Clergy Abuse Reporting Guidelines
DIOCESE OF PETERBOROUGH
POLICY & PROCEDURES FOR CASES OF ALLEGED ABUSE and/or MISCONDUCT
By Clergy, Religious, Lay Employees and Volunteers
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Peterborough is committed to the protection of all people who are within its spiritual and physical care, especially those who are vulnerable. Abuse of a person is always wrong and contrary to the teachings of the Church. Thus, such actions are judged to be a sin. It is particularly abhorrent if this alleged abuse is reported to have been committed by a member of the clergy, staff or volunteers of the Diocese. See Definitions (Appendix A).
This policy document outlines the process and procedures which are intended to uphold the values to which the Diocese of Peterborough is committed by ensuring the just and timely resolution of complaints of abuse and/or misconduct, and meaningful assistance to those who have suffered as a result of abuse and misconduct.
The Diocese,willl investigate and intervene to stop all acts of abuse and misconduct by clergy, staff and volunteers and will take steps to prevent the occurrence of such abuse. The Diocese will assist those who come forward with allegations of abuse and misconduct, ensuring that they are treated with respect and compassion.
This Policy, the Process and Procedures reconcile the obligations of individuals and the Diocese under the laws of the Province of Ontario and of Canada with the requirements of the Code of Canon Law and the pastoral responsibilities of the Diocese of Peterborough and are an important part of the Safe Environment Policies.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Peterborough exercises his canonical governance and authority in such investigations under c. 1717ft:and these are subject to the Code of Canon Law in all respects, including the presumption of innocence and the inviolability of the sacramental seal (c.983, 984).
The Diocese recognizes that certain allegations of abuse may be crimes according to civil law. When the law requires it, for example when the abuse involves a minor (a person who is currently under the age of sixteen years), the abuse shall be reported immediately to the appropriate Children's Aid Society in accordance with articles 30-33.
Adult complainants who come forward with allegations of past abuse may wish to preserve their privacy, and would not report the abuse to the Diocese if they knew that it would disclose such allegations to the civil authorities. In respecting their privacy (c. 220) the Diocese will at the same time encourage disclosure of the abuse, while respecting the choice of the adult complainant to approach police or civil authorities. Adult complainants who request that the Diocese respect their privacy will be informed of their right and encouraged through the Bishop's Delegate to report such allegations of abuse directly to the police. The Diocese will facilitate contact with the police if requested.
The Diocese encourages the police investigation of abuse complaints and will at the same time seek legal advice from the Diocese's legal counsel. In instances where there is a police investigation about a complaint the Diocese will provide its full cooperation. The Bishop and/or the Bishop's Delegate shall also seek legal advice and act in accordance with that legal advice. This may result in ongoing internal investigations being suspended or terminated completely by the Diocese.
In certain cases of abuse and misconduct listed in Appendix B, the Bishop is required to send the results of the investigation to the Congregation of the Faith in Rome for direction on the next canonical and pastoral steps to be taken. All complainants of abuse shall be informed of this requirement immediately upon making their complaint.
This Policy, the Process and Procedures apply to clergy, religious sisters and brothers under vows in Religious Orders, staff, and volunteers of the Diocese of Peterborough. They do not apply to corporate bodies that have a Catholic identity such as schools, school boards, social welfare agencies and hospitals. These entities are subject to their own policies.
The Process & Procedures that guide the Diocese in implementing this Policy will be followed in all cases where information is received about an alleged abuse or misconduct committed by a person over whom the Bishop has jurisdiction.
This Process & Procedure will not apply to liturgical, doctrinal or strictly pastoral matters.
Process & Procedures
A. REPORTING ABUSE AND MISCONDUCT
1. Any allegation of abuse or misconduct by the clergy, religious, lay employee and volunteer may be made directly to the Diocese through its office 350 Hunter Street West, Box 175, Peterborough, ON K9J 6Y8, (705)-745-5123, or through a member of the clergy, staff or a volunteer of the Diocese.
2. Allegations may be made in confidence subject to the process and procedures for disclosure required to be made as outlined herein. It is also recognized that the complainant and the victim may be two different individuals especially in cases where the victim is a vulnerable person.
3. The person who receives the allegation to which this Policy, Process & Procedure applies shall immediately refer the person making the allegation to the Bishop's Delegate.
4. The Bishop's Delegate may act personally having received an allegation or through the Associate Delegate. In the absence of the Bishop's Delegate or at his request his Associate Delegate shall act in hi.s, place.
