seminary applicants as well as all church personnel, who have responsibility for the care and supervision of children and young people.

These policies and programs, as set forth by the Diocese of Lafayette, recognize that sexual and other abusive misconduct with minors is a special problem with a profound impact on the lives of those affected. They are in place to provide for a safe environment for all children and persons who come in contact with those who minister, are employed, or volunteer in service of the Church.

ARTICLE I

Outreach

The church’s obligation with regard to all victims, whether alleged or substantiated, is for pastoral outreach to the victims/survivors and their families. The Bishop, or his representative, will reach out to victims/survivors and their families with a sincere commitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being. The first obligation of the church with regard to the victim/survivor and their families is for healing and reconciliation.

Policy: The Diocese of Lafayette shall reach out to assist every person who has been the victim of child abuse as a minor (past, present, or future) by anyone acting in the name of the church.

  • The Bishop, or his representative, will offer to meet with the victim/survivor and their families, to listen with patience and compassion to their experiences and their concerns.

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  • This pastoral outreach by the Bishop, or his representative, will also be directed to the faith communities in which the sexual abuse occurred.
  • The Diocese shall develop programs for outreach. These programs shall promote healing and understanding. We will cooperate with parents, civil authorities, educators, and community organizations to provide education and training for children, youth, parents, educators, clerics, church employees and volunteers, and others about ways to make and maintain a safe environment for children.
  • The Diocese will make clear to clergy, employees, volunteers, and all members of the community, the standards of conduct for all persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse.

The outreach program shall include provisions for counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services agreed upon by the victim and the Diocese.

  • At all times, cooperation is to be fostered with other social agencies, churches, and support groups for victims/survivors and others affected by abuse.

ARTICLE II

Victim Assistance Coordinator

Policy: The Diocese of Lafayette shall respond promptly to any allegation where there is reason to believe that sexual abuse of a minor has occurred by anyone acting in the name of the church.

  • The Bishop shall designate a Victim Assistance Coordinator who shall minister to the victim, victim’s family or other persons affected. The Victim Assistance Coordinator shall identify professional and other resources and make them available to aid in the care of a victim or other person(s) affected.

Ms. Carmer Falgout, RN, MSW, LCSW, BCD is the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Lafayette. Ms. Falgout’s telephone number is 337-237-0036.

  • The Victim Assistance Coordinator shall make certain that persons recommended to victims/survivors and their families for counseling and/or spiritual direction are highly qualified for such assistance.

Review Board

Policy: A diocesan review board shall function as the Bishop’s confidential consultative body in matters of sexual abuse of a minor.

  • The board shall advise the Bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by persons acting in the name of the Church, and in his determination of suitability for ministry, employment, or other service to the Church.
  • The board can review these matters both retrospectively and prospectively and give advice on all aspects of responses required in connection with these cases.
  • The board shall review diocesan policy and procedures for dealing with these allegations at least every two years in order to recommend to the Bishop any modifications, as appropriate.
  • The review board, established and appointed by the Bishop, shall be composed of at least five persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment. The majority of the review board

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members shall be lay persons who are not in the employ of the Diocese; but at least one member should be a priest, and at least one member should have particular expertise in the treatment of sexual abuse of minors. The members shall be appointed for a term of five years, which can be renewed.

ARTICLE III

Confidentiality

Policy: The Diocese of Lafayette shall not enter into any confidentiality agreements in cases of sexual abuse where the victim is a minor, except for grave and substantial reasons brought forward by the victim or the parent or guardian of a victim who is still a minor, and which reasons shall be clearly noted in the text of the agreement.

ARTICLE IV

Reporting

Policy: The Diocese of Lafayette shall follow all applicable Louisiana civil laws for reporting to public authorities when allegations and/or suspicions of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor are made against persons acting in the name of the Church.

  • The Diocese will comply with all applicable civil laws, state and local, with respect to reporting allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
  • The Diocese will cooperate fully with public authorities about reporting when the person is no longer a minor.
  • In every instance, the Victim Assistance Coordinator will advise victims of their right to make a report to public authorities and will support this right.

Policy: Any diocesan cleric, employee, or volunteer who has actual knowledge of, or who has reasonable cause to suspect that an incident of child abuse has occurred (unless to do so would violate the priest/penitent relationship of the Sacrament of Reconciliation), must follow all applicable civil laws for reporting such instances and shall immediately report to the diocesan Vicar General.

  • A verbal report of the incident shall be made immediately to the Vicar General.
  • The Vicar General shall immediately notify the Bishop.

ARTICLE V

Investigation

Policy: Once an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is reported, an immediate investigation will take place.

  • The Vicar General shall promptly report allegation to the public authorities, shall cooperate in their investigation in accord with the law of the jurisdiction in question, and shall cooperate with public authorities about reporting in cases when the person is no longer a minor.
  • The Vicar General shall also provide the person making the allegation with a written statement containing information about the right to make a report of such allegations to public authorities and the Diocese’s support of this right.

