Archdiocese issues response to clergy sexual abuse of minors

The May 19 parish bulletin included a four-page insert from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, titled “Response to Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors: Actions Taken, Commitments Made, Promises Kept.” Two sections are included below.

Introduction

Keeping children safe, responding to abuse survivors and holding perpetrators accountable are priorities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. We want to do everything we can to assure no one suffers again from clergy sexual abuse of minors and that no past abuse is covered up. We understand that the failures of some Church leaders have broken trust. In response, this report is to help Catholics understand what action is being taken to protect minors and respond to those who have been harmed.

Reporting Abuse

If you or someone you know is being abused or you suspect abuse is occurring, contact your local law enforcement department immediately. Any instance of abuse involving a person currently under 18 years of age (minor) should be reported immediately to the civil authorities. If you or someone you know was abused as a minor by clergy or church personnel, call your local police, sheriff or district attorney’s office to file a criminal report. Reports can also be made to the Victim Assistance Coordinator, who is available to support abuse survivors. A formal complaint of abuse can be made to the archdiocese by calling the Victim Assistance Coordinator at 414-758-2232. An alternative way to make a formal report for those not wanting to contact the archdiocese is available to you 24 hours a day/7 days a week through the Healing Center (aurorahealthcare.org/ healing-advocacy-services) by calling 414-219-5555. The Healing Center provides survivor assistance services and is part of Aurora Health Care. You can locate offices for civil authorities in the 10 counties of the archdiocese and review Wisconsin mandatory reporting responsibilities at dcf.wisconsin.gov/cps/mandatedreporters.

Other topics covered in the report:

  • Handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors
  • Outreach to abuse survivors
  • Supporting abuse survivors
  • Meeting with abuse survivors
  • Zero tolerance
  • Criminal background checks
  • Priest offenders
  • Safe environment
  • Religious order priests
  • Forming our young people
  • Involvement of lay people
  • Safeguarding training
  • Code of ethical standards
  • Seminary formation
  • How is action communicated to the parish or broader community
  • Diocesan Review Board
  • Accountability of bishops
  • Transparency

For details, see the full report.