5. The Bishop's Delegate will immediately enquire into the allegation as a matter of urgent priority. He will inquire carefully about the facts and the circumstances. Care is to be taken that this does not violate the privacy of the complainant or unnecessarily call into question anyone's good name (c. 220).
6. If the person who is alleged to have committed an act of abuse or misconduct is now deceased, the investigation will proceed as far as possible, with all reasonable efforts made to seek confirmation of the facts from sources who reasonably would be expected to have information about the matter.
7. The Bishop's Delegate will have access to all files and archives of the Diocese pertaining to the individual who is alleged to have committed the abuse or misconduct.
8. If the allegation is made against a cleric or religious belonging to a Religious Order, the Bishop's Delegate shall inform the competent Superior.
9. All persons carrying out responsibilities under this Process & Procedures, including the Bishop's Delegate, his Associate, and a Superior of the Religious Order, subject to legal advice, shall co operate with civil authorities in carrying out statutory responsibilities, including peace officers, subject to the inviolability of the sacramental seal (c. 983-984).
10. If the complainant or the victim is a vulnerable person, that person's caregivers shall be notified immediately unless there is good and sufficient reason not to do so such as risk of harm to the complainant or victim by such disclosure, in which case, the police, and where required, the Children's Aid Society, shall be contacted. In all cases where the vulnerable person is younger than sixteen (16) years of age, the Children's Aid Society shall be contacted.
11. Subject to legal advice or the direction of the police to the contrary, the Bishop's Delegate shall inquire immediately into the allegation as a matter of urgent priority. They shall meet with the person or persons making the allegation and such other persons as may be witnesses or have knowledge of the facts as may be advisable.
12.The Bishop's Delegate shall inquire carefully about the facts and circumstances of the alleged offense. Care is to be taken that this does not unnecessarily call into question anyone's good name (c. 220). Every effort shall be made to document all pertinent facts.
13. Subject to legal advice or the direction of the police to the contrary, the Bishop's Delegate shall meet with the individual accused of the abuse and inform them of the allegation as soon as circumstances will reasonably permit and to listen to their response, unless to do so would create further risk of harm to the victim or complainant in which case the police shall be contacted unless the complainant, being an adult person and not a vulnerable person, has prohibited it.
14. Any witnesses named by the individual who is being accused of the abuse will be contacted. Anonymous allegations will be documented and investigated to the extent possible. Such allegations that are not verified shall not alter the good standing of the individual who is the alleged perpetrator.
15.The Bishop's Delegate will then meet with the Review Board in order to formulate a recommendation to the Bishop. If the allegation is determined to be founded, both the complainant and the respondent will be informed of next steps. If the allegation is determined to be unfounded, then the inquiry will be closed and the complainant and respondent shall be so advised. Where there may be substance to the allegation, the Bishop's Delegate shall report the determined and the information on which it is based to the Bishop and, if a cleric or religious, to the Bishop or Superior.
16. Where the Bishop's Delegate and Review Board in recommendation to the Bishop determine that the allegation is without foundation and unless the Bishop directs some further inquiry, the complainant shall be instructed of their right to take the complaint to the police and that the inquiry of the Diocese will be closed. The individual for whom the allegation was made shall also be informed of this instruction to the complainant.
17. The complainant and the accused person will be advised that the investigation of the Diocese has been closed. The complainant retains the right to pursue the matter civilly. The accused person may be returned to ministry or employment. (See articles 19-21)
18. In order to protect the interests of all concerned the Bishop or the Bishop's Delegate may determine at any time, and subject to legal advice or police direction to the contrary one or more of the following:
a) After being informed of the allegation, the individual accused of the alleged abuse may be given an immediate administrative leave (c. 1722).
b) In the case of a cleric or religious, an appropriate residence may be assigned pending the outcome of the Process & Procedure.
c) In the case of a cleric, the faculties to preach may be removed (c. 764), and, if he is a priest, the faculties to publicly celebrate Mass and the right to hear confessions may also be removed (c.974.1). The cleric may be instructed to cease wearing clerical dress.
d) The Bishop's Delegate may instruct the individual for whom the allegations of abuse have been made to have no further contact, direct or indirect, with certain individuals, identified by name including parish staff and to have residency in the parish.
e) Depending on the outcome of the Process & Procedure, the individual for whom the allegations of abuse have been made, whether cleric, religious or lay, may be returned to the ministry or employment where he or she was assigned.