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Investigating allegations against non-clergy diocesan employees and volunteers:

  • The Vicar General shall report the allegation to the Bishop and to the Review Board.
  • The Vicar General shall report the allegation to the Victim Assistance Coordinator.
  • The Vicar General shall inform the accused and request his/her response.
  • When allegations are made of sexual misconduct or child abuse involving lay employees and volunteers of the Diocese, contact by the Bishop’s appointed Victim Assistance Coordinator with the alleged victim and family should be promptly initiated.
  • Each reported incident shall immediately be investigated with a high level of Christian care, concern, and confidentiality for the alleged victim, the family of the alleged victim, the person reporting the incident, and the alleged perpetrator, with care taken not to interfere with any civil investigation.
  • The Vicar General shall determine whether the safety of children requires the immediate withdrawal of the accused from his/her assignment and communicate a recommendation to the Bishop.
  • In making such determinations and recommendations, the Vicar General shall consult with the Bishop, his review board, and other persons designated by the Bishop.
  • If, as a result of a preliminary investigation of the incident, the allegation appears to be of substance, the alleged perpetrator will be immediately relieved of responsibilities to the Diocese and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal and any civil investigation – such leave to be with or without pay or benefits as determined by the Vicar General.
  • Any non-clergy employee/volunteer of the Diocese who admits to, does not contest, or is found guilty of an incident of sexual misconduct or child abuse shall be immediately terminated from employment and any position of responsibility within the Diocese.
  • When an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is received, a preliminary investigation, in harmony with canon and civil law will be initiated and conducted promptly and objectively.
  • Care will always be taken to protect the rights of all parties involved, particularly those of the person claiming to have been sexually abused and the person against whom the charge has been made. However, it is important for all diocesan lay employees and volunteers to know that both secular law and canon law provide penalties for the crime of falsehood in which individuals become victims of false accusation and slander. When the accusation has proved to be unfounded, every step possible will be taken to restore the good name of the person falsely accused.
  • Appropriate records of each incident reported, and of the investigation and the results thereof, will be kept by the Vicar General. Such records shall be marked confidential and securely kept in the Vicar General’s care under lock, with access thereto limited to the Bishop, Vicar General, Chancellor, and the diocesan attorney.
  • Any media contact or inquiries regarding an incident of sexual abuse of a minor by any diocesan cleric, seminarian, lay employee or volunteer, must be directed to the person designated by the Bishop, as his official spokesperson.

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Investigating allegations against clerics and seminarians:

  • The Vicar General shall report the allegation to the Bishop and to the Review Board.
  • The Vicar General shall report the allegation to the Victim Assistance Coordinator.
  • The Vicar General shall inform the cleric and request his response.
  • When an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric or seminarian is received, a preliminary investigation, in harmony with canon law will be initiated and conducted promptly and objectively.
  • The Vicar General shall determine whether the safety of children requires the immediate withdrawal of the cleric from his ministerial assignment and promptly communicate a recommendation to the Bishop.
  • In making such determinations and recommendations, the Vicar General shall consult with the Bishop, his review board, and other persons designated by the Bishop.
  • The alleged offender may be requested to seek, and may be urged voluntarily to comply with, an appropriate medical and psychological evaluation at a facility mutually acceptable to the diocese and to the accused.

DETERMINATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Policy: Diocesan policy provides that for even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor – past, present, or future – the offending cleric or seminarian will be permanently removed from ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, if the case so warrants.

  • Care shall always be taken to protect the rights of all parties involved, particularly those of the person claiming to have been sexually abused and the person against whom the charge has been made.
  • When the accusation has proved to be unfounded, every step possible shall be taken to restore the good name of the person falsely accused.
  • When sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric or seminarian is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, an offending cleric or seminarian will be offered professional assistance for his own healing and well-being, as well as for the purpose of prevention.
  • In every case involving canonical penalties, the processes provided for in canon law must be observed. For the sake of due process, the accused is to be encouraged to retain the assistance of civil and canonical counsel. When necessary, the diocese will provide canonical counsel.
  • Also provided for in canon law are the following: a request by the cleric or seminarian for dispensation from the obligation of holy orders and the loss of the clerical state or a request by the Bishop for dismissal from the clerical state even without the consent of the cleric or seminarian.
  • If the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state has not been applied, the offender ought to lead a life of prayer and penance. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to

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administer the sacraments. He is to be instructed not to wear clerical garb or to present himself publicly as a cleric or seminarian.

  • At all times, the Bishop has the executive power of governance, through an administrative act, to remove an offending cleric from office, to remove or restrict his faculties, and to limit his exercise of priestly ministry. Because sexual abuse of a minor is a crime in all jurisdictions in the United States, for the sake of the common good and observing the provisions of canon law, the Bishop shall exercise this power of governance to ensure that any cleric or seminarian who has committed even one act of sexual abuse of a minor as described above shall not continue in active ministry.

Appellate Review

The Province of Louisiana (i.e., the dioceses of the State of Louisiana) shall establish an appellate review board.

  • The board shall be composed of at least five persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment. The majority of the members shall be lay persons; but at least one member shall be a Bishop, and at least one member shall be a canon lawyer.
  • The Vicar General will inform all parties involved (the victim, the Bishop, and the accused) of their rights to appeal and the procedures for such.
  • The appellate review board’s function will be to offer – upon request of the Bishop, the alleged victim, or the accused – its advice to the diocesan Bishop on the case. The request must be made within fifteen (15) days after the alleged victim or the accused has been notified of the assessment of the initial review board. Within sixty (60) days of its receiving the request, the appellate review board’s advice shall be communicated to those involved.

ARTICLE VI

CODE OF CONDUCT

Policy: The Diocese shall develop and publish a Code of Conduct for all clergy and deacons.

  • The Diocese shall make clear to clerics and all members of the community the standards of conduct for clergy and other persons in positions of trust with regard to sexual abuse.
  • By no later than June, 2004, this Code of Conduct shall be completed and published, with implementation underway.
  • Education/Professional Development shall be mandated for all who are affected by this Code.
  • The Code of Conduct shall establish standards that govern the behavior and conduct for all clerics.

Policy: The committee for education and training for a safe environment for children (see Article IX) shall develop and publish a Code of Conduct for all diocesan lay employees and volunteers.