There is a sacred relationship that exists between the Church and its members, whether they be adult or child. Sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and/or sexual exploitation, when it occurs within the context of the Church, creates a tragic reality which misrepresents the Good News to those who have been victimized. Each and every instance of sexual violation of those who are the most vulnerable among us is a matter of the gravest concern and calls for an organized archdiocesan response so that healing may occur and the safety of the community can be assured.
Reports of clergy sexual abuse of a minor can be made to the director of the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office (414-758-2232). To make a formal report outside of the archdiocese, contact can be made at the Healing Center (414-671-4325). Individuals are also encouraged to contact directly civil authorities with reports of sexual abuse.
Out of pastoral concern for the victim/survivor of clergy sexual abuse, referrals for therapy will be offered, even prior to the conclusion of any formal investigation and finding of fact. Assistance with costs of therapy will be provided by the archdiocese.
Reporting to Authorities
Every report of clergy sexual abuse of a minor, regardless of when the offense occurred, will be taken seriously. When an allegation is made against a cleric who is still alive, whether currently in ministry or not, all such reports will be handed over promptly to the district attorney of the county in which the alleged offense took place. The archdiocese commits itself to a policy of cooperation with the civil officials who are charged with handling these matters.
If the civil authorities cannot proceed with criminal action for any reason and the case is returned to the archdiocese, there will be a thorough investigation of allegations using an established process which includes the Diocesan Review Board and an independent investigator. In accordance with the provisions of canon 1722, the cleric will be removed from any current ministry assignment or exercise of ministry and prohibited from any public exercise of ministry while the investigation is underway. The investigator will take whatever steps are needed to arrive at a compilation of facts in the case. The archdiocese commits itself to full cooperation in this independent investigative process. The Diocesan Review Board is charged with making recommendations to the archbishop regarding the substantiation of the allegation and suitability for ministry.
In every case, upon conviction, plea of guilty, or determination by the Diocesan Review Board process that there is a preponderance of evidence that a cleric has sexually abused a minor, the Diocesan Review Board will make its recommendation to the archbishop. If the allegation is substantiated, exercising his episcopal authority, the archbishop will permanently remove the cleric from active ministry and divest him of authority to function as a cleric in any capacity. Proper canonical procedures will be observed at all stages.