19. When it has been determined that serious misconduct and abuse has occurred there will be no reentry into ministry or employment.
20. If there is doubt about whether misconduct or abuse has occurred, reentry may be possible. It is for the Bishop to determine any eventual return to ministry of a cleric, employee or volunteer, after the Bishop's delegate has provided a comprehensive report to the Review Board for its recommendations to the Bishop.
21. The Diocese's firm commitment to ensuring safe environments is the overriding consideration and no one will be permitted to return to public ministry or employment if such ministry and employment is a potential danger to minors or vulnerable persons or a cause of scandal for the community.
C. CARE OF COMPLAINANTS AND OTHERS
22. The interviews with the complainant will be done by the Bishop's Delegate with compassion and prudence, recognizing that telling the story of what happened will, to some extent, renew the hurt experienced at the time of the abuse or misconduct.
23. The interviews will take place at a mutually convenient time and place. The complainant may wish to have someone else present during the interview as support, and the Bishop's Delegate may have a lay person present, especially when it is a member of the clergy who is the one who is alleged to have committed the abuse or misconduct.
24. Where the Bishop's Delegate determines that there may be substance to an allegation of abuse and I or misconduct, the Bishop's Delegate will immediately offer to provide appropriate professional counseling services, as necessary, for the alleged victim or others affected by such abuse including the victim's family members. This assistance will be outlined in a separate document indicating the length, frequency, cost, and plan of treatment without violating patient privacy. Such services will be provided until the determination by the Bishop's Delegate and the Review Board that it is no longer reasonably necessary, or that the allegation is not substantiated.
25. The Bishop's Delegate will assure the complainant that updates will be provided on the progress of the investigation on a regular basis. He and all others involved in the process of investigating a complaint or in offering care and support shall take care to ensure that there is no interference or impediment to police investigations, nor will the complainant be discouraged from going to the police or seeking legal advice.
26. The Bishop's Delegate will offer an apology on behalf of the Diocese for any wrongdoing to the complainant.
27. Where misconduct has been reported, the Bishop's Delegate shall co-ordinate an effort to inform and support the parish that has been affected. The response will be determined by the circumstances of each case. It may not be possible to provide infom1ation because of the involvement of law enforcement officials or of the complainant's reasonable request for confidentiality, but may include a visit by the Bishop on Sunday Masses, information sessions, and distribution of written materials.
D. Notification of Authorities re Allegations Involving Minors
28. The Diocese and all of its representatives are expected to comply with the Child and Family Services Act. Section 72 of that Act places urgent reporting obligations on individuals who have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be suffering, or may have suffered abuse or is otherwise at risk of harm. The obligation to report relates to individuals who have not reached their sixteenth birthday at the time the allegation is made (s.37 (1). Under the Act, abuse may be physical, emotional, mental or sexual in nature (s.37, s.72) and includes sexual exploitation through child pornography. The obligation arises whether or not the abuse is said to have been committed by clergy, staff or volunteers.
29. Priests are reminded that the confessional seal is inviolable (c. 983,984) in any and all circumstances. What is revealed in confession is subject to the seal and cannot be revealed. What is revealed outside of the confessional is subject to the requirements of civil law including the Child and Family Services Act.
30. Where a member of the clergy, staff or volunteer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person currently under the age of sixteen years is or may be suffering or may have suffered abuse, that person shall:
a) Immediately report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to the Children's Aid Society in the jurisdiction where the abuse is alleged to have occurred; See contact information in (Appendix C). The obligation to report arises again if a person has additional reasonable grounds for the suspicion even if the person has made a previous report with respect to the child (s.74 (4)).b) This obligation to report is not satisfied by simply reporting to the Bishop's Delegate or other representative of the Bishop. You personally must report directly to the Children's Aid Society. You cannot delegate the responsibility. c) After you have reported the concern to the Children's Aid Society, inform the following persons that such a report has been made:
i) The Bishop's Delegate;
The Bishop's Delegate or his Associate shall inform the following persons that a report has been made been made to the Children's Aid Society:
i) The Bishop;
ii) The Superior, if the respondent is a cleric or religious belonging to a Religious Institute.(Appendix D)
iii) The Lawyer for the Diocese.
32. The Bishop's Delegate in order not to interfere with the Children's Aid Society investigation will not inform anyone else, but will take action under article 19 above if the respondent is a member of the clergy, the Diocesan staff or a volunteer.
33. In instances where the alleged victim is 16 or over, the Bishop's Delegate would not report a criminal act of sexual misconduct to the police without the alleged victim's consent. However, an alleged victim shall be encouraged to report the misconduct to the police. The alleged victim shall be informed that a representative of the Diocese will be made available to accompany such person to report the incident if requested.
E. ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS
34. At no time shall the Bishop, the Bishop's Delegate, or any priest involved in the Process and Procedures hear the sacramental confession of the respondent.
35. After meeting with the respondent, the Bishop's Delegate in consultation with the Review Board will determine whether further action is warranted in respect of the allegation and report to the Bishop, who retains final decision-making council subject to direction from the police or legal counsel.
36. Where the respondent admits part or all of the allegation, or indicates that the allegation will not be contested, in addition to steps possible under article 19:
a) The Bishop's Delegate will, in the company of a witness, confirm such admission or non- contestation, preferably in writing.
b) The respondent may be directed to contact the police to report their activity with legal counsel of their choosing.
c) The respondent may be referred immediately to a selected treatment centre for appropriate evaluation. The respondent will sign a release in the appropriate form so that a report given by the treatment centre will be delivered to the Bishop and/or the Bishop's Delegate and the contents made known by the Bishop's Delegate to the Review Board.
d) Where the evaluation recommends a program of treatment for the respondent, the Bishop's Delegate will:
i) Refer the respondent to a treatment center/spiritual house as recommended by the Review Board to begin the program of treatment, when the respondent is a cleric over whom the Bishop has jurisdiction.
ii) Refer the evaluation to the competent Superior for action, where the respondent is a cleric or religious belonging to a religious order.
iii) Advise the respondent of the Review Board recommendation, where the respondent is a lay person.
iv) Successful completion of the program or programs of treatment will not immediately restore the respondent to the ministry or the employment where he or she was assigned.
v) Under the 2001 Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul IT Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, modified May 21, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, certain cases of misconduct as outlined in Appendix B, including sexual abuse of minors, must be referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for their examination and decision about the next canonical and pastoral steps.
37. Where the respondent denies the allegation and the Bishop's Delegate has determined in consultation with the Review Board that further action is warranted in order to clarify the facts, in addition to the steps in article 19 it may be their recommendation to the Bishop that he initiate a Preliminary Investigation (c. I 717). The Delegate shall recommend that the Bishop appoint an Investigator (c. 1717), and may also recommend that one or two assessors be appointed to assist the Investigator (c. 1718 s.s.3). See Outline of the Investigative Hearing (Appendix E).
F. Records & Review Board
38. A written record shall be kept of all steps taken from the moment the allegation is first received. The record is not to be destroyed at any time, even after the death of the respondent. The record may be required to prove that the rights of the respondent were fully respected if he or she has recourse to the Holy See against the action of the Bishop or of other persons involved. Care is to be taken to protect the confidentiality of such documentation.
39. The written records of all allegations of misconduct made against any member of church personnel, including clergy, religious, paid employees or volunteers are to be maintained permanently. Records should not be altered or destroyed subsequent to the death of any member of church personnel, including clergy, religious, paid employees or volunteers.
40. A Review Board shall be appointed by the Bishop consisting of at least five to seven persons, and should include:
i) A psychiatrist or psychologist with appropriate clinical experience
ii) A mental health professional experienced in counselling victims
iii) A parent
iv) A person with experience as a Child Protection Professional
v) A priest with extensive pastoral experience
vi) A canonist
vii) A lawyer
This committee shall meet at least twice per year to review all allegations of misconduct and to advise the Bishop's Delegate. It shall review current proceedings and monitor compliance with the policy.
41. The Bishop's Delegate and the Review Board at any time may make use of such consultants as may be considered necessary, including medical doctors, psychologists, mental health professionals, canonists, the lawyer for the Diocese and the Advisory Committee.
42. Where appropriate, the Bishop's Delegate may recommend the re-employment of lay personnel or the return of a cleric or a religious or a volunteer to the ministry. Such will not be considered until an evaluation is available after therapy, where a program of treatment has been recommended. The Review Board shall be convened by the Bishop's Delegate and his associate to make recommendations in this regard.
G. RELATED MATTERS
43. When it has been determined that a priest or deacon who is not incardinated in the Diocese has been guilty of abuse or misconduct, the Bishop's Delegate will immediately inform the cleric's Bishop or Superior. Similarly, if an accusation of abuse or misconduct is made against a priest or deacon of this Diocese who is on loan for ministry outside the Diocese of Peterborough, then the Bishop's Delegate will immediately inform the Bishop where the cleric is doing ministry.
44. No diocesan or religious priest will be accepted for ministry or residence in a parish in the Diocese of Peterborough without full disclosure by his Bishop or Superior of any allegation of misconduct in the cleric's past.
45. There will be full disclosure to the Bishop of a diocese who receives an incardinated priest from the Diocese of Peterborough of any allegation of misconduct in the cleric's past.
46. The Diocese will not permit the use of a confidentiality clause in a settlement document with victims of misconduct and/or sexual abuse.
47. A newly appointed Bishop shall acquaint himself with all allegations of sexual misconduct allegedly or actually perpetrated in the Diocese of Peterborough by any member of Church personnel, including clergy, employees or volunteers.
48. The spokesperson for the diocese will make public statements to the media when it is necessary and at the direction of the Bishop. A second person will be appointed by the Bishop to serve in this capacity if the official spokesperson is not available.
50. A representative of the Diocese will monitor and observe any criminal or civil trial involving a member of the clergy.
Appendix A -Definitions
Appendix B -Allegations of abuse or misconduct requiring a report to the Holy See Appendix C
Appendix C- Contacting the Children's Aid Society
Appendix D -Allegations of abuse or misconduct made against Religious
Appendix E - Procedure for Investigation of a Contested Allegation (c. 1717fl)
Appendix F -Code of Conduct for Priests
Abuse is the violation of the physical or psychological integrity or trust of another person .Abuse may consist of just one incident and it may happen repeatedly. It means any act or attempted act of emotional, physical, verbal or sexual contact or approaches, or threats of the same, which are known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome, whether or not apparent damage arises from that conduct, and includes grooming (that is, engaging in conduct that is designed to select and prepare potential victims for abuse). Possession of pornographic materials depicting minors is abuse. Abuse includes Grooming, Pornographic Offences, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Harassment all as hereinafter defined.
Bishop means the Roman Catholic Bishop of The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Peterborough, in Ontario, Canada, or, in his absence or incapacity, the lawful administrator of the Diocese according to Roman Catholic Canon Law.
Bishop's Delegate means the priest appointed by the Bishop to fulfill the role as outlined in the policy, and any duly appointed assistant.
Clergy means ordained deacons, priests and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.
Code of Canon Law means the 1983 compendium of laws for the Western (Latin) (Roman) Catholic Church published by Pope John Paul II, and as amended from time to time. Individual laws are referred to as canons.
Complainant means the person who alleges either that they themselves, (or some other person as the case may be) has been the Victim of Misconduct by a member of the clergy in the Diocese, Diocesan Staff or Diocesan Volunteers.
Faculties mean the grants by a higher Church authority enabling a priest or deacon to act in ways that the recipient would not otherwise be empowered or authorized to act. (e.g., hearing sacramental confessions by priests.)
Grooming includes a wide variety of behaviour, such as spending large amounts of time with a particular person, (the "Target"), affording special privileges, or providing gifts, trips and other expressions of special attention to the Target. These behaviours are often designed to establish a special bond of trust and affectionate understanding between the groomer and the Target. These behaviours can also lead the Target to feel indebted to the groomer for all these kindnesses. Once this bond of trust and indebtedness is established, the stage may be set for sexual advances upon the Target or other forms of Abuse of the Target. Because the pattern of grooming is made up of observable behaviours, these behaviours need to be challenged or reported. Grooming, whether intentional or not, is by its very nature seductive behaviour. As well as being a signal of possible future sexual or other abusive activity, Grooming is in itself inappropriate.
Incardination means the action by which a cleric, at ordination as a deacon, becomes affiliated with a particular diocese or religious order and subject to the Bishop or Superior respectively.
Juridical Vicar means the priest appointed by the Bishop as an officer of the diocese who exercises judicial power in the name of the Bishop, and deals with issues such as the protection of the rights and obligations of the faithful as well as penal matters.
Minor means a person under the age of 16 years. as stipulated in the Ontario Child and Family Services Ac. R.S.O. 1990, Chapter C-11, as amended from time to time.
Misconduct means behaviour that is contrary to the norms of civil law or Roman Catholic Church teaching and includes, without limitation, all forms of Abuse. Misconduct includes behavior that may not constitute Abuse but which is nonetheless unacceptable and capable of being subject to complaint, investigation and sanction. Priests and deacons without spouses, because they promise to live celibately, must never view sexual activities as appropriate for them and any such activities by a celibate, even if not criminal in the civil law, will be considered to be Misconduct for purposes of this Procedure.
Pornographic Offence is the possession, creation or distribution of any pornographic film, video or other visual representation that show a person who is depicted as engaged in or is engaged in sexual activity and any written material that advocates or counsels or describes sexual activity.
Public Misconduct is misconduct that becomes public or known.
Religious Order means an independent and self-governing religious institute or secular institute that is recognized by the Catholic Church and governed by her laws.
Respondent means a member of the clergy staff or volunteer alleged to have committed an act of misconduct.
Review Board means a confidential consultative body advising the bishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors, the determination of the suitability of priests or deacons for ministry or dismissal, and lay persons for employment or service to the diocese. The diocesan review board will be composed of at least five persons of outstanding integrity and good judgment in full communion with the Church.
Sexual Abuse is abuse that is the sexual involvement or attempted sexual involvement with a vulnerable person or is unwanted sexual involvement or unwanted attempted sexual involvement with any person, (the "victim").
Sexual exploitation is the use of one's position of power or trust to have sexual contact or attempted sexual contact with another person, (the "victim").
Sexual harassment is unwanted sexualized conduct or language directed towards another person or persons, (the "victim(s)"). This conduct entails unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly affests an individual's status such as employment, when it unreasonably interferes with an individual's performance, or when it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Staff means lay persons employed by the Diocese, its parishes or by a Religious Order in respect of its activities in the Diocese, but does not include independent contractors or others who are not employees of the Diocese, its parishes or Religious Orders. The Bishop's Delegate may apply the procedure to others, in all cases with the goal of ensuring that the responsible agency addresses complaints and Complainants in the appropriate manner.
Superior means the local head of a Religious Order.
Target means the person or persons who is/are the subject of an intendeda abuse by an abuser and includes a victim.
Victim means any person who is subjected to misconduct and/or abuse.
Volunteers means persons who undertake assignments of charity or service with the sanction and direction of the Diocese, Clergy, Staff or Religious Order. Volunteers do not include self appointed persons who operate without the sanction or direction of the Diocese, Clergy, Staff or Religious Orders.
Vulnerable Person means minors or persons of any age who by reason of their condition, suffer from physical, mental, emotional or spiritual handicaps or disabilities that make them vulnerable to misconduct and/or abuse.
Adapted from "A Safe Environment Policy for the Diocese of London" and from the "Policy and Procedures in Cases of Alleged Abuse and Misconduct" for the Archdiocese of Toronto.
Allegations of abuse or misconduct requiring a report to the Holy See.
According to the norms issued by the Holy Father on April 30, 2001, and modified May 21, 20 I 0, once sufficient evidence that an offense has been committed appears to have been collected in the preliminary investigation (Canon 1717), .in some cases the Bishop of a Diocese must report the offense to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a decision regarding the next pastoral and canonical steps to be taken. This requirement applies to certain case of offenses against the Sacraments, and to certain cases of immoral behaviour that are dealt with in this document of policies and procedures in cases of alleged abuse and misconduct. Those cases are:
1. The sacramental absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment (Canon 1378.1). (The sixth commandment encompasses sexual behaviour which the Catholic Church considers sinful.)
2. Solicitation to a sin against the sixth commandment during, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession (Canon 1387), if it is directed to sinning with the confessor himself.
3. Any sin against the sixth commandment committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen. A person who is developmentally disabled is equated to a minor in this case. (While in Ontario civil law, a child is a minor until 16, the Church considers young people to be in need of special protection until 18).
4. The acquisition, possession or distribution by whatever means or technology by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen.
Contacting the Children's Aid Society
There are five Children's aid societies in the area served by the Diocese of Peterborough. Care should be taken to contact the appropriate agency, given the specific situation.
Peterborough-Haliburton Children's Aid Society
1 800 661 2843
Durham Children's Aid Society
1 905 433 1551
Highland Shores Children's Aid (serving Hastings and Northumberland)
1 800 267 0570
Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka
I 800 680 4426
Children's Aid Society Nippissing and Parry Sound
1 877 303 0910
Allegations of abuse or misconduct made against Religious
Upon receipt of a complaint from the Juridical Vicar regarding the conduct of a member of his or her Religious Institute, within 24 hours the Superior will:
I) invoke the Religious Institute's own procedures for dealing with such matters;
2) taking the place of the Juridical Vicar, utilize this Procedure; or
3) consent to the application of this Procedure to the respondent by the Juridical Vicar in respect of the allegations; and
4) will advise the Juridical Vicar accordingly.
Where the Superior consents to the application of the Procedure under 3), the Juridical Vicar will be given immediate access to the files and archives of the Institute pertaining to the respondent and will report the outcome of the investigation to the Superior. The Juridical Vicar will answer such inquiries about the progress of the matter as the Superior may make from time to time.
Where the Superior precedes under l) or 2) the Superior or the Superior's delegate:
a) will answer such inquiries about the progress of the matter as the Juridical Vicar may make, and will report to the Judicial from time to time;
b) will comply with the time-lines set by the Juridical Vicar and approved by the Bishop.
If the Superior or his delegate fails to deal with the matter in a manner satisfactory to the Juridical Vicar, the Juridical Vicar may resume jurisdiction over the allegation if the Bishop consents.
Procedure for Investigation of a Contested Allegation (canons 1717 ft)
1. As noted in article 17, further investigation beyond the policy may be required. Upon appointment, the Investigator will make arrangements for an investigatory hearing. The hearing will be conducted according to the regulation.
2. Following the investigatory hearing, the Investigator will prepare a written report for the Bishop including reasons recommending that one or more of the following courses of action be implemented:
a. no further action be taken in respect of the allegation;
b. a strictly judicial approach be adopted (canons 1718 and 1341);
c. where the Respondent is a pastor, the process for removal be initiated (canons 1740 fl);
d. a canonical warning be given (canon 1339);
e. a canonical penal trial be initiated, which may or may not lead to laicization;
f. an administrative process be initiated (c.1718);
g. a temporary or permanent sanction referred to in the Procedure (cf. #10, # 16) be applied; and,
h. such further and other action as the Investigator may recommend.
3. In preparing the report of the Investigation to the Bishop, the Investigator may use canonical and civil technology, in order to provide maximum clarity to his report. This will include describing whether the allegation is true or untrue using concepts such as: a serious suspicion (canon 1339), moral certainty (canon 1608), beyond a reasonable doubt, and the balance of probabilities.
The Investigator may recommend further actions to establish the facts.
The Investigator is also to report on whether or not the presence or absence of remorse on the respondent's part has been discerned, where appropriate.
4. The Investigator will deliver his report to the Bishop and to the Juridical Vicar within 60 days of the date of his appointment. Where circumstances warrant, the Bishop may extend the time of the Investigation.
5. The Bishop will consider the report of the Investigator in deciding the matters entrusted to him (canon 1718).
6. The acts of the Investigation, and all those matters which preceded the investigation, are to be kept confidential, unless they are necessary for penal process (canon 1719).
7. If the Complainant or Respondent incurs legal expenses during a contested investigation, the Bishop will pay such expenses, provided that:
a. such legal and other expenses are reasonable in the opinion of the Juridical Vicar
b. the Juridical Vicar was advised of the appointment of counsel prior to retainer and did not object; and
c. the Juridical Vicar was advised of the appointment of the other experts prior to retainer and did not object.
Code of Conduct for Priests
- The implementation of the .'Two Deep" rule is to be the common practice. Priests are not to be alone with a child.
- Access to priests' living quarters is to be restricted. Priests are not to be alone with minors in their living quarters or motor vehicle.
- Priests will never take a person under 19 on personal trips or vacations.
- Expensive gifts are not to be given to or accepted from a child or young or vulnerable person.
- Priests will accept the responsibility to set reasonable boundaries in their relationship with others.
- One-on-one private meetings with adults are to be conducted in a space with clear glass openings.
- Two adults are to be present for recreational programs. The Guidelines for Volunteer Ministers (Responsible Faith Ministry) are to be followed.
- The preparation of children for the celebration of the sacraments of first reconciliation, first communion and confirmation is to be conducted in a group format. One-on-one instruction by priests is not allowed.
- The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation is to be celebrated in an open space that allows the penitent and the priest to be in full view of others or in a traditional confessional.
- The location of reconciliation rooms is to be in a high traffic area of the church building. Any new construction or renovation of reconciliation rooms is to provide for clear glass openings.
Adapted from "A Safe Environment Policy for the Diocese of